My continuing quest to see everything in New York City

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Solstice Walk

With the folks at we set out on an all night walk through the longest night of the year - 14 hours and 46 minutes.

Matt had a great concept for a route, which was to do a random draw. We'd all put vague destinations in a hat (A Christmas tree, the beach, Japanese gummy candy), and rely on our collective knowledge of the city to find them, inventing our own route along the way. No maps, no google phone, just us and New York. In winter. In the dark.

I loved the idea, and was looking forward to using my City Skills to the max in some unfamiliar areas. However, every self-respecting NYC urbanist can navigate Manhattan and Western Brooklyn in their sleep. And that was out problem - we started in the furthest corner of western Brooklyn. Going east through Brownsville and East NY was vetoed by some folks in the group for safety reasons (I know it's 2008 and we're with a dozen people, but I don't really blame folks for not wanting to wander around Brownsville at 3:00 AM). So we ended up basically in the familiar realm of west Brooklyn and southern Manhattan all night. You can see our route and a writeup here. Highlights include midnight sledding in Prospect Park, seeing crazy Christmas houses and taking the group up on a little bit of the High Line which was fun.

I got a few census tracts in Borough Park in, but for the most part this was simply an exercise in walking endurance, not exploration. Because of this, I had brought a couple extra pairs of socks and my old sneakers along. The best moment came when one guy's boots started falling apart, and my old sneakers just happen to fit.

After 29 miles, we finished at Stuyvesant Cove - nobody was going back my way, so I hoofed it back to the #6 train. So let's call it an even 30.

Neighborhoods: Tracts Walked: