Sunday, May 8, 2011

Unchartered Territory in Northern Manhattan

At the last possible minute this morning, I finally forced myself out the door for a long run. I guess today's excursion could count as a "training run" for the Brooklyn Half, but considering the fact that I'm not following any real training program, and today's run was anything but fast, I will just call it a leisurely long run.

It was a positively gorgeous day, starting out along the Hudson River Greenway. The sun was shining, the grass was green, trees were blooming, and the pedestrian paths were completely clear. ( After the horrific winter we just endured, images of frozen icy pathways have been permanently etched in my memory.  No matter how many times I go down to the greenway in the springtime weather, I am perpetually shocked to actually see grass!) Every single time I see a clear pathway, I rejoice a little inside - I'm still not used to it! The intense sun made me feel slightly overheated from the second I started... but other than that the run along the waterfront was fairly uneventful....

As I approached Inwood, I ran past the usual baseball and soccer fields, until the path ended, but instead of turning around and heading back home, I climbed the staircase at the end of the waterfront park, took the pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks, and found myself in the woods of Inwood Hill Park! After running up and down a few glorious rolling hills, the next thing I knew, I ended up at the Henry Hudson bridge... I made it to the northern tip of Manhattan!!! I was so excited I literally jumped up and down, clapped, and let out a shriek of joy - I've reached a new milestone in my New York running career! This has been a long-standing goal of mine since moving to the city.  It was such an incredible feeling to finally be there!!!

It's such a thrill to consistently push the boundaries of what you know, venturing outside familiar territory, and discovering new running routes along the way. In my early days as a NYC resident, I was seriously afraid to go anywhere for fear of getting lost - or worse - raped, attacked, or mugged. Eventually, as I gained confidence in my new surroundings, I tentatively ventured down Broadway and Riverside.   I quickly discovered the Greenway entrance closest to my apt, and eventually discovered how to get over the GW bridge. I also found my way from the apartment to Ft Tryon (The Cloisters) and Inwood Hill Park.

It's amazing to think of all the places I've explored in the city through running. Within my first year here, I ran the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge. I've raced in Central Park and Prospect Park, ran around the Central Park Resevior, ran through Battery Park City and to the southern tip of Manhattan. I've been along parts of the Brooklyn waterfront and along the East Side of Manhattan. I led running tours in Williamburg, Park Slope, Chelsea, and Downtown Manhattan. I've explored The Cloisters and ran along Morningside drive in Harlem. I've ran down Broadway on a crowded Sunday afternoon and made my way along Houston St on a bustling weeknight. I've traced the perimeter of the west side waterfront piers, ran from 72nd St to Chambers along the Hudson River, and ran to Chelsea Piers from my office. All along, one of my lingering "wishes" was to run to the northern tip of Manhattan, and I finally did it! It's time to check yet another goal off my NYC running "wish list." 

Sadly, there isn't much unchartered territory left. I definitely want to follow all the waterfront pathways around the entire island of Manhattan (by running OR cycling). That's next on the list. One day I need to find the trails at the end of the GW bridge that trace the NJ cliffside along the Hudson. It would be neat to make my way to the Bronx Bontanical Gardens, or to run back to my old home in Port Chester. 

Northern Manhattan truly is a fabulous place to live if you are a runner - there are countless options for scenic routes, exploring, and adventures.  So, after taking in the view from the base of the Henry Hudson, relishing in my accomplishment, and snapping a few photos, I continued on through Inwood Park. Along the way I passed baseball fields, family picnics, fathers on park benches playing catch with their sons, and little girls with ice cream cones. The humanity was simply beautiful. I emerged from the park and found myself on 207th street, not quite sure where to go next.

((To be continued)) -- See "To the tip of Manhattan - and Beyond"


  1. What an amazing story! I am definitely in the market for some new running routes. I totally agree with your love of seeing greenery in the big city. There's something lovely and ironic about it. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. thanks Kim! glad you enjoyed reading :)