Saturday, August 20, 2016

Perfect timing (a little update because it's been only six days)

The New York City's Summer Streets program is really special. For  three Saturday mornings in a row every summer the street is closed to traffic from the Brooklyn Bridge all the way to the 72nd St. entrance at Central Park. Before Guillain-Barré syndrome attempted to steal my life away I either ran this or biked it with my kids almost every time it happened.

Click here for interactive map. But I'm calling it 9 miles because 
we walked from the curb at Park Avenue to the fanciest bathrooms
 in New York City in the Waldorf-Astoria
This morning was the last Saturday it was gonna happen this year and a couple of days ago the weather forecast made it look like it was gonna be the least unpleasant day of August so far. So I put it out there that I was looking for any friends who wanted to walk from Prospect Park to Central Park. Janet walked from beginning to end with me and Mary joined us for the chunk from downtown Brooklyn to the other side of the Brooklyn Bridge.

This 9 mile walk took us about four hours. When we made it to Central Park I felt like I had the energy to walk back home, but I didn't need to. But there will other long walks in the future, runs also.

Towards the end of the walk, Janet mention this was taking her a little longer than she had planned and suggested that maybe instead of walking to Central Park when we got the 72nd St. we go right towards the subway. I agreed, but she understood later why I reneged on that because I wanted to be able to say that I walked from Prospect Park to Central Park. So then to save time I suggested we jump on a city bus on to get to the subway a little quicker. The bus was right there and without any warning a thunderstorm erupted just as we got into the bus. So instead of getting off the bus at 59th St. we stayed on the nice dry air-conditioned bus down to 23rd St. where we were still able to jump on the train. It was kinda funny to watch the tourists panic when the driver announced the last stop would be 26th Street. That was exactly where we wanted to go. I knew they were tourists because I made some scatological joke when we passed Trump Tower and they looked at me like I was a terrorist. So I made them happy a few minutes later by making sure they all knew we were driving by the Empire State building. Then we got to Madison Sq., Park and the rain was done and we step right into the subway.. We made quick connections and it was nice to look out the window of the train as we crossed the Manhattan Bridge. I always thought the views from there were underrated because you get to look back at the Brooklyn Bridge.

I've been set spending the second half of my day thinking about the first half. I take for granted that without going out of my way or giving it much thought I can travel across the Brooklyn Bridge and visit Central Park. For reasons of convenience I can take a bus passed Trump Tower and the Empire State building. Yesterday, I had to take care of some business in office that happened to be a few feet where George Washington took the oath of office for the first time. Then I went to visit my wife for lunch, to do that I walked past the New York Stock Exchange building and then had to wind my way through the tourists that were lined up to rub the gonads of that bull at the south end of Broadway. I hailed a cab home in front of the building where people had bought tickets for the Titanic's return trip and a wife and a and in wow and in will and you and and and and and the across the street from Bowling Green Park. The fence around that patch of grass has a fence that used to have crowns on it. They were removed by patriotic soldiers and turned into cannonballs that were fired at the Redcoats. As a lifetime New Yorker I take all this crap for granted.

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But I can tell you what I don't take for granted anymore. The FACT that I am now preparing to begin and complete my 30th 26.2 mile marathon. Yes, on November 6, 2016 I'll be running the New York City Marathon again. I used to take this for granted that every year I would run the New York City Marathon. Not so much anymore. Two years ago nurses had to roll me over on a schedule to keep me from getting bedsores. A year ago, I was hobbling around with a cane. Today I just woke up and walked 9 miles. I might take it for granted that it's fun to debate which bridge is better to cross the East River with. But I'm not going to take for granted the fact that I can have that choice.

Every Friday night in the summer there are fireworks and Coney Island. My teammates from the Prospect Park Track Club meet in Prospect Park and run down there for beer on the boardwalk. They left at 8 o'clock to see the fireworks at 9:30. I left at 4:30 in the afternoon. I altered my route a little to avoid the sun and got to travel down Coney Island Avenue. This New York Times article was written over 12 years ago but it still the truth.

My friend Larry accompanied me on my walk there but he had a leave early and while I was waiting for my teammates to run down there I got to enjoy a beer all by myself, it was really nice to sit there sipping on a extra-large Coney Island logger and think of how far I've come in the past two years, three months three weeks and five days.

Then all my running buddy showed up and I got to make up stories of what it was like to grow up in that half of Brooklyn.

I gave myself an extra treat and took the subway home. Living in this gentrified section of New York City sometimes I forget what a diverse and wonderful city I live in. For my 45 minute subway ride I shared the car with a handful of families all speaking different languages. I honestly don't know what many of the languages were but they were two common denominators. There were lots of little kids bouncing around because of all the sugar they just ate and they were just as many little kids passed out in their parents laps.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I work across from the Cunard building that you referred to, so any time you're back there let me know. I'll lead you to a new sign Parks has put outside Battery Park, which includes a blow up of a scathing letter from Robert Moses about why Castle Clinton had to be demolished to make way for the construction of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.Mary


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