Greenwich Village/Washington Park, 14th September

We head into Manhattan to meet up with a friend who is working in Greenwich Village. I arrive early, thinking that we’ll have a walk around the neighbourhood first. We come out of the subway (carry down two flights to the ticket hall, then another flight to the platform, then up at the other end – one flight, then two) and find our way to Washington Park Square. The sidewalks are wide and not too busy – it’s late morning and there’s not much rush. Building works around the square case us a little trouble, but nothing much. As we stroll, allowing ourselves to drift, it’s the surface detail that causes jolts – rather than any bigger impediment. Our first interruption comes as I’m not paying full attention – I’m pushing with one had and the pram wheel hits a rut. The impact reverberates into my body jarring my wrist. We’re stuck on a hole in the sidewalk – a crack in the concrete that has worn away to leave a gap just the right size for my wheel to jam in.

This walk becomes about the surfaces, this rut, and then another. A street of cobblestones that I try to cross, get stuck on, and then have to wiggle and jiggle the pram to get out. I’m reminded of my friend Jennie Savage’s phrase, when pushing her infant daughter in the pram ‘Cobbles for Colic’. At the entrance to the park I hit again on a rift (well to the walker it doesn’t look like a rift) but the joining of two slabs of material – the asphalt of the sidewalk and the long smooth block of concrete that marks the entrance to the park. They don’t align, and hitting the rift at the wrong angle jolts again through my body – this time into both wrists.