I walk a lot. If I have to meet someone in a restaurant I walk, even if it is thirty blocks. If I need to pick up something in a store after work, I walk, regardless of how many blocks. Several times per week, I also walk from work to home. It is sixty blocks. Walking these long distances is a newish thing and I have come to treasure it. One of my favorite stretches of walk, especially at night, is Fifth Avenue. When walking uptown, to the right of the avenue, in the low sixties, one sees the Pierre Hotel, the large private clubs and extraordinary living quarters. The magnificent apartment buildings continue in the seventies and all the way up the avenue. Disbursed in between are well-known museums, like the Frick Collection, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum and the Neue Galerie. The apartment buildings are grand, most of them built around the 1900s. Each is adorned with a small, exquisite entrance, guarded by two uniform-clad doormen. Of course, this is one of the most expensive living areas in New York City and one can sense the wealth, but, to me, more importantly, there is a sense of time having stood still.
On the other side of the avenue is the park; mysterious and, at night, quiet like Fifth Avenue itself. One can observe flickers of lights from the windows of the apartment houses on the Upper West Side along Central Park West; the west side is not really that far away. The park is not at all inviting at night, yet I find it strangely appealing and fairytale-like with the large, dark trees swaying solemnly, branches reaching high in the evening sky. There is something about Fifth Avenue at night; the park on one side, the large houses on the other, the avenue in between, the silence. When I walk here, I think a lot. Sometimes I stop for a moment, throw a glance at a beautiful little tree in front of a building or sneak a peek into a curtain-clad window higher up. Then I continue walking.