7th Street, Manhattan

Among other things, the magic of Manhattan lies in the fact that its landscape changes every couple of blocks. You cross a street expecting to see more of the same buildings and nail salons, and suddenly you’re surrounded by Indian restaurants or you get an impression that 90% of men are gay (which was probably the case to start with). That’s why I love to walk down Manhattan – there’s always something to surprise me.

Such a thing happened to me during one of the very cold days. I was freezing my ass off on my way to the subway as I took an unfamiliar turn and ended up at 7th street in East Village. After a while, I noticed that every single door I passed was a restaurant, a pleasant bar or an interesting boutique. Despite piercing cold, I took out my camera and walked down the street for entire three blocs, constantly amazed by new surprises waiting at every corner. I’m sure this street has to be bustling with life in the summer. I suggest you come here earlier and start your walk at Tompkins Square Park near Avenue A, brilliantly portrayed by Janusz Głowacki in „Antigone in New York”, and finish it at Cooper Square. As I was taking pictures of one of the bars („Klimat”, adorned with a logo of the Polish beer Żywiec), a guy carrying two guitars told me that I should rather photograph the building behind me, since it’s one of the oldest ones in the whole of Manhattan and has been standing there from the early colonial days. It seems I have some catching up to do when it comes to NYC history. 

I have to say that of all the things I saw on this street, the one that surprised me most (apart from the bar I mentioned) was a statue of… Pope John Paul II. It’s a well known fact that he liked good company, after all.