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in a web of glass, pinned to the edges of vision

Your favorite lonely place in a city

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

Your favorite lonely place in a city

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Okay. So there are plenty of places in any large city that you can be completely on your own, despite being surrounded by people. I've always LOVED that feeling- the feeling of being surrounded by people and yet separate, like a cat in a window.
Personally, I've always been partial to parking my ass on the sidewalk on 16th Street, about 20' up the hill from Castro. People drive by- but you don't actually see humans out of their cars. You can see, on a clear day, all the way to the East Bay (and about 45 minutes before genuine sunset, there's a building up in the hills that has a window that reflects light right at you from All That Way Over There, straight up 16th Street. Very cool!).
It's a good location for a bit of a stop and think. There's another location nearby that has much the same view, but is a bit too isolated: there aren't people around to be separate from, which is important. Or maybe I like that location even better and don't want to share it.
There are other locations that work for this, in any city. There are locations like this in other cities, too. My ABSOLUTELY favorite bit of being completely alone in an urban world, bar none, was walking from the East End to Trafalgar, to catch the night bus to West Ken at about 3 AM or so (I did this pretty regularly when I was living in London).

What is your favorite place to be alone among many people?
  • Honestly, our roof is pretty damn cool. Love the view from there, especially at night.

    Aside from that, the Metreon is pretty cool. Hanging out and just watching some of the people go by is pretty amusing.
  • Hands down -- Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.

    I loved drinking coffee and reading the Washington Post on a lovely Saturday or Sunday morning in Dupont Circle and just watching people as they walk by. The first good spring weekend is perfect for this activity -- everyone's been cooped up for months and just happy to have some sunshine.

    Sitting at one of the two Starbucks (or the other coffee place, XandOs) is best for this. If you're lucky, you can listen to couples have a first date right next to you as you pretend to read the paper and try not to smile at their words.

    Bliss.
  • In my head.
  • Best alone among others was at Purgatory Chasm in Sutton, MA. Sitting alone near a rock outcropping at the top of the chasm while watching friends clambering over and around the rocks below at the bottom. Nobody could see me, other people would pass as they hiked on through, but I could watch people come and go and still listen to the sounds of the woods and the pine needles falling.

    I feel alone amongst many almost everywhere. Because almost all of the time, I am. Work cafeteria, out to eat by myself, driving up through the mountains. There are always people around, but I'm alone with my own thoughts pretty much all the time. It's fun sometimes when it's intentional. After a while though, it loses its lustre. :)
  • In DC... tiny little corner of Rock Creek Park. At the corner of Connecicut and Brandywine, I believe. If you walk down Brandywine half a block, there's a trail to Rock Creek Park, and about 10 yards down the trail, there was a way to descend down to the creek. Sit on leftover cement, listen to the water, hear the city but be safely out of sight and surrounded by nature. I don't know what condition it's in now, but seven years ago, it was my most favorite place to be, hands down.

    In SF... so far, it's been a certain stairway down in the Castro off of 18th street. Surrounded by the city but generally left alone.
  • Hmm, that'd have to be at the Japan Cultural Center on a Sunday, near the Mikado record store, watching some kids racing slot cars on a track set up on the floor. I don't know if they still do that, because it's been about three years since I got up there on a Sunday afternoon.
  • OK, I live near the Henry Dorley Zoo, and we have the Lied (prnounced leed) Rainforest, the largest indoor bio-dome. The walls look like stone, and there are plants and water everywhere! There is, on the upper path, a small, well, it's not a mini-cave, but a large dent in the wall. You can see the forest, mostly, and hear some water. I can find it... it's after the snake but before the bats. But I like to back myself in there and watch people go by. Most of them ignore you, and you can watch them in peace. And while in an artificial rainforest. ^_~ I always feel like some spirit, there...
  • When I was in downtown Indianapolis, we decided to go to the top of the Soldiers and Sailors monument in the center of Monument Circle.

    I was expecting something like a smaller version of the Washington Monument in DC; what I failed to realize was how *much* smaller it would be.

    The elevator was big enough for 2 strangers, 4 friends, and perhaps 6 very good friends to ride in at once. Smallest elevator I'd ever been in. At the top, the observation area wasn't much more than an area encircling the elevator shaft, with smallish windows to look out on the downtown. It was narrow enough that it proved easier to walk around the other direction than to try to get around someone. Fortunately they were smart enough to have 2 'floors' there, the bottom floor being where you'd wait for the elevator so you could go back down again, if you didn't feel like hoofing it down the rickety metal stairwell.

    It was a very small, isolated room, with a good view of the entire downtown. Definitely a good place to be alone in the middle of a big city.
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