Might have just taken too huge of a chance on things, but I did it intentionally. A well-dressed dude with a professional-grade video camera and tripod was shooting video on Third Avenue, I think at 52nd Street. There was a kiosk right in front of him. I stepped into the frame and dialed the number, then walked off. Depending how near or far the zoom lens was I may or may not have been caught on camera. My face was away from the camera as I entered and exited the frame but he most likely would have caught my face on camera as I approached from across the street. At that point his camera was pointed in my direction. I assume he was getting general street scene video but who knows… I wanted to get the jingle on video like this badly enough that I took the chance of potentially being identified in the process. I could have waited longer for him to point the camera a different direction but I got a sense that he had taken notice of the fact that I was just kind of standing there, in his general vicinity.

Of course it’s also possible he will not even notice the noise coming out of that thing, or that his recording is not capturing audio, or that he was not even recording anything at all. Or, hell, maybe he was shooting some kind of promotional shot for the kiosks by filming  one of them in context.

Urban adventuring at its finest. I bumped into a friend last night who had first informed me of Reddit discussions about my shenanigan. I probably would have found these discussions eventually but it would have been months later. She was unaware of the broader coverage this project got starting at the end of May, so I told her to look for it at Gothamist, adding that it had not exactly gone viral sensation but that a lot of people are talking about it..

I am ambivalent about getting “caught”, which I put i quotes because it’s not like I’m doing anything criminal. Most people will think it’s all in fun, this harmless little shenanigan, but others will take any opportunity to make the world a pissier place by lambasting me.

I walked over here on a 94-degree day. It is cooler and breezier up on the bridge. Today a vaguely derelict-looking dude asked me how many miles it was to the other side of the bridge. At first I tried to wave him off, thinking he was asking for money, but I heard him ask “how many” and figured he was probably safe. In the noisy swirl or vehicular whizzing and honking I shouted “About a mile and a half. 7000 feet.” The 7000 feet was a guesstimate, I think it’s more like 7200, but I was about as accurate as one could reasonably expect in the context. I guess the person was a traveler with limited access to bathing facilities, because his hair looked like it had not been washed in months.

Now I am at Rockefeller Center, where an empty 181 greeted me even though I received automated emails telling me I had several items waiting. The “Informed Delivery” thing is such a joke.It sends emails with photos of mail items being delivered, except that it almost never works like that. Either mail arrives that was never photographed or vice versa.

The last payphone at Rockefeller Center is out of service, and probably will be for the duration. The phones at Grand Central Terminal are slowly disappearing, this as almost every outdoor phone I’ve tried takes my quarter, connectes the call, then disconnects the call after exactly 10 seconds. The limited use I’ve made of the Penn Station phones suggests those might still be more dependable than Grand Central or here, but I’ve not been down there in a month or so.

Going to head back, first up Third Avenue for a reprise and then to the bridge.