We are continuing on the path of my exploration of Rob Walker’s book The Art of Noticing. Today we are starting a collection.
In this case, I’m not scouring vintage stores for Hummel figurines: I’m taking a walk and looking for specific things. I chose to look for windows that are half circular. (sorry-there are no pictures today- I felt weird taking pictures of the windows of people’s homes- but just imagine a circular window, and cut it in half.)
I set a time limit for my walk- one hour. My goal was to walk around and see how many half circle windows I could find. The result was I spotted between 75 and 85 windows. Here are my observations:
- When I chose a half circle window, I thought I would really have to search far and wide. Spoiler alert: They were pretty easy to spot.
- I chose to do this walk in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, around the area of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The UES is known for it’s very high price rents, and to go along with that, meticulous buildings. This turned out to be a smart place to window shop because there is much gorgeous and unique architecture.
- Most buildings that operate as stores do not have half circle windows. I think I only spotted one store with a window as such.
- Older apartment buildings were quite likely to have a half circle window, many above doorways
- Townhouses/brownstones were likely to have them on upper floors, many over the middle window of a tradition three window front
- The half circle windows seemed to have thicker glass, making me wonder if it was original, and needed to be kept to a preservation code
- The windows were found in older homes. There were no newish building with half circle windows (I don’t know much about architecture, but it appeared the 1960’s was the dividing line as to when half circle windows went out of fashion)
- I’m guessing half circle windows are more difficult to repair and insulate
SO far, this was my least favorite observation walks. I don’t know if I was having a bad day, but I didn’t get as much thinking and ideas our of this particular exercise. I had trouble thinking of what to “collect” and I think I was looking for something harder to spot. But, months later, I still don’t know what would have been a better object to collect in this manner.
What would you like to walk around and collect? What do you think would be a fun thing to look for?