Monday, January 02, 2006

jogging geography

I only notice Manhattan’s topography when I’m running. That is, if I choose the streets as opposed to the path along the East River Drive, which is relatively flat other than stairs that take you up to the boardwalk and dog park around 79th street. But I don’t love that little piece of path in the 60s preceded by the sign that says “path narrows here” that takes you perilously close to the whizzing cars. And for some reason it always makes me a little sad to look down at some garbage floating in the water and think that at one point New Yorkers headed to the eastern shores of the island to take a dip on a hot day.

So instead, today I decided to zig zag through the city toward the Central Park reservoir. And it’s only when I’m running, rather than walking, that I notice the hills. Like the one on Park between 66th and 67th. But what’s wonderful about running on the streets, as opposed to say, along one set jogging path is that you can decide—hmm, I think I’ll take a left at 66th onto that nice and even looking block as opposed to continuing along the avenue.

Running also makes me realize how small the city is. It seems as though I’ve just set out and all of a sudden me in my spandex is winding my through crowds of shoppers outside of Bloomingdales who are clearly not from New York City given that they look they’re out for a stroll on a country road rather than fighting pedestrian traffic. (You don’t just follow the people in front of you. You need to learn how to weave!) Then I’m on Park, passing European cultural institutes and on Fifth looking at industrial-age mansions turned museums. (Oh, and I have to mention that the Met looks beautiful—if you haven’t seen the restorations. The stone looks just as it must have when the institution was first built.)

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