“Rockefeller Center – Looking Up”

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I have a very bad habit of walking with my head down, shoulders rolled forward. It could be genetic as I have seen some relatives walk with the same rounded shoulders. It could be the result of an adult lifetime spent hunched vulture-like over computer keyboards at various ergonomically incorrect workstations. It definitely doesn’t help that I completely lack core strength and haven’t gotten around to Pilates.

A physical therapist I know is insistent about posture for all the obvious reasons. He says to walk with your palms facing forward instead of monkey style, like me, which is palms facing back; palms forward encourages your chest to open. He also says to use your Blackberry by holding it up in front of your shining face, instead of hunching over it like Igor.

encourages an “arrogant strut:” head up, shoulders poker straight, long strides, while occasionally jabbing your index finger in the general direction of someone offensive-looking. Pointing and saying, “hey,” is more intimidating when you carry yourself with the posture of a ballerina, I guess. It also helps to have Big Dave’s proportions and history of bouncing at Canadian Maritime bars.

I somehow end up sloping along like I think I’m Gwyneth Paltrow on the red carpet. She has disgraceful posture (and a child named Apple, but that’s another issue altogether), but at least she has gams and a pedigree. I just look dumpy.

So I have been trying to take a lesson from the tourists who visit my fair city of New York. Crabby New Yorkers, rushing on our way to the subway or 8-minute dates or whatever nonsense we have going on (we have a program for everyone here, thank God), are sometimes, okay, often, impatient with tourists. That is, unless the tourists ask us for directions. As Joan Acocella

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in her defense of New York, we like the immediate credibility and expert status we gain when someone asks for directions. I think we’re secretly all like a kid showing you our room; we want you to think it is as awesome as we do. Taking our time, however, is not something we do well.

Tourists tend to stroll. Shoulder-to-shoulder they walk, heads up, mouths open, taking in the sight of skyscrapers and bright lights. Then one might stop and raise his or her camera, and *snap* a photo of…what? I find myself looking up. The Empire State Building? Oh, yeah, there it is. And it

pretty cool

I sort of forgot about that. Or a photo at the corner of 9th Avenue and 34th Street? Really? It’s kind of grim. I guess there is something interesting and noteworthy about it to a newcomer’s eyes, though, so I better pause to look up and notice it.

I know I need to start Pilates, but in the meantime, I am working on walking with my shoulders open to promote healthy breathing. I also am trying to remember to think like a tourist – to look up, to take notice. As one friend of mine recently said about life, “there’s shit going

!” How true. I don’t want to miss it.

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