Danny Sanchez was tired of taking his old tried-and-true bike paths. The park in his Hollywood neighborhood is closed because of COVID-19, and he'd been taking the same route around the block with his dog Bella for days.
So at 7 a.m. yesterday, Sanchez took the roads less traveled and photographed odd sightings along his neighborhood streets and alleys, which he posted on his Twitter feed.
"I normally walk my dog at T.Y. Park to start the day, but I can't do that anymore," Sanchez tells New Times. "I finally said, 'You know what? I'm gonna make sure this morning I walk zero streets I've walked before.'"
Though Florida is only a week into a statewide lockdown, Miami-Dade and Broward residents have been under safer-at-home orders since late last month. With almost nothing else to do, more people are getting outside for fresh air. Some are going on a run or a "sanity walk" — a rare opportunity to reclaim some sense of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic world.
But Sanchez's walk turned out to be something a bit different — a chance to get a fresh perspective on the weirdness and wonderfulness of his neighborhood. It began with a framed print of a warrior who seemed to be guarding the trash cans in a tucked-away alley.
"Seeing that picture of the warrior was the moment I realized I had to take pictures. Maybe that person had raccoon problems... I have no idea," Sanchez says with a laugh.
Other interesting sightings he cataloged include a "Do not cut the coconuts" sign, a cat peering at him from behind a curtain, and two metal sculptures of outstretched hands sitting atop fence posts.
"I'm still thinking about that one," he says.
The sight that struck him the most, however, wasn't as strange as the disembodied hands. It was simply a footbridge he never knew was right by his house.
"The fact that I've never walked that particular street and that there was this bridge I've never noticed freaked me out a little. It was a cool moment to find this big thing," Sanchez says of the concrete structure spanning a canal. "It leads to a neighborhood that's self-enclosed, to a whole new area I've never walked through."
Sanchez says that in these difficult times, it helps to find something good in a bad situation. By paying attention to his surroundings and being more present, he hopes to inspire other people to do the same.
"This whole walk was peeling back mystery after mystery," he says. "I'm hoping other people do this for themselves and rediscover their neighborhoods. I want to inspire someone to see their neighborhood differently."