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?