07 May 2017


A walk on the perimeter of Manhattan Island, 32 miles in more than 12 hours, that was yesterday's The Great Saunter 2017, organized by the good folks at Shorewalkers.  I saw some mention of the event before, on Facebook, but more recently I read that some runners had to drop out of it.  Decent runners, people who finished marathon distance (26.2 miles), people who are faster than me - couldn't finish the walk.  For some it was a nasty blister.  I was curious and decided to finally give it a try.

The day before it rained heavily for most of the day.  On the day of the walk, it was beautiful weather.  Not too hot, but not that cool either.  I was not too worried about the preparation, didn't even pin my bib the night before, like on the eve of a big foot race.  The D train didn't go to Manhattan from my station so I buffered in some extra time for traveling.  It worked out well.  I got to Fraunces Tavern with plenty time to spare.  There was already two lines from the front door, one for registered users and the other for those who wish to register that day.  I didn't recall breakfast being served and asked someone and the answer was no.  Not that surprising, it was only $25 to become a member of Shorewalkers and join the walk, I shouldn't expect more for the day.  There was a Dunkin Donuts nearby, with no seating, but the plaza across the street from the Tavern had plenty of waist-height horizontal surface to be used as table.

After breakfast I felt the need to flush some stuff out of the system and decided to go inside the Tavern.  People were getting inside for buy baseball caps too.  I was tempted but I already have too many caps and resisted the urge even to go inside the Tavern, but nature call and it had to be answered.  By the time I came out it was already time to move - 7:30 AM or thereabout.  People already streamed out what I think of as the backdoor of the Tavern, the one that lead into Water Street.  Off we went, in ones or twos, maybe even three, abreast, filing across the street, past the Staten Island Ferry Station, up Hudson River to the tip of Manhattan Island.

The part of the walk that I looked forward to the most was Inwood Park since I never went that far north on Manhattan Island, but I found other pleasant sights along the way, too.  Battery Park City looked not that different, but Hudson River Park had some parts that I didn't recognized, like the raised wooden walkway below.

Hudson River Park boardwalk.
I did take it easy, stopped here and then to take photos.  I just wished I took action sooner or later.  One building I missed was the "Jenga Building" not far from Borough Manhattan Community College.  Instead of just one rectangular tall building, some of the floors seem to be jutting out of the building, Jenga-style.  I thought I could get a better view of it after turning into the pedestrian path along the West Side Highway, but by then I was too close to BMCC and it was somewhat foggy too.  Lesson learned:  If you like something you see, take photos.  I no longer have limited space or battery life on my phone so there was no excuse.

One year after an NYRR Coogan's 5K I tried to walk down to Hudson River Park but made the mistake thinking that Riverside Park would easily connect to it.  After all, there is the Henry Hudson Parkway between Riverside and the water, so one must cross the highway at some point.  Maybe I didn't have enough sleep that day, but I gave up around 86th Street or thereabout.  With the Great Saunter, I finally walked up along the entire west side of Manhattan.  The best part was the Little Red Lighthouse.

Little Red Lighthouse
I have heard much about the Little Red Lighthouse but the one time I tried to find it while I was in the area, without any software or map program, I failed.  On the Great Saunter, it was not out of the way too, just a few steps off the course.  I took a little break here to check-in on Facebook as well as sip a little water.  It was a cool day, I didn't need much water.

For a while then we were walking way below the Hudson Parkway.  It was time to climb up to its level, at which point Strava said I reached the 16-mile mark so it was time to stop the program just to be safe.  One reason I do the Great Saunter was to improve my Manhattan map on CityStrides.com.  I already had 10% of Manhattan covered, a long walk around the perimeter should increase that number somewhat.  I would hate to lose the phone or run out of battery power before saving the effort.  So at the midway point, I stopped the app and re-started anew.  First 16 miles, second half 16 miles, whatever happened during the second half, I know at least the first half will be safe.  Speaking of half, I better write the other half of this blog post tomorrow, it is time for me to go to sleep.

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