Trip date: June 16, 2019
Caltopo map here: https://caltopo.com/m/21VP
A friend was getting married up in New Jersey and since I hadn't been to the East Coast in over 15 years, and never to Manhattan I thought it was worth exploring for a day.
But I wanted to explore it the way I explore other things. I opened Caltopo and started drawing lines, connecting things that I'd heard of before. My basic plan was to walk up and down the entire island in a single day. Except I didn't really have a whole day because my flight left that evening. I figured that if I started at dawn (~5:30 am) and kept up a 3 mph pace until 4pm, I could do about 30 miles. For my planned route I gave myself a little cushion and settled on 22 miles. This would take me over down to lower manhattan, across the Brooklynn Bridge, back over the Manhattan Bridge, up to Harlem, and then to Pennsylvania Station in midtown to catch a train to the Newark Airport.
I had moments where I thought "this is crazy. you are definitely going to miss that flight" but then I remembered 1) NYC is at sea level, 2) it's almost perfectly flat, and 3) everything is paved. Everything that makes hiking hard was gone, so I went for it. In the end I did some wandering that deviated from my planned route so it turned into 28.5 miles.
I'm starting to notice that their are a lot of pride flags around and at first I just think it must be a New York thing. Then I realize it's actually pride month and I'm close to the memorial for the Stonewall Riots in 1969. I'm not sure if it was more or less interesting to see it while everybody was still asleep.
I recognize this one. Seems relevant at the moment.
From the Financial District I headed over to the Brooklyn Bridge.
The main thing that I'll remember about Chinatown is just how exhausted everyone looked. It was a good reminder of my own good fortune. In Sara D. Roosevelt Park I saw about 20 older men admiring these birds. I imagine that during the day they keep them at home and bring them to the park during the day. It seemed really sweet.
As I rounded the corner I came across a bench where 4 people where shooting heroin in plain sight (you can see them through the birdcage in the picture on the right). It was quite the juxtaposition.
Look! Two crappy pictures of famous buildings!
At this point I'm starting to really have to go to the bathroom. I don't usually think about this ahead of time because it's so trivial to just dig a hole in the wilderness. This would be much more complicated.
Then I saw another building I'd heard of before...
Next up was Central Park
From here I headed over to Riverside Park along the Hudson River. Eventually I just started taking pictures of buildings with "nice curves".
The next day, I was asked what I thought of Manhattan. I said:
"A lot of cement. Like the most I've ever seen. Basically the Canadian Rockies of cement".
It was weird trying to experience a place like this without going inside any (except for Trump Tower). I'm sure I missed out on all of the things that New Yorkers think make it so special, but honestly I couldn't wait to get out. It's definitely worth seeing though.