Y'all shoulda joined us last Sunday.
This was our first urban hike with all-day cool (low 50s all day) rain. Very similar to northern Scotland. Undaunted, our team marched on despite some discomfort and got to see all sorts of cool things along with the always-interesting (or more interesting) street scenes.
Along with us we had famous website owners, family members, of course Dear Leader Bulldog and his adorable Mrs., and representatives from Texas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and NYC. Ages 22 to 70+. Such an enjoyable, interesting, amusing, adventurous, and high IQ group. Friends.
We covered 11.5 miles with all of our detours while trending north, with lots of uphill in Washington Heights.
The Maggie's Urban Hike tradition is to stop for pizza and beer around 1 pm. Victorio's on 145th St. had pretty good greasy pizza. Our team occupied every seat in that hole in the wall joint, deeply immersed in this amazing city.
Below, the elegant Victorio's Pizza Plus, in north Harlem near City College on 145th St. Very efficient pizza joint but no damn bathroom and no beer!
Photo tour of our hike, etc, below the fold -
We started off with kosher bagels with a shmear on Amsterdam Ave. and 81st. This area, up to near 125 St. is called The Upper West Side.
Then we strolled around the Museum of Natural History past all of the farmers' stalls
for the full assembly on the steps behind Teddy Roosevelt's horse
Then we wandered west to Broadway and marched uptown. On Amsterdam, we passed Barney Greengrass - The Sturgeon King since 1908
Here's Broadway in the upper 80s. New high-rises going up.
On 94th St, we peeked into the gates of Pomander Walk. These are the facing parts, but I could not get a pic of the inside of this remarkable mini-neighborhood. Pics of it here. A cozy little mews.
We passed Tom's Restaurant of Seinfeld fame, a joint where I probably had 500 cheap breakfasts in youth (over there on the corner)
Moving on, we passed through the Columbia Univ campus where they were prepping for graduation
Onward past Teacher's College, where we were tempted by a bus that went to the Cloisters. We resisted the temptation (it was heavy rain and wind at that point, not fun). We descended down into Harlem, past Morningside Park, up Malcolm X Blvd or whatever to 125th St, the main street of Harlem.
I had to grab a snap of the world famous Apollo Theater (with a new Red Lobster next door - sheesh)
We hiked a good stretch of 125th St until we found a McDonald's. We basically occupied the employee's bathroom for a pit stop. Bought nothing there either. Won't eat that stuff.
We meandered all around Harlem - it was interesting, blocks of old brownstones of past gentry and many undergoing rehabilitation. Part of the reason was because Leader Bulldog had a bee in his bonnet about seeing Collyer Brothers Park. Not much to see, just some dirt where the famous hoarders had had their house. Read their story, and learn the moral.
From there, we hiked northwest through Harlem side streets towards Jackie Robinson Park. We clambered up the nice leafy park...
to behold the campus of CUNY, the great City University of New York with its City College.
We did not take the time to check out the campus because we were headed to Alexander Hamilton's farmhouse. There it was, right on the edge of the campus. He used to commute to his farmhouse on weekends from his job downtown. Broadway was the highway. With 7 kids and a farm, no wonder weekends were all he could handle.
It would have been good to see the uptown Trinity Cemetery (established when downtown Trinity Church's graveyard was deemed full) but we marched north up Edgecomb Ave (still raining) to look at the Morris Jumel Mansion (1765).
And right across the street is the pleasant development called Sylvan Terrace. This was one of the first developments on what had been country estates.
Then onward up Edgecombe to Amsterdam along Highbridge Park.
We wanted to get to the High Bridge so those who wanted to could walk across it the The Bronx (and back). It's an 1837 aqueduct. Here's a good if outdated post on High Bridge. It is now fully restored and walkable.
Here's the water tower for the aqueduct
We strolled west to Broadway and 179th St at around 4 pm, and realized we did not have time to get to The Little Red Lighthouse, much less to The Cloisters.
So we just walked over to the famous United Palace Theater. I had hoped they would let us see inside, but nope.
So we hopped the A Train back down to 81st St to find a nice little pub for beers and bar food. Which we did. An excellent day.