I used to spend every Sunday walking every block in Manhattan below 96th Street (East and West).
I thought of it as a hobby, an easy way to stay in shape, and a fun thing to do.
I never thought of it as a book in itself. Guess that’s why I don’t have one.
I did love passing the changing neighborhoods, and over the years, watching the neighborhoods change.
Now it’s too crowded, and too homogenized.
I lived for the day that The Hudson River Walkway would open. It finally did.
Despite its name The Walkway is really for bike riders. Even in places where it clearly says “yield to ped,” bikers rule. If I’m alone I have to cover my front and back. Instead of being fun, it’s a constant challenge.
I can’t develop a rhythm, walk really fast and get lost in thought. I’m too busy looking for bikers.
I’ve discovered that most women over 40 will yield to me as will most men of any age whether alone or with other men. When with young women, the young women will curse me–even if I’m in the right place, and they’re not.
I don’t get it. Walking is one of the first things we can, usually, do as a toddler, and we should be able to walk well into old, old age.
Walking is great exercise, costs nothing in equipment, and should be encouraged.
(Okay people like me tend to buy sneakers that might cost as much as some bikes, but I hope I’m an exception.)
I really don’t understand why men tend to be so much nicer than women. Why do women–especially when riding in packs with men–have to curse and tell me that I’m in their way?
Especially when I’m on the cobblestones and they have a nice smoothly paved, no pothole surface to ride on?
I’m constantly befuddled by this, and tend to hate Manhattan on weekends.
I used to love bike riding but back in the 1970’s and early ’80’s Manhattan wasn’t bike friendly and my tires were constantly being blown out by cut glass and other debris. I lived just off Fifth in the 60’s, and every weekend there would be a parade.
People, not my neighbors, would gather on my building’s stoop. I didn’t have a very loud voice, and when I would ask people to let my bike and I through, usually nobody would move. I was scared to ride on the gutters; I don’t even drive. It was difficult walking my bike across Fifth Avenue to the park.
I still dislike all Manhattan parades on general principle. Parades other places tend to be more fun, less frequent, and not cumbersome.
My building didn’t have a bike room or other place for bikes, and it cluttered my large studio. So I began to concentrate on long distance walking.
It was the best way to learn about each block, and I still remember where stores and restaurants used to be. I watched, say, Madison Avenue in the 20’s, go from being a “nice” neighborhood to homeless hotel heaven to a good ethnic East Indian enclave.
I remember when South Street Seaport was a dismal rotting pier people would sun bath on. I liked it much better then. South Street Seaport could be in any river city.
Though Manhattan is still a great place to visit, and somehow the streets might empty for tourists.
My heart still belongs to Manhattan, but my feet belong elsewhere. It’s easy for me to understand why Manhattan is no longer considered to be the place for walking in the country.
Walkers aren’t organized; walkers have few rights. Oh heck, I’m planning a few other revolutions; might as well plan a walker’s revolution. Anybody joining/