This is a short review about my second visit to the USA. I spent a nice vacation in NYC and NJ during September 2006.
Thanks to Wilko, Wendy, and Leo for sharing their beautyful home with me and our friends.
Rather than a complete story about each day (like the last time) I'll focus on a thing that I planned long before: to go all around Manhattan on rollerblades (inline skates). It would be the perfect end of my NYC visit, to see the city from all sides and angles, a great reflection on what I've seen all the days before. I included some facts, photos, a map and a short film. For a more literary style I recommend the book from Phillip Lopate: Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan, which I found later in a book shop.
At the end of the story I've included some more photos of interesting locations.
Manhattan is an island. So it should be possible to walk around it at or near the shore. The NYC department of city planning discovered this already in 2002 and immediately started a commitment to "provide by 2003 a continuous shared-use pedestrian and bicycle path around Manhattan to enhance recreational opportunities for all New Yorkers and provide a green attraction for those outside of the City.". It is called "the Greenway". I had the opportunity to see the current status of this undertake. It's not yet ready, but with a few exeptions you can use it. I did not include the area north of the Central Park, because a large section at the East River isn't yet ready and all the city maps I had ended up here.
You can get a handy pdf brochure and a detailed map, both in pdf, from the site mentioned above.
You need: rollerblades, shoes, something to eat and drink, a backpack, a city map and optional a camera.
I started at the Penn Station, simply because I arrived there from NJ. From there I walked the 34th street to the east until I arrrived at the Greenway (pier 73), which is divided into one lane for peds and one for bikes. If you're careful you can use the ped lane, if you want speed use the bike lane. With the rollerblades put on I rode south along the West 30th Heliport and arrived in a few minutes at the Chelsea Piers on piers 59 to 62. Once build for luxury liners (with the Titanic never arriving here in 1912...), it became a cargo terminal, later what it's now - a sports & entertainment complex. I had to slow down due some road work - the greenway is still a work in progress. But no problems at all, plenty of space and a smooth surface.
I rode on using the ped line directly at the waterside after passing the NYC fire depot at pier 53 and the NYC sanitation at pier 52. The Hudson River Park is a nice ride, with pier 46 finished in 2003 for recreation. I'm in Greenwich Village here and proceed to Tribeca. Pier 40, the largest Pier on the Hudson River (14 acres), is currently a construction site, a parking lot, an athletic field, a sailing school and even more.
Arriving in Lower Manhattan I use the North Esplanade to the Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City. Riding on the esplanade to the Battery Park along the World Financial Center, the North Cove and the South Cove are an absolute highlight on this tour. Easy to ride, plenty of space and great views everywhere keeps your camera busy. Although only the upper pathway is allowed to skaters, no one stopped me for using the lower promenade pathway directly at the waterside.
The next part is the Greenway at the East River. Most of the Greenway is in good condition, no problems until the United Nations Headquarter. There is no way along the waterside, you have to leave it at Tudor city using the E37/38th street up to the 1st or 2nd avenue and get back to the river at E63th street. The area is hilly, so walk if you don't know how to brake effectively...
Because I knew that in northern Manhattan the Greenway isn't ready yet and I didn't have a detailed map I decided to go through the Central Park back to the Hudson river. Skating in Central Park is fun, there are many ways to cross. Avoid the Ramble area, it's hard to skate there. I left the East River using the walkway at the John Jay Park, E78th street. I crossed the Park and the West Side at the 77th street near the American Museum of Natural History and got back to the Hudson at the Riverside Park.
To get back to the Greenway you have to go through the Riverside Park, a nice park for break. The Greenway from here is in excellent condition, a fun to ride. After a few minutes I was back at the 34th street from where I started, passing the Lincoln Towers, the small de Witt Clinton Park, the Manhattan Cruise Terminal and the Sea-Air Space Museum.
After all, a great ride I recommend to everyone. Next time I'll get a better map and try the other part, visiting Haarlem, the Cloisters, the Fort Washington Park with the Little Red Lighthouse and the Cherry Walk.
Just a few more impressions from THE city and New Jersey: a day in Philadelphia, bike rides to Sandy Hook (again) and Asbury Park and some places where everyone has to go to.
Upcoming: a google map - someday