Tag Archives: walking

Let Google Do the Walking (map)

Did you know that google maps has a beta site to search walking directions!?

Whereas I’m married to HopStop for public transport directions and tend to search “more street walking/fewer transfers,” I discovered google’s new map feature for walking, great for a girl/mother on the go – especially with kids in tow, when one needs to plan ahead.

So here’s today’s itinerary, pbj-704927-main_fullthanks in great part to the magic of the internet:
The Peanut Butter & Co
http://www.ilovepeanutbutter.com
240 Sullivan St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 677-3995
Greenwich Village, between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets, a block south of Washington Square Park and NYU.

And since it began as a sort of sunny and a not-quite freezing 40 degree day, after a late lunch, we planned to hoof it to the tip of the island and visit the skyscraper museum check the website for hours http://www.skyscraper.org/
39 battery park place
New York, NY 10007
212-968-1961

Turns out, I’m the only one in my family who has voiced an interest in this museum despite the school boy’s knowledge of the tallest towers around the world, but we were to meet friends, young and old, for the afternoon so a peanut butter laden tummy and a playdate is good incentive to ponder the towers.

And then, thanks to google maps, I noted that the walking directions are in beta. The site says, “Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.”

Walking directions
TO 39 Battery Park Place FROM 240 Sullivan Street

BUT not so fast. I needed to heed google’s little warning about the path. Little did I realize that google maps didn’t recognize my destination address. Instead, it offered a choice and in haste, I selected 39 Park Place, oops.
1.Head southwest on Sullivan St towardBleecker St 0.5 mi
2.Slight left at 6th Ave/Ave of the Americas 0.4 mi
3.Slight right at Church St 0.4 mi
4.Turn right at Park Pl
Destination will be on the right 148 feet

The directions delivered us to an AT&T store where the staff welcomed and allowed us to use their computer to search for our destination. Still, many blocks north of where we were meant to be with a cold wind getting the best of our spirits, we grabbed a cab and relied on what we could have used in the first place, a laminated folding street map of NYC. Thankfully, the other mom in our gaggle had a map because our taxi driver had no idea how to get to Battery Park City.

Photo by Charles C. Ebbets for The New York Herald Tribune

Photo by Charles C. Ebbets for The New York Herald Tribune

The museum offers a small gallery space with some models, lots of images and some interactive features. There’s a good bookstore with lots of yes, books and architecture related toys and puzzles. Good for a rainy day or warm(er) day than today when you can stroll along the Battery Park esplanade or through Tribeca, taking in all the loft sites, high, low, new, and in between.

Have to say that the piece de la resistance of the day was the Peanut Butter Company in the Village. Our crowd sampled a fluffernutter, yum; the Elvis (crunchy peanut butter, honey and bananas), and a peanut butter BLT. I’d skip the tomato next time because the texture didn’t feel right on my tongue next to the crunchy sweet salty taste of the peanut butter, but bacon and peanut butter, that worked! The little sandwich shop is most crowded on Saturday afternoons but by 2 or 3pm, when we were there, the excitement died down and peanut butter lovers lolled around as they savored their gooey indulgences.

All in a days outing and then, home again, home again, jiggity jig.

City Sidewalks and Childhood Dreams

Living downtown, I have seasonal walking routes. In the dead of winter I like to walk by storefronts to window shop and because I know they will be shoveled and salted to near perfection. In the spring, I’ll take any route that has me walking by the Chelsea flower market. Even when it’s still early spring, it’s nice to smell and see the promise of summer in all of the beautiful flowers and small trees. Summer brings me back to the storefronts, hoping I’ll time my passing correctly with that of a customer entering/leaving the store — a cold blast of air-conditioned air hits the spot during a humid day. But my favorite walk has to be past the Bleecker Street Playground. A decently-sized island of childhood bliss, the park boasts sandboxes, swings, playground equipment and, sprinklers!!! The playground’s happy hour is right after the 3:00 school bell. Moms, nannies, babysitters and (more & more) Dads stand around and chat pleasantly with other parents while their children play at complicated imaginary games.

As a 20-something with no immediate thoughts of motherhood, you would think the idea of passing a gaggle of post-school children would irritate me, interfering with the music coming from my iPod, but the writer in me takes over as I watch them play and I’m fascinated by what they create. Their imaginations are so strong and their visual sense so acute, I think they might make better authors of fiction than their adult counterparts — if not for nap times interfering with their workday.

Walking by the playground is a bit like listening to a pit orchestra warming up before a show. A few high squeaks, low moans and whines, and the clank of the wrought iron gate greeting the latest entrants into the park. The sense of electricity and excitement cannot be denied. Bleecker Street playground has a particular smell to it as well. Unlike the flowers that dot the nearby corner market, the park yields the sweet scent of child perspiration, the fragrant green leaf and bark mix of trees, and the light spritz of NYC water mixed with a rusty odor from the hundred-year-old pipes.

Chaos ensues when Mr. Softee pulls up alongside the curb. Children screech with delight — so excited are they to see the promise of sugar, that they run, wet from the sprinklers and shoe-less, onto the city sidewalk (I have to admit it makes me squeamish to think of all the germs their innocent little feet are picking up). But no matter, these children are oblivious to grit and grime and focused on how to get their adult in charge to fork over ice cream money. You can aways tell the parents from the nannies: parents carry wholesome snacks, while the nannies have already attempted feeding their charges the health food, only to be denied. Ice cream offers those caretakers the promise of ending their day without anymore (ahem) meltdowns.

While passing the park gives me joy, it’s also mixed with a little bit of melancholy. Because after all, who doesn’t want to be that young again? If not for just one afternoon.

–DT