aka another beautiful Sunday with the Lower East Side Jewish Conservancy on their Colonial New Amsterdam tour. Until they added some new public tours this spring, this was the last one I hadn’t done so I was pleased to see it offered in the spring as I generally don’t do tours in November and December. I think the seeds of this tour were planted in my brain at Shorakkopoch Rock during the Great Saunter and further while reading James and MIchelle Nevius’ Footprints in New York.
While blissfully shorter, today’s tour started at Fraunces Tavern whose 300th birthday is coming up sooner than I realized. For as many times as I’ve been to the Museum & eaten at the restaurant, I didn’t know that much about the building or its history. Even if the current building only dates to 1904, it’s still amazing history happened here. [[NB: I learned the year of the current building and a lot more on the Lovelace Tavern from this Forgotten NY Tour, whose only clue as to its age is the comment on the planned rebuild of the Staten Island Ferry terminals. So much has changed in this neighborhood since 2005!]]
From Fraunces Tavern we headed south (or “under water”, as I learned that Pearl St. was the shoreline and where it drew its name from. We passed the old Battery Maritime Building which is slated to be a hotel sometime soon. I wonder what will happen to the ferry service to Governors Island once that happens. From there it was on to Peter Minuit Plaza, whose history I learned more about recently. Somehow I never noticed the topographic map that allows you to “walk” New Amsterdam with your fingers, nor the Jewish Tercentenary Monument at the flagpole’s base.
After looping around and through Stone Street, home to approximately four billion and twelve historic signs, we ended up nearly where we started, diagonally across from Fraunces Tavern. As many times as I’ve walked that block, I never noticed that I was walking on top of Lovelace Tavern and somehow never even saw the above-ground signs to the Stadt Huys’ history. In my defense though, the potholes are mostly condensed over and nowhere near as visible as in the Forgotten NY link above. There’s some more fun history here.
the first Shearith Israel Cemetery
From there we headed north on Pearl and out of the Financial District/New Amsterdam to Shearith Israel’s first cemetery on St. James south of Chatham Square and practically in the heart of what is now Chinatown. It’s amazing how far outside “the city” that was when you walk uphill from Wall Street to the Brooklyn Bridge and then back down. Walking past the Seaport is just sad with the recent news and more-or-less permanent closure of the museum’s galleries. There are some great images and maps of the cemetery’s history and it was a pleasant surprise to find it open. It turned out it was for a Memorial Day dedication and so we got a nice bit of history about those who were buried there. The 2006 restoration was done with some amazing detail to find new pieces of history.
The guide said, and I agreed, that this tour was a hard one because with the exception of Shearith Israel’s cemetery, we were talking about things that there’s no trace of. It’s not like the other tours where the buildings’ purposes may have changed but they still remain. I found it amazing that there are only two manmade structures that date back to the 18th century: the fence at Bowling Green and (maybe) Fraunces Tavern.
The end of this tour segued nice with Eric Ferrara’s Bowery tour, which I did two or three years ago. I especially liked accidentally finding Collect Pond Park on my way to the West Side after the tour.
It’s been a while since I read a walking book. I’m going to take a gander that the Saunter inspired it. I can safely say that the walk Nate Damm covered in his Life On Foot: A Walk Across America book is one I’ll never undertake. But I loved reading every word of it. I could also identify more with Nate than I could with Ffyona Campbell when I read about her walks. Nor did I want to smack him as I did Josie Dew while reading about her life on wheels.
Damm’s walk started in Delaware in late February 2011, and he was inspired by the walks of John Francis. The American Discovery Trail was the first of many named roads that he walked. Some like the Lincoln Highway I’ve driven, others such as The Loneliest Roadhad me heading to Google.
Like Mike McIntyre’s Kindness of Strangers, I love the people that Nate met — from Serinda on his first days of the trail to Maureen in southern Ohio where Nate learned of the “Hobo Spirits”
I’m a big historic site traveler and in addition to the books it put on my list, there are also a number of sites I want to see:
Mason-Dixon Line, sure I’ve crossed into and out of Maryland but never got a photo if it’s marked.
Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia
French Lick, not because I’m a Bird or Celtics fan but legends of people and towns like the “Hick from French Lick” are just too fun to pass up.
It was William Least Heat-Moon’s River Horsethat whet the road trip appetite last year. While I hope Amtrak quells it some, I feel the need of a “see America” road trip sometime soon. In the mean time, I enjoyed the America that Damm and Wilson saw.
as I’ve touched on before, the Great Saunter was the idea behind the #GreatManhattanLoop when I first started walking Manhattan. Due to a combination of not being in town on that Saturday and knowing I wasn’t up to that distance, I walked the Loop in segments before finally finishing in May 2013.
In May 2015, the stars finally coincided for me to attempt the Great Saunter. I didn’t finish it (and apparently most don’t), but I (mostly) enjoyed the 19.5 mile walk around Manhattan’s shoreline including some places I knew of but had never gotten to photograph, like Pumpkin House.
Historical markers on the Broad St. side of Fraunces Tavern
Saturday, May 2, came bright and early-especially early with registration beginning at Fraunces Tavern at 7am. As I learned later from a Shorewalkers volunteer, there were 1,070 folks preregistered and they expected that 3-400 had joined at various points along the route.
Castle Clinton in Battery Park
One World Trade behind the Winter Garden
The first miles of the walk go around the southern tip of Manhattan through Battery Park and up the west side through North and South Coves and Battery Park City. I’m pleasantly surprised with how relatively construction-free Battery Park is and it looks like the SeaGlass carousel might finally become reality. I enjoyed the quick view of Castle Clinton aka South West Battery in this National Parks’ Centennial year. Amazing to think that was once in the harbor. The opening of One World Trade last fall for office space and the Observatory later this month is amazing. I also can’t believe this was less than three years ago but that site will never not be arresting.
New York Central Railroad 69th Street Transfer Bridge
Treelined Cherry Walk in Riverside Drive
White and pink cherry blossoms on the same limb
I didn’t take many photos along the early part of the route in part due to wanting to keep pace and, in part, because I had many from my May 2012 walk. The only exceptions were the New Whitney and the fairly new North River Lobster Company. Alas, it was too early in the day for lobster and we walked on through Riverside Park which is the stretch of the Greenway I feel as if I know the best. I walked it in February and two weeks ago in a premature attempt to see cherry blossoms. The no photo thing-which I knew I’d need to keep up if I wanted to keep up with the group-died as per usual when I saw cherry blossoms. Aka why there’s a whole Flickr album dedicated to them. Plus the whole stretch from W. 89th up to the George Washington Bridge is gorgeous in all seasons.
Alas, it was at this point when I started to drag after maintaining pace for the first 11+ miles or so. At West Harlem Piers Park, I changed my socks and repacked my bag* in an attempt to keep my water bottles from stabbing me. I slugged past Riverbank and into Fort Washington. I was already dreading the walk up from the Lighthouse, even though it’s one of my favorite spots in the city.
Pumpkin House, north of Castle Village
arches of Fort Tryon Park
I limped through this stretch of Fort Washington despite being eager to see the Pumpkin House and Fort Tryon Arches now that I knew what they were and normally loving Castle Village and being fascinated by Inspiration Point. In short, I still didn’t get the appreciation feeling I was after back in 2013. I thought the end was in sight when the greenway ended, however I didn’t know the route that the Saunter would take through Inwood as the Greenway is a bit of a myth at this point. It was a slog, and by this point I mostly decided I was done.
On the final limp to the flagpole and lunch break at the 16 mile mark, I finally found Shorakkopoch Roch (full name & details). The whole story is little more than a fanciful myth, but it’s a fun market to NYC’s history. While I broke for lunch-and to change to my flip flops-I gave some thought about how far I really wanted to go. Now that I knew I wasn’t going to finish, I wasn’t concerned about pace.
the John T. Brush Stairs up to Coogan’s Bluff
I won’t lie-as I left Inwood HILL Park at Isham the A train at 207th was tempting. But I’d made the decision to go as far as 155th for three reasons:
that’s the end of the Greenway. So much of the rest (save for 116-59th which I’ve done more time than I can count) is city streets and I’m no more interested in that then I was in 2013.
It was a commitment. Once I was on the Greenway (aka the Speedway) I was going to 155th as there was no out.
I wanted to see what changed on that section as well as with the HighBridge‘s continued construction
I had forgotten about the biggest upside – cherry trees! – which made the northern stretch of the Speedway gorgeous. Their soft soil a nice treat under my super sore feet. As I moved toward the southern end, I thought about something else that would be near 155th. The restored Polo Grounds Stairs had reopened in 2014 after years of talk and being “a mystery” as recently as 2010.
While walking along a portion of the Greenway that paralleled the “Harlem River Driveway” and trying to figure out whether Coogan’s Bluff was truly accessible, I turned to the right and there they were! I just had to figure out how to get there with a cement barrier in my way. This portion of the Greenway was either new since 2013 or a portion that I never found since it carried me above the street level of the Polo Grounds Houses.
I walked down to 155th and doubled back – only sports history could make me do this at this point – up Edgecombe and Coogan’s Bluff came into sight. Climbing up on the exposed rock was beyond me at this point but I sat at the top of the stairs before gingerly making my way down where i rested on a picnic bench and communed with the ghosts.
“This is the last piece of real evidence that the Polo Grounds existed, other than the plaque that indicates where the approximate location of home plate was,” said Gary Mintz, president of the New York Giants Preservation Society. … “This is historic ground and should be preserved and treasured any way possible. The Giants’ history in New York was tremendous and judging by the legions of fans today, the New York Giants and San Francisco Giants haven’t been forgotten in New York.” ~ Gary Mintz
It was the perfect place for my saunter to end – and end it did when I boarded the M2 Bus and headed south. I have no regrets. I stopped enjoying the walk somewhere between miles 14 and 16 and there is no shame in walking 18+. It’s always the west side that I’ve found prettiest and the city streets of the east side – which I know well – don’t appeal to me in the same way as the Greenway does. Maybe I’ll finish when they finish the Greenway.
the John T. Brush Stairs from Coogan’s Bluff
*I looked like quasimodo. I was in awe of all the slim line packs people were carrying. Some of mine was exacerbated by shedding my fleece at the start. I vow not to look like a turtle if I do this again. Eight sandwiches and a box of granola bars were six too many
2015 walking related goals:
Visit the Little Red Lighthouse when it’s actually open.
Walk the High Bridge (and explore High Bridge Park) if/when it finally opens
Finish re-reading Philip Lopate’s Waterfrontwhich I’m super primed for now
Read Walking Manhattan’s Rim, despite the mediocre reviews. Manhattan’s Greenway has changed since I started this walk and want to know more about the last decade of change.
Read The Power Broker, if I can get my hands on a copy, or something else on Robert Moses and/or Jane Jacobs.
so… remember that mileage I planned to pick up in April or May or maybe Q3? I did. In March!
My March totals:
151.93 miles walked
64.55 miles biked
HoLY SHIT. This is my best month ever and one of only two above 350K steps. That was about 11,800 steps/day and included 31 straight days (27 Feb-29 March) in which I hit 10K+ each day. While I fizzled out the last two days, 13K today is a good start to April /Q2. I ended up a little short on the bike, but I’m OK with that.
384.45 miles walked
221.53 miles biked
Yep, I exceeded my revised bike goal even with falling short in March. I hit 102.52% of my #GoTheDist mileage goal and I like being at par/slight cushion going into two less than ideal for walking months (travel). Very proud of myself so far in 2015
That said, #GoTheDist goals for April:
283,000 steps (personal goal, 300K but remaining reasonable due to travel)
117 miles walked
75 miles on the bike
375 miles walked
150 miles biked
The latter represents a decrease but hopefully one that correlates with walking home more. I may revise it if I hit April goals.
“Why are you beating yourself up? You know you always bounce back.” ~ @FatGirlvsWorld, #GotheDist fearless leader
This was the end of a two-day freak out during which I was worrying about not hitting my January 2015 #GoTheDist steps goal due to the impending Juno-pocalypse. After a slow start to January with some sub 5K step days, I was bouncing back, and then snowpocalypse. Snowed in. Office closed. MTA down. A “pocalypse” of first world problems indeed.
And then Juno missed NYC while walloping New England and I ended up with almost 9K steps on a walk through the frozen tundra that made up Central Park. My handy spreadsheet tells me I need 42,280 steps (not yet counting today’s) the next four days to hit that goal and 44,280 to hit mine. Doable? I think/hope so but I’m not going to be able to bank any for February where 283/285K is a mathematical impossibility. Pooey.
But January wasn’t all bad. On the #GoTheDist front I:
switched to RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal (from MapMyFitness and LoseIt, respectively) and am so happy with both. Much better apps. The “Map” family didn’t age well into the mobile era and the “new” os8 LoseIt was just awful. I was tired of paying for Fitbit integration and didn’t care much for the challenges or fora
I have been to the gym 12x for a total of 76.56 miles on the bike. My goal was only 33! so I’ll be revising that for Q1 this weekend.
My Jan 2014 (Jawbone) totals were 185,545 steps/80.3 miles walked/69.3 miles walked and I’ve beat those. For me that’s what #GoTheDist is about so I’m happy.
On a reading front I:
Have read 8 books for the A-Z Challenge and six of the eight are non-fiction. Also, 8 books in January is a good start to the year.
So maybe I should stop freaking out. FGvW probably is right.
sometimes I swear 31-day months are harder to get steps in than 30 day months. I think it definitely has to do with the perceived cushion of the extra day.
124.04 miles walked
It wasn’t easy. I set a mini goal of not ever falling on the wrong side of 10K steps needed per day, but it happened due to some traveling and two days with fewer than 4K steps. But two walking tours helped me, including 12K steps in a ghost tour on Halloween. I entered the home stretch of this past week needing 11K+ steps/day to get 300K and I finished strong:
October 27 – 11,629
October 28 – 10,991
October 29 – 11,804
October 30 – 11,094
October 31 – 12,359
I’m fewer than 450K steps and 76/176 miles from my Q4 goals leaving both very doable. I’m going to keep to my optimistic goals (275K steps, 100 miles) for November as I believe they’re attainable and will give me cushion against a December full of work/vacation/holidays. I know I may not see another 300K month until March, but I’m OK with that.
That’s not bad at all. I didn’t realize I was ultimately so close to the mileage, but I’m honestly not sure I could have found another mile a day this last crazy week, so I’ll take it. I rebounded from an expectedly bad July with a strong August and solid September. I’m proud of myself and I’ll take it. Still need to get better about the gym though.
My official Q4 goal is 200 miles. What I need to hit to finish the year (1100 miles) is: 85 miles. Seriously. I’m at 1014 and I set my goal as 1,100. Yeah, blowing that up
So with an eye to Q4 2013 (642,067 // 269.51 // 55.16), I’m setting my Q4 goals as:
Those also align well with my 2014 Q1 numbers when accounting for the lost data and weather hell.
after a renewed interest in bridges of late, I have been on a mission. By borough I have crossed as follows:
Bronx to Manhattan:
Macombs Dam Bridge in May 2013
Manhattan to Brooklyn:
Brooklyn Bridge: more times then I can count, also via bike
Manhattan Bridge: June 2014
Williamsburg Bridge: Summer 2013
Manhattan to Bronx:
Macombs Dam Bridge
Queens to Manhattan:
Queensboro Bridge, June 2014
GW Bridge and back, July 2013
Wards Island Pedestrian Bridge, May 2013
Triboro (Randalls Island to Manhattan)
That’s all the major bridges with the exception of the Henry Hudson since there’s no pedestrian access on the Verrazano and the High Bridge has not yet re-opened. I really don’t have an interest in walking to the Rockaways so those are out.
What’s my next Great Manhattan Loop related goal? Riverside Drive! I’ve done it up as far as 125th St. but time to do the northern spur that I skipped in favor of a riverside walk two years ago.
About halfway through May I realized that 300,000 steps for the month was doable after just missing it. And then I became a woman on a mission to make it happen. I wasn’t sure if I had since I was away from my spreadsheet but after entering Weds-Sat… I MADE IT!
305, 841 steps
125.05 miles walked
21.09 miles on the bike
248.49 miles walked
21.09 miles on the bike
499.42 miles walked
124.9 miles on the bike
I’m pretty damn happy with that. Check that, very damn happy. I’m 100 miles shy of my official GTD goal and 150 shy of my personal. While those are a little iffy depending on weather, I’m less than 100K steps from my steps goals. I’m doubly excited as June is the first month where I’ll have year on year steps data. [2013 data: 315,031 steps, 132.24 miles walked and 50.1 miles on the bike].
Yep, I’m going to have to bust my hump to get this… but isn’t that what goals are for?