Saturday, December 1, 2007

Diagon Alley on the Upper West Side

It's amazing what we can discover in our own backyard. Recently, I came across a New York Times slide show that featured Pomander Walk, one of the most highly guarded streets in New York City. I'd never heard of it. It's two blocks from my apartment.
I hopped out of the subway today after running my errands and took a walk down 94th Street. A leasing office, an acupuncturist, and then a gate behind which is a walk through to 95th Street lined on both sides by colorful row homes with strange remnants of a time gone by, such as outdoor dumbwaiters. It was built in the 1920's and resembles a small street in London that was made famous by Lewis N. Parker in his play by the same name.

There is an enormous and heavy iron gate that blocks off the street on 94th and 95th Streets. It sits like a little jewel of gingerbread houses in a neighborhood dominated by Gothic architecture, gargoyles, and baby carriages. Humphrey Bogart is among its famous past residents.

This is one of the things I love so much about this city - on these streets, in these buildings, my mind is free to imagine and wonder what incredible lives and stories played out here. And now, for the most part, all of what remains are the buildings themselves, standing silently by, holding the secrets and histories of those who inhabited them, even if just for a little while.

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