The world needs my New York walking blog. I need you to name it.
February 7, 2010 8:27 AM   Subscribe

I'm starting a project wherein I walk each and every block of every street in Manhattan, at least once, over the course of roughly 2-3 months. I want to chronicle this process of walking all of Manhattan in a daily blog, preferably with a daily picture and some text. What do I call this blog? (And should I use tumblr? And anything else to keep in mind?)

I'm writing this as an anonymous post because I've written some highly personal questions with my AskMefi account, and this blog will possibly be written in my own name, so I'd prefer it not being tracked back to this AskMeFi account.

The blog would be pretty simple - a daily account of which streets walked, maybe a little description/essay if the mood moves me, perhaps a picture of two, and definitely a picture of a complete streetmap I have of Manhattan, with the blocks covered so far markered out. (My inspiration is this guy.) I've lived in NYC for about six years, don't know how much longer I'll be here, and want to combine the need to exercise more often with an opportunity to see as much as my city as possible before I leave.

So, what to call it? Some (probably lame) ideas thus far:
Walking Manhattan
Peeling the Big Apple
NYC Block By Block
Strolling the Empire

Also, so long as I'm asking, is tumblr the right platform to use? Any other ideas for this blog or overall project? (If you've done something like this, whether it be walking the entirety of Manhattan or this kind of daily chronicle, any advice would be much appreciated.

I've set up a throwaway account at walkingmanhattan@gmail.com. Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (27 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Block du jour
posted by fire&wings at 8:34 AM on February 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


A Serendipiter's Journey (in homage to Gay Talese)
posted by ocherdraco at 8:42 AM on February 7, 2010


walk on the wild side
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 9:02 AM on February 7, 2010


In the "anything else" category:

Don't forget to walk Marble Hill, for the sake of completeness.
posted by paperzach at 9:14 AM on February 7, 2010


Also, so long as I'm asking, is tumblr the right platform to use? Any other ideas for this blog or overall project?

I would use Blogger. When I want to post a photo to my Blogger blog, I first upload it to Flickr (I like to have my photos there anyway - I don't know if you already use Flickr). Then, click on the "all sizes" button at the top of the photo, click on the "medium" size, and copy the HTML that lets you embed the photo. Paste this HTML in your blog post (in "edit" mode, not "compose"), and there you go. It's also possible to edit the HTML so the text wraps around the photo, if you want.

I've tried Blogger and Tumblr, and I don't see many Tumblr features that aren't also available on Blogger, aside from distinctive templates and the opportunity to socially network (?) with other blogs that happen to be on Tumblr. (Of course, you can socially network with other blogs using Blogger too, but Tumblr has a particularly snazzy interface for this.)

Blogger lets you have a comments section; on Tumblr, you can only do this through a third-party widget like Disqus (which I have found to be very buggy). I find the tags interface on Tumblr very counterintuitive and disorganized. Blogger has a more flexible array of options for doohickeys to put in your sidebar.

Here's my overarching problem with Tumblr: it's trying to be really user-friendly by being stripped-down, but they stripped off so many basic features that you end up doing extra work to figure out how to do what you want.

Also, the fact that Blogger is not only free (like Tumblr and unlike some other platforms) but also owned by the mammoth corporation Google makes me feel maximally secure about my blog being around for good. I know there's always some chance that a blogging service could fold and take down its blogs along with it, but I feel the safest with Blogger.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:33 AM on February 7, 2010


Walking forward, looking sideways. (It's what I growl to slow, meander-y tourists on city sidewalks. In suggesting it to you it is the first time I've ever said it without rancor.)
Short Block Long Block.
posted by 8dot3 at 9:35 AM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Um, the Manhattan Street Project?

The Project: Walk every street in Manhattan. Take photos. Post one every night.

Sorry! I've been subscribed to this blog for a little over a year.

I don't see why you couldn't do the same thing, but I'd advise an angle, maybe based on what kind of person you are, or your interests.
posted by thebazilist at 9:59 AM on February 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Tom 7 jogged every street between the rivers in Pittsburgh and called it Pac Tom. He's a pretty cool guy and would probably have advice on this sort of project if you dropped him a line.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:20 AM on February 7, 2010


blockwalker.blogspot.com?
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:24 AM on February 7, 2010


When I heard about trying to get every single block I thought: "Breakout".
posted by rongorongo at 10:41 AM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Mile In My Shoes
posted by triggerfinger at 10:43 AM on February 7, 2010


In light of thebazilist's catch that someone has already done this, if you still decide to go through with it, I would definitely, definitely, definitely not ignore the fact that your concept isn't original. Be self-deprecating and upfront about it. Email that blogger (she prominently displays her email address), tell her about your project, and ask if she has any experience, mistakes, insights, etc. to offer. Link to her (and anyone else who's done this project or even similar walking-in-NYC related projects) in your blogroll. Generously link to her as inspiration if appropriate. (Even something as mundane as "I noticed that ___ didn't find this block very interesting, so I didn't stop to dwell on it.") When it comes to crediting and linking to other bloggers, more is more. This doesn't preempt your project; in fact, it enriches it and validates it ("hey, I'm not totally crazy for wanting to do this"). I say all this from experience with similar blog projects that I started, hoping I was being a special snowflake, but then realizing it was more rewarding to be connected to random people in the world who decided to do the same thing I did. Blog synergy can be a great thing.
posted by Jaltcoh at 10:53 AM on February 7, 2010


So you'll also want to check out The Manhattan Street Corners ("... a project to produce a comprehensive photographic portrait of everyday life at street level in daytime Manhattan. Between March and November, 2006, I systematically photographed very nearly every one of the island’s roughly 11,200 street corners.").
posted by Dave 9 at 10:55 AM on February 7, 2010


See also NYC Grid. Same idea.
posted by greta simone at 11:18 AM on February 7, 2010


AnonymousTakesManhattan (substitute your name for 'Anonymous')

Get it? Like Muppets Take Manhattan but different, cuz you aren't a muppet.
posted by ian1977 at 11:20 AM on February 7, 2010


"I'm walking here"
posted by blueberry at 11:31 AM on February 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's been done at least one other time, in addition to the blogs that have been mentioned above. I loved the idea back in the day. But definitely not original.

And, I hate to give you some tough love here, but if you're turning to US to name YOUR blog for a project that has been done SEVERAL times before, you may need to reconsider whether you have enough creativity to keep anyone's attention for this project.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:52 AM on February 7, 2010


I've lived in NYC for about six years, don't know how much longer I'll be here, and want to combine the need to exercise more often with an opportunity to see as much as my city as possible before I leave.

The OP made it quite clear that he/she knows it's been done before. The question isn't "should I do this/isn't this a great idea I just came up with?" The question is "help me name it/which blogger suits a project like this?" So you guys can probably stop telling him/her how unoriginal he/she is, jeez.

OP I like the name you used as your throwaway email ... walkingmanhattan. A friend just walked from NY to NOLA and used blogger & liked it, had no trouble posting text, photos, the occasional video.
posted by headnsouth at 12:00 PM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eh, I say, big deal someone already did it. Someone already did everything. If you do a similar blog it will be different. How many nearly identical blogs are there? At least 10 I bet.

You could call it something that has nothing to do with Manhattan or walking. Call it KooKoo Bananas Super Blog if you want, just make it good.

(but I'd call it JiveWalkin' )
posted by ian1977 at 12:04 PM on February 7, 2010


The OP made it quite clear that he/she knows it's been done before. The question isn't "should I do this/isn't this a great idea I just came up with?" The question is "help me name it/which blogger suits a project like this?" So you guys can probably stop telling him/her how unoriginal he/she is, jeez.

Actually, the OP did not just ask about what name and service to use. The OP also asked: "And anything else to keep in mind?" In direct response to the OP's question, something else to keep in mind is that people have done this exact kind of blog project before (which the OP's link does not seem to be an example of), which most certainly has implications for the best way to execute it (see my comment and others above).
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:08 PM on February 7, 2010


I think it's great to do this, especially if it's primarily for your own education/exercise with the side-effect of entertaining your friends and maybe some local strangers. I like the idea of calling it Walking forward, looking sideways.

Here's my visually-oriented version of this idea: I do an informal "walk as much as I can around my neighborhood" thing, and posting photos to Flickr helps motivate me. I feel like I'm helping document and share tiny pieces of information about how people live...while avoiding blathering too much about any of that. I geotag my photos and add them to locally-oriented photo pools, and I also like looking at what other people have photographed in my area — I learn a lot that way. The Noticings Flickr game is a fun addition to this idea.

Anyway, for doing this as an actual blog, the nice thing about Tumblr is that a lot of people use it already. It's really easy for those people to click "follow" and subscribe to your blog. Blogger is also very convenient, but I probably wouldn't use it for a blog with lots of photos — in my experience, it seems to compress uploaded photos a lot.
posted by dreamyshade at 12:21 PM on February 7, 2010


Blogger is also very convenient, but I probably wouldn't use it for a blog with lots of photos — in my experience, it seems to compress uploaded photos a lot.

As mentioned above, I often embed my photos from Flickr in a Blogger blog post, and in my experience Blogger is completely faithful to how it looks on Flickr. If there is a difference, it's subtle enough to have eluded me many times. Maybe Blogger acts differently if you use Blogger's internal upload tool (I wouldn't know, since I've never tried), but Flickr seems to be a way around that.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:31 PM on February 7, 2010


Would 2-3 months be enough time to do this? If there are 500 miles of streets in Manhattan (that's what some site says, but I dunno if it's reliable), that's at least 5 1/2 miles a day, every day.

I don't want to dissuade you from what could be a neat project, but I also don't want you to be crushed if you don't finish it.
posted by box at 1:19 PM on February 7, 2010


Maybe Blogger acts differently if you use Blogger's internal upload tool

Yeah, that's what I meant! I agree, Blogger doesn't seem to interfere with photos hosted in other places, but if you upload directly to Blogger, it compresses them noticeably (to my eyes).
posted by dreamyshade at 2:28 PM on February 7, 2010


"The Other Manhattan Project"
posted by Pomo at 4:27 PM on February 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


"No Standing Anytime"
posted by zadcat at 5:24 PM on February 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Comb"
posted by Cobalt at 9:14 PM on February 8, 2010


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