Lunchtime Walks in the City: The Continuing Lure of the Westside

The weather was glorious – sunny, warm but not hot, and just a slight breeze.  Once again, I was heading west.

At the corner of Broadway and 58th St., I saw these words scrawled on a mailbox:
mailboxwords

You are so right, Phat Lipp.

Looney tunes and much more going on inside the cubical neighborhood this morning. Tension, laced with passive aggression, peppered with lots of acting out. Could not wait to escape and hit the pavement.

Just past the mailbox, this bar/restaurant came into view. I had to take a picture. This is a place I’d like to visit, if only to sign “Smith” on the check:

TheSmith

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Note to self: seek out other street signs near Lincoln Center named for musicians. My heart leapt up at seeing Bernstein’s name.

BernsteinWayI recently re-watched a 1983 Metropolitan Opera Gala concert that I own on DVD. Leonard Bernstein conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in one segment of the concert. How thrilling it was to watch Bernstein conduct. He was so physical and so passionate. At the Gala, he conducted the overture to Candide, one of his own compositions. He was truly one of the greats. He warms your heart.

Speaking of heartwarming, here’s another reason you have to love the Westside. The Puppy Socialization Mixers. Like it or not, people do bring their dogs to restaurants. Therefore, a few social graces are in order. Non, non, Fifi! We do not poop on zee floor!

Which reminds me of a recent article appearing in the Sunday Times reporting that some babies in Williamsburg, Brooklyn are now going diaper-less, because, according to their mothers — or their doula (a birth and childrearing coach), it’s “eco-friendly.” Going diaper-less requires training, however (that’s where the doula comes in — and it will cost you).

You must read the article, if not for the information, for the unbelievability factor. If this practice catches on, Williamsburg might soon be in need of Baby Socialization Mixers. How to socialize with a bare bottom that excretes at will and with full consent of its respective parent. When you think about it, the babies sound not unlike puppies. Maybe the puppies and the babies should start a pooping meet-up.

PuppySocial

Another thumbs-up for the upper westside is the eclecticism and cultural flavor of their street merchants. Check out the selection of goods and how aesthetically they are presented:

BooksLPsSale

As I strolled along, I inevitably became conscious of the time and decided I should begin heading east. The number 68 popped into my head so I turned right on W. 68th St. As soon as I turned the corner, I saw this address:

68W68

68 W. 68 Street — a double whammy, like Boutros Boutros Ghali — or JimmyTwo-Times (in Goodfellas)

I liked W. 68 Street right away.  Not only is it bookended by Broadway and Central Park West, the business establishments are quirky and the architecture lovely.

TapClasses

You can learn to tap dance here

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TarotReadingsOr have your cards read in the psychic’s apartment, 1F.

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YorkPrepCheck out the beautiful facade of York Prep School

As I neared CPW, I overheard  a woman say to a companion: “You got to have some kind of foreign bug we don’t have here.”

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At Central Park West and 68th, into the cornerstone of a Church of Seventh Day Adventists Church was carved:

PurityTaken in the right spirit, it’s always a good message

I had about 20 minutes to get back to the office and had a brilliant idea — which I should have had the other day, when I rushed like mad and hopped a bus on CPW to 57th St. to make it back to work in time.

I would cut though Central Park. At 63rd. St. I crossed over Central Park West and went inside.

E63ST

A guy walking past me carrying a skateboard the size of a surfboard, with dreds and dressed in camouflage gear, said into his cell: “I can open up some Stoli and have me a little drink.”

Once in the park I headed EAST…

EnteringPark

As I traversed this shady path, I came upon a stone bridge. The overpass actually had a name, DripRock Arch:

DripRockARchOn approach, I heard the soulful notes of a saxophone.

When I arrived in the underpass, the musician was in-between songs. I expressed my delight at hearing him play and dropped a dollar into his case. He picked up his instrument and started playing again.

SaxMan

 Musicians bring so much joy to the city. And they are everywhere, both above and under ground. In fact, just today, Michael Bublé was singing inside the 66th St. subway station, for free:

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I nodded at the familiar waterfall I’ve sat in front of many times while eating my lunch:

WAterfall

A guy passing by said into  his cell: “I’m in Central Park. They finally turned the waterfall on.”

I didn’t know it had a switch.

Here’s a pretty view of the Park:

ViewOfPierre

I think that’s the Hotel Pierre towering above the trees.

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Years ago, Katherine Hepburn was famously asked, “If you could be a tree, which tree would you be?” Hepburn answered, “An oak.”

If someone asked that same question of a Franz Kline painting, I think the painting’s answer would be (in an image, of course), this:

KlineTree

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Well, my walk was winding down because the clock was about to strike 1:00 PM. Exiting onto Central Park South, I passed a line of Hansom cabs, waiting for passengers.

Lovely head gear on the horse:

FAncyHorse

And out of the mouth of one of the drivers came this:

HansomDriver

He luke like he shu be eng Mehico wit dah hot.

(He looks like he should be in Mexico with that hat)

After I snapped his picture and started walking away, he called out after me: “Dohn put eet out on Facebook! Ha ha ha ha ha ha.”

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