Last month I started a project in which I walk more systematically from 9th Street south, on every block between Fifth and Third/Second. I think I'll take this through Sunset Park. This is a good project for winter weather, as I can just walk out of the house and do a few blocks at a time. The farther south I get, especially if the weather's bad, I can get lazy and bus it down.
I know these streets well enough, but only in a random way. Walking it block by block you trace again and again the repetitive sweep of the streets down to the water. Down streets where housing predates the sober conformity of identical rowhouse, and instead offers a random assortment of age, style, shape, size. Streets that could lead to a world of ferry crossings. Blocks (still) broken up by any number of small businesses - tile, marble, plumbing, poultry market, auto repair - and where, as you glance downhill, under the Styx of the expressway, you can see ships, and water. As you walk you also see on almost every street the freshly painted clapboards of a new renovation, a new apartment building, clad in dull, smooth brick, or glass and steel, and at least one empty, waiting lot.
The poultry market building on 20th Street. More pictures here.