It can be easy to forget that dense,
frenetic Manhattan is in fact an island. But on 4 May, the 28th
annual Great Saunter – a 32-mile urban hike –
offers sure-footed explorers a chance to get in touch with the waterfront and
gain a new perspective on the city along the way.
The roughly 12-hour walk, which passes through 20 parks and promenades and more than a dozen
neighbourhoods, is organized by Shorewalkers, a nonprofit focused on promoting and preserving New York City’s shores.
Distinct skyline vantage points, views of the New Jersey Palisades and
vestiges of Manhattan’s past – including a 133-year-old lighthouse; a one-time
roadside overlook built with Neoclassical flair; and the city’s oldest standing bridge – are just some of the sights that dot the trail.
“When you get out of lower Manhattan you
find amazing things,” said event coordinator Sid King.
The route follows the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway from the southern tip of the island up the Hudson River to Inwood Hill Park; from there it’s across to the Harlem River before heading
south through Harlem via Jackie Robinson Park. The Great Saunter’s path then takes advantage
of a waterside esplanade
between 145th and 135th Streets along the Harlem River,
before rejoining the Greenway and winding down the east side. A post-trek
celebration follows at Fraunces
Tavern, a watering hole in the Financial
District that dates back to the American Revolution.
More than 800 people from around the world
are expected to take part in the rain-or-shine event. “Every age group and
demographic is represented,” King said, noting the youngest previous Great
Saunter participant was three months old (and in a stroller) and the oldest was
89 (he walked all 32 miles).
Training to build up for the long distance
is recommended, but walking only some of the Saunter is perfectly fine – subway
and bus stops are indicated on the route maps. “There are no judgments or
disqualifications,” King said.
The Great Saunter starts at 7:30 am from Pearl
and Broad Streets. On-site registration begins at 7 am,
while late registration begins at 9 am at West 42nd
Street and the Hudson River. To save time, you can also preregister online. The entry
fee is $20 for individuals or $25 for two family members. Walkers are
encouraged to bring an extra pair of dry socks, water, a light snack and cash.
is the New York City Localite for BBC Travel