For this assignment I chose to walk along my street, E 35th, very late at night to capture the remnants of that day. I focused on the theme of language. The first station is the mailbox to my apartment.
If I were a tour guide, I would want the person I was guiding to appreciate the box as a piece of home. I would want them to think about the lives that shared the mailbox before I, and respect how many people have used it. I would tell them that the building was built in 1910, and though the mailbox may have been replaced since then, it is still just as relevant.
The second station would be the construction site in front of my building. This is planned to continue all the way to 2022. I would explain that, although the noise and blocked sidewalk can be a nuisance, I want them to appreciate the hard work the construction workers put in at odd hours of the day.
Thirdly, I would have stopped to show them the cigarettes on the sidewalk in front of the benches facing my building. I would share with them that you can often differentiate cigarettes based on the area. For example, in Chinatown, the cigarettes are hand rolled with blue or gold paper. I would ask them to read the label and examine if there is lipstick on it or any other marking that could help imagine the person who smoked it. Were they stressed or just enjoying a smoke? Was it a burden to be a smoker? I would ask them create a character.
After this I would point out the street signs. This one in particular I find interesting because one might not find it in a more business-centered area of the city such as the financial district. It is representative of the neighborhood of Murray Hill. I would want them to appreciate these different areas of NYC.
Lastly I would point out the coffee cup sitting on the sidewalk by the park. Again, I would point out the label and where the shop was. I want them to envision this person’s day and maybe even consider the age of the cup. I would use it as an example of how much waste is thrown on the streets and how every little bit counts.
This assignment allowed me to think of things I see everyday in a new light. I think if I were actually giving this tour, it may be hard to get people to really put themselves in these “character’s” shoes, but I hope they would at least enjoy the small facts or learn that there is more than one way to look at things.