New York Daily Photo Analytics

Friday, June 25, 2010


At one time, I obsessed over climate and owned a compact little tome published by Pan Am. This travel guide cataloged every country in the world and, most importantly, there were climate tables for every capital city. My mission was simple - to find the place with the "perfect" climate. My search, however, was biased.

At the time, I had also read books by extreme natural foodists who had similar agendas and whose motives were to find paradisaical environments to live off the land and create their own Edens. One writer, Johnny Lovewisdom*, was one of these aspirants, and his quest for the world's best climate led him to the Andes outside Quito, Ecuador.

A quick perusal of my Pan Am guide confirmed that Quito was one of the world's most unique climates, with an average daily high of 71 degrees and average daily low of 41 (other charts measure the average daily high at 65-67 degrees). These temperatures only fluctuate by one to two degrees over twelve months. Quito, at an altitude of 9,186 feet, is the highest legal capital in the world. The city lies within one kilometer of the equator. This unique location in the Andes and along the equator accounts for a climate which can be truly called eternal spring. Moving to Quito became my dream, or more realistically, a fantasy.

Now I dream of Quito for another reason. I live in a very special and unique older building on Washington Square North. However, like many apartments, there is no cross ventilation. Perhaps the date of the building's pre-Civil War construction in 1837 explains why segregation is still practiced in my home and bodies of air inside and outside will not mix. With windows wide open, cold air outside and warm stagnant air inside just coexist across a climactic Mason-Dixon line.

Today in New York City we have a break in the recent heat spell. Temperatures this morning moved from 71 through 77, spanning the averages, means and other ways of measuring the daily high of Ecuador's capital. The typical high temperature in Quito at noon is 77 degrees. As I write this, the current temperature in Central Park is 77 degrees. When I stand at my window's edge, lean out and feel that cool springtime air, for a moment, I'm in Quito ...

*Prior to the existence of the Internet, accurate information on elusive characters like Johnny Lovewisdom was nearly impossible to find. Now, information is readily available - his age, real name and other biographical details. See his Wikipedia entry here to read about a man at the extreme edge of dietary movements.


Brian said...

I love the photo - and I love the story! I will have to visit Quito!

And I will bring my thermometer..

Bill said...

Perfect temperature!

Thérèse said...

Quito supposingly the birthplace of the potato!
A good read for the summer "the botany of desire" Michael Pollan...