I’ve had at least one friend from out of town tell me after a NYC visit that she could never live here because we walk too much here in the city. Admittedly I do tend to drag visitors on long walks — I firmly believe you get to know and orient yourself in a city best when you’ve seen it on foot — but she wasn’t wrong that there’s a fair amount of walking as part of normal NYC life. The subway is great, but you have to get there to use it. But if you focus on tourist-centered walking or utilitarian daily travel, you miss out on one of the greatest joys of NYC walking: wandering.
First posted November 15, 2013. Updated with new text and new pictures!
Sometimes I forget that Manhattan is an island. This is because I rarely see the water. Plenty of New York is surrounded by beautiful water, and the closest I usually get to it is when I take an express train over a bridge and get a quick glance from the window. This is a shame.
A few summers ago I discovered the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway, and while I haven’t taken advantage of it nearly often enough, I’m glad to know it’s there. According to Wikipedia the Greenway is 32 miles long. The part I’m most familiar with runs along the Hudson, and all along this cyclist/pedestrian path you can find green spaces that face the Hudson River.
Every time I have a visitor stay with me, I remind myself not to do TOO much. That just because they’re here for only a short time doesn’t mean we have to walk all over the city until our feet fall off. I told myself that again on Friday when I met my friend as she got off the train at Penn Station around 1 p.m. We knew that we wouldn’t want to come into Manhattan to do anything on the 4th itself so Friday afternoon and evening would be our time to wander.
First posted July 9, 2014. Updated!
I used to be an athlete. I played summer soccer for seven years as a kid, and I played tennis all through high school. I also danced for eleven years.
Despite all those years of physical activity, I never seemed like an athlete. I wasn’t very coordinated in gym class, I couldn’t run a mile all that quickly, and don’t get me started on push-ups. While I was a decent soccer player and a decent dancer and a decent tennis player, I wasn’t great, so it’s unsurprising that by college all that stuff fell to the wayside. Barring a few months of working out sporadically in college, I avoided words like “treadmill” and “elliptical” and “weight-lifting” until about two years ago, when I joined a gym.
I don’t spend a lot of time in Central Park. It’s far away, there are tons of tourists, and it’s not always possible to find a quiet spot to enjoy nature, since, like I said, tons of tourists. Mostly when I want to hang out in a big park, I head to Prospect Park — closer and quieter.
But Central Park is the first thing I loved about New York City as a kid. I had at least one Central Park-themed calendar along the way, and on visits to the city I would always want to visit. It’s just so BIG and after walking around the city, it’s so green. I loved the boulders every kid ever wants to scramble around on, even before they showed up in an episode of Doctor Who. My only memory from when my dad ran the NYC marathon is of waiting in Central Park for him when it was all over.
I’m taking a photography class (and loving it so far!) to learn how to use my DSLR. For a recent assignment we were supposed to take still life images in black and white, so on a cloudy afternoon I took my camera and went on a walk. My part of Brooklyn is perfect for this kind of thing – in Park Slope, as I’m sure I’ve said before, people leave free stuff out on the sidewalks all time, and there are all kinds of interesting architectural details on buildings and gates.