Sunday, April 28, 2013

Walking Broadway

This past month, I have been constantly reminded that I'm not cut out for being active - I was nervous for a 7K race, my body was in pain for days after trapeze lessons, and, most recently, I sprained my foot somehow while walking the entire length of Broadway.

#27 Walk the entire length of Broadway

Caitlin is responsible for this task being on my list and therefore blamed for my foot injury. But she is also blamed for all the fun I had and good food I ate on my adventure, so I guess it evens out. Broadway is the only avenue that stretches the entire length of Manhattan, from 225th Street to Battery Park City - a good 13.6 miles - a half-marathon, if you will.

I started off last Saturday running in Central Park with Aubrey and Meg. In hindsight, it wasn't smart to do the run and the walk in one day, but you live and learn. Aubrey was kind enough to join me on the first leg of my journey, from 225th to 180th. I was happy to have the company as I knew the walk would take me a while, especially with lots of stops scheduled along the way. 


We took the 1 train to 225th and walked over the Broadway Bridge into Manhattan to begin the trek. The first point of interest was Carrot Top Pastries on 214th, a cute bakery with "the best carrot cake in NYC". We split a slice there for our breakfast. While I'm not normally a huge fan of carrot cake for obvious reasons (vegetables and me are not great friends), it was actually pretty yummy.


The next stop was at 204th - Dyckman Farmhouse, the oldest farmhouse in Manhattan. I have no idea where there are other farmhouses in Manhattan, but this one was adorable. It certainly does not fit in with the rest of the buildings around there, but I wonder how many people who live up there actually have been to check it out. Aubrey and I walked around the outside gardens and into the house, where they have set up the furniture and decor to resemble what it would have looked like in the 1800s.


Soon after, Aubrey and I came across an adorable three-panel mural with neighborhood kids' drawings of NYC.


After Aubrey had to leave a few blocks later, I'll admit that I went through a pretty bleak period. It was still 100 blocks until I would be in familiar territory, my foot was already hurting, and the things on my list to check out were few and far between. I passed the United Palace Church on 175th which used to be a theater and had "Come on in or smile as you pass" written on the marquee. I walked by old men playing board games on the sidewalk, men aggressively cutting up pineapples at fruit stands, a plaque notifying me that I was walking in the footsteps of Washington's army during the Revolutionary War, and a street fair around Columbia University. I finally saw the next point-of-interest on 112th - Tom's Restaurant, aka Monk's Diner from Seinfeld.


It took me quite some time to get through 110th down to the 90s. I had to stop and get an everything bagel toasted with butter at Absolute Bagels at 108th, get a dog-shaped cookie and a chai at Silver Moon Bakery on 105th, and get a slice of Sal & Carmine pizza at 102nd. I was thankful for the food and also sat at each establishment for quite some time as my foot was in a lot of pain at this point.


As I walked further downtown, I started to come across the Broadway that I knew - the stores and restaurants in the 80s and 70s, Lincoln Center on 65th, and Columbus Circle on 59th. I had originally thought if I had to, I could stop at Columbus Circle and finish up the rest of Broadway on Sunday. I hadn't really paid attention to the Columbus statue since seeing him in his living room in the winter, but I sure appreciated seeing him on this day. Being there meant that I had less than 5 miles to go, so I decided to continue on after all.


I struggled through the Broadway of Times Square because at this point it was mid-afternoon on a sunny Saturday and the tourists were out. Worse than the tourists though were all the people dressed up like characters...Elmos, Hello Kittys, superheroes galore. I don't remember this many characters out any other time I've been in the area and I've been there a lot.


After Times Square, the crowds continued through Herald Square but relaxed a little after that. I finally got to the 20s and Madison Square Park in my 'hood. I rested for a while on a rock while staring at one of my favorite buildings, the Flatiron.


A few minutes later, I was in Union Square and also rested there. It was here that I realized I wasn't going to be able to walk normally for a few days and hoped I wasn't going to be on crutches. But it would have been silly to stop so close to the end, right? I trekked on through Soho, past City Hall, and down into the Financial District. I passed St. Paul's church and Trinity Church and peered into their cemetaries for a while, noting the history here, with gravestones from the 1700s of notable New Yorkers at the time. I read through the Canyon of Heroes strips on the sidewalk to mark honorees of ticker-tape parades over the years. I glanced at the Freedom Tower from a different point of view than the one I see every day. I watched people take pictures with the butt of the bull of Wall Street.


I trudged on and on, unfortunately this far downtown thinking more about the pain I was in than anything else. But then suddenly, I saw it. Battery Park City. I was exhausted. It had taken me seven and a half hours, two hours longer than I had estimated, but I had made it. Broadway started in Manhattan with numbers in the 6000s, but I had made it to number ONE.


Immediately after this picture was taken, well, after I was able to get the people who took it to stop trying to convert me to their religion, I limped to a cab and had the driver take me to the pedicure place by my apartment. I deserved it. I did end up having to ice and wrap my foot for a few days but I think I'm all better now. On to the next.

xo

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