I spent four full days in New York City, and excluding getting to and from the airport, I only got in a car once, and that was the morning of my big race. Apart from that, I walked and took subways. I became a subway pro – figuring out when and where to switch from local to express trains; maneuvering through multiple transfers after some trains shut down late at night. I can get anywhere, and I did – In four days I was all over Manhattan, plus visits to Queens, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, all via train.
Relying on subways, though, also meant lots of walking. I wasn’t always near a subway stop, or the right subway stop, and I’d say I easily logged miles of walking each day in the city.
I wasn’t diligent about tracking all that walking. That’s because, in addition, I completed a couple workouts, and it was those that I was more diligent about.
So, remember how yesterday’s blog post was about what I ate while in New York? This post will be about my activity. I’ll start with those workouts, and since everything else I did involved getting at least partway there on foot, I’ll share a bunch of those pictures as well.
My friend Aaron’s apartment in Morningside Heights (between the Upper West Side and Harlem, in Manhattan) was the starting point for two great runs. The first one was 3.2 miles, and went through the Columbia campus and Riverside Park, which stretches up and down the Hudson river. It ended with a selfie at a very famous restaurant – the one that was shown in nearly every episode of “Seinfeld.”
My second run was on Monday, the day after my stair race. For this 3.1-mile run, I headed the other way, to Central Park, and ran all through the northern end of it. After climbing 1,970 stairs the day before, the last thing I wanted to see on that run was stairs, but at one point I couldn’t avoid them.
I ended up being on a couple other awesome stairwells that same day. The first was in Google’s New York City offices…
…and the other was in the brand-new Whitney Museum building, which is full of all sorts of great interior and exterior spaces, and stunning, compelling artwork, too.
Oh, before I forget, staying at my friend Aaron’s place also involved a teeny-tiny bit of work: I was cat-sitting, so here’s a photo for all you cat-lovers out there. It’s me and Isis McFuzzy, who I managed to keep alive for four whole days! (It’s really easy when there’s a robot food dispenser that does most of the work for you.)
One of the longer strolls I took was with my friends Heather and Adam, who gave me a thorough walking tour of Hoboken, New Jersey, including a big stretch along the Hudson River waterfront, which was lovely and newly rebuilt, after suffering damage during Hurricane Sandy. One pier was perfect for happy hour: food trucks, a beer stand, and all sorts of unique seating options, like these tall lifeguard chairs where Heather and I got cozy.
The day before the race, I did a dry run down to the World Trade Center site. I wanted to get the lay of the land, because parts of it were still under construction, and I didn’t want to risk getting confused the morning of the race. My sister Laura, who lives in Chicago, happened to be in town that weekend for a wedding, so we arranged to meet down there, and it was a blast running into her in a totally different city.
Neither of us had seen the Memorial Pools, which were built in the footprints of the original twin towers, so we walked around and paid our respects, then checked out One World Trade Center, and then explored the area and got lunch at a nearby pub. The restaurant had paper tablecloths and a cup full of crayons, so we both illustrated each others’ weekends.
Laura drew me climbing the One World Trade Center stairs…
…while I captured Laura’s terrible Airbnb experience. (I’ll spare you the details, but the drawing contains some clues.)
It wasn’t until after the race the next day that a couple friends told me what they saw at the Memorial Pools, and I set out to see it for myself. The pools are ringed with plaques carved with the names of all the nearly 3,000 people that perished on 9/11, and it’s a little spooky and unsettling to see your own name carved in one of the plaques.
I’ve since learned that this David Garcia was a computer analyst for Marsh & McLennan, and was working on the 97th floor of the north tower when the plane hit. He was 40 years old, had a wife and two young sons, lived on Long Island, and despite having limited sight (he was legally blind from a degenerative eye disease), he loved boating and helping coach his son’s little league team.
I try to see a Broadway show every time I’m in New York, and this time around it was an excellent play called “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” It’s based on the popular novel, about an autistic teenage boy that decides to uncover who murdered the neighbor’s dog, and ends up on a life-changing quest to find someone he had long thought was dead.
The show is stunning. There are continual twists and turns, and they employ a multitude of clever and unique methods, including lights and sets, movement, music, flashbacks, and staging, to submerse the audience into the mind of its main character. Definitely check it out!
My friend Benjamin is the Associate Director of the show, and he was able to give us a backstage tour! That was just about the coolest thing ever, and I technically ended up making my Broadway debut! I got to stand front and center on the Barrymore Theater stage, in front of an audience of zero. Here’s me and Benjamin on the “Curious Incident” set:
Benjamin’s brother, by the way, drove down from Boston to compete in the One World Trade Center climb. It was his first race, and he is hooked! I didn’t meet him at the race, but maybe I will at another event.
One more fun photo to wrap this up. Who’s that guy picking his nose on the subway platform?
That wraps it up, folks. I condensed four days in New York into three blog posts, and feel like there’s still oodles I could share. (But I won’t.)
My closing thought is this: I brought one pair of jeans to New York, and based on how they fit at the end of the trip, compared to at the beginning, I’m pretty sure I came home lighter than I left. That’s the way to travel!
Keep it up, David!