30 December 2012


Some years ago, while waiting for my son and his swimming lesson, I discovered East River Park, the park that runs below the Williamsburg Bridge.  I love the idea of running the length of Manhattan Island and soon found the chance to head north from East River Park.  I was soon disappointed as around 30ish Street the waterfront ended.  Somehow I was convinced that the United Nations building, supposedly on its own land even though it is on U.S. soil, didn't allow the waterfront to go through it.  I really wanted to go inland and find out where the waterfront would begin again but never had the time to.  I may have gone back to the same route, but only to go back south.  Sure I can look it up on the map, but exploring in person is more interesting.

A few days ago the chance came.  I had about three hours to spend on my own while son and wife were in back-to-back music lessons.  I parked near the amphitheater in East River Park and walked over to the restroom near the tennis court, used the facility, stretched then off I ran.  Up along East River Park I went, over the metal section where a little cove existed below, out of the park past the narrow section created by some Con Ed facility, through Stuyvesant Cove, the Water Club, some helicopter port, then a ferry stop.  I didn't recall seeing the ferry stop on my last visit and thought that was the end of the waterfront, but upon seeing some cyclists heading further north I followed them.  Then memory of the East River Esplanade came back to me.  If you associate the word "esplanade" with the Brooklyn Esplanade, you know, that park that overhangs the BQE, you will be disappointed.  It is not that long, a mere city block at most, maybe even less.  But that is the end of the waterfront, 37th Street to be exact.  With more time this run, I headed inland and continued up First Avenue.  For those who don't know, the U.N. building is at 42nd Street, so the waterfront actually ended about five blocks before hitting the U.N.  Maybe it's a required buffer zone, maybe it has nothing to do with the U.N.  On First Avenue, I passed Bellevue Hospital and one huge vacant lot that I am sure some day will be the home of some building.  At the intersection of 42nd Street and First Avenue, I paused to take a photo of the Chrysler Building, with Tudor City in the foreground.  I don't remember how I came to know Tudor City, but it is interesting to me because it is on a hill overlooking the U.N. and nearby area.  I thought it is the only such area in NYC but soon found out otherwise.

The U.N. complex takes up a few blocks, which is a good thing for me as I like to be able to run as continuously as possible, without having to look for traffic at intersections.  The only down side is it was a popular tourist spot, even on a cold day, so I had to weave around them visitors every now and then.  At 49th Street I made a right turn to head for the waterfront and arrived at the closed gate of Peter Detmold Park.  It was closed, but not locked.  There was a sign asking park-users to make sure the gate is closed, I supposed to keep wandering children, or dogs, to get out of the park, without their caretakers' knowledge.  Any normal adult would know to pull the meter rod to open the gate.  Detmold Park is really narrow, just a little strip of land immediately next to the FDR Drive.  It seems to be a popular spot for dog-walkers, as there were a few of them, dogs and their people, in the park.  The great thing with Detmold Park is within is a series of steps leading to a footbridge over the FDR to get to the waterfront again.  I shall travel all the way up to the tip of Manhattan, so I thought.  Regrettably, the waterfront at this point only runs for a few block.  I vaguely recall the FDR being expanded out onto the water some years ago.  Maybe that expansion cut into the waterfront park.  Oh well, in a future run, I will find out where the waterfront continues after this break just before the Queensborough Bridge.  At least for this run, I discovered another town-on-a-hill.  From Detmold Park, I went up to the town and ran downhill to get back to the U.N. area, then further south back to East River Park.

I love these over-the-water sections of the East River Park.  Looking down you see the water and land-ward there are rocks and old logs to give the place a quaint country atmosphere.
A section of the east waterfront near 14th Street.
Welcome to Stuyvesant Cove.  For this run, I used the trail paths on the way north and then used the pavement on the way south.
Trail-running in the big city!  Not that much of a trail, but something different to have briefly.
The ferry stop is on the right of the photo, I thought this was the end of the waterfront, but the road on the left led me a little further north.
East River Esplanade, not an esplanade in the sense of Brooklyn Esplanade, but still nice.
East River Esplanade sign.
The intersection of 37th Street and a north service road for the FDR Drive.  Through the underpass runners and cyclists can continue their southward journey.
Don't be discouraged by the closed gate of Peter Detmold Park.
Peter Detmold Park is narrow, with the FDR right on the other side of the fence.
The footbridge that will lead me to the waterfront, to continue my northward journey along the water.
Steps leading from Detmold Park to the footbridge.  You can also go further up to that other town-on-a-hill overlook the FDR.
To the water, let's go!
Northward bound.
Rats, foiled again!  The east waterfront ended, again, with the Queensborough Bridge in sight.

My free education at The Cooper Union was partly financed by The Chrysler Building.  The school owns the land on which the building stands.
I took a little time out to take a photo of the U.N. building for the #1 fan of my blog.


  1. Nice photos Qap, especially the UN. "Ralphie" said it looks so good that he thought it was a postcard. We, your adoring fans, thanks for taking us along on your run/walk.
    Happy New Year - here is to good health, good job, and all the good stuff for a good life :>)
    TOTA in STL

    1. Happy New Year to you, too, TOTA and Ralphie!