My neighborhood is mixed-use, and walking through it at night is delightfully interesting. The produce market is abuzz with semis and forklifts, and the sidewalks are piled high with pallets of produce. (Someday I will do a proper photo essay of it, but for now here are a few phonecam images that I took a while ago.) The restaurants are mostly closed at this hour, but the bars are still well-populated. I sometimes see musicians heading home from their gigs.
Along the waterfront I find a few people out for an evening stroll. Boats rustle in their moorings, and lines slap against the masts of sailboats. Freight trains speed by on the tracks, blasting their whistles to warn passers-by. I pass the USS Potomac, FDR's presidential yacht, and see container ships loading at the port.
Further along, I enjoy the hum of the power substation as it lights up the neighborhood, and a large data center that is full of humming machines. I pass numerous small businesses, including a few that help make Oaksterdam what it is.
I'm also starting to recognize regulars-- the security guards who patrol the neighborhood, the night shift at the bacon factory, the late-night dog walkers. I've also learned the nooks and crannies where homeless tuck themselves in for the night. There aren't many, but they're there.
Tonight, I wasn't just out for a midnight walk-- I was on a mission. I had rolling suitcase full of shirts, casino-logo-emblazoned jackets, and several pairs of socks that I bought but never wore. Everything was freshly laundered, and would certainly be of more use to someone besides me. I set off, and was surprised to see that my intended recipient was not at his usual location. I headed 'round the corner, and spotted the familiar shopping cart chained to a railing. I placed the suitcase near where he was sleeping, being careful not to disturb him.
I'm hoping that I did a good thing. In the morning, I'll check to be sure that nothing has been left to litter the neighborhood.