Google Places and Platypie

For Want of a Shoe...

February 20, 2012

Austin has the weather. If you don’t like it, wait a day or two - it will change completely. Yesterday morning it was 31°, with sleet and snow flurries. The day before it rained hard for most of the day and temperatures hovered around the mid-forties. Today, once the dense fog lifted, it has turned out to be bright and sunny with a temperature of 75°.

The changing weather has put me in mind of my misery in December when we were traveling around Missouri and Kansas. Day after day we were camped or moving slowly through the sleet, snow or freezing rain. And every day I was slapping myself with a cold, damp sock for being lazy and not buying myself a pair of warm waterproof shoes at Harry’s while I was back in New York City the month before. I had promised myself that, while in the city, I would take time away from seeing friends, drinking wine and eating at the old hangouts to buy the perfect pair of nasty weather shoes from the world’s most perfect shoe store. Yes I have regrets: I should have had one less glass of wine and bought myself the damn, much needed, foul weather shoes from Harry’s.

Harry, Upper West Side

I was a fool.

All I have out here are my wonderful little black driving Pumas and some mesh walking shoes. My feet have been cold and wet and they take forever to warm up.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Harry’s Shoes, in New York City, is the epicenter for finding all things that make up the right shoe. It is the world’s most wonderful shoe store. They have the right shoe for every purpose. Well, not far as I can tell they do not stock sexy, tart-it-up-open-toed-strappy little numbers, but if you need to get somewhere, play some game, survive in extreme weather... Harry’s has the shoe, boot or sandal for you.

Sure  they have urban walkers, but they also carry river walkers, beach walkers, and bush walkers, along with lightweight as well as tech climbers. There are low shoes as well as medium and tall work-type all-weather boots... (You take this totally for granted when is around the corner.) I am in desperate need at the moment. My once perfect ANO black water-resistant thinsulate™ lined winter urban walking shoes (from Harry’s, of course) were worn-out, cracked, leaking... and now gone. They had carried me thru floods and blizzards for many years.

Harry's. Upper West SideOutside the camper door here, in cold and rainy Austin, the mud and water are deepening. Driving is not an option at this time, but neither is walking the dog. For the first time ever, I am opening the door, pushing him out into the cold mud and saying, “Hurry-up.” (Oh, the guilt.) He stands outside the door in the pouring rain and stares at me through the window as if I have forgotten something too desperate for words. Squinting his little collie eyes at me, he refuses to move unless I join him.

I cannot believe that now even here is Austin, I still need Harry’s. I need to browse amongst their hundreds of perfect pairs to find something that will be exactly right for the circumstances in which I keep finding myself. Light snow and freezing rain is beautiful on trees, but not underfoot. Even tho there is no piling snow on the corners, no ice flows rushing past to the sewers like in New York City... there is an inch or two of water on the ground giving way to  deep mud. I consider 1 to 3 inches of soft mud deep as well as slippery. Where is the Harry’s Nationwide Chain when I need it? ( I can’t use any of the billions of Designer Shoe Warehouses all over the country!)

Harry's, Upper West SideFYI, Harry’s is located on the corner of 83rd and Broadway on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. There is a small window display on the 83rd street side of the store, where they display the closest thing to trendy footwear they are willing to sell. (That window is where I first fell in love with my velcro laced black driving Pumas.)

Inside it is almost always crowded.

There used to be gobs of children and parents shopping after school and on weekends, but mercifully Harry’s opened a children’s branch a block north on Broadway, and now there is a little less pandemonium.

There are still the older ladies who insist that they are a size six when obviously their falling arches have moved them into the 8.5 - 9 range. They actually force little low-heeled shoes onto their abused feet. Puffy swollen bags of flesh hang over the sides of the shoe as they take a few steps, and announce, "It feels fine." Meanwhile the helpful staff member is encouraging them to let him measure their foot. Yes they still have those black and silver sliding things that measure feet.

Shoe-fitting History X-RayA Bit of Shoe-Fitting History...

Long gone from shoe stores are the green lighted cancer-causing fluoroscopes used to check out how your toes fit in the shoe. (Am I the only person old enough to have received a lifetime of roentgens before the age of 8?) My brother and I loved  to play on the machine, trying to stuff various combinations of  hands and feet into the green-lighted x-ray hole while the other peered  into the viewing hole. Bones glowed with an exotic shade of green, it was quite fun.

The Fluorscope

Oh yes, as long as I’m dreaming of Harry’s, I should tell you, they have a magnificent selection of socks.

OK. I know. Enough already. It’s just shoes - back to the rest of America...

Ya gotta have good shoes Peg - no matter where you roam.  Ask Bernie if he went back up to the roof bar we spent a night at in Austin with the NABS. 

Eddie K

You are a kindred spirit!  First donuts and now comfortable, attractive and practical shoe store mecca in NYC recommendation - yippee.

What is it about the aging body (especially feet) that craves the ideal solution to whatever is happening?  I totally identify.

Next trip to NYC, Harry's here I come.

Hugs to you and Bernie.


I do not know what to say, except that I visit K-Mart in Silver Spring twice a year and buy 4-6 pairs of Chinese made sneakers for $6.99 each. I stuff them with expensive arch supports, and voila, made in the shade walking shoes!  Of course, I do not have to slough through rain and mud on a daily basis.

Good luck!


We've had happy feet for the holiday weekend!

Five days in PonteVedra (St.Augustine, FL) with Mom & Dad.
Molly and Miss Kitty too. Lots of wine, lots of great food!

Lots a quality time with "the kids". Back to socks and shoes as we head north. Hope your feet are happy soon!

Marny & David

Oh, yes! I remember well "The Fluoroscope"! I thought it was so cool. But then, I thought it was cool when my sister and I took turns behind the X-ray plate when visiting a doctor friend. Gives special meaning to ignorance is bliss!


Mary, I am sure it is the artist in you, and as I re-visit your self portrait I can see that your time playing with the doctor's x-ray machine has had a profound influence on your art work.

Peggy, is Harry's giving you a discount for the free air time? Buffalo is cold and sunny today next four days will be in the 40's, unbelievable winter here.The pond hockey event in the harbor had to be canceled due to no ice. Lake Erie isnt frozen yet! Hope you and Bernie are well, love keeping up with your travels going off shore soon, you couldnt drive there but I am always on the look out for you.

Our best

Tim and Rosie

I hope you have found some boots to keep those feet dry and warm. I love to read your great stories. Hope you are all doing well and the ground starts to dry or you will need to get boots for Sully. Of course you may have to go to NY for those too lol. Hope to see you soon. Until then keep the adventure going and your feet dry. 


Send us your comments