A Stroll Through Manhattan
When: August 9th, 2008
Started: 8:06 am on the Broadway Bridge over the Harlem River
Finished: 3:32 pm in Battery Park at the confluence of the Hudson and East Rivers
Total Distance: 15.09 miles (according to Google Maps)
Weather: high of 27 C, clear skies and zero precipitation
A couple moths ago, an intern at the office told me that one of his goals this summer is to walk Manhattan
from one tip to the other. I thought that this was a great idea, and like any opportunist,
I stole it. I decided to plan the walk for August 9th. There was
very little planning otherwise. I made a list of the places/areas I wanted to see and I
mapped out a route using Google Maps the night before. The plan was ambitious. It called for
me to not only walk the length of the island, but also to do a considerable amount of
zig-zagging across it. I realized that I wouldn't be able to accomplish everything,
but in the end I did managed to do a lot.
Here is the original list of things/places I wanted to see grouped by geographic location.
Anything I missed is crossed out. Also, just to be clear,
when I say I saw something, it just means that I physically saw it, not that
I went inside of it -- though in one or two cases I did.
- Broadway Bridge
- Fort Tryon Park
- Grant's Tomb
- Columbia / Cathedral of John the Divine / Morningside Park
- Central Park
The Great Lawn / Belvedere Castle
- Bethesda Fountain / The Mall
- Grand Army Plaza / The Plaza / Apple / FAO Schwarz
- 5th Avenue / St. Pat's / Sak's / Rockefeller Center
NYC public Library / Bryant Park
- Times Square
- Macy's / Empire State Building
- Madison Square Park
- Union Square
- NYU / Washington Square
- Soho / Tribeca
Little Italy / Chinatown
- Thomas Paine Park / Supreme Court / City Hall / Brooklyn Bridge
- Wall Street / Trinity Church
- Bowling Green / Battery Park
If you are not interested in reading my account of the walk below, here
are the quick links of interest:
The Route I Took
A Google Map with the exact route of my walk marked in blue.
View Larger Map
A blow by blow account -- with photos!
Before the walk
I set my alarm for 7am. After quickly brushing my teeth, I was out the door by 7:15 (below is a photo
of the supplies I took).
I stopped by a local grocer and grabbed a bottle of water and an energy bar.
I then hailed a cab to drive me to 86th and Broadway to jump on the 1 train
heading north. I got out at 215th street station and walked the 5 blocks north to the
Harlem River, well ... technically
it is the Spuyten Duyvil Creek
that connects the Hudson and the Harlem Rivers.
Broadway Bridge / Harlem River -- 8:06am
I got to the bridge around 8:06am. Not a particularly interesting bridge or scenic view.
I walked out to roughly the half way point of the bridge, turned around and
started the long road to the Battery. Below is a photo of the bridge, of the Bronx across
the river and of a nice tree-lined stair-case at 215th.
Fort Tryon Park
Passed the park and could see the top of the tower of the Cloisters.
is a beautiful park and was very well manicured on the Broadway
entrances. I desperately wanted to stop the walk right there, go into
the park, find a tree and take a nap. But alas, I pushed on.
Broadway in Harlem
A little over 1/3rd of the entire walk is in Harlem along Broadway -- from Broadway Bridge
to the Columbia Area. Unfortunately, there are not many attractions along this
part of the route. However, Harlem has many beautiful churches, buildings and city blocks
that make up for the lack of attractions. Below is the
Washington Bridge (Washington will
come up a few more times), a tree-lined block of houses on 162nd,
Trinity Cemetery, and a view back into Harlem at 122nd overlooking the 1 subway.
As I neared 125th street I started to get a little tired. So far I had
averaged about a block a minute, which was a nice pace.
Columbia / Cathedral of John the Divine / Morningside Park
At this point I decided
to scratch the Apollo Theater
off my list since I would of had to walk over a few
avenues to get there. Also, the main attraction I wanted to see on this walk
was just a few blocks over on Riverside drive and I couldn't wait to get there.
General Grant's Tomb
was built in the late 19th century and is really a beautiful peace
of work. I had wanted to see the tomb since I moved to New York as I am a U.S.
history buff and Grant is arguably the second most important General in the history
of the country. I walked around the site for about 20 minutes, took a bunch of
photographs and even went in. Grant's Tomb is the only attraction on
my list that I had never seen before. I will certainly come back when I have more time.
I left a little sad that I couldn't stay longer.
I decided to walk a few blocks along the idyllic Riverside drive before cutting
back towards my next destination.
I then cut across 116th street, through Columbia
and over the the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
in Amsterdam, which is truly enormous (the photo below does not give it
any justice). Next, I entered Morningside Park and walked down
the steep steps towards the pond and water fall. Tania and I first found this park when we
were going to Columbia. Unfortunately that time we were coming from the east so we had to go
up the steps. I really like Morningside Park. It has beautiful views of the top of St. John's
and it is filled with people having BBQs, which gives it a laid back feel. I took my first
break here and sat on a bench for about 20 minutes before cutting along Morningside drive
towards the north-west corner of Central Park.
Below are photos of Columbia, St. John's, the steps in Morningside Park and the pond.
I had planned to cut into the park
around 7th and walk down past the reservoir, the great lawn and
But I realized that the winding paths of the park would slow my progress so I decided to walk down
Central Park West, past the Natural History Museum,
and enter the park around 77th. I then followed
the road over to Bethesda Fountain
and then down the Mall towards the south-east corner of the park.
This was a nice walk of course, but I had done it a million times before. I was also getting hungry (it was around 11:30)
and I wanted to get a bite to eat. Below are photos of Central Park West, the Natural History Museum, a view
over the park, Bethesda Fountain, and the Mall.
Grand Army Plaza / The Plaza / Apple Store / FAO Schwarz
After leaving the park I found a hot dog vendor in Grand Army Plaza,
grabbed a hot sausage with mustard and a water
and parked myself for half an hour overlooking the horses and tourists that dominate the area. It was nice sitting there
looking at the Plaza and the other nice buildings in the neighbourhood. By this time my feet were starting to hurt
so I also took my shoes off and stretched out my toes. I was well over half way done in terms of distance.
That said, the rest of the way was dense with attractions and my pace was slowing (primarily because of chaffed thighs).
But it was only around noon, so I knew that even if I slowed my pace substantially I would easily make the rest
of the trip before dinner. After the rest I got up and started down 5th avenue. Below are photos of the Sherman
statue, the Plaza and FAO Schwarz.
5th Avenue / St. Pat's / Rockefeller Center
I realized that the next part of my walk was going to be very slow. The amount of tourists on 5th avenue (and subsequent stops)
was incredible. But that was fine by me, a slower pace was easier on my feet. After passing Tiffany's, the Trump Tower, etc.
I got to St. Pat's.
Unfortunately much of the lower part was under scaffolding, which ruined the view. I then walked over
to Rockefeller Center
and moved on quickly because of the crowds. Below are photos of Trump Tower, St. Pat's and Rockefeller Center.
I then cut over to 7th and walked down towards Times Square,
which was mobbed with people. I grabbed a few photos, saw The Naked Cowboy
and then got out of there. My walk had found its way back to Broadway and I was planning on sticking to it for the next 35 blocks or so.
Macy's / Empire State Building
Going down Broadway I passed Macy's.
While I was there I was thinking, "Jeez, there is something else I meant to see around
here". Well, I had meant to turn my head left and snap a photo of the
Empire State Building. Whoops.
Madison Square Park / Flat Iron District
Shortly along the way was Madison Square Park.
I snapped some photos and marveled at the enormous line at
the Shake Shack. New Yorker's sometimes need to give their head a shake. This is a town with a number of
great burger joints that do not have lines. Yet people feel that they MUST stand in line at the Shake Shack
because it is THE place to get a burger (the same is true for many of the popular pizza places).
Anyways, sorry for venting. Below are photos of the Flat Iron Building
and the Met Life Tower. Both shots
are from the Park.
I continued down Broadway to Union Square.
When I first moved to New York this was one of my favorite areas. I still
like it, but I have found other areas I prefer. When I got there the market was humming. I walked through it for a bit
and then entered the square proper and walked around for a few minutes. I then left and began walking south along University Place
and found a street festival. Actually, there seemed to be many in the city that day ... maybe something special was going on?
Below are photos of the Union Square Market, the Washington statue in the square and the street festival on University Place.
NYU / Washington Square / Greenwich Village
I then cut across 11th street back to 5th avenue and walked all the way to its very end (4 blocks), which conveniently
is Washington Square.
I grabbed some photos and went through the square quickly since it was under heavy construction.
I exited at Laguardia
Place and walked south past the statue of the little guy himself. Near the Laguardia statue I stopped
for the third time. By now I was starting to really feel the pain. My feet were sore, my thighs burning, and my pace had
slowed substantially. But I was so close now that I knew I would finish. Below are photos of the arc in Washington square,
some residential houses along the square, and the statue of Laguardia.
Soho / Tribeca
I cut over to West Broadway and continued south. I really liked this part of the walk. There were a lot of people out in
but it didn't feel too crowded. Also, I passed a bunch of great looking restaurants that Tania and I
can try out. I staid on West Broadway all the way down to Worth St. Earlier in the day I would have done this very quickly, but
now it took me an hour or more I think. My pace had slowed to a crawl. Again, this was because of pain in my feet and
thighs. Otherwise I felt great and could have gone on for another 10 hours. Next time I am getting proper shoes
and taping my inner thighs like marathon runners do. At this point I had planned to head over to Little Italy and Chinatown,
but I was tired and it was too much of a detour.
Thomas Paine Park / Supreme Court / City Hall / Brooklyn Bridge
I cut left on Worth and headed to Thomas Paine Park. I grabbed a bench there and made my fourth and final stop, which lasted
about 15-20 minutes. I then passed by the Supreme Court
(do you recognize it from Law and Order?). I then cut up past
the municipal building -- see the top of this page for a photo extracted from its entrance -- towards
City Hall and the
By this point the end was in sight -- I could see Broadway again!
Below are photos of the Supreme Court, Brooklyn Bridge from afar and City Hall.
Wall Street / Trinity Church
I began the last leg of the trip down Broadway/Canyon of Heroes.
I made a pre-scheduled detour down Wall Street. I had
read about the Wall Street Bombing in 1920
and wanted to look for the damage that apparently is still visible on 23 Wall Street.
I am not sure if I found it or not, but I did find some stone that looked like it had been damaged by ball-bearing like objects.
After this brief detour I headed back up Wall Street towards Trinity Church
and made a left to go south once again. Below are photos of Trinity Church, possible damage from the 1920 bombing,
Federal Hall (Washington again,
not surprising here, since this is where his first inauguration was), and the
New York Stock Exchange.
Bowling Green / Battery Park
I passed Bowling Green
and touched the cast-iron fence that has been there since the statue of King George III was torn down during the
revolution. I symbolically took a photo of 1 Broadway and crossed the road into
Battery Park. I passed all the performers and
tourists and grabbed a bench at the tip of the park. I had made it! It was 3:32 and the whole trip took
7 hours and 26 minutes. I took a few photos of the
upper bay, but unfortunately
big charter boats blocked most of the view. Below are photos of Bowling Green, 1 Broadway, the
bridge and tunnel authority building, Battery Park and the
Statue of Liberty.
After sitting in the park for 15 minutes I walked back to Bowling Green, jumped on the 4 train to 86th street and walked back
to the apartment. I was very happy I made the trip. It was great to see so many parts of New York in a single day. I think
I may take more walks in the future. I was thinking of doing the Villages from the Hudson to the East River covering many of the blocks.
Or perhaps a walk across a bridge into Queens or Brooklyn and a corresponding neighbourhood there. But at that moment I needed a nap and
promptly fell right to sleep.