Friday, December 31, 2010

2010's longest walk

During the fall of 2009, I looked at a map of all my walks, and decided that there was something missing. Some walks were isolated by others, and if I wanted to recreate them, I would need to use some kind of transportation.

At first it may seem ridiculous, why does it matter that all my walks are connected? It does to me, and I had to figure out a way, when the days were longer, to connect all of them.

Naturally, the biggest chunk of isolated walks was Staten Island. As most SI residents know, the only way to get directly to the rest of NYC is by car, bus or ferry.

But I had walked there, extensively. My longest walk of 2009 was made within the island, and I wanted it connected, badly. The answer, of course, was New Jersey. You can walk to New Jersey from Washington Heights accross the GW Bridge, and then you can walk from Bayonne, New Jersey to Staten Island. The distance is about 27 miles, a little bit more if you go through the waterfront.

I must say the walk was long and went without a hitch. I even stopped for grub at a diner in Hoboken. The views from Liberty State Park were fantastic and despite a couple of rough patches in south Jersey City, I really felt great. When I got to the corner of Morningstar and Richmond Terrace to catch the bus to St. George, I was exhausted. All in all I walked 29 miles, from Manhattan to Staten Island.

Intro (part 2): How I choose and tally my walks

In the beginning, it was easy. I'd look into the most panoramic places (the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a good example) and just walk them.I discovered truly amazing places, like the Harlem River Speedway or the waterfront between Sunset Park and Gravesend. Then, it became more complicated. I was obviously leaving out most of the city. I then started with the major Manhattan north to south thoroughfares, beginning with Broadway.

Eventually I got Kevin Walsh's wonderful Forgotten New York as a gift and starting designing walks around that. Finally, I settled on something that loosely followed Walsh's outlines: Designated city landmarks. I would photograph all of them, I resolved.

That got me through all of 2009 and most of 2010. By the end of this year I was rediscovering my own borough's incredible parks and looking at doing more Long Island walks.

Here's how I chalk up how much I've walked. I only include the walk itself. A trip to the bodega, CVS or Supercuts doesn't get counted, nor a sortie into Manhattan or Brooklyn to see friends, grab a movie or dinner.

So there you have it.. I will discuss not only walking but also some photography and city landmarks (the official ones), too. Hope you enjoy it.

Intro (Part 1): Who am I

I should have started this blog back in August of 2008. That's when I decided that, having moved to New York City a year earlier, I really needed to get to know the city more.

What followed became some sort of obsession, and almost 1,800 miles later, I can say that I know the far-flung corners of the five boroughs pretty well. It hasn't been easy. Even though I live in Queens, I work on Long Island, so short of walking to my car every day (which I don't count), I've only been able to walk on weekends.

Also, while I don't do this for health reasons, I don't have what would be called a long or quick stride. I'm pretty slow, and since I take a bunch of photos along the way, I don't further (and farther) my cause any.

So here's a little bit more about me: I'm 42, born in Spain but lived in Miami for several years. I moved to Forest Hills, Queens, in May of 2007 and I'm the online editor for And before moving here I wasn't that much into walking.

I guess I walk for several reasons: I love to discover places in New York City, I need to stay in shape (which I barely can say I am) and definitely shed some pounds. And lastly, I'm a homebody who really feels remorse after wasting a day full of idleness at home. Obviously, this is the best way to combat it.