Morning Walk

I exit the building into the welcome winter sunshine. I had forgotten how clean and quiet the Upper West Side is.

This block is especially so, since new buildings of concrete and steel have recently replaced old housing projects. I prefer seeing renovated buildings, but it only takes a few steps down Columbus Ave to get back to that New York vibe.

I could turn left and head to Central Park, but I have an errand to run.

Quick nods and hello’s to the NYPD officer, local dogs (yes, the dogs… sometimes the humans, but always the dogs). I make a mental note to buy some mango and avocados from the fruit vendor who is defiantly set up on the sidewalk outside Whole Foods.

It’s 11 am on a Sunday, and the line at the corner food cart is already 7 people deep.

Turning right on 98th St, I remember the wind crosses the island on the streets, not the avenues. I zip up my coat. Otherwise, it’s wonderfully mild for January in New York.

A woman is screeching obscenities into a wall. A second glance confirms she is on the phone. After a few moments, I suspect there is no one in the other end of that call.

A random pile of hay fills the gutter to my left. Two joggers pass each other… their stride so in sync that I think they were listening to the same song. I start to hum and wave at a child who is patiently waiting for her dads to unload their car. One of them yells at a delivery cyclist for riding on the sidewalk.

I dodge a low-flying pigeon and look up at a building next to me. Old brick, with sketchy concrete balconies, stained with decades of liquid running over the sides.

I smile when I realize how comfortable I am looking up in this neighborhood. When walking on the Lower East Side, a glance up will certainly result in a misstep into a pile of yuck.

I adjust the package in my arms. I am headed to make a return. The UPS store is 4 blocks away. I will never stop marveling that practically anything I need is a short walk away. There are multiple parks (hello Central!), and a river just steps away. Trees and green spaces are everywhere. Birds and people and taxicabs coexisting in perpetual motion. I take a deep breath to absorb the energy.

Errand completed, I take some time to appreciate the buildings along Broadway and Amsterdam. In the past few years, my only views this far north have been from the inside of a cab.

Entering the building, I give a quick wave to the doorman as I head to the elevator. Then I remember to ask, “What’s your name?”

“Ray”, he replies with a smile.

“Hi Ray, I’m Sandi!”

“Hi Sandi! Have a great day”

I will Ray, I absolutely will.

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