We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I was asked today why I took a hike around Brooklyn. To non-readers of Maggie's, the answer isn't easy since I prefer to blog with a pseudonym and try to keep work and blogging separated, for a variety of reasons.
However, the answer I give is that I enjoy history, architecture, art history, and the company of people who enjoy these things as well. While the original hike was an attempt to meet some of our readers (and a chance for me to meet our editor for the first time), we knew just walking around aimlessly wasn't going to suit people's purposes.
After working with Bird Dog to put the first walk together, I began having some fun actually finding interesting and wacky things to look at around New York City. I saw a question in an open forum on another site which asked "What are some things about New York that nobody knows about and I should go see?" I felt qualified enough to answer that question, and most of the Maggie's hikers - certainly any who have gone on all four - should also feel qualified. As Bird Dog asked while we stood in front of a townhouse completely covered in mosaics, "Where do you find this stuff?" Most of it I've found just by scouring the internet. Places like Untapped Cities, Atlas Obscura, and New York Historical Society are obvious starting points. It's strange to say "places" for a virtual location, but our virtual world is an addition to our real one, and it should be used in that fashion. For many it is just a place to escape from reality, through games or social engines. That's fine. But it is also an amazing learning tool that is often underutilized.
Within those starting points, we can spin off further. Following links within articles which lead to stories about locations and art. Even the social engines are useful. Mrs. Bulldog, after all, found our DUMBO/Manhattan Bridge picture location because she is on Instagram and saw it was one of the best photo locations. Interestingly enough, her research on that also led to the addition of the Commandant's House (late editing note: when we visited this, I merely said the Commodore of the Navy Yard lived here. This was not incorrect, however, I missed that Commodore Matthew C. Perry, who opened Japan and whose flag was displayed on the USS Missouri during the signing of documents ending WWII, lived there), the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument, and the Old Stone House. So even social media is useful in doing research, though we often malign it as useless.
Ultimately, it's good fun, it's great exercise (I was very stiff the next day, not sore), and it's a chance to socialize and learn from our surroundings and our fellow travelers. An annual mini-Canterbury Tales, if you will. A pilgrimage to nowhere in particular, except to exercise our bodies and minds.
Thank you all, again, for joining and looking forward to next year. I'm thinking Upper Manhattan. The Cloisters, Mother Cabrini, the High Bridge, Morris-Jumel Mansion, the old Polo Grounds, Battle of Harlem Heights, etc. Northern Manhattan is walkable today (it certainly wasn't in 1985, when I first moved here). If we're lucky, maybe take a gander at Yankee Stadium, even though it's not the original.
I agree. You can see things while walking that you cannot see while driving. You can go places that you didn't even know existed. Every walk brings a discovery. It also offers a great opportunity to connect with your fellow hikers. I don't think you really know a city until you have walked it. I always bring my camera and I am particularly attracted to unique architectural features or interesting landscaping ideas.
Great fun. Great friends. Interesting. Adventurous. Entertaining and it gets better every time. Thanks for all you guys do to put this together as well as the fantastic effort in running the blog. We are honored to know all of you. Definitely looking forward to next year!!!