Saturday was my first Obscura Day. This year’s lineup didn’t seem as exotic as past
last year’s events around the New York area. Sarah, for instance, went to the Vanderbilt Museum on Long Island, a place that I never would have visited on my own. I didn’t go in 2011 2010 because I didn’t want to miss a softball game, but this year, I was ready to make an early-season sacrifice.
The one event that caught my attention was Thirteen Steps Around Dutch Kills, a walking tour of Newtown Creek. It was led by a true expert of the area, so I was excited to take the tour. It was an eye-opening perspective. It’s not like I haven’t been around the industrial zones of Long Island City and Greenpoint. I have either biked or driven past those spots over the last several years. It’s just that one tends to overlook the industrial blight around Newtown Creek. Perhaps the best part was finally taking the ironically named Nature Walk path around Whale Creek, behind the new sanitation plant.
In the evening, I sacrificed yet another softball game for a tour of nineteenth-century drinking establishments. It was basically a tour of watering holes in Lower Manhattan that have been around for a long time, such as Fraunces Tavern, Delmonico’s, and the Paris Café. Despite having lived in New York for over a decade, I had never been in these spots since I never went below Chambers Street unless someone was in town or I had to report for jury duty. I felt a little under-prepared as there were people there in costume. I really appreciated that because it made the experience a little more authentic.