Manhattan Island from Bottom to Top; Walking as Exercise

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In the spirit of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I will begin with the conclusion, followed by evidence to prove my point.

Walking is a naturally beneficial form of exercise habitual since human origins. It is perfectly suited to the human body and is a form of physical activity from which it seems personal injury cannot come; hence, one can justly say that it is one hundred percent beneficial.

The body welcomes such exercise. In fact, when it is undertaken, the body seems to be saying, “give me more!” It seems to cure all kinds of nagging (but not serious) physical complaints, discomforts, and ills, such as aches and pains, and actually seems to restore energy as much if not more than depleting it.

 

 

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I love to walk, as was noted by me in a previous post on this blog:

“on walking (and exercise)”

https://rogersgleanings.com/2016/03/20/roger-w-smith-on-walking/

I like to think of new places and routes to walk in the City (i.e., New York City, including Manhattan and the “outer boroughs” of Brooklyn and Queens).

I keep finding new places to explore — in Brooklyn, for example. It could be a neighborhood, such as Williamsburg, or a park, such as Brooklyn Bridge Park, which I only found out about recently. I like to call my walks, playfully, “jaunts,” a favorite term used by the poet Walt Whitman.

The other day, while writing a post, “Walt Whitman on Manhattan”

https://rogersgleanings.com/2017/07/18/walt-whitman-on-manhattan/

I noticed that in his poem “Mannahatta,” Whitman describes Manhattan as “an island sixteen miles long.”

Yes, I thought to myself, sixteen miles long, from the southernmost point of Manhattan, Battery Park (which overlooks New York Harbor and from which boats depart regularly for the Statue of Liberty, which can be viewed from the park), to Inwood at the northernmost point of Manhattan.

Then, on Thursday evening (July 20), I saw a documentary film at the Morgan Library in Manhattan: Henry David Thoreau, Surveyor of the Soul, directed by Huey Coleman. In the film, it is noted that when Thoreau first attended a lecture by Ralph Waldo Emerson, he walked seventeen miles from Concord, Massachusetts to Boston to attend.

I had been thinking of taking such a walk myself. If Thoreau can do it, I can, I thought. I would like to see how such a long walk feels.

 

 

 

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Yesterday I walked, in around 90 degree weather, from Bowling Green, at the southern tip of Manhattan, to the northernmost point of Manhattan Island, Inwood Hill Park, where the Henry Hudson Bridge and the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge link Manhattan to the Bronx.

It took me about ten hours with a couple of pit stops.

I got up in the morning feeling sluggish and achy. I took the subway to Bowling Green, then started walking, taking a few photographs of the harbor and then starting to walk uptown.

I felt sluggish and unsteady on my feet. The heat felt oppressive. I had a pain in my right foot that had persisted for a day or two. But gradually, as my walk and the day progressed, I started feeling better.

At 3:45 p.m., I texted a friend:

have reached 96th St and Broadway

wouldn’t u know it

I seem to have more energy than when I started

my toe is not hurting any more

I feel much less achy and better overall

A couple of hours later, from 155th and Broadway, I texted my friend again, saying “I am getting tired.” I had probably walked over 15 miles already. But, I kept going. It took me over an hour more to reach Inwood Hill Park. The park is entered via Dyckman Street, which is located precisely where West 200th Street would be, were it a numbered street. I walked along the western end of the park, which skirts the Hudson, to the northern end of the park, then back to the subway.

Riding home on the subway, I felt exhausted. I was relieved to get home and after a short while fell into a deep sleep.

I woke up very early after only a few hours of sleep feeling refreshed and very energetic. I haven’t felt so good in a long time. I felt very alert and refreshed. (It is my belief that pleasurable, mentally relaxing exercise such as walking obviates neurasthenia and chronic fatigue.)

 

 

 

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Conclusion:

 

I already said it! The body welcomes exercise. It craves it. I can often hear my “brother body” (a term used by Pitirim A. Sorokin, which he undoubtedly got from Saint Francis) telling me, “thank you; give me more.” It is not uncommon after a five to seven mile walk for me to find myself saying to myself, I could do another five miles more. And, I am not a fitness addict or fanatic.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   July 22, 2017

 

 

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Battery Park

 

 

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New York Harbor viewed from Battery Park

 

 

 

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Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Village

 

 

 

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Broadway, Upper Manhattan

 

 

 

 

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Inwood Hill Park

 

 

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Hudson River, late evening, viewed from Inwood Hill Park

 

 

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Inwood Hill Park, overlooking Hudson River

 

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northern tip of Inwood Hill Park, overlooking Hudson River and Spuyten Duyvil Bridge

 

 

 

photos by Roger W. Smith

 

 

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Addendum: On Sunday, August 6, 2017, I reversed myself and walked from the top (northernmost point) of Manhattan Island to the bottom (Battery Park). I found that Manhattan actually ends at Broadway and 218th Street — not at 207th Street, as I had thought.

I did it faster this time. It took me about seven and a half hours.

The weather was cool for August, and I did not experience appreciable fatigue. I felt as if I could have kept going should I have had cause to.

 

 

 

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Broadway at 218th Street, 1:34 p.m.; Manhattan’s northern border

 

 

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Broadway at entrance to Battery Park, 8:44 p.m.; Manhattan’s southern tip; end of my Sunday walk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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8 Responses to Manhattan Island from Bottom to Top; Walking as Exercise

  1. That’s some amazing walk! I congratulate you, and admire you, since I would not be able to walk for 10 hours; not even 5, I’m afraid. Anyway this is a most encouraging post, and the pictures are splendid as well.

  2. elisabethm says:

    Well done, Roger! Beautiful photos. I’m a walker too, always have been. I enjoy walking in the city just as much as in the countryside.

  3. Thanks much, Elisabeth. It’s great to hear that you and I share a love of walking and that you take such pleasure in it.

  4. haycarol says:

    Very nice, Roger. I would like to go on a long “jaunt” with you in Manhattan. Like your photos too.

  5. Thanks, Carol. Much appreciated. Re a “joint jaunt,” would love to. — Roger

  6. Muchas gracias, Li. As always, appreciate your comments. And your candor. — Roger

  7. Ha ha ha! Thanks! … I feel honoured by your affectionate appreciation. (“Candor” is a quality I deeply admire, so you have deeply flattered me.)

  8. Tom Riggio says:

    Great description of the jaunt and wonderful advice for those who sit on their cans most of the day! Lovely pictures to top it all. At this humid time of year, I swim, but can’t take photos while doing so.

    Keep up the good workout.

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