Tag Archives: Roger W. Smith A Manhattan Jaunt

a Manhattan jaunt


Yesterday, Sunday, November 12, I set out from my house, intending to walk the whole perimeter of Manhattan. It is a walk of around 32 miles and is said to take 12 to 15 hours. I started from 63rd Street and Second Avenue at around 7:30 a.m.

I didn’t make it. I stopped a couple of times for coffee breaks. This extended the length of my walk. By late afternoon, as darkness was coming on, I had only gotten about halfway. I was also getting tired. I would guess that I did around half the distance, a bit less. Maybe 13 or 14 miles.

If I had kept going, I would not have gotten back to my starting point, 63rd Street and Second Avenue, until probably around midnight.

Below are some photos from my jaunt.

— Roger W. Smith

  November 13, 2017

Addendum: I have commented in several posts about what I perceive to be the beneficial health effects of walking. Yesterday was a very nice day, cold but clear and sunny. I had been feeling under the weather. For me, the best medicine for a cold is exercise and, especially, fresh air.



photographs by Roger W. Smith

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starting point; Second Avenue at 63rd Street

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East River, early Sunday morning

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East 74th Street


Carl Schurz Park and Gracie Mansion; Yorkville

Carl Schurz Park is located in the Yorkville neighborhood of Manhattan. The mayor’s residence, Gracie Mansion, is located there.

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Carl Schurz Park

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Carl Schurz Park

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Gracie Mansion

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York Avenue at 90th Street




As one progresses along First Avenue, one eventually runs into a roadblock of sorts. Not an actual roadblock, but at around 125th Street, the Harlem River impedes one’s northerly progress. One has to start veering west following the curvature of Manhattan Island. One proceeds northerly through Harlem, continually veering west.

The area of First Avenue (and avenues slightly to the west) from around 90th Street to 125th Street is very bleak. There are hardly any restaurants, business establishments, or places of interest. The occasional gas station (a rarity in most of Manhattan).

One might expect such an area to become gradually gentrified, as the rest of the City has. What seems to prevent this are the bleak housing projects, built during the 1950’s in the “slum clearance” era when the poor and minorities were as a matter of policy moved to Soviet style housing projects favored by misguided (to put it kindly) city planners. These housing blocks have no personality and are grim architecturally. There are no commercial establishments nearby.

Harlem proper, which is to say the blocks in the part of Harlem further west, is a very nice area; it is becoming (and already has become, for the most part) gentrified.


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Polo Grounds Towers

Around 155th Street as I kept veering west, I took what I thought was a through street and ended up in a cul-de-sac. I realized I was in the midst of housing project. It turned out to be the Polo Grounds Towers, site of the home of the former New York Giants baseball team. The Polo Grounds stadium, home of the Giants, was demolished in 1964.

As I emerged from the housing project, I walked up a long, very steep stairway on which were painted the following words: “The John T. Brush Stairway Presented by the New York Giants.” John T. Brush (1845-1912) was one of the first owners of the New York Giants baseball team.

At the top of the stairway was Edgecombe Avenue. There was no traffic and not a pedestrian in sight. Across the street was a promontory which, though I had never been in this area before, I realized had to be Coogan’s Bluff. As noted in a Wikipedia entry, “A deep escarpment descends 175 feet from Edgecombe Avenue to the river, creating a sheltered area between the bluff and river known as Coogan’s Hollow. For 83 years, the hollow was home to the legendary Polo Grounds sports stadium.” Sportswriter Red Smith called Bobby Thomson’s homerun to clinch the 1951 pennant for the New York Giants “the miracle of Coogan’s Bluff.”


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Coogan’s Bluff




Washington Heights


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Fort Tyron Park

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Broadway, Washington Heights; Broadway extends the whole length of Manhattan, and further




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Dyckman Street

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Inwood Hill Park

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Hudson River from Inwood Hill Park

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The Capuchin Franciscans of Good Shepherd church, Inwood

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Isham Park, Inwood

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Isham Park

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Broadway and 218th Street; the northernmost point of Manhattan, at the boundary between Manhattan and The Bronx