The joy of a New York City dérive

I love living in New York City. There are so many reasons for this: the palpable energy level, the abundance of every kind of visual and performing arts, limitless food delivery options, yes, even “the city that never sleeps.” That final cliché can never be fully appreciated this until arriving at Southwark station with a large suitcase at 5 AM and realizing that the London tube, which closes overnight, has not even opened three hours before needing to get to Heathrow to make an international flight – trust me on this one. Who could imagine that a subway would ever shut down? However, when forced to think about what I love most about living in Manhattan, my mind keeps turning to the joys of walking. Given no time constraints, I would always choose to walk over taking a bus, subway, or taxi. Regardless of the weather, there is such a tangible connection to the city when striding down a sidewalk, a visceral bond that cannot be experienced from inside a glass and metal bubble. From the windows of a taxi, you are an observer of the city and its neighborhoods; when walking, you are a participant within it.

In my blog, I will write about various things I enjoy in New York City, but many posts will describe my personal experiences of walking around various neighborhoods. Despite living in Manhattan for over 25 years, I am constantly surprised by how much there is to learn and explore even in familiar surroundings. The neighborhoods themselves are almost like mini-cities of their own; the feeling of walking through the Upper West Side is very different from that of walking through the East Village, and that is part of the joy of the city – it is always changing and there is always more to discover. Although I am a licensed real estate professional with Warburg Realty, this blog will not be primarily about residential buildings, it will be about neighborhoods. While many of my daily walks involve getting from one place to another at the maximum walking speed possible, listening to music on my iPhone, and thinking about the next ten things I need to do, there is a special pleasure to be had in occasionally slowing down and really observing my surroundings. I will be writing about a specific kind of walking within a city neighborhood, called a dérive. Wikipedia defines a dérive as “an unplanned journey through a landscape, usually urban, on which the subtle aesthetic contours of the surrounding architecture and geography subconsciously direct the travellers, with the ultimate goal of encountering an entirely new and authentic experience.” My self-imposed rules for blogging a dérive (and, since these rules are self-imposed, I will feel free to break them on occasion) are that I will not set out with a set path within my chosen neighborhood, and that any photographs I show will be taken by me on my iPhone.

My hopes for this blog are that New Yorkers reading it will find a new perspective on their city, and that those not as familiar with the city will learn a little about why I find it such an exhilarating place to live and work. If you are thinking of moving to New York or relocating within the city, perhaps my blog will help you begin to find some neighborhoods that interest you to begin your search for a home. If I can help you find a home in New York City, please do contact me. My first dérive will be in an area of the Upper East Side called Yorkville, which happens to be my home turf.Image

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