This week, much of our discussion tended toward water. The readings led us to think about fluid dynamics as they relate to crowds, the way that snow relates to desire lines, and ultimately that we preferred to follow water than any color.
The assignment for this week is simple: walk in the direction of water.
My thoughts about this week’s walk
I brought a new friend, Ben, on the walk this week. He recently moved to New York City and was excited by the prospect of Times Square; I was dreading it. So I decided to adopt his view. As we rode the subway to Times Square, we discussed the idea of desire lines. I had mentioned that it reminded me of something I’d seen last winter, where someone had mapped the places where cars didn’t drive in the snow, and used the cars’ “desire lines” to show ideal places to add public parks. I recommend you all check it out here. I was curious if we could spot such a thing as desire lines in something so populated as Times Square. Ben mentioned that the way that people flow in Times Square reminds him of fluid dynamics.
We also discussed whether whimsy can be planned. We thought the assignment seemed whimsical, to follow colors and wait for the wind, but it was also set out.
When we emerged from the subway in Times Square, we were shocked by the crowds and the lights. We felt like we were indoors. But after navigating through various Elmos and Cookie Monsters and southern accents, we found the red steps, climbed them, and sat down. We were both surprised by how peaceful it felt to sit there, amused by the cascading wave of tourists taking selfies. Near the top of the steps, we were featured in many of the photos. We tried to focus on various colors, while sitting there; we were surprised by how little blue there was at night.
Eventually, we walked, following red. We found it the easiest color to spot. But really, we wanted to walk to the water. We were both drawn to it. We were also thirsty. With hydration from a bodega in hand, we walked out on the pier and sat there, and looked at no color in particular.