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A Stroll Through Chelsea Streets
“The man who is more like a suitcase than a man folds into himself soft-sidedly.” —Dorothea Grossman, Poems From Cave 17
After traveling abroad, I usually return home feeling refueled. It is a warm and cozy feeling to be back in my neighborhood, regardless if the surroundings are not like the preciously manicured streetscapes just visited. Today, I am feeling the spring temperature and lazy breeze blowing through the cold, dried-out branches of sidewalk trees. I am inspired to walk the sidewalks—the simplest journey one can take to notice the changes in the neighborhood.
While walking, I can run into familiar faces and exchange small chats, perhaps following up on neighborhood gossip. Walking around the streets of my home is refreshing and surprisingly delightful, even sometimes as much as other exotic travels I have taken. At times, I notice a couple of disappointing changes. Some call them “progressive improvements.” I might go out on a blossoming limb and call them contemporary architectural trends.
I live in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea. I have not lived elsewhere in the city. I choose to stay, not for its seemingly gender-focused lifestyle, but for its convenient access to the creative and visual arts worlds. Like everywhere else in Manhattan, Chelsea is undergoing improvement. Many might disagree with my choice of the word improved. Like anywhere else, some might attribute neighborhood improvements to a loss in historical charm or artistic identity. Personally, I am intrigued that my neighborhood is a part of the Highline project, which gives a historic New York treasure a contemporary use. With this project, there are many new building constructions, some projects with high-ranking international architects and designers. It is my belief that Chelsea is receiving quite a face lift, mostly for the better.
On my walk today, I walked on West 23rd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, and then down 10th Avenue to West 15th Street, where I decide to go through the Chelsea Market and pick up some fresh groceries. Finally, I circle back to West 23rd Street on 9th Avenue. Although it is a short, simple walk, I hope to inspire others to take a similar stroll around his or her neighborhood. Knowing one’s home is an important journey one can easily take.
Photography by D.B. Kim.