Friday, March 13, 2009

Walk NYC 9 Miles: Riverside Park to Broadway Theater District

Quote of the Day:
When you have worn out your shoes, the strength of the shoe leather has passed into the fiber of your body. I measure your health by the number of shoes and hats and clothes you have worn out. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Last Saturday was the first spring-like day in a long while and we decided to jump-start our 10,000 steps by meeting AMC at 116th Street and Riverside Park for the announced stroll down to 66th Street along the glimmer of the Hudson.

We were surprised to see so many hardy hikers turn out for so short a stroll. We recognized many from heights in the hinterlands. Proof is clear: hikers like to socialize. Even a few AMC hike leaders showed up on this gorgeous day.

Fearless leader explained that Volunteer House, unfortunately closed that day, would have been an interesting stop offering exhibits explaining the conservation efforts of the volunteers of Riverside Park.

This playing field is astro-turfed, a cause for complaints from the athletes according to one AMCer who lives above the park. However, she said, it does allow the field to remain in use in all weather conditions.

These snow drops seemed to be the first blooms in the still-to-be-cleaned flower beds along the way. Spring can't be far behind.

We loved the remains of the last snow just framing the scene in the playground, all abuzz with jacketless children. Let's hope it is the last snow of the season.

What vanished structure was supported by these pilings?

A close up here at the 79th Street Boat Basin reveals the bicycles, laundry and plants signaling living quarters of those who may prefer dwelling afloat these days for $5oo.00 a month, roughly a third of the rent for a one-room apartment here in Manhattan. Some folks have lived in these houseboats for decades.

Whatever once was here has given over this station to a colony of birds. Is that Weehawken, N. J. on the other side?

As we walked down to the 60s, we veered inland, watching the curve of the drive meet the building line. Those are the skyscrapers of Midtown New York in the distance.

The massive embankment of apartment houses, built by Donald Trump, broke our bond with nature. As we left Riverside Park, we envied these residents their view of the river.

This canine carriage was vacant while its pooch got out to greet a friend.

This is the Martin Luther King High School on Amsterdam Avenue and 66th Street.

And here, just to the south, is the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts.

Here's one of New York's finest, a fireman on eternal duty at Ladder Company 35, across from the Martin Luther King school.

When the group dispersed, we found a bench in Central Park and dug into the lunch bag. After our short break, we walked along Central Park West toward the Time Warner Building at Columbus Circle and came upon this plaque marking Edna Ferber's residence in the 1920s, the Prasada Apartments.
Click plaque for details.

The Prasada, 50 Central Park West, where Edna Ferber once lived.

This is Columbus Circle, 59th Street and Columbus Circle, looking downtown. The white building to the right is the Museum of Art and Design's (MAD) new home.

And here is the entrance to the Time Warner Center.

Inside, in the main lobby, are Adam and Eve in bronze, by Fernando Botera. One of the trailtramps stands at right. One part of the statue's anatomy has been burnished down to the bronze finish by thousands of inquisitive fingers. Can you guess which part it is?

And here's Adam's counterpart,Eve, accompanied by the other trailtramp.
This is the view looking eastward from the second floor of the Time-Warner Center.

Our next destination was the Shubert Theater to buy tickets for Blithe Spirit. We headed down 8th Avenue, taking in one of Midtown's many entertainments.

The city canyons are becoming more creatively sculptured. We'd lost the sun at this point, but even under grey skies, these buildings shine.

By the time we turned east on West 44th Street, the crowds had passed through the entrances and were packed inside the theaters for the matinee shows. Just a bit earlier and this street would have been practically impassable. On the right, just beyond The 39 Steps marquee, is Sardis, longtime hangout of actors, directors, writers and celebrity worshipers.

On this eerily empty 44th Street, the Phantom lurks...

Success. We got the tickets and cut through Shubert Alley to 45th Street.

Crossing Broadway, we caught a glimpse of the Empire Start Building at 5th Avenue and 34th Street.

On West 45th, we cut through another alley and came to this 9/11 monument to employees of Marsh and McLennan. It was set in a park on West 46th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues.

West 46th Street offered up this fantastic cut. Although it looks like two buildings, this trompe-l'oeil structure in the right background is actually a single building.

The venerable Charles Scribner's Sons sign is a hallmark of 5th Avenue. In its heyday, this New York publishing powerhouse gave us the works of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and countless other literary giants. Now it has gone the way of these greats, replaced by Sephora, a cosmetics chain.

Fifth Avenue and 48th Street, looking north. That's St. Patrick's Cathedral mirrored in the glass skyscraper in the background at right just above Saks Fifth Avenue.

A rabbit on Fifth Avenue asks a passing policeman for directions. Think he was told to go back to his hutch until Easter?

The evergreen gardens Promenade at Rockefeller Center, 50th Street and Fifth Avenue.

We walked down the Promenade to catch these iceskaters getting in their last spins of the winter season.

A few streets north on Fifth stands the Disney Store. If you look closely (click the photo), you can see Mickey and Minnie atop the marquee at the entrance.
One of the trailtramps decided to pay Mickey a visit.

Shopping for a new computer? Check out the Apple Store at the GM Building on 5th Ave and 59th Street. The translucent cube in the background is the store's entrance.

Halal carts, selling kabobs and other ethnic delicacies, seem to be on every streetcorner. This is one is just across from the GM Building at 59th Street.

Looking west on 59th Street. Those two towers in the background are the Time-Warner Center at Columbus Circle, where we posed with Adam and Eve so many hours ago.

At the end of the day, our old pedometers read 9.32 miles, almost twice our goal of 10k steps. Not bad, eh?
Next week, we leave the walking to them, AMC, that is, on an organized hike in the woods of the Rockefeller Preserve. More later.