It was a dreary, rainy day in New York City. I had decided to take a walk. I hadn’t really wandered around the City since the pandemic and thought well, maybe it was time to start my wanderings again. We recently moved our consulting business office from the rapidly declining environment known as We Work at 85 Broad Street to 80 Broad Street, a Regus facility. The folks at Regus have been in the office sharing space a lot longer than We Work and seem to be in it for the long haul. More than I can say about We Work. We are still close to the ferry and to Stone Street.
If you are thinking of going to Stone Street, here is a little update. Stone Street seems to be going through some sort of change. The India House which is home to Harry’s at Hanover owned by the famous Harry Papadopoulos is being gutted. Not sure what they are doing but the scaffolding throws a pale over Stone Street and many bars are closed or undergoing change. Just be aware. Harry’s is still Harry’s though.
If you come off the ferry and walk up Wall Street, there are a few new things. First is the new hotel at the foot of Water and Wall Street. They did a beautiful job on this hotel; the lobby bars and café look like they are right out of Europe. Very cool. If that is too hip for you, you should know the Full Shilling is still open on Pearl Street and as cozy as ever. The second thing you will notice is that as you pick up your head walking toward the NYSE, that Trinity Church has backlit the stained-glass windows facing Wall Street. It’s stunning. Please look up, it’s worth it. And if you walk all the way up to Broadway, you will also notice that all the scaffolding is down around 1 Wall Street the old Bank of New York/Irving Bank landmarked building. They are nearing the end of construction converting the building to condos. It was a massive job.
There are some homeless folks along this path, and I pity and pray for them, but be aware as you walk around. That’s probably a good idea no matter where you go in Manhattan these days. This was something we were all used to in the 1970s and ‘80s but were spoiled by the run of good government we had.
I decided to take a stroll over to the Lower East Side too. I had been wanting to go to East 4th Street to check out a gallery and a music shop there. The light rain had turned to a mist, and I thought maybe I could get there before anything heavy came down. I took the train and got off at Union Square. There were people on the train in the middle of the day, mostly working people, very few tourist types. I walked downtown on 3rd Avenue past Gramercy Park, past the only true East-West Street in all of Manhattan – Stuyvesant Street, named after the island’s former peg-legged governor, past St. Mark’s.
As I walked downtown, I became sad at all the empty store fronts and the dreariness of the Lower East Side. The rain didn’t help, but it seemed to me that this section of town was more depressed than ever. I walked past the Merchant House Museum on East 4th Street and was happy to see it survived the pandemic. Then on to the gallery where I was looking for old maps of New York. But the shop had few maps of any interest. Then I visited the Rivington Music shop next door and saw some interesting guitars in the small shop. When I asked if I could play one, the guy working there said only if I wanted to buy it. I thought to myself, that’s stupid, how would I know if I never played it. I left the Lower East Side with a feeling that the City needs to do something to bring people back; back to work; back to opening businesses; and back to humanity in general. Entrepreneurship seems to be at an all-time low on the LES.
One last walk took me to West 4th Street in the West Village. West of 7th Avenue, this street heads north, which is weird when you think about it. But this street was much livelier than the LES, and all the pretty people were out and about. So maybe it’s just a matter of where you go in New York? I grabbed a bite to eat at the Café Cluny on West 4th and 12th Street and can highly recommend it.
Anyway, it seems that the City has a way to go before it gets back to normal. Part of that is the pandemic; part of it is bad government; and part of that is all of us deciding to get back to living again. Hope to see you in my travels!