Saturday, April 26, 2008

miles and miles

After two busy days, I'm taking it easy this weekend.

On Thursday morning, I spent about an hour and a half with Judith Kelman, a warm, accomplished writer and novelist, editing the essay which I had written for the inaugural issue of the new MSKCC newsletter that I've been working on. It's thanks to both Eileen and Larissa that I found out about Ms. Kelman's participation in "Visible Ink," a one-on-one writing program for MSKCC patients. I'm really happy that I took their advice and saw her. The result of our very productive meeting was a much improved essay that was free of some of the clunky sentences that I had composed originally. Next week, I plan to see her again at which time we'll review it one last time.

Following our meeting, I walked to nearby Hunter College's sole art institution - The Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery - where I checked out Re-Orientations: Islamic Art and the West in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.

From there I walked east to First Avenue and then, uptown. It was a perfect spring day in NYC. The temperature was in the mid 70s. I didn't ride my stationary bike at home the previous day and so, I thought a good walk in this spectacular weather would be good for me. In addition, I had been spending a lot on cab fare recently that I really wanted to save some money. So, I walked and walked. At points when I thought I might stop, I dismissed it and instead challenged myself knowing full well that I could continue. And so, I did. I walked north on First Avenue through the Upper East Side and East Harlem of Manhattan and then, eventually onto the Willis Avenue Bridge where I stopped to take a couple of shots of the bridge's midsection.

Its midsection is very peculiar, I think. Its one of the bridge's architectural features that I've wanted to photograph for some time. I managed to take a couple of decent shots, but I think I can get some better ones so I'm hoping to try again next week.

I continued across the bridge stopping at points to take in the view and to look at the rapid construction that is taking place all around it before entering the Bronx. The city is working to replace this obsolete but vital link between the two boroughs.

From the Bronx-side of the Willis Avenue Bridge, I continued home walking the remaining 25 blocks. According to Google Earth, I walked 5 miles from end to end but I can bike 9 miles easily on my stationary bike at home, so I guess that wasn't too bad. Looking at the map, it's clear that the distance I walked is far but when I do twice that on the stationary bike the scale of the map doesn't translate. It's funny. . . .

Friday morning, I woke up soon after sunrise to make it out (by cab) to Brooklyn Bridge-Fulton Ferry State Park in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn by about 7 am. Dr. C-M hasn't given me the green light to use mass transit yet, so I continue to be reliant on cabs to get around which can add up very quickly. Due to the fund, I'm able to be reimbursed for transportation expenses but I managed to burn a lot more money than usual this past week because of the number of appointments that I had.

I went to Brooklyn Bridge-Fulton Ferry State Park to photograph that iconic symbol of American ingenuity and architectural beauty and its Manhattan backdrop for the new newsletter at Sloan. Inspired by my bridge photography, the new newsletter is titled "Bridges" and a bridge will be featured in its header. So, in addition to writing an essay for the newsletter, my job has been to capture a bridge photo for the newsletter. A few weeks ago, I made a shoot of the 59th Street Bridge but that didn't work out quite well. The Brooklyn Bridge was one of our next choices and so, that's why I was in DUMBO early yesterday morning. According to Larissa, it looks like one of the many shots that I took will work.

From DUMBO, I made my way across the Brooklyn Bridge back into Manhattan during the heart of the morning rush hour. It was about 8:30 and people were walking and bicycling across the bridge to work in Manhattan or Brooklyn. The sunny sky. The warmth. The bustling noise of the pedestrians walking and the traffic moving below. The Manhattan skyline. All of it was wonderful. It felt so great to be out and free.

I snapped this quick shot on the bridge. I've walked across the Brooklyn Bridge perhaps 6 or 7 times and each time it's a magical experience. There's little wonder why this bridge is so celebrated. It's a beauty.

From the Manhattan-side of the span, I headed west and then, north along Broadway amidst the lively activity of the morning commute. At Canal Street, I walked east through Chinatown and up Mulberry Street through Little Italy whose restaurants and shops were just opening in preparation for another day of business. I continued on Mulberry Street for awhile before rejoining Broadway until I reached Bleecker Street in the East Village. I needed to purchase an ink cartridge before returning home, but the nearest Staples was quite a ways from Bleeker Street and after having gotten up so early that morning, I was a bit tired by this point. Consequently, I told myself to forget the walking and get a cab which is exactly what I did. After picking up the cartridge from a Staples at 87th and Lexington, I got another cab going home.

So, you can see why I'm staying home this weekend. Moreover, it's supposed to rain though it hasn't yet today. Su is coming over tomorrow afternoon or evening.

On Monday evening, the reception for the art exhibition at Sloan will take place. I promise to post photos.

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