Extract from: The Art of Mindful Walking
If I had to give one piece of advice on city walking, it would be: ‘Look up!’ It is easy to be distracted on the street by the hustle and bustle of pedestrians, the hassle of the traffic, the need to get from here to there; the shop windows and the captivating smells; the coffee shops, the soap shops, the passing perfumes and cigars. We get caught up in a two-metre layer of fascinating, noisy, human activity.
Look at the rooftops and gables, the detailed ornamentation around the windows; the carved brickwork and statues; the tiling and chimney design; the clocks and stained glass high above street level. Someone has designed and created every feature, with care and skill. They deserve to have their work admired from the pavement. No one needs to be an architect to appreciate it all.
Every city has its own unique character and, by looking up, you begin to acquire a taste for the differences. No city I know demands more that the pedestrian look up than New York. I doubt if anyone can walk down Fifth Avenue without raising the eyes and gasping at the astonishing world soaring hundreds of feet above street level. The buildings draw the eye up above the taxis and flashing lights at pedestrian crossings. Art deco challenges mock gothic across the street; ornamental brick vies with glass; pinnacles, towers and gargoyles seem to dream of another era and of another place, a high-up world where the sun sets later than it does down on the pavement.