Lunchtime Walks in the City: Hoofing it to the Westside Highway

BlueMan

A new addition on 6th Ave.

Friday was another overcast day sliced by teasing intervals of pale sun. Which meant I was Westward bound again. As I’d mentioned on Thursday, I love walking the Westside under a gray sky.

Thinking I would head even farther west than Thursday, but not actually making it a goal, I headed to 53rd St. from 57th, just to start my journey on a different street. I’m glad I did. Look what I came across:

53and6.5

I’d heard about the legend of 6 1/2 Avenue but this was the first time I’d seen the street sign in person.  A bit of sun was breaking through the clouds, but not much, and I admonished myself for not carrying my umbrella, which I’d left back at the office.

When I reached 8th Ave., I discovered a vestige of the westside sleaze era. A remaining remnant (barely…or should I say “scantily clad” — the building is for sale) from the days when porno reigned on the more westerly part of Manhattan: 8thAVEHoldout A holdout from days of yore (the 70s + 80s). Look through the second floor window! You have to love the For Sale sign: “Delivered Vacant.” Don’t ask what they’ll have to remove from the inside.

If I wasn’t on my lunch hour, I would have stopped in this establishment for an ” Attitude Adjustment.”

Attitude

Birthday coming up? Hey, here’s a gift idea:

FootRub

All of a sudden, as it happens in the city, the weather turned a tad inclement. Or as a newly transplanted Aussie neighbor of mine commented in the elevator the other day: “The weather here can’t make up its mind, Mate.”

I scurried over to 56th St., where scaffolding reigned (lots of building renovation) because it started to drizzle — and discovered  this amazing tunnel:

Tunnel1

In midtown, many passageways cut through buildings, if you know where to find them. They are certainly handy on bad weather days. I just love walking through a building (or driving through one, as in the old Pan Am Building on Park Ave. — now the Met Life building — but everyone who remembers when still calls it the “Pan Am”).

In a certain part of midtown (from somewhere in the 40’s to the mid-to-upper 50’s), it you know about these secret passageways, you can traverse this part of the city  for about 10 blocks without ever having to rush to a corner. You just tunnel through many tall buildings in a single bound to escape rain or freezing temperatures.

Tunnel2

How cool is this

These past few days, I’ve been sort of ambling along — no rules — no plans. But on Friday, a goal took form in my mind, about 1/4 of the way through my walk (that would be 12:15 P.M.)

I wanted to try and walk WEST as far as I could. Possibly to the Westside Highway, which borders the Hudson River. So I picked up the pace. It started drizzling again.

I ignored it. Heading over to 55th St., there was much construction in progress. I sought protection beneath more rows of scaffolding. I didn’t mind the drizzle on my head as much as the drops sprinkling my glasses. Anyone who wears glasses feels this way.

But look what I discovered!

SoupMan

The Soup Nazi (from Seinfeld) is still around!

usa

This is from the Soup Man’s website. The sign is in his store. Seriously…NO SOUP FOR YOU!

As I wended my way to 9th Avenue, I spotted the Alvin Ailey Dance School on the corner of 54th St. and trotted over to take a peek through the window:

AADancers1

Fascinating to watch, until the ballet master saw me and my iPhone and shooed me away!

The rain stopped. Yay. I cut over to 58th St. This section of the street, beyond 10th Avenue, is quite nice. Not as ramshackle as, say, 53rd on the westside. This palazzo looking building was undergoing renovation and a facelift:

BldgFacelift

And I just loved this “444”:

444

Finally, on the not too distant horizon, I could see the water. I really picked up the pace because time was of the essence. As you near the water, there are lots of taxi cab depots and sanitation department garages, a FedEx warehouse and luxury car dealerships…not to mention a plethora of parking spaces.

Finally, I saw it. The Westside Highway and its environs — the Hudson River is flowing on the other side of this concrete wall.

On the frieze of the light blue peaked arch in the center  of the photo, perched on two columns and jutting above the concrete, graffitied wall like an ancient Roman ruin — are the words: “Department of Sanitation.”

WestSideHwyCab

But I couldn’t cross over. Too much traffic. Too treacherous. Still, I made it!

I had about 15 minutes to hightail it back to work on 5th Ave.

Petrossian

By the time I got to Petrossian on 58th and 7th Ave., I had 3 minutes to make it back to the office.

I arrived at 58th and 5th and 1:01 P.M. — only one minute late!

Now that the weekend is here, it’s time to soak my feet..

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