I’m seeing New York streets these days through the filter of someone who is thinking about maybe moving out of the city.  This filter means that everything seems a little sharper, for both good and ill: the wads of dead gum are darker and more disgusting; the joy of being able to find anything I want within a six-block radius more exhilarating.

One of New York’s chief pleasures, for me at least, is what I see while I walk around, and today on my way to an eight AM yoga class (let me say that again: EIGHT AM YOGA, people), I had two of those New York moments that aren’t “aha” moments but  “hmm” moments.

The first is a sign for Vitamin Water, part of their new ad campaign, which I imagine some newly graduated media studies major pitched as edgy and urban. I’m not sure this particular sign is either of those things. In fact, if I lived in Chelsea, it might just piss me off:


The other puzzlement wasn’t an ad, wasn’t edgy at all, really, but was definitely urban. Could become a prop in one of those continuing ed creative writing courses, you know, write the story of how this photo came to be:


After I took this picture, I wondered if I was myself being photographed, if someone had perhaps set these shoes just so on the snowbank to see if anyone would stop. Maybe the whole thing was a setup.

But maybe not. Maybe clown shoes in the snow were just to remind me that the city’s gifts can be found in unexpected places.