#GoTheDist: 4 days left in 2013

and at 36.55 miles biked (28.87 in December!) I’m 15.95 miles from my goal of 52.5 miles on the bike.

Can I do it? I don’t know, but I think so. I wish my gym was closer to go this weekend, but I think I can go Monday and Tuesday.

Walking wise, I’m all set. Goal was 102.7 miles and I’m at 256.01! Wow. New mini goal, beat November’s mileage. I don’t think weather will cooperate to hit October’s 99.11 miles, but 83 is within sight as I’m at 73.8 miles through yesterday.

 

#GoTheDist Q4: Two months in

Whoops, I’ve been bad here since I discovered Tumblr.

My Q4 goals were:

102.7 miles walking and 52.5 miles on the bike.  My comment on that was that I hoped to have hit both by the end of November.

I nearly hit that in October, walking wise, with 99.11 miles walked but fell short on the bike. November was more (less?) of the same: 83.1 miles walked. None on the bike. I will remedy the bike this week but while happy with the miles in mostly unsuitable weather, I need to get to the gym more.

December sneak peak: 42.5 miles walked through yesterday.  Yes, I just caught up on tracking.

Red Square in the East Village

every time I do a tour with the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy, I learn things that have nothing to do with Judaism and/or the Lower East Side. I attribute this to the diverse range of guides they use, each of whom bring their own flavor to their tours. This bit of history might actually be Lower East Side related, depending on whose definition you use of the Lower East Side.

As we stood on the southern side of Houston St. headed from Congregation Chasam Sopher to Angel Orensanz, Marty pointed out a new building on the northern side of the street. On the surface, there wasn’t anything special about the building, aside from it being newer than some of its neighbors and decidedly not a tenement. However, Marty encouraged us to look up to the top where we saw a statue of Lenin and a clock whose numbers were backwards.

Welcome to Red Square, on Houston Street.

The rental apartments, on land that was a gas station for 25 years, were designed by Michael Rosen and the statue of Lenin, which points toward Wall Street, was added later following the fall of the Soviet Union when it was discovered in Moscow. The building’s clock is said to come from a design in MoMA’s store.

Some of the building’s neighbors are just as eccentric as Red Square itself and all add some flavor to a street that is adding too many chains and strip malls for my liking.

Crossing Delancey

with photos.

on a day where crossing 1st Ave. due to the marathon was the bigger odyssey. Luckily, the m15 was (sort of) running and I was able to make it down for the Jewish Heritage Festival.Before I made it to the Festival, however, I caught a peek of a broken-down synagogue on what I realized was Norfolk St through the Seward Park playground. With time to kill, I walked down Essex to Delancey and back up Norfolk for a better look. It turns out it was Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, formerly the Norfolk St. Baptist Church/Alanson Methodist Episcopal Church, now a landmark in some serious disrepair. Sad. While it appears it is no longer in immediate danger of being torn down, it appears that another piece of living history is gone.

From there it was a hop-skip to the Conservancy’s visitor center where, by virtue of the numbers, I did Crossing Delancey with Marty of Manhattan Walks, the guide who I loved from the Upper West Side and Jewish Harlem tours. I was pleased to be joined by Jeff Dobbins of Walks of New York, Howard Teich of the Brooklyn Jewish Historical Initiative, among others familiar faces from the Conservancy’s tours.

Because I hadn’t planned to go today or put much thought into the tour I was going to take, I hadn’t done my homework. I was pleased when the first stop was the Stanton Street Shul, one of the LES synagogues by which I am most fascinated. Although its congregation was mostly LES immigrant poor, a ton of love and detail was put into this tenement shul, especially the mazalot. There is an amazing amount of history in this 20′ x 100′ space.  While Eldridge St. remains the crown jewel of synagogue restoration, others like Stanton St., Beth Hamedrash Hagadol and Emory Roth haven’t yet been as lucky. I hope that tide turns soon. Stanton St. is amazing as one of the last remaining tenement synagogues (from a high of 700), all which had an interesting role in NYC history.

After Stanton Street, we headed to Clinton St. and Congregation Chasam Sopher, one of the oldest buildings whose continuous history was as a synagogue. It was originally built in 1853 by Congregation Rodeph Sholem, now located on the Upper West Side. Yes, more congregation musical chairs. Chasam Sopher has an interesting history, both in its continued existence as a free synagogue, but also how it suvived the down turn of the 1970s-80s and is now thriving due to the  influx of young Orthodox families on the Lower East Side.

Although the tour continued down Orchard Street, my final stop was at Angel Orensanz, a cultural center whose work I love. I had no idea that it was (one of) the previous homes of Anche Chesed, nor that it was the oldest surviving building in New York City built specifically as a synagogue, and the first synagogue structure built on the Lower East Side. It is now a venue that is available for rent (especially weddings!) and has been home to some amazing cultural programs. I hope that rental income allows it to thrive because this architecture cannot be lost to history.

I was sad to leave the tour, but it whet my appetite for even more exploration of the Lower East Side, which will hopefully come soon.

#GoTheDist Q4: One month in

In addition to way too much candy, October 31 marked the end of the first month of Q4. My Q4 goals were:

102.7 miles walking and 52.5 miles on the bike.  My comment on that was that I hoped to have hit both by the end of November.

October activity: 99.11 miles walked and 7.68 miles on the bike.

I’m over the moon with the walking mileage especially with some really lazy days but know I definitely need to get to the gym more often.

Baby steps.

The difference being a fan makes

Manning Baas pregame warmups

Manning Baas pregame warmups

It’s no secret that I’m a Yankees fan. I also happen to be a quick hop from the stadium via the 4 train. Makes going to games easy peasy. Although I’m a Yankees fan, I don’t particularly dislike the Mets, but I find myself declining tickets more than I go. Why? Not because of their poor play, but rather because there is no easy way from Flushing to the Upper East Side. I’m 8.1 miles as the crow flies from Citi Field and a 25 minute dive from the stadium. Via mass transit, it’s 50m in a best case scenario, which has maybe happened once in the 5+ years I’ve lived in this neighborhood.

On the other hand, I’m a die-hard Giants fan. Met Life is 11.2 miles and a 28 minute drive. Last night’s game ended at 12:02 AM. Luckily most had left early and my seats were near the Bud Light gate (and therefore the train) so I made relatively good time and made the Secaucus connection by 12:4x. Of course that wasn’t direct. It was 2:03 AM by the time I walked into my apartment after NJT to Penn, the E to 50th, the A to 86th and the m86. No better and honestly, probably worse than Citi Field.

Despite being exhausted at work today, I’m pretty sure I never turned down Giants tickets and certainly not free.

That’s the difference being a fan makes.

More photos from last night here.

 

A walk down Wall Street

I had only vague plans of what I wanted to do after finishing the Trinity Church tour. Walk up to the Lower East Side and explore more of my adopted home? Walk down to Wagner Park and read while taking four million photos of the Statue? Walk the last section of the #GreatManhattanLoop that I did via bike earlier this summer?

The answer, unsurprisingly, ended up to be none of the above. I’ve been talking about exploring Lower Manhattan a lot and I decided when better to do it then when I was already down there. So I left the church yard and headed across Broadway and east on Wall Street. I had of course seen the Stock Exchange and Federal Hall previously, but never in day light. Come see the vampires of New York! Federal Hall was a miss (aside from a pair of crazy OWS protestors calling the reopening of the Statue the work of Communists) due to the Shutdown as it’s a National Park. Additionally, George Washington is behind scaffolding. What is it with our 18th century historic figures hiding behind scaffolding? The Stock Exchange, however, is phenomenal. I really had no idea how big the building was and I love its grandeur when compared with the more pedestrian American Stock Exchange building.

Intrigued by their Fed at 100 exhibit, I continued down Wall to the Museum of American Finance (48 Wall, former Bank of New York Building). Pleasant surprise: free admission. The exhibit is awesome and not just because I’m a ridiculous banking & economics nerd. It’s really well laid out and accessible to all segments of the population, no matter your level of comfort with the Fed. Plus it has figured of Hamilton and Burrr mid-duel. The museum’s shop is small but good, especially its collection of books.

Speaking of the Fed, I don’t know how many Money & Banking classes I took in school, yet I’d somehow never seen the New York Fed. I wasn’t even entirely sure where it was until I read the release for the Museum’s exhibit.

20 Pine, the Trump Building, Chase Manhattan Plaza and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

20 Pine, the Trump Building, Chase Manhattan Plaza and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York

It’s a relatively unassuming building from the Liberty St. side with the only indication of what the building is a plaque on the southwestern corner, but from the Eastern side and Maiden Lane? I actually didn’t realize I was looking at the same building. If you think the NYC skyline is boring or the same throughout, I’d argue you’re really not looking. I love the architecture of the Fed and many of the buildings in this area and I definitely need to find time to explore it more. Ideally after I read a guidebook so I know what I’m looking at. I didn’t recognize the infamous 20 Pine in the photo above until someone mentioned it.

Random thoughts:

  • No. 37 Wall, now home to Tiffany’s has a fascinating history and I love the facade.
  • I had forgotten what a big deal (NYT, Metro) the Duane Reade at 40 Wall was when it opened. The space is still amazing even if the fare (aside from the stock ticker) is the same as all the new locations.
  • Love the Liberty Mural, but it too is a victim of scaffolding and you can’t get even remotely close.
  • The Chamber of Commerce building (and its history/current use) is intriguing and a fun read. The building itself looks like it’s a better fit up by City Hall rather than with the Wall Street area architecture.
View east down Wall Street from the window of the Trinity Church ringing room

openhousenewyork: Trinity Church

I adore openhousenewyork weekend. Last year, it was a Vertical Tour of St. John the Divine. This year I opted for a tour of the Trinity Church Bell Tower. For someone whose time at religious services is limited to weddings and funerals, I am fascinated by church architecture and could easily make a weekend of the church sites. ETA: I’m not the only one. I may need to think of that for 2014.

I got down to Trinity early (OK, on time, but that’s early in NYC weekend time) and had some time to explore the churchyard, including Trinity Root, which I’d only previously seen through the fence. (Yes, as was the case with St. John’s last year, I had no idea Trinity was generally open and operational.) The story behind the sculpture is a fascinating read and for a time until it was installed, the stump was on display in the Trinity Churchyard. I’m not sure how much of this article is true, but the survival of St. Paul’s in some ways mirrors the survival of NYC after 9/11. When I read My Manhattan, I first learned of the connection between Trinity and St. Paul’s, but the more I read, the more of its history St. Paul shares. That’s a living landmark that can never be lost.

Anyway, derail aside… Trinity Church is amazing in its own right. I was glad that last year’s scaffolding is gone and that the work, which included a cleaning, left the church cleaner than it has been in years. I really didn’t know much about church bells, but I was curious. Yep, curiosity, my main openhousenewyork driver. We were welcomed by David Grider, the principal architect behind the restoration of the belfry in 2007 before climbing (and I do mean climbing including a ship ladder and spiral stairs!) up to the ringing room for an explanation of the bells, ringing and some history. The shutter bug in me, however, was distracted.

View east down Wall Street from the window of the Trinity Church ringing room

View east down Wall Street from the window of the Trinity Church ringing room

While this tour didn’t feature the views that the St. John’s Vertical Tour did, this unexpected view east down Wall Street was amazing and awe inspiring. It’s the reason I decided to explore down that way later in the afternoon.

After the ringers explained the basics of ringing to us, they let us hear the bells in action. I’m not sure what I expected, but I didn’t expect it to be such an aerobic workout or one that featured people from all ages. The Trinity Church Ringers are lucky in that many international ringers come there to ring due to the legacy of the church and its bells. Here‘s a decent overview for those similarly confused with a focus on the how and why (PDF) behind “change ringing” and some amazing behind the scenes photos from one of the church’s ringers. Church Ringers, the ultimate Odd Job? Although I was somewhat surprised to learn that the ringers pay to  ring (PDF), but don’t appear to be paid by Trinity.

Our tour and lesson over, we descended to the sanctuary and I spent another hour or so exploring the sanctuary and churchyard. The cemetery there is only one of the three that Trinity has, but I found this one to be the most historic and “home” to the most interesting people. Although Alexander Hamilton is not currently on view, many others old and new are.

Unsurprisingly, I found the churchyard peaceful before heading east into the chaos that was Wall Street.

Accountability 3.0

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday.

I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday.

Via LifeWithFitness.
when I was rebuilding the blog, I stopped to read my early thoughts on accountability, which I revisited in April. I said I was going to get the rest of the way to goal this year, and while that isn’t going to happen, the above summarizes my feelings on my progress this year.

I’m not there, but I’m getting there.

Let’s see where I am with regard to the baby steps I’ve set.

January

  • Blog. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes. But when I was losing, I was blogging. So we’re going to try it again. I wasn’t very good with it this summer, but I was thinking about blogging even if I never got to writing.
  • On the writing theme, I’m tracking. I was a master at tracking way back when and it’s time to go back. I don’t see what my road block is here. I face the foods when I see the number on the scale, it’s time to face it in my tracker. I tracked today. Including the m&ms. That’s a start. I have been very good at tracking. I’d say 95% overall, when I don’t it’s not because I don’t want to face it, but rather because I leave it too long and don’t catch everything. But I still give myself an A- here.
  • Money. I joined Run With Jess‘ DietBet challenge at the instigation of a Hive friend. It cost me $10 but I will lose my 4% and if I do that every month it won’t cost me another cent I don’t think. AND if I hit the 4% goals each month (a big if, I know), I’ll hit goal by July, which gives me plenty of breathing room if I have an off month. Well I didn’t hit it in July or September, and I got bored with DietBet partially because I wasn’t losing at that rate. I ended up buying the iPad I was thinking of anyway and I love it.
  • #GoTheDist. I gave up on tracking this a chunk of the way through last year although I continued to track my workouts in MapMyFitness. But the challenge is a great motivator and it gets me to the gym when I don’t want to go. I covered that yesterday and a fair bit this year. A+ here.
  • Smoothies. Yep, back to smoothies for dinner. They help with the salt retention and they give me my chocolate fix when I otherwise eat things I have no business eating when I get home. This didn’t last, I lost my appetite for them. Do I miss them for my chocolate fix? Yes.
  • I’m not giving up soda. Not yet, at least. I was the queen of fake lemonade last time and while I’m contemplating getting a soda stream, I’m not ready to make the switch off soda. I’m afraid I won’t drink enough until it’s warmer. But it’s diet soda so that’s a partial win. I’m drinking too much soda, and probably too much coffee, but that’s not changing right now.
  • S is for Spark. as in the Spark to get to goal. As in SparkPeople. If I do what I did with Weight Watchers online, I can make it work with Spark. There is no difference in the foods I’m eating. I love LoseIt, and as  I mentioned above, I’m tracking.
  • I’m going to get my knees to the point where I can do more than one squat, or I’m going to quit putting off knee surgery and get it done. This one is still up in the air, but my knee isn’t holding me back too badly.

April

  • Exercise everyday. It doesn’t have to be the gym, and my 64 stairs a day probably count anyway, but with the weather getting nice there’s no reason not to spend some time outside walking, etc. Especially because I’d really like to finish the Great Manhattan Loop. One thing I realized when I was home for about ten days in July is how much I walk by default when I’m here. There are sloth days, but I think I’ve been good on this step. And I finished the Loop and have started on another goal with the bridges.
  • Eat better. Not just within the calories, but more fruits and vegetables. It’s the perfect season. Eh, sort of. I give myself a C here.
  • Diversify my breakfasts. I’m getting sick of Cheerios. I think there are better options to keep me fuller too. Straight up D here. It’s coffee, cheerios or both.
  • Set a goal. Maybe even a Goal. Time to figure out what I’m working toward. F. F – if possible.

I definitely did better with my January goals then April. I think it’s because I referred back to that first post more often. I actually forgot about the April mini goals I set although I knew I had revisited my progress on January goals. Time to set some new ones for the home stretch of the year.

New for October/Q4

  • Stay on track and finish strong. Fall is crazy at work, but that’s not an excuse to undo all the progress I’ve made this year.
  • #GoTheDist Q4. Detailed yesterday.
  • Better food choices. Goldfish aren’t dinner and coffee isn’t breakfast.
  • Set a Goal, goal, oal-gay or what have you. Time to stop this ridiculosity and just do it.

#GoTheDist minigoal: met

At the beginning of September I said my newest goal was to do better Q3 than Q2 I knew it was going to be a tall order with some long walks this spring, but I thought I could do it. Well Q3 ended this week, how did I do?

Time Frame Steps Miles walked Miles biked
Totals for 3Q 758,057 316.3 31.66
Totals for 2Q 489,726 300.5 98.36
Totals for 1Q 0 ** 61.88 150.65

I did it!
Skin of my teeth, but I DID IT.

Time to finish the year out strong. Here are my Q4 #GoTheDist mini goals:

  • get to the gym more often. That 31 miles biked is indicative of a larger problem. Walking is good, but so is the gym. I need to find a balance between the two. I think this will come somewhat naturally with the changing weather not being as conducive to walking home.
  • Do better than Q1. This is weather driven, Jan-Mar are about as conducive to walking as Oct-December, especially since work is busier than the fall. Q1 was somewhat undercounted, when I got the Jawbone I realized I walked more in a given day than I gave myself credit for so this should be easy.
  • Numerical goals, I was going to say one third better than my poorest showing for each total, but 82 miles seems too little. So 2/3 better it is. 102.7 miles walking and 52.5 miles on the bike. I’m hoping I’ve hit both by the end of November, but we’ll see.

** didn’t get the Jawbone Up until May, so no steps until then