A truly fascinating site (if you have lots of time to kill). New York Songlines: Virtual Walking Tours of Manhattan Streets. TIME OUT NY describes it well: "The essential website for NYC trivia.... True New Yorkers love uncovering the bits of history and intrigue that lurk under our feet and above our heads--an infamous murder here, a forgotten architectural treasure there, perhaps the spot where a famed writer drank himself to death. These are the kinds of things that fill New York Songlines".
The philosophy of the site's author, Jim Naureckas fits right in with my feeling that a walk around New York City is not entirely unlike an aboriginal 'walkabout' in the bush. Whereas Australian aboriginals trekked across vast unmarked land by use of historical songs about geographical landmarks, we find our way through NYC relying on signs, not stories. By doing so, we lose something special-- what Naureckas calls "a sense of place....If we learn the stories which are written on our streets and avenues, we'll have a much better chance of knowing where we've been, and where we're going."