Walk across the park

 Posted by on October 22, 2010 at 8:33 am  Season 4
Oct 222010

Blowing Smoke: Don doesn’t have cab fare to get home from Midge’s. She tells him to walk across the park, meaning Washington Square Park. He’s on Waverly and Sixth (Sixth Avenue is Avenue of the Americas), two blocks from the northwest corner of the park.

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So where does Midge live? The clues are, far enough that he wants a cab, not so far that she even considers there’s a walk other than the park. So I’m thinking southeast corner; I’m guessing around West 3rd and Mercer.

Washington Square Park


  25 Responses to “Walk across the park”

  1. Mercer Street is a possibility. I drove a taxi in the 70s. What’s now called SoHo was barren at night. It was home to a lot of squatting junkies. It became so dangerous the it was understood that if you lived there you got dropped off on Sixth Ave or Broadway and walked the rest of the way.

    Or the East Village. By the late 60s St Marks Place was a drug supermarket.
    There still “head” shops there today. The cops felt it was easier to corral them all into one place they could watch.

  2. Don’t forget, he had to carry that large painting with him the entire way. Which at one point we saw later, he was just going to get rid of it, before he decided to take another look. One would think that if he actually were so inclined to dispose of it, he would have done so during that long walk…

  3. It’s one of my favorite parts of the city. It’s only a 10-15 minute walk at the most.

  4. I still find it weird that Don is living in the Village. He just doesn’t fit in there. I assume he will probably move after he marries Megan, maybe they’ll get a house in the suburbs like he had with Betty. But setting that aside for a minute, he just doesn’t belong there. He should leave the Village to Midge, and maybe Joyce, Abe, Kurt, and Smitty.

  5. @ Mad Chick 4-Kurt lived in Brooklyn, close to Peggy.

  6. there used to be a transient hotel called the Mercer Hotel until they turned it into the “Mercer Arts Center”…. The bldg collapsed back in 1973 and
    NYU grabbed it up and built a hi-rise student/faculty dorm there..

  7. Mercer and Washingto Place. far enough away to consider a taxi, strategic enough to think about using the park to “cut thru” the transient hotel thing is perfect for a junkie.

    imo, you know who Don should “give” his apt to? someone who’d like to hang out in the Village with artisits and radicals and hippies and who likes to rock the ganja. hmmmm. who does Don know who fits that bill? lemme think … does she wear plaid?

  8. I lived on West Eighth St going to grad school in late ’70’s across from Electric Ladyland Studio. Although the sign reads “Avenue of the Americas” New Yorkers to a man call it 6th avenue. I know because I searched for “6th Avenue” one afternoon walking from 5th to Avenue of the Americas then 7th Avenue and finally had to ask where it was. I was standing on it. My guess is Don lives closer to Madison Avenue, which further East.

  9. @7 DragonBreath-Mrs. Olson would never have it! Besides, does Don have any idea what Peggy does when she leaves the office? He may have no idea Joyce even exists.

  10. #5 RetroGirl – Yes, I know (about Kurt). But he might have moved after then, or at any rate, he seems more Village-y to me than Don does. šŸ™‚

  11. Don lives in the WEST Village, which has always been commercial and upscale; Midge lives in the EAST Village, which was part of the Lower East Side ghetto until gentrification began in the 70’s. The Square divides the two cognitively if not literally.

  12. # 11 – Yes Stephen that’s what I was trying to say. Heroin and drug culture in East Village vs middle class Beatniks in the West Village. Very different.

    When you “walk across the park” you are leaving one and entering the other.

    The advantage a free floating agent like Don has is that he can surf the trends which have carried him to the West Village.

  13. #1 and #12, well put Bill… I know because I was in both worlds myself. I bet you know where Matt Weiner got the title from, don’t you? From Kerouac, from On The Road… Chapter 1. “Because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn.”

  14. #13 No I did not pick that up. Somehow I feel compelled to read him again. And not on a Kindle.

    This also shows how MW’s painstaking authenticity is not simply a fetish but an integral part of the narrative.

  15. With regard to Steven L.’s post (#11), could Midge live near Tompkins Square Park instead of Washington Square Park? Or did they specifically mention WSP?


  16. DC Grrrl, Don’s address has been clearly established, definitely West Village.

    Midge can’t live in a transient hotel; she has a refrigerator.

    Mad Chick, where Don lives, Midge couldn’t tell him to walk across the park to get home unless it was WSP.

    Boy, this is a fun game!

  17. Yeah, when I had posted that I had originally been thinking that maybe she lived pretty far east and walking to the western edge of TSP would bring him closer to where he lives. But, I guess not that close and also, I don’t think she lives that far east. She probably is more in the heart of the Village (Greenwich Village, rather than East Village)

    It is fun to think about though. And I love the Village–if I could afford to live in Manhattan, I’d want either the West Village or Upper West Side (two totally different ‘hoods, but I like each of them in different ways….) šŸ™‚

  18. P.S. I guess maybe Don had Village-envy too when he used to come there occasionally to see Midge. And then when he looked for apartments, it was kind of like fulfilling a dream.

    edit: oh wait, just remembered, Joan was looking for apartment for him – but he probably came to approve it in person.

  19. Yeah, I’m guessing she’s a lot closer to the Bowery, which like the East Village didn’t start to become chic until the 1980s. (By the time I got to NYU, the entire Village was out of my price range forever, snif.) It looked like a real apartment, not a transient hotel like the one Adam lived in, but a very, very tiny one, probably less than 400 sf. Probably the kind that had a landlord-controlled radiator, which the landlords turned on only when they felt like it, which they never did. I bet that place is COLD in January.

    In those days, in less-than-modish neighborhoods (and agreed that Don lives in a neighborhood that never really went out of style, not too far from the “gay” part of the Village), places like that were dirt cheap. I shudder to think what people pay for them now; if you told me $2000 a month, I wouldn’t be shocked.

    Don’t Joan and Greg still live in the same apartment Joan was in before she got married, and isn’t that in the Village too? I’ll bet Don and Joan are neighbors, or close to it.

    • Meowser, Jane was the one who lived in the Village — Jane from Jane Street. Joan and Greg live in Morningside Heights; up where Jane gets “a nosebleed.”

  20. @10 Mad Chick-Sorry. I misunderstood what you meant. Don living in the village seemed strange to me. I know almost everyone has fantasies about Sal at Stonewall, but Kurt is far more likely to be there. Kurt is much closer to the right age to be at Stonewall in 69.

    @18 Mad Chick-This makes me wonder what the other apartments Joan found, but Don rejected.

    @20 Meowser-I went to NYU too. Go Bobcats! You’re right, Don is about 10 minutes from Christopher Street.

  21. Deborah, I especially love the side streets with the brownstone buildings.

    RetroGirl, I didn’t know about Stonewall before Mad Men but then after Sal got fired in “Wee Small Hours,” people were talking about Stonewall on some of the forums so I looked it up on wiki. Very interesting–and yes you’re right, Kurt would be the right age for it. Hope they explore that on the show because it’s such a vital incident!

  22. Deb, I thought the “nosebleed” comment was from when Joan said she and Greg were looking at places in Riverdale. I guess I’ll have to look again.

  23. Joan did say that she and Greg were looking in Riverdale, at which point Jane commented that she got a nosebleed “above 86th street.” šŸ™‚

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