Tag Archives: trivia

Lame Adventure 418: Stair Crazy

My friend, Milton, is trying to come to grips with having to climb 79 steps to see the Broadway play, The Realistic Joneses, from the balcony of the Lyceum Theatre next month. Looking as if he’d just seen Donald Trump pre-elaborate comb over, he groused:

Milton: That’s like climbing five flights.

When Milton mentioned five flights that struck a chord with me. I have climbed up and down five flights every day over the course of the nearly ten years I have been employed at The Grind. During any given work day I scamper up and down those stairs several times. When I left on Friday night with my colleague, Godsend, we counted the steps. They numbered 84. That’s a heart attack waiting to happen for those that do not ride a clothes rack that doubles as a spin bike.

Excluding weekends, vacation time and holidays, I whipped out my abacus and calculated that I easily climb 50,000 steps every year at my place of employ. Multiply that by ten years and the total is half a million steps. And that’s a conservative estimate. But why stop with the stairs I climb while at The Grind? What about the stairs I climb on my way there, leaving my sanctum sanctorum (a third floor walk-up: 34 steps) and entering the 72nd Street subway station (26 steps), then exiting the Franklin Street subway station (26 more steps)? Coupled with doubling those numbers for my return trip, that adds another 40,000 steps to the equation. In essence, over the course of the past ten years, I have climbed at least 900,000 work-related steps. In reality, the number is probably much closer to a million steps. Too bad I’m not paid a dollar per step.

Downtown 72nd Street subway station staircase I have climbed down countful (considering the nature of this post) times.

Downtown 72nd Street subway station staircase I have climbed down countful (considering the nature of this post) times.

Then, I turned my focus to my third floor walk-up apartment, where I have resided close to 31 years. I calculated that I have easily climbed up and down over three million sanctum sanctorum-related steps these past three decades.

Some of the less than magic carpeted stairs in my sanctum sanctorum.

Some of the less than magic carpeted stairs in my sanctum sanctorum.

What about my childhood? My childhood home had three levels and my room was on the top floor. There were approximately eighteen steps in that climb, a climb I made numerous times over the course of twenty-one years. The conservative estimate is a million steps climbed. Impressive for a slacker.

As for when I was an undergraduate Film student at NYU(seless), my dorm room was on the fourth floor. I took the stairs, so let’s toss in another 40,000 steps scaled there. I recall that I rode an elevator to get to most of my classes. That’s about all I remember from my illustrious film school education and probably explains why I make my living labeling tile today.

When I worked a completely thankless job for eleven years in broadcast news, my office was on the sixth floor. I would ride the elevator up but walk the six flights down when I took my lunch break and left for the day. I never thought to count those steps possibly because my attention was focused on how much I hated working in broadcast news. Today, my friend, Coco, lives on the top floor of a six-floor walkup. I asked her to count the stairs to her lair.

Coco: There are 80 lovely steps. I pray there is never a fire.

Over the course of those eleven years I worked in broadcast news, often six-day weeks, I climbed down approximately 80 stairs twice a day. If I worked a five-day week, factoring in three weeks vacation and time off (we always had to work holidays in news) that would be at least 440,000 steps climbed over eleven miserable years. The figure probably well exceeds 500,000 steps considering how many weekends I had to work.

In conclusion I have calculated that over the course of my entire life thus far, I have climbed the following steps:

Childhood Home 21 years (excluding from birth to age two): 1 million

College dorm room 1 year: 40,000

Manhattan apartment 31 years: 3 million

Miserable broadcast news job 11 years: 500,000

The Grind (including commute) 10 years: 1 million

Miscellaneous: 2 million*

Example of miscellaneous steps: steps leading into off-Broadway theater bathroom.

Example of miscellaneous steps: steps leading into off-Broadway theater bathroom.

*Figure pulled completely out of thin air.

It seems that I have climbed in the vicinity of 8 million steps in the course of my life. This achievement reminds me that the staircase is a great design wonder like the wheel or the shoebox, coincidentally another name for my apartment. Possibly after Milton reads this post he’ll feel less grumpy about having to climb 158 steps (79 up and 79 down) when we see that hit comedy play. Or, this will further remind him about how much he resents the theater’s lack of another great invention: the escalator.

Lame Adventure 305: Look up in the Sky!

It’s a bird!  It’s a plane!

Lamppost at 79th and Broadway on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Allow me to defog my glasses …

Are these things going to break loose, fall on my head and knock sense into me?

It’s shoes hanging over a lamppost!

I have a correction to make to my previous post where I shared the trauma of suffering my latest birthday.  When I mentioned that my sister, Dovima, gifted me with a box of See’s dark chocolate, I had not yet opened the box and unbeknownst to me, my x-ray vision was malfunctioning.  Yes, I was assuming there was dark chocolate within, and indeed there was dark chocolate within, but the dark chocolate within was See’s Almond Royals, dark chocolate caramels wrapped around large pieces of almond.  Why am I compelled to mention this?

This is the dark chocolate equivalent of heroin.

Once I start eating them, I need another fix fast.  These buttery sugar bombs are also instant dental death prompting me to invest in a new toothbrush.  While walking up Broadway to do toothbrush shopping, I noticed the hanging sneakers.

Last month I published posts about tree bagging – shopping bags that somehow wind up tangled in the branches of a tree on my block.  Trash in trees is not symbolic of much other than The Big Apple has so much garbage, it can even be found in the trees.

Bag 1 continuing to make itself at home, “The view is outstanding from up here!”

Bag 2 hanging around, “I like this neighborhood. I feel secure in this tree.”

Shoe tossing is an altogether other kind of statement.  Since I’m such a brilliant researcher and I know that the vast majority of you, my nine subscribers, visit this site purely for its vast educational component, I Googled “shoe tossing”.   My results led me straight to Wikipedia.

Apparently shoe tossing is also known as shoe flinging or shoefiti.  It can mean many things including the end of the school year, an upcoming marriage, a practical joke played on someone plastered, someone moving onto bigger and better things, a bullying tactic, an ad that crack and cocaine are sold here (the sneakers can be referred to as “Crack Tennies”), a sign of gang turf, a commemoration of a gang-related murder, etc.

My favorite explanation on Wikipedia is this one:

“Of course, only each individual shoe-thrower knows why his/her pair of shoes now hangs from a wire.”

Manhattan’s Upper West Side can be so banal; one of my long ago acquaintances referred to my ‘hood as being:

Long Ago Acquaintance:  “As dull as Encino.”

Therefore those shoes hanging over that lamppost could simply mean that some chocolate smeared weasel just purchased a new toothbrush.

Unlikely couple — See’s Almond Royals and new toothbrush.

For the record, my sneaker of choice is the Jack Purcell badminton shoe – and I would never wear anything as hideous as those gunboats hanging from that lamppost.

Preferred gunboats not destined for a lamppost.