Crack is Whack

Open yourself to the world around you, look and see, listen and hear, ask questions, share your ideas, love learning.
Open yourself to the world around you, look and see, listen and hear, ask questions, share your ideas, love learning.

and so is trying to get back to Manhattan from Randall’s Island.Of course, I had no plans to visit either when I left my apartment. 9.4 miles later…

I left, intending to go to Marcus Garvey Park via the East River Promenade because I wasn’t in the mood for the noise & clutter of streets. I’d walked this length of the promenade once before and enjoy the people watching and changing scenery. However, about a mile into the walk I was intrigued by the Wards Island Bridge, which I’d intended to walk when I went to Frieze. However, I was short on time and never had the chance. I intended to walk across today and walk right back to continue north but as I crossed the soccer fields in search of a good picture of the Hell Gate and Triboro Bridges, I realized it was possible to walk across the Triboro, even if the experience isn’t ideal (but improved).

I didn’t find the walk to be better or worse than any other walk in which you’re in close proximity to traffic, but finding the entrance to the pedestrian walkway on Randall’s Island is an exercise in increasing mileage. Most of the islands (Randall’s and Ward’s Islands are now mostly merged by a salt marsh) were crowded with people grilling, playing sports and taking in the city’s first spring day but the walk along Central Road can be a little desolate and I wouldn’t recommend it. Oddly, I walked that way to steer clear of Manhattan Psychiatric, but realized I probably walked in the path of the Charles Gay Center as a a consequence. I’m glad I didn’t give into my thighs and take the bus…. also because this was about the walk.

It was while crossing the salt marsh that is now the only separation between Ward’s and Randall’s Islands that I spotted the quote that is the header. I’m not sure its origins, but it struck me. It really speaks to the #GreatManhattanLoop and my exploration of NYC in general.

When I finally found the pedestrian access, it was a quick hop to Manhattan. The architecture of the Triboro is fascinating and while the views aren’t great due to the safety fencing, there’s a great panorama north toward the Harlem River as you approach the Manhattan side.  From the Manhattan end it was a quick hop/traffic dodge up to the Crack is Wack mural, which I said I was going to visit every time I passed it on the FDR. I’m pretty sure I didn’t know that what was once illegal graffiti, was now the name of the whole playground. While beautiful and poignant, the mural is also sad — Haring didn’t live long enough to see his city survive the crack cocaine grasp and begin to thrive. But I imagine he’d be proud that his mural is being used as a teaching tool for school kids.

I really wanted to stop there. To relax with my book and unwind, but I also wanted to finish the day’s goal and thought Marcus Garvey Park would be quieter being away from the FDR. The Park, formerly known as Mount Morris Park, was named for Marcus Garvey. On account of the ridiculous climb up to see the Watchtower, I’m sticking with the “Mount” name. The park was not quiet on account of car alarms and people celebrating the start of summer, but the Harlem Fie Watchtower was amazing and worth the walk. It’s awesome to see such a piece of history still there, albeit behind a protective fence.

Dare I add the Brooklyn Queens Greenway to my NYC Bucket List? What, 18.4 miles this weekend wasn’t enough?

Jewish Upper West Side and Riverside Drive

so how, exactly, does a walking tour of the Jewish Upper West side turn into an 8.9 mile walk that includes a long overdue visit to Riverside Church and Grant’s Tomb? Pretty much the same way a “quick walk to Bennett Park” turned into a walk to Inwood Hill Park last Friday. The tourist side of me gets a bee in my bonnet and, I’m there, so why not?

I love long been fascinated and intrigued by the architecture of the Upper West Side. I’m sure a significant portion of my Instagram photos are tagged with either “Looking Up, UpUpUp and/or Archigram”. It’s just so different: historically, culturally and architecturally. So when the Conservancy announced this new tour for 2013, I was instantly excited. This tour was distinct from other Conservancy tours in that we were able to go into one synagogue: the modern Orthodox Jewish Center on W. 86th St. While not as architecturally distinct as the other congregations we saw, it’s interesting to see a multipurpose building really serving the needs of the community. What made the tour also more interesting was that some of the attendees were members of the synagogues we saw so they were able to fill in some of the questions that people asked.

It’s interesting how many buildings built as churches are now synagogues and vice versa and, to me, how many times some congregations moved. I also realized how many times I walked past gorgeous buildings like Shaare Zedek and had no idea the history I was passing by. Most interesting to me was how well the synagogues in the area meld in well with the churches and amazing 20th Century architectural masterpieces like The Cornwall, The Belnord, the Apthorp, etc. I’d really like to do a tour of the “lower” Upper West Side to see Shearith Israel, among others.

Among the non-Jewish sites, I was in awe with The Belnord for its amazing opulence, the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, which looks like it belongs in the Mediterranean with its architecture; The Cornwall for its architectural detail and Virginia O’Hanlon’s (Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus) home on W. 95th Street**.  As an aside, why on earth do the Wikipedia pages for The Belnord, Cornwall and Appthorp have such horrendous photos of amazing buildings?

The weather ended up being an order of magnitude better than expected and I began thinking about where I should head when the tour wrapped since the gym wasn’t so interesting anymore. I was originally leaning Marcus Garvey Park, but then the light bulb went on. I was at 95th & Amsterdam. Where have I been talking about since last Memorial Day Weekend? Time to head north along the river.

Until I recently, I had no idea how many monuments and memorials there were along Riverside Drive and in Riverside Park. I’m sure I walked past quite a few without realizing it. Last week, I mentioned the pluses and minuses of traveling with a smart phone and last summer I mentioned how the Great Manhattan Loop does allow me to see NYC as a tourist. So what do I need to do to not miss things I’m seeing along the way? Get a guidebook. Ideally I’d love to find one that focuses on the history, monuments and architecture since that’s what most interests me … but I’d settle for anything with a (location based) index since what I can’t do with the travelogues and social histories is easily find the author’s section on the area I’m walking on a given day. Any suggestions? ***

Missed Eleanor Roosevelt, again. Should figure out a way to have a Roosevelt Day in NYC and do Four Freedoms Park and then head west to her statue. But I did see:

  • Joan of Arc at W. 93rd St. – possibly the first statue made by a woman to be installed in NYC, installed in honor of her 500th birthday. It includes stones from the Tower of Rouen where she was held before her execution and was unveiled by the wife of Thomas Edison who, apparently, doesn’t warrant her own name. Its base includes a small copper box containing a letter from President Woodrow Wilson to George Kunz  one from the vicar of Rheims Cathedral and from the Cardinal of New York and “fairy stones” that symbolized the tears of Saint Joan. Thanks again, Daytonian.
  • Firemen’s Memorial at W. 100th St., which my brain keeps making “FDNY memorial” which makes it really hard to Google. Its history goes back to 1908 and the death of the Deputy Fire Chief. It was opened in 1913 and is now home to a ceremony, held annually in October, marking those who died in the line of duty.
  • a memorial to Louis, or maybe Lajos Kossuth a hero of Hungarian Independence. The statue is well maintained, but I’m not certain why it’s where it is — or in NYC at all. That’s a thought I’d revisit later.

You can’t not look at the architecture when walking up Riverside Drive. From The Colosseum (now owned by Columbia), The Mansion House whose exterior belies its long history, and the Hendrick Hudson which isn’t sure if it’s Spanish or Italian. I really need to take the time to come explore Riverside Drive properly rather than solely as a road to get elsewhere.

Oh yeah, elsewhere, the point of this elongated walk. I honestly feel that one of the down sides of the internet and digital cameras is that you lose the sense of seeing something for the first time. I think back to a family trip upstate when we went to Letchworth State Park. I was in awe of the waterfalls there and asked my parents how I’d know the difference between photos there and of Niagara. I had no idea what Niagara Falls looked like before I went to realize that, while beautiful, Letchworth couldn’t hold a candle.

This was not at all the case with Riverside Church. I’d read about it, knew it was the tallest church in the US but had no idea of its scale until I first saw its base. It’s HUGE. It’s a city block or more. It’s also far more than a church. It’s huge hub of social justice,  its history can be told in many pieces and with many connections to other key players in NYC history (excuse the mid 90s quality digital photos). Its carrillon is among the world’s largest and most storied. It’s amazing… and I didn’t get inside. I actually had no idea it was open to the general public, but wasn’t dressed for it anyway. So, a good excuse to go back.

From the church it was a short hop to Grant’s Tomb aka General Grant’s National Memorial which was all decked out for Memorial Day. “Let Us Have Peace” was resonant in Grant’s time…as well as now. The Tomb has been on my NYC Bucket List for much more than a year, yet I found myself woefully unprepared. To start, I had no idea the tombs or Grant and his wife were “not buried” (yes, that’s the answer to the endless who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb riddle), nor did I realize it was and still is the largest mausoleum in the United States with a significant public art component. While Riverside Drive still retains some elements of old New York, it’s amazing to see how much it has changed since the days it was a stroll through the park. I was disappointed that I wasn’t aware of (and consequently missed) the Tomb of the Amiable Child (Ephemeral New York, Daytonian) So glad the child’s memory lives on.

I needed Dad to see and understand the Tomb properly, but I’m so glad I went. It felt like a pilgrimage. It, sadly, was a quick visit. while the Tomb is beautiful, it doesn’t have a lot of information and I was tired by the end of my walk so I made a quick trip to the gift shop for a souvenir for Dad, and headed home.

** Daytonian in Manhattan is joining Untapped Cities’ New York section, Infrastructure and Curbed’s Camera Obscura as my go-to look stuff up blogs until I actually get a guidebook. Oh and of course sources of additions to my Bucket List because they’re all so well researched and photographed.

*** non guidebooks I’m now curious to read:

Chubster: where reading and weight loss intersect

Part of the reason for the increased number of book reviews here is simple, an increase in reading. It’s partially the iPad, partially more down time, but whatever it is, I’ll take it. It has led to this blog being a bit disjointed but, to be honest, it always has been at heart.

Anyway, Chubster, a “hipster” weight loss guide from a self-called hipster in Phoenix.  I’ve really lived here too long if I think his hipster habits are completely normal and anything super hipster-ish, except talking at length at how the Chubster non diet is better than every other diet out there. Oh, and everything is ironic. No one ever just does something, they do it….ironically.  That said, it was a fun, light, two-day read.

 

I really liked his start with calorie counting. As I mentioned, I decided to break from Weight Watchers this time and it’s always interesting to see others facing the same internal debate. I truly don’t understand the national fear of calorie counting, especially with the umpteen smart phone apps that will now do the math. I lost weight more quickly when I was doing WW, but I also had a lot more weight to lose then I do now. Of course I was going to lose more quickly. I also shared his issues with Points Plus. I don’t like it when weight loss methods change with the latest fads. If you stick with science* you understand what causes weight loss and how to “fix” it if you go off track.

You don’t have to worry about a company changing a formula or deciding that the old program (under which I actually lost 50 lbs) suddenly “wasn’t right” and needed blowing up to attract new members. Weight loss as a business is infuriating and, I believe, contributes to the nation’s inability to keep weight off. It’s OK to teach people about the current hot trend, but if they don’t understand the basics… the science, they’ll regain and spend more money on a company’s product.

The fact of the matter is, there’s nothing wrong with being fat. Or, at least there’s nothing wrong with you because you’re fat…  It’s not a character flaw … But “happily fat” is not a sustainable…There was little chance I could plan to be indefinitely overweight and keep that little pink heart on my Facebook relationship status intact.

This was the part that resonated the most with me. It wasn’t a slurpee that got me — or someone pointing out the calories in a slurpee, but rather thinking I’d gained 5 lbs in four days. It wasn’t so much an ultimatum as a realization that I didn’t like that me. I look back at my Whys? and realize how different that person was, yet I still see some of her in the current me. I see some of Shauna in me. That won’t change. It’s how to get past that part of me.  Oddly? when I refocused in January it was some of the same position — I felt horrible in my skin. I was done talking about finishing the weight loss and was ready to just do it.

Four doughnuts with coffee or one bagel with cream cheese and a skinny chai: your choice. Obviously I’m not saying that four doughnuts is a good breakfast for someone trying to lose weight; I’m just saying that a bagel and cream cheese isn’t any better.

The forbidden food thing he said he wasn’t going to do? I agree with him in the silliness around Weight Watchers’ “free” foods, but he’s doing the same thing here. Forget his silly gingerbread ban, but he’s saying avoid bagels because they’re high in calories — but go ahead and eat the frozen food that’s just as bad? It’s not that he (or WW) are right/wrong, but I think that in trying to prove himself “better” he also acknowledged the inexact science/”black magic” behind even calorie counting. He returns to his anti bagel quest later when picking the good/bad choices at a number of restaurants: No: The multigrain bagel is on the “DD Smart” menu, but it has 390 calories plain. Is a dry multigrain bagel really what you want for almost 400 calories? I doubt it. That’s the same as their eclair, and it isn’t anywhere near as delicious. Actually, I disagree, bagel > eclair any day, but also a bagel with peanut butter will actually keep you full longer than a sugar bomb of an eclair. Does a bagel compare to a more balanced breakfast? Maybe not, but to compare it to an eclair while arguing about the merits of Super Size Me? Come On.

One of the great things about the Chubster plan is that it lets you choose between Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi options, from the iPhone to an old-fashioned Moleskine notebook. Chances are, you cringed a little when reading either “iPhone” or “Moleskine.” That’s normal. Most of you will find one of those things indispensable (or at least desirable) and the other useless, annoying, and overpriced to the point of being

This is exactly why I don’t understand why people have such an aversion to calorie counting. You don’t need any tools, but if you are the type of person who prefers tools, there are a metric ton of apps for the various devices with which to do it. That’s part of why I don’t understand one of the primary criticisms of the Up. While an instant readout can be nice, syncing to phone isn’t really an issue and if you’re not the type of person who carries a phone regularly, these smart phone enabled devices probably aren’t the best fit.
One of the best thing about this book was his insight into the calorie counts for some foods. Some I knew, but for some I had the same challenge as he did in a) making healthy choices, b) finding the NI for non chain foods. For example, I still cannot find the calorie count for my occasional indulgence – a glass of Stella, so I was grateful for his type by type analysis.
  • the inability to eat 10 oz / 1500 calories of blue cheese dressing in one sitting vs. absent-mindedly consuming about the same as a dip is frightening, and eye opening. After a (tracked!) indulgence tonight it was horrifying to see how many calories are in so-called  “appetizers”. No wonder the country has an obesity issue.
  • On the Americanization of food: Rollatini isn’t actually a type of pasta. It’s not even an Italian word, but in the American version of Italian food it means something breaded and baked. This is also the case with sushi — which in Japan lacks things like cream cheese and fried chicken – takes otherwise healthy or semi-healthy food and turns it into complete rubbish. Which is why you have to read what you’re eating, or as close of an approximation as possible. And speaking of reading, and tracking.
  • People bash McDonald’s, but they’re the motherfucking Gandhi of chain restaurants compared to the Cheesecake Factory. Now, taking the Cheesecake Factory back to the woodshed is the bread and butter of the Eat This, Not That series … so I won’t rehash all that, but it’s absolutely true that they sell salads with close to 2, 000 calories in them and you should avoid eating there on the Chubster. People assume salads are safe and McDonald’s, evil. While I don’t blame Spurlock as much as Cizmor does, I do think the media has gone after fast food in a way they haven’t gone after family style restaurants — but maybe they should. 2,000 calories for a salad?!?! That’s ridiculous and irresponsible.
  • Maybe Pollan’s credo ””Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” and avoiding anything his grandmother would not have recognized as food” would be an effective weight-loss plan, but I haven’t heard of anyone succeeding that … Instead, Chubster is all about taking advantage of every modern convenience afforded us. In my unapologetically innovationist view, technology got us into this mess by making it possible to consume so many cheap calories while being so sedentary, and it’ll somehow get us out of it. … I have very little interest in killing any animal myself or getting up early on Saturday morning to schlep down to a parking lot and pick out vegetables I can purchase for a similar price at a nearby grocery store, even if they do have the best arugula ever. Sorry, but that’s just not my scene. Maybe people like Pollan are right that the stuff we eat today isn’t even “food” and that it’ll eventually poison us; however, life expectancy seems to be on an upward trajectory even if the light sour cream we now eat doesn’t fit an organic dairy farmer’s definition. Maybe I’ll be proven a fool, but I’m putting my faith in common sense and scientific

I’ve read some of Pollan’s stuff and while I like the idea of eating cleaner, I also agree with Cizmar, there’s limited practicality to it today – or need. We’re not meant to subsist entirely on processed foods, but I think there’s a reason we’ve also evolved from hunter/gatherers.

That’s not to say I always agree with him, in some cases I think his premises, especially on what constitutes a “grown up” drink are ridiculously off base. Tequila shots are “the grownup way”? No, shots belong in the frat house along with the other wisdom he’s trying to throw up. Are sour apple martinis not ironic enough for him?

You can still enjoy everything that plumped you up, you just need to do it in moderation and mix in more activities. Hey, as it turns out, even an evening Slurpee isn’t off the table. Remember the Slurpee that changed my life? The one I had on the way from that awful Dave Matthews concert lo those many moons ago? The one that prompted the stern lecture from my girlfriend that, in turn, launched my weight-loss project? Turns out, that Slurpee was the last one I had for nearly two years. Not that I stopped wanting them. I’m a sucker for pretty much any frozen confection and have always had a soft spot for the sweet, slushy treat favored by Bart Simpson. Since losing 100 pounds, I had allowed myself occasional indulgences of most types on limited occasions (see above), but never a Slurpee. Then, one day, things came full. … On my stop home I was lured into a 7-Eleven for a giant diet fountain soda. Instead, I found something I hadn’t seen before: a Diet Slurpee. Now, the Crystal Light Slurpee isn’t calorie-free. There are actually 80 calories in a 16-ounce serving. But after hiking 7 long, steep miles, I was certainly willing to allow myself such a splurge.  …  This is what I’ve come to realize: There are two ways up the mountain. You can drive up with 600 calories of sugary ice in your hand, or you can walk up and drink the artificially sweetened version. One route is wide, paved, and busy; the other, narrow, a little rocky, and far less crowded. One will give you little tastes of life as we were meant to live it from time to time; the other will immerse you in it fully. We all choose a path, consciously or not.

But he redeemed himself… and ended the book on the strongest note. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I can have the “diet Slurpee” (or, for me, diet Sour Patch Kids), but I understand the feeling the wanting to prove your dominance over food. I can do that now with chocolate chip cookies (but not dough). I can do that with Subway. One day I’ll do it with Sour Patch Kids… one day.

* speaking of which, Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories  and Why We Get Fat are on Mt. TBR. It’s not that I think he’s completely wrong, but there is something to be said for the basic math of calories in, calories out vs. trend hopping.

Manhattan: You’re Taller Than You Look

Taller? Longer? Whichever… it’s deceptive!

 

Ever since I came home from the walk to the GWB/Light House last summer, I regretted not knowing how close I was to the Cloisters and pressing on.

On Friday, I had time to kill before meeting friends and it was a gorgeous day so I decided what would be interesting to see and do. After some random Googling I came upon Fort Bennett Park and Manhattan’s natural highest point and I decided that was a good fit. I don’t view it as cheating at all since it was at the 181st St. stop that I ended the walk from the UWS to the Bridge.

 

The original plan was to see the highest point marker, wander over to Inspiration Point and then double back. Best laid plans … and all that, seems to be the motto of this walk. Along the way I saw Castle Village, home to a fascinating history, and the Pumpkin House! The up side of walking with smart phones is, you can research on the go. The down side of researching on the go is a dead battery very quickly. So I found myself reading up on a lot of what I’d seen when I got back. What does that mean? That I want to do it again, of course, while being better able to appreciate what I’m seeing.

When I got to Inspiration point I realized two things: I really didn’t want to climb back up to Bennett Park and I was, once again, close-ish to the Cloisters with relatively fresh legs so I continued north. One of the first sites I came across, like remains in a jungle, turned out to be the remains of the Billings Estate (history, NY Times story). One thing that this walk has taught me is how much history there is still in Manhattan.

I drew even with Fort Tryon Park and realized there was no crossover of the highway so I pressed on north and… Inwood Hill Park! I had (accidentally) done it, the West Side. I briefly walked into Inwood Hill Park to a) make it count and b) see if I could reach the northern most point. But I was running low on time and decided it counted. Net result? My appetite was re whet for this walk and I decided to finish it this weekend or next.

I woke early Saturday and decided why not. My phone wasn’t ready though and while I charged it, I strategized where I was going to start the Eastern side. I had already walked from 120th – 42nd, Grand to E. 14th St.; and Fulton St. to the Battery. I knew I wanted to go north to “close the loop”, but where. A good chunk of the Harlem River side is on city streets (PDF) and I wasn’t interested in a boring, ugly walk and decided to supplement it with history. Also, I’ve walked a chunk of 125th before so I decided 125th & Amsterdam was a non- cheating start point. (Un)fortunately (the hills in that area are pretty steep), I missed that stop and ended up getting off at 135 & Amsterdam and headed northwest to the first stop on my itinerary: Hamilton Grange, home of Alexander Hamilton.

That was another case of not realizing where I was… or not realizing what was near I was as I’d been only blocks from Hamilton Grange and cut through the Park when I went to an event at Harlem Stage on Friday morning. Fail. I need someone to put a map in my head and alert me when I’m nearly something cool/funky/historical. I knew Hamilton Grange had moved, but I didn’t realize what other pieces of the area had pieces of Alexander Hamilton – specifically St. Leo’s, which has also relocated. I definitely want to re-visit when the Grange is open and learn a bit more about the neighborhood.

I continued my zig-zag north west along Jackie Robinson Park and down Macombs Place to Macombs Dam Bridge. Not on anyone’s version of the Loop, but on my bucket list to do it on foot. I ended up with a version of Abraham, Martin & John in my head… one the Daily News did in ’95 for the Yankees: Showalter, Stanley and Don. To this date I can’t find it online and I wish I could, because it was good. The Bridge was somewhat underwhelming, especially with post game traffic, but mid-span provided a nice view north up the Harlem River.

I doubled back up 8th/Frederick Douglass/whatever it’s called in the W. 150s. Hands down, the seediest piece of the “Greenway”. I did get another nice piece of history with the Polo Grounds Towers. It’s definitely more desolate and less well marked than Ebbets Field, even before this spring’s Jackie Robinson movie. I took a quick picture and just kept walking. Quickly. I have a feeling this is a perfect Catch -22. Few walk the section of the Greenway because it’s in such poor condition — and it’s not rebuilt because there isn’t the traffic to warrant it.

The overpass to the relatively new Harlem Speedway is in horrible condition, but it’s easy to find. The Speedway is an amazing walk – and with the cherry blossoms at the north end I’m sure it’s gorgeous in Spring. The Speedway has a fascinating history, but is rather desolate and barren on the southern end. I didn’t feel unsafe, but I really wished there were more people around. I wonder if that was a factor of the weather, or generally low traffic. A very awesome sight along the Speedway itself is the High Bridge Water Tower and the chance to walk under the High Bridge.

The High Bridge has an amazing history and I really hope the plans to reopen it in 2014 come true. That, combined with the possible re-opening and restoration of the Polo Grounds stairs (possible, because they’ve been talking about this for 5 years) in High Bridge Park would really mark a re-opening of this area for sightseeing and would lean toward the renaissance the west side of Manhattan’s waterfront has seen.

Reading on High Bridge and the Park that contains it, makes it easy to get lost in a sea of links… but none of those links have IDed this mystery “lookout” north of the High Bridge and Amsterdam Bridge, but south of Washington Bridge at about 180th St. It’s an amazing piece of architecture, but seems abandoned. It’s part of HighBridge Park, but I can’t find any information on it in the park’s picture page,  I’m fairly sure it’s not the old steps, which I don’t think are still standing, or the 178-179th St. Tunnels. Maybe time to pitch it to Curbed’s Camera Obscura or Infrastructure, who nailed Inspiration Point.

Speaking of CO, great post on Swindler’s Cove. I could see the boathouse entrance from the Speedway, but had no idea what I was looking at. What an amazing oasis. At only ten years old it’s fairly new, but a true hidden gem. How on earth does a park hide in plain sight? The floating boathouse is awesome, in design and purpose. As much as I was wishing for a little more company on the Speedway, I was regretting my wish when the Speedway ended and I turned onto the busy thoroughfare of Dyckman St. However, that also meant the end was in sight. It was just a quick walk down the block to the intersection of Broadway where I grabbed a Diet Coke to recharge my feet and plan my my next steps.

With the rain mostly stopped and plenty of daylight, I decided I wanted to go where the Greenway ended. I’d been down to the Battery and wanted to go up to the tip. I quickly realized that Broadway was the northernmost point, but I didn’t want the noise of a main route. I wanted quiet serenity so I went into Inwood Hill Park via a circuitous route around the peninsula so my first sight of the Spuyten Duyvil Creek was the Columbia “C”. Oddly? Google Mapping Spuyten Duyvil Creek on mobile Google maps is useless. It sends you to Brooklyn. That’s as bad as the ubiquitous Broadway theatre for the road.  Come on Google, get your shit together.

I didn’t really have the time to explore the park properly, but its present and history are intriguing and I definitely want to explore it further. With daylight fading and the temperature dropping, I headed south to my last stop — the Dyckman Farmhouse. Sadly, light was poor and it’s hard to see from the street so that goes back on the bucket list.

207th St. on the A was the end of the line and the end of the loop.

For now.

For more Greenway photos, Untapped Cities has great ones on the Hudson and Harlem/East Rivers.

Great Manhattan Loop: Done

13 miles as the crow flies.

That’s the distance often thrown around as the length of Manhattan. As the Google Maps, Battery Park to Inwood Hill Park/Spuyten Duyvil Creek is 13.4 miles driving or 13,2. on foot.

Well, I’m not a crow and I don’t fly, I meander.

Yesterday alone I covered ~ 9 miles. On foot to “finish” the “Great Manhattan Loop” as I dubbed it last Spring. It was 9.8 miles per my new Jawbone UP (22,919 steps!) and 8.35 miles per MayMyFitness

Some other distances:

  • About 7 days of walking in just under two years.
  • 10.62 miles in last two days (Bennett Park to Inwood Hill Park)
  • 14.38 miles down the west side
  • 7.17 miles of the east side (East & Harlem Rivers)

I think that’s part of why I never seriously considered the Great Manhattan Saunter despite using their excellent map as the rough framework for my “loop” . Yes, it’s a “loop” and yes it’s “finished”. Part of the reason it isn’t a loop isn’t my fault. Unknown to me at the time I started this walk, there is no path that lets you circumnavigate Manhattan on foot/bike. The Greenways, or the larger loop (to hit Inwood Hill Park/Sputen Duyvil) require some use of surface streets, mainly on the Harlem/East River sides. And some of the surface streets? They’re boring. And slow, with lights. Since the walk was meant to be fun, I decided I wasn’t going to walk anything I didn’t want to. Some pieces I’ve missed, which all in all aren’t that many:

  • W. 79th to W 87th – not because I didn’t want to, but due to changing plans one day. I will do this short stretch when I do Riverside Drive, hopefully this summer.
  • E. 10th to as far north as the Greenway stretches until the UN cut.
  • Grand St. to Fulton St. (edit: done, on bike, June 10, 2013)

 Some highlights:

  • A walk down the East River on the day of one of 2011′s “raptures” got this all started. At the time, I had no idea what it would lead to, but it did let me see the place where mom and dad were married in June 1971.
  • Apparently, checkers are popular on the East River, some of which is living history to the transit hub it once was.  And some of Lower Manhattan, especially on the East Side, still looks like the 1800s.
  • There’s a “Palazzo” in the West Village.  And Seinfeld & Stephen King references rule the Lower East Side.
  • Anyone who says West Harlem isn’t pretty isn’t looking. Ditto Washington Heights. And if you’re not looking, you might miss the Upper West Side’s Civil War history.
  • Manhattan is photogenic in many different ways.

Recap:

I expected to feel a let down when this was done, except I realized it’s not done. As I alluded to the in the WH/Inwood post, this walk taught me how much I didn’t know about Manhattan, and now I want to explore more. Downtown: My Manhattan fed that, and I’m finally re-reading (and finishing!) Waterfront so I’m sure that will add to the list below.

Remaining NYC Bucket List:

  • Marcus Garvey Park, because the idea of a Fire Tower is really cool. (edit: done May 2013)
  • Riverside Drive – so much history, so many awesome sites including Joan of Arc, Riverside Church and Grants’ Tomb. (Edit: partially done May 25, 2013).
  • Audobon Historic District and surrounds.  Yep, more reading
  • High Bridge if it re-opens as planned
  • Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island (edit: done, unblogged, July 2013)
  • Brooklyn Heights Promenade
  • Historic House Trust Properties… when they’re actually open
  • northern end of Central Park

Yeah, I’ll be at this for a while.

Review: Downtown: My Manhattan

I cannot count the number of times I’ve started and stopped reading Pete Hamill’s Downtown: My Manhattan. Not because I didn’t enjoy reading it, but because I never seemed to have the time to commit to it. I can’t even blame it all on library book expiration — at one point I’d mooched two copies off BookMooch and managed to give away/donate both before I read it! I started thinking about it as well as Philip Lopate’s Waterfront during last summer’s Loop, but never got my hands on a copy. Recently I got back into it and decided this was the time. I would re request a copy for the library as often as I needed to. Luckily, it only took one renewal and I absolutely love this book. I find myself wishing for a sequel.

I like Hamill’s idea about owning a city (and its neighborhoods) in different ways.  It’s something I never really thought of, but it’s absolutely true. I argue about the boundaries of the Upper East Side in the same way he does about “Downtown”. Your perception depends on your attitude, your hobbies, your favorites and your age. Hamill is significantly older than I am so his view of his neighborhoods were different to mine even when they overlapped. There’s also the question of timing — this book was published in 2004 which doesn’t seem that long ago, but is significant in the development and change of NYC.

Perhaps the key change was the view of 9/11: in Hamill’s writing, the city was still dealing with the hole in Lower Manhattan. While I was reading, they placed the spire atop the new Freedom Tower. Healed? No. But in a much different place than the early 2000s.

The other issue that time hurt? His bibliography. So many titles I want to read. ** So few available for Kindle and some out of print entirely.

Two lines from the book’s beginning and end tell Hamill – and New York’s — stories in a nutshell:

I live here still. With any luck at all, I will die here. I have the native son’s irrational love of the place. For any native the home place is infused with a mixture of memory, myth, lore, and history, bound together in an erratic, subjective way. That’s as true of the natives of New York as of the natives of Oxford, Mississippi. … ….  The wanderer in Manhattan must go forth with a certain innocence, because New York is best seen with innocent eyes.

New York is the same… and different, depending on the person looking at it. When it’s home, it’s yours. You are possessive. Don’t tell me all of the Upper East Side is rich yuppies — it’s my home. I can see beyond the stereotype for the people who actually live there and call it home. But at the same time, when I explore a new area I see it through wide eyes like I’m traveling for the first time. Many weekends last summer I had a book, a camera and a breakfast bar. NYC was just as easily Australia, Spain or Japan. It wasn’t home, it was a new place to explore. I never planned to move back to NYC – or even stay once I was here for grad school, but I’m still here. Will I die here? I don’t know — I can see the up and down sides of both.

Then, for the first time, I saw them: spires aimed at the sky. Dozens of them. Hundreds of them. All gilded by morning sun. “What is it?†I said in a stupefied way (as my mother told me years later). “Sure, you remember, Peter,” she said. “You’ve seen it before.”  And then she smiled.  “It’s Oz”   … Was at last a kind of grown-up, living in the buildings of Oz itself. Living, that is, in Manhattan.

Nothing can ever compare to the first view of a city — I don’t have that memory of New York – I started coming here when I was too young. I do recall my first trip to the Statue of Liberty — riding in the car with my grandparents and grandpa telling me the name of every bridge. I was amazed that he knew that. For me? That first city view is the one I alluded to in my review of Where God Was Born … Jerusalem. Nothing will top the old city from Mt. Scopus. Something close, but not exactly, is my view of the Colosseum when I walked from the Vatican while in Rome. Magic.

Sentimentality is always about a lie. Nostalgia is about real things gone. Nobody truly mourns a lie. More millions grieved for the world that existed on September 10, knowing it was forever behind us. I believe that New York nostalgia also comes from that extraordinary process that created the modern city: immigration.

This is an interesting contrast. I don’t know that it’s as black and white as Hamill makes it, but I do believe that sentimentality is often tainted by rose colored glasses. But you can be nostalgic for things that your memory made out to be better than they were, so I’m not sure.

They will discover that the easiest way to know this place is to start at the beginning. That is, to go on foot to Downtown. The liquid heart of the city…. Like many New Yorkers, I’m a creature of habit. I usually walk directly to the railing of the Admiral George Dewey Promenade, a name that no New Yorker ever uses, and I face the harbor. …some unplanned way, part of the Battery is now a necropolis. Here we can pause and remember the dead of various wars and other calamities, or we can move past them in an indifferent hurry. … Over the years the landfill even closed the gap with the old red sandstone fortress now called Castle Clinton. This was built in 1811 on a small man-made island a hundred yards off shore...Nobody would. This was a harbor. All harbors were safe. Or so we believed. …

So much of this series of passages resonated with me. Even though I didn’t grow up in NYC, I grew up as a child of the Hudson — or the North River as Hamill likes to call it. The Hudson is the liquid heart, the Harbor even more so. it fed the city and helped it to develop intro the metropolis that it is. But a necropolis? I know, of course, about the Sphere and eternal flame that have served as 9/11 memorials even with the opening of the official 9/11 Memorial, and I know about the Merchant Mariners’ monument,  but I didn’t realize how many other memorials are within the grounds of the Park. I’ve been down there many times and I’m wholly guilty of moving past in an indifferent hurry… I need to take the time to appreciate the Battery and not just for the sunsets and quiet reading place.

The one exception to the erasure of the Dutch town is the small triangular park called the Bowling Green. Nobody bowls there anymore, although the Dutch and English once did. …. Stewart was clearly a mindless fool. The first Marble Palace is still there at Broadway and Chambers Street. It has recently been rehabilitated after years of decay, but there is no sign that tells passersby about Alexander T. Stewart or his extraordinary monument. He is, in fact, largely forgotten by all New Yorkers except students of the city’s history. One reason: He left no heirs. There would be no family foundations to perpetuate his name, no doors erected in his memory to decorate a city church, no college scholarships

I had no idea none why Bowling Green had the name it did. In hindsight, that’s sad. I wonder what Hamill’s thoughts were on the citywide celebrations of Henry Hudson quadricentennial in 2009. Would it seem odd to celebrate a heritage that has been mostly wiped out? And why was it wiped out? Was it only due to no heirs, like Stewart? Is it due to the old adage of the victor’s writing history? I think it’s a little bit of both — and either makes me sad at the history that was lost to history. What else might we have known about this wonderful city?

Even its location speaks to our origins as a city, for Trinity faces Wall Street, creating a symbolic crossroads of God and Mammon. … Today the tombstones and monuments, like so much about Trinity, exist as testimony. They tell us something about mortality and vanity, of course, as all graveyards do, but they also speak to us about history and change in the city of New York. …But with the probable exceptions of Hamilton and Fulton, even those whose names remain legible are now as forgotten as those whose names have been erased. …St. Paul’s Chapel, a branch of Trinity that had opened in 1766 …. But the spare simplicity of St. Paul’s was fitting for a president who represented republican values. It remains the oldest continuously used structure in Manhattan. After September 11, 2001, the chapel served its city with great honor, providing food, drink, and rest to hundreds of rescue workers and hard hats, and its fences were decorated by thousands of spontaneous messages from those who came downtown to find lost relatives, friends, or lovers, or simply to mourn. St. Paul’s has been witness to more history than Trinity itself. …It still asserts a sense of phoenixlike triumph, rebirth, and enduring faith.

So much intertwined history between the churches of Lower Manhattan, including Grace Church on Broadway and E. 12th, which Hamill references later. I don’t think I realized how connected the three are, although they certainly fall under the If These Walls Could Talk umbrella because they have been witness to some amazing history. Oddly enough, that’s something I usually attribute to Europe, not Manhattan. It’s the old cliche. “In England, 100 miles is far. In America, 100 years is old”. But that’s not true of Lower Manhattan. It’s only fitting that St. Paul’s served George Washington, but also the 9/11 rescue workers. Trinity itself was damaged in the attacks, but it – like New Yorkers – shows its resiliency.

Thanks to the desperation of Aaron Burr, he had discovered the true religion of New York: real estate. … The adherents of the secular New York religion founded by John Jacob Astor saw manna falling from the skies. Inevitably, Manhattan went up. First, uptown. Then to the sky. … From roughly 1880, and for another fifty years, there was a vivid architecture of New York grandeur. Some have called it the New York Renaissance. Others define it as part of the City Beautiful movement. The name doesn’t truly matter. But most of the physical New York I love comes from that era. …the Woolworth Building, the Flatiron, the Daily News Building, the Seagram Building, the Chrysler Building. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the New York Public Library, the old Custom House, the New York Stock Exchange, Carnegie Hall, Judson Memorial Church ….at Columbia University, and dozens of others scattered through the city. When I think of New York as a visible city, these are the buildings that dominate all others. …. Sullivan’s maxim was used to justify some of the worst architectural junk in the twentieth-century city. These new blank and faceless examples of the International Style, with its roots in the Bauhaus, made the beaux arts buildings even more valuable presences in the city. They were also crucial to the city’s sense of itself

Some things never change many centuries later. Reminds me of another book on Mt. TBR. When the Astors Owned New York. Sadly, it’s pretty far down Mt. TBR as I own it in dead tree format. On the other hand, that should be a reason to read it sooner — reclaim the space. But I never have occasion, or space, to carry around a dead tree book.  While I’m not hugely into real estate, I loved his description of the city’s architectural evolution. Hamill’s habit of talking about the building(s) and what they are now really helped set the setting to understand NYC in the time he was seeing it.

Each time I came for a visit to Penn Station, there was less of it. I was not alone, gazing at this immense act of municipal vandalism and whispering, You bastards. You stupid goddamned bastards. …basic model was the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, but the designers never lost sight of its function as a railroad terminal. …The vandals had attacked some core image New Yorkers had of their city and themselves. The landmarks movement rose from the rubble. Because I was in Europe at the time of the first assault, I never had a chance to walk through that magnificent waiting room and run my hands over the sensual marble and travertine, and say a proper good-bye.

Penn Station was long gone by the time I was born. As much as I love Grand Central’s beauty, I have a hard time romanticizing Penn, which I hate. But in a way, I’m grateful to its destruction because it created the Landmarks movement which is currently celebrating a “landmark” anniversary with a fabulous exhibit at the Queens Museum. I wonder why the timing was perfect 50 years ago to celebrate the city’s architectural history, and not before. I wonder what else might have been preserved if they acted sooner.

Broadway in my mind is an immense tree, with its roots deep in the soil at the foot of Manhattan, which is why I insist so stubbornly to my friends that the uptown places I cherish on Broadway are actually part of Downtown. But there also exists in me an idea of Broadway. It swells with every variety of urban swagger. You see the swagger in the old downtown financial district, where men in conservative suits and overcoats walk toward offices, or clubs, or lunch at India House in Hanover Square as if certain of their destinies. …Sometimes, New York knocks you down. It also teaches you, by example, how to get up. …Obviously, each of these Broadways is shaped by the neighborhoods through which it passes.Broadway never obeyed the commandments of the grid, and the reason was simple: Broadway was Broadway, and even the planners knew they must not tamper with what it already was.

I have often struggled with this idea of Broadway as a physical place while also being an idea. That doesn’t even take into account Google Maps’ current idiocy of referring to every road called Broadway as Broadway Theatre. Go ahead, test it out, it’s insane programming. But Broadway goes beyond many descriptions and it’s its own thing to different people. There is no right or wrong. Strangely, he never touched on my favorite part of Broadway — the Canyon of Heroes. I love that as a tribute not only to the city’s history, but also a path through the living history, whether it’s Bowling Green, Zuccotti Park, City Hall, Broadway is a path through history in Lower Manhattan. It turns into a path of commerce, but to me, Broadway is NYC’s living history.

For a brief period during its construction, it was known too as Stewart’s Folly, because he chose to build on the east side of Broadway, and right behind his emerging store lay the Five Points. No decent woman, it was said, would risk shopping there, where thieves and pickpockets and other predators could strike swiftly and then vanish into the lawless alleys of the city’s worst slum. At night, it was predicted, armed gangs from the Points would come to loot the place.

AND

After Broadway, a second major street had carved its way into the old empty farmlands of the early nineteenth century and into our present history: the Bowery. ….but in 1849 the well-off citizens who resided near the upper Bowery had the name changed to Third Avenue in an attempt to evade the raffish stain of the true name. …Bowery Theater was built in 1826 on the corner of Canal Street (the present 50 Bowery). It offered three thousand seats and was the first American theater to be fully illuminated by gaslight. After the Civil War, the Bowery went into steady decline and then suffered a fatal blow. As happens frequently in New York, the blow fell in the name of progress. … After the el was taken down in 1955-57, and sunlight returned, and the old bums blinked at the sight of the sky, the Bowery remained squalid.

I knew very little about the Bowery (and nothing of Five Points, sadly) until I took the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy’s Grit, Graft & Grandeur : The Bowery walking tour.  I was fascinated by this tour and wished its three hour run was thirteen or thirty hours.  There is so much fascinating history in this region. It has been and continues to be Broadway’s ugly step child, but in reading this book and taking the tour I realize there’s so much relatively unknown history tied to this street. One of my favorite photos of the Bowery is its old and new: the New Museum and the Bowery Mission. I cannot imagine an El dropping embers onto theatergoing women — I cannot imagine the Bowery as a hub of NYC theater, even though I know it was. Some of Bowery’s Skid Row history is on visible display in 190 Bowery — but it’s old history is gone. Lost to progress as he says.

FROM THE BEGINNING, Fifth Avenue was a very good address, although it seldom had any murders. It did, alas, contain murderers. The social and geographical foundation of what was called “the†Fifth Avenue for most of the nineteenth century was Washington Square. And before its six and a half acres were laid out as the city’s first planned square, it was the potter’s field. But in the center of today’s square at approximately where the fountain was built in the 1960s stood the gallows. …. even in the late 1950s, when I was living in the East Village and spending time around the square, old residents were telling me tales about how on certain foggy nights you could see the dead rising from below the grass and the footpaths. Some wore the yellow shrouds in which they were buried, identifying them as victims of the fever. Some had distended necks. Many were women. I didn’t believe a word of these tales, of course, but knew they must be true.

I knew about the potter’s field — thank you Linda Fairstein’s books — but I had no idea about the Gallows. How did I do grad school at NYU and not know about this. How did the professors not use it as a way to behave. And yes, there are so many tall tales that in some ways, we still know to be absolutely true and false at the same time.

At the same time, I also had no idea of Union Square’s theatrical history even though many of the buildings remain today. I didn’t think about its connection to the Jewish Rialto (again, thank you LESJC!) despite some obvious lines from the Merchant of Venice. As Hamill said, “If to the brownstoners Fourteenth Street was a branch of Fifth Avenue, to the actors, musicians, and writers it was a branch of Broadway.”  As a fan of Off-Broadway, I wondered how/why it developed apart from Broadway (besides the current union issues that make it so today). I’m not surprised that I learned that in this book — or that it grew out of the old Jewish Rialto.

Union Square, after all, was named because of the planned union of Broadway with the Bowery, not as an homage to that union for which so many New Yorkers had died…. The Academy of Music had sealed its own doom as a venue for opera when it refused to sell boxes to the new men of wealth; they responded by building the Metropolitan Opera House on Broadway and Thirty-ninth. Its first season was 1883. Three years later, the Academy was finished as a venue for opera and other upper-class entertainments. The old Academy of Music had been hammered into dust in 1926 to make way for the massive headquarters of Con Edison. Its once-powerful neighbor, Tammany Hall, had vanished too, taking the remains of Tony Pastor’s stage with it. In 1929, the politicians opened their new headquarters on Union Square and East Seventeenth Street, where this last Tammany Hall would remain until 1943 (it’s now a small, elegant Off-Broadway theater and the location of the New York Film School).

Wow. In many ways, Ochs was lucky that this also hasn’t happened to Times Square. It’s amazing how the city has progressed northwest, leaving its history “hammered into dust” and leaving few traces of its roots. Tammany Hall is another one of those figures like Broadway — physical or an entity. Or both.

Were the Occupy Wall Street riots really just the current installation in the cycle that included the Draft Riots and the Tompkins Square riots? Is the Brooklyn Renaissance new, or is it just the next in the cycle of renewals that also included the Bowery, Tompkins Square Park, Times Square and many others?

The seeds of excess and empty theaters led to the sell off that led to the current problem: not enough space on Broadway. It’s a shame the Hudson Theatre is now home to a hotel, and can’t welcome back the Tonight Show’s return to NYC in 2014.

Then the Depression happened, and Forty-second Street began what seemed a terminal decline.

For the Bowery, it was the Civil War. For 42nd Street, or the Deuce, as Hamill likes to call it, it was the Great Depression. What was it for 125th Street? Hamill doesn’t touch on that since he acknowledges he doesn’t know Harlem the way he knows his Manhattan. Disney is the new Hangman? First it came for 42nd Street, and then 125th (at the Apollo). The financial crisis of 2008-09 didn’t claim another neighborhood, but the pattern is there. Has the city learned from it?

Toward the end of the 1970s, every New Yorker, male and female, white, black, and Latino, had learned to live with fear. They grew up in a world of plague, where the combination of drugs, guns, illiteracy, casual violence, and the rise of AIDS was creating a nihilistic hell never imagined by Dante Alighieri. Even priests and cops walked with wary steps. The Deuce was the place in which the hard kids lived most fully during that brief time between a lost childhood and the penitentiary. Very few New Yorkers expected a happy ending to the squalid saga of Forty-second Street, and yet a reasonably happy ending was what we got. Sometimes miracles do happen. In the 1990s, through a combination of planning, will, intelligent politics, and sheer luck, the Deuce was reclaimed.

And now? AIDS is a museum exhibit. That’s not to say that it’s not a part of every day life — but IV drug use is down, casual sex is discouraged, crack “fad” is gone — and 42nd Street is a family destination.

That openness is essential to living here. It is based on choice. You can choose to look at the Vermeers in the Frick or walk around Chinatown. If you live downtown, uptown is also yours, a subway ride away.The wanderer in Manhattan must go forth with a certain innocence, because New York is best seen with innocent eyes.

These “innocent eyes” are off to more reading because I have a new-found love for the city I call home.

Reading List:

Essie Summer 2013 1.0 and Spring Redux

Note: images lost in blog crash
So when I stumbled on the new Essie summer line, I squealed like the 13 year old I am when it comes to nail polish. So pretty, vibrant and perfect for summer. I’ve been busy and not caught up on my nails so I didn’t realize they were actually out already until a colleague said she had Bottle Service. Knowing I “needed” a pedi this weekend, I hoped for the best. Before I got to the salon today, I was at a friend’s place and saw a pretty, vibrant orange. I was intrigued. It was Saturday Disco Fever. Orange doesn’t tend to suit me well and it’s definitely more of a pedi color, but I gave it a try.
It’s pretty, but it’s definitely not for me. Clockwise form top left: indoors, indoors flash and outdoors. It’s very close to Brazilliant which was a summer favorite and might be OK for a pedicure, but not for me for a mani. Just doesn’t work with my skin tone. Still, nothing lost but a few cotton balls to try it.Happened to be in CVS this morning and looked to see if they had any of the colors, but they were sold out. So it turned into one of my favorite salon past times, treating myself to a color I might not like enough to buy. With few exceptions, I won’t buy a color that can’t work for manis and pedis because I rarely do my own toes. The down side, I found myself wishing for Cab-ana this week when my pedi chipped.

Was pleasantly surprised to find that my salon had the new colors. It was actually a hard choice because I was thinking about a color that might work with the outfit for tonight’s Lortel Awards. I saw and dismissed Shake your $$ Maker, (much darker and less neon than the swatch looks) and a few of my standards. Quit looking at Merino Cool, it’s summer. Without even fully planning on going all with the new summer line, I landed on Bouncer, it’s Me! and DJ Play that Song.

I’m quite pleased with both colors although I don’t think the blue looks anything like the swatch? Would I buy it? Probably not, too close to Butler Please (and Mezmerize) but it’s a great summer pedi color. I love the purple, although it’s definitely more fuschia and not really neon in my opinion. It’s a hair darker than Splash of Grenadine and less sparkly than Madison Ave-Hue (below). Bizarrely? I was initially concerned about it clashing with the coral/red skirt I planned to wear tonight and then I remembered I had a skirt that works perfectly with the purple — two actually, one a solid, one part of a multi color pattern on black. Thank you, Old Navy, and my love of all thinks pink/purple for bailing me out.

I like Madison Ave-Hue. It’s not as vibrant as Grenadine or DJ, but I love the sparkles. Also great for hiding sheet marks. Both of the above are indoors. If I ever took one outdoors, I’ve since deleted it.Haven’t yet tried Bond With Whomever. Salon has it so I’ll give it a go for next mani ped, maybe. I need to try Ginza again because my only take away that I remember was that it chipped too quickly. Overall I give the Spring lines a B. Some winners (Cab-ana, Madison Ave-Hue, Come Here, First Timer) and some mehs (Avenue Maintain, Ipanema (too close to Fifth Ave) with the purples (Bond, Ginza) still TBD.

More soon.

Go The Dist: Revised

I did it. I finally bit the bullet and revised my #GoTheDist goal for the year. Not because I’m less active than I thought, but because my initial goal was essentially a math error. I bike at roughly 3x the speed I walk, there was no way I was going to hit what was essentially a bike goal. So the new goal is 500 miles. That’s still highly debatable, but at least it’s realistic-ish.Here’s my mileage so far this year:

Walking ///  Biking
Totals for January 16.28 ///  58.89
Totals for February  20.52 /// 54.15
Totals for March  25.08 ///  37.61

Totals for 1Q   61.88 ///150.65

Totals for April   56.5 ///  17.71

I walked nearly as much in April as I did in Q1! Partially a factor of the improved weather, and partially helped by 16m in two days, but there’s no reason I can’t keep it up. I walked all over the planet last Spring and can do it again. I did realize it’s a good thing I’m not going to do the Great Manhattan Saunter since 9 miles killed my feet on Sunday. All isn’t good with those numbers though — reflects a drastic decrease in gym visits. Time to fix that.