Friday, May 14, 2010

Walking and Exploration in NYC

(David and Justin, preparing to make moves in the city)

It's clearer to me now than ever before that one important value of our group's trip(s) to NYC relates to the opportunities for exploration. This year and last, our black studies crews visited Times Square, Strand Bookstore, Chinatown, the Brooklyn Museum, Central Park, Washington Square Park, Harlem, and the Schomburg.

We reside in the Midwest, so we typically move around by car. In New York, we regularly used public transportation, and we walked. And walked. And walked. The processes of getting to various destinations across the city gave us opportunities to explore, observe, reflect, and exchange ideas in ways not always available to us back home.

Maybe the long walks gave us the time and motivation to have all these extended conversations about chess, photography, food, style, consciousness, diversity, and the future movements of black studies. It mattered, of course, that we were walking around this wonderful place, full of so many different sights, sounds, and people.

The crew did quite a bit of walking and exploring, but what discoveries did they make about the city and themselves? Once they’ve settled into their summers, I’ll contact them and ask.

For me, I discovered or better yet was introduced to this neighborhood, DUMBO. (Down Underneath the Manhattan and Bridge Overpass). I realized the tranquil and inspiring experience of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. And I also discovered the wonder of these stretches of quiet time when walking along city blocks with fellow travelers.

The Wright bench in Brooklyn
Black Studies @ Strand Bookstore
Photography and the City
Chess Lessons in NYC
Filming in New York

No comments: