I was riding home on the B61 today (a way better trip than a 63 slog along Atlantic/Flatbush/Fifth), when I suddenly remembered a book I got for Christmas: The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6000 miles in the City, by William B. Helmreich. While the book did mention several places I'd never heard of and would like to visit, such as Edgewater Park, it turned out to be a disappointing read in most respects. And a lot less about walking than I'd hoped for. Here's the professor riding a bus, clad in special transit camouflage in order to blend in with the locals:
To enter a world of a Bronx or Brooklyn bus - it's fair to call them spaces - is to join a world populated in large measure by the poor, the black & the Hispanic, with an occasional Asian and an even rarer elderly white person who was apparently left behind in the various eras of white flight. Except for teenagers, nearly everyone looks tired, bored, and in many cases, worn out and defeated by life's hardships. Their clothes tend to be shabby, and children tug impatiently on their mothers' dresses, pants, or arms and legs. There are people with canes, others in wheelchairs. A few read books in Spanish. Some talk listlessly, or listen to music, but most just stare out into the distance.