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Favorite Places to Walk? Favorite Places to Roll?

Family Walking Along a ParkIn preparation for the Jane Jacobs Forum, we want to hear from you about one of your favorite walks. The walk can be in any of the boroughs of New York City. It can be a walk on your way to work or school or when running errands or when out for a ramble. Also, where would you like to walk, but can’t?

Likewise, if you use a wheelchair, where do you like to go? And, where would you like to roll, but can’t?

Here is a response from Dan Icolari, an inveterate walker who lives in St. George, Staten Island.

A favorite walk:

My favorite walk is about 7 miles. It goes through Snug Harbor, Clove Lakes and Silver Lake parks and through the neighborhoods of St. George, New Brighton, West Brighton and Tompkinsville on varied terrain.

Likewise, if you use a wheelchair, where do you like to go? And, where would you like to roll, but can’t?

Who: Dan Icolari, an inveterate walker who lives in St. George, Staten Island.

My favorite walk:
My favorite walk is about 7 miles. It goes through Snug Harbor, Clove Lakes and Silver Lake parks and through the neighborhoods of St. George, New Brighton, West Brighton and Tompkinsville on varied terrain.

Where I would like to walk and can’t:

If you tend to walk long distances, as I do, you start to see how totally our streets and roadways have been given over to automobiles. This is nowhere more true, ironically, than in the Greenbelt, which is far friendlier to cars than to people––who don’t pollute the air and take up less space. Specifically:

Two summers ago (and I’ve been back since–no positive change), I walked from my house to the edge of the Greenbelt on Manor Road, just (south?) of the Jewish Community Center. There is no sidewalk, there is no path; there is only a narrow ditch. Drivers are so unaccustomed to having to share what is, after all, a public roadway that they yelled at me and in some cases intimidated me by driving perilously close to me with no warning. My taxes help to maintain the roads that bisect the Greenbelt, but I use them at my peril because I don’t come with wheels and a motor attached.

Who: from someone who uses an electric wheelchair and finds severe limitations in a conveyance with wheels and motor who wishes to remain anonymous.

My favorite rolling walk:

The Bronx Botanical Garden, which has wonderful accessibility, including on the trams.

Where I would like to roll, but can’t:

The subways, in order to reach more of the city more quickly. Subways with elevators are accessible for manual wheelchairs, but not for electric wheelchairs. An electric wheelchair cannot move across a gap between platform and car, nor when there is a difference in level between platform and car. One can only get into and out of a subway car in an electric wheelchair with the assistance of other passengers.

Previous Questions & Feedback

Comment from Marna Feldt

Dear MAS, I am closing in on 80 now, so doing most of the 2 hr. walks led by Matt (my first
choice always) or Tony (for midtown), or any of the other fantastic historic architecture tours,
is not quite possible anymore. But I still read all the descriptions and one day when the weather is perfect (low humidity, no wind, temperature above 50 F.) I will give it one last try.

I get a lot of out-of-town and foreign visitors, and a MAS walk, whether I am along or not, is
the one thing ALWAYS suggested, even if they only have time for the Grand Central Wed. ramble (which I have done at least 4-5 times – learning something new each time, or the Tuesday downtown
history turn-on which sad to say I have not done in its new format).

My favorite walk now is a short one – less than two hours with stopoffs at the small dog run,
and Gracie Mansion – to and inside the wonderfully well-cared for and well-used uptown
Carl Schurz Park. It too is a Manhattan history lesson, and when I have visitors with me I include the wonderful “village” of mid 19th c. houses across East End Avenue/86-87th Streets, both front and back views.

You can see where I am going with all of the above: even if one is, yes I’m going to say it, elderly and feeling the back and leg pain that makes us look for a place to sit a bit, there are
still a lot of places in Manhattan one can “go for a walk”, even “The Top of the Rock”, which
my visitors just adore!

So the next time your Board does a brainstorming session, about how to present
our beloved city in a new way, or for another demographic group, think about us once
more active MAS members, and their visitors. I can imagine you have already
thought of this, so I am telling you not telling you anything new. But since you asked….

All best wishes for an ever more liveable and lovable New York, M a r n a F e l d t

Comment from Lawrence Gulotta

My least favorite walk:

I’m a member of the Museum of the City of New York located on 5th Avenue at 103rd St.

One way to get to the Museum is to take the No. 6 subway to 103rd Street and then WALK three (3) blocks west. I find this a difficult walk. Upon exiting from the subway station you are confronted by a NYC Police car parked on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 103rd Street overseeing pedestrian traffic–a sign of possible danger. Next, walking west along E 102nd Street one block to Park Avenue and crossing the busy Avenue into a dark tunnel, under the rail lines. The tunnel is not well maintained (dirty) and poorly illuminated. After the tunnel come massive housing projects along E 112th Street until you reach Madison Avenue. From Madison Avenue to 5th Avenue are massive Mt. Sinai Hospital buildings. One such building is under construction with dumpsters and equipment forcing the pedestrian onto a temporary sidewalk. Finally, you arrive at 5th Avenue and E102st. One more block north to E103rd Street and the Museum.

I find this method of reaching the Museum very difficult and more so at night after Museum events. The tunnel is discouraging with very poor lighting; the public housing sometimes features enebriated folks arguing on the street, and the stretch along Mt. Sinai is lifeless or just institutional, with heavy construction in progress.

Nowhere are their signs indicating the direction to The Museum of the City of New York.
I’ve decided after three stressful trips along this route to just take the M2 bus to Madison and 101nd Street and walk west one block to 5th Avenue and the Museum at 103rd. There is a downtown bus across the street from the Museum and I take it to 42nd Street and then walk to Grand Central to get the No. 4 train home to Brooklyn.

Comment from Russell

There is virtually no place in the five boroughs that does not offer something of interest for the long-distance walker: language, architecture, food, conversation; just stroll long enough and you will find something new and interesting.

If pushed, however, I would have to say that mid-town Manhattan is my LEAST favorite spot to walk.

Comment from Philip G. Craig

My least favorite walk in New York City is attempting to go from Pennsylvania Station to Times Square during the weekday evening peak period (4:30 to 6:30 PM) when hordes of homeward bound commuters – en route to Long Island and New Jersey – flood the sidewalks and overflow into the curb lanes along 6th, 7th and 8th Avenues. There simply is no room for pedestrians attempting to buck the flow. Consideration should be given to widening the sidewalks along these avenues by taking out traffic lanes. Let’s make our streets convenient for people, not moving and parking cars and trucks.

Comment from Joanne

My favorite walks include along Shore Road and the harbor in Bay Ridge, around the perimeter of Governors Island, and along the new Brooklyn Bridge Park between Atlantic Avenue and into Dumbo.

Least favorite place to walk — any where near Times Square. It is so overcrowded , that it is impossible to navigate the streets in that area. In fact, I think it is a very dangerous place these days, as the streets are just about impassable – no matter what time of day or night you visit the area.

Comment from Frank Schulz

I would like to see more MAS Harlem type tours. I have been told there are 26 historic districts in this area. I do not know how accurate that number is and I am a new MAS member who has not taken the MAS Harlem Tour. But I am looking online at the Harlem tours that are offerred and I realize that there is so much of Harlem I do not know about.. Also the Rockefeller Center tour is on Christmas week – I would love to go on this tour but the crowds are so thick – I do not know how anyone can walk and apreciate the beauty of that place. Is there another time this tour is given aside from Christmas? On a side note I did my first MAS tour last weekend – the Landmark tour with Tony Robbins and was totallyy impressed with it – as well as his knowledge and delivery on this very important subject.

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