Take a long, deep breath. What do you see? Each building and each street in the city, each road in the country is ready to tell us stories, if we look and listen. This site is about capturing those stories, sharing them with you, and sparking your imagination.
Architecture is far more than a recitation of styles, dates, and names. History is not a collection of facts. Both are experience as well as fact. The purpose of the Mindful Walker is showing and sharing ways of looking at and appreciating architecture, buildings, history, past and present lives, and nature. You’ll find reporting on historic preservation and architecture as well. MindfulWalker.com is set primarily in New York City but will also venture to other places beyond Gotham – city, suburban, and rural.
MindfulWalker.com explores the personal experience of architecture, street life, history, and nature while walking or riding – it’s the living experience, with plenty of facts tucked in. It also examines changes in our cities, towns, and the environment, and issues relating to historic preservation, smart growth, and the life of communities.
My inspiration in creating this site and project comes from a lifetime of walking and exploring, and ultimately a love of New York. One profound influence is Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen master and spiritual leader who teaches us the value of being aware in the present moment and in touch with our surroundings and our feelings. (His book Peace Is Every Step beautifully captures how to bring this presence and peace to ourselves and our relationships and the world, and is my bible.) If one does this as you walk around the city or countryside, it’s amazing what you will see and feel!
About Susan DeMark
I’ve been an explorer since my childhood in Wampum, a small town in Western Pennsylvania, where I was blessed to grow up in a large Italian-American family of DeMarks and Cinis (my mother’s side). My mom encouraged my love of history. I grew up as a member of what my cousin Phyllis calls the rare and endangered species Wampum stoop dweller (known for spending hours sitting on the stoop of the town bank on Main Street and observing the street life). I graduated to street crawling and back-road exploring, after moving to New Jersey and the East Coast 30 years ago.
I’m a long-time journalist who has created MindfulWalker.com to marry the best of reporting and feature writing with the life, community, and immediacy of the Internet. A love of history, architecture, people, and different places has been the connecting thread of my career, which began in newspapers and moved on to magazine writing, varied publishing and media projects, and ultimately online.
In Western Pennsylvania, where I started as a feature writer for a local daily newspaper, I wrote about everything from what garbage collectors could tell about people from their trash to the story of a 74-year-old woman struggling with giving up her farm after a half-century on the land. In New Jersey, as a newspaper reporter and city editor, I witnessed and lamented the changes as developers built hundreds of condos and houses in cornfields and orchards. I wrote about revitalizing cities and riding back roads in New Jersey.
I have a master’s degree in history from New York University, with a specialization in urban and social history. Also, I earned a certification in public history, which focuses on the ways to bring history alive for varied audiences and in nontraditional formats.
I’ve worked online since the mid-‘90s. I produced a Web site area for architects and designers for a national small-business site. Prior to that, I created Web projects about history and social studies for children and teachers for Scholastic, Inc. Since 2001, I’ve been an independent journalist. I train editors; teach writing; create and consult on Web content; and write and edit.
I live in New Paltz, in the beautiful Hudson Valley. Before that, I lived in New York City, in Hell’s Kitchen, for 17 years. The city remains a place for my work, love, passion, and soul. I dedicate this site to my beloved and very sweet animal companions, Orlando and Sasha, the two cats who shared my New York City home and my life until 2012. Cats are great exemplars of constant curiosity, relaxation, and the art of relishing what is in front of you. I’m blessed with an incredible family and friends, who inspire me in my explorations and writing.
May MindfulWalker.com similarly enlighten, inform, and inspire you!