[columnize]A big part of my blog (and obviously, my day-to-day life) takes place in and around New York City. I’ve lived in New York my whole life and have spent countless hours exploring – both before and after having children. [line]

But like most of us, I tend to return to the same few areas over and over again, and too infrequently make a point of trying someplace new.

[line] And then just about a year ago I had the opportunity to do a sponsored bike ride around the perimeter of Manhattan. And it took me all the way downtown – to the very tip of the island.

A Tour of Downtown Manhattan- VRAI Magazine[/columnize]

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[columnize]The city, for the most part, was this massive place – thick with buildings and set in an orderly grid. But then something so exciting would happen as you got to the southern end. The grid? Abandoned – replaced with a maze of narrow, curving streets. And at the very tip – where the Hudson River meets the East River, where south rounds the bend and becomes north – the whole island opened up, with wide and expansive vistas. And I remembered the thrill of catching those glimpses from the car window. As I was bicycling downtown that same sense of excitement took over. And though I’ve spent plenty of time nearby – and explored the area with Noah too, I was headed into new territory – and I saw things from the vantage point of my bike that I had no idea existed. I promised myself a return trip – on foot, and with my camera – to take a slower, closer look. In preparing for my trip I started thinking about just how unique this part of Manhattan truly is. On the one hand there are clusters of tall buildings – both old and modern – that cast darkness over the tiny, narrow streets. But then you have the edges – where there are walkways, bike paths, even wooden foot bridges – all designed to take full advantage of the sweeping views of sky and water.[/columnize][image type=”none” float=”none” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”8194″]
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There is seemingly no end of old juxtaposed against new.

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Long sight lines and perspective are everywhere you look but then you’ll find streets so narrow that you can only catch a glimpse of what’s around the bend.

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There is an unusually large concentration of memorials – some massive in size – that I’m embarrassed to admit I’d never seen before. Some were almost unbearably heartbreaking.

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Framed views – some natural, some manmade – seemed to be everywhere.

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And all of this set amongst throngs of tourists – and all the trappings that come along with them.

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There was a little section that even felt downright tropical.

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All of this to say that there is a LOT to say about playing explorer – okay, even tourist – in your own backyard. I had no agenda other than to look around with eyes open, and the experience has inspired me to seek out more “new” neighborhoods in my beloved city. Besides, I’m always down for a $5 pretzel….

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12 comments

  1. I think it is amazing what we pass by in out own towns every day. Little shops we never pop into, little cafés we don’t consider, museums of our little worlds we pass by because we think we already know what is inside. It’s awesome and inspiring that you took the time to explore your own backyard a little more. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thanks so much – I was almost embarrassed to realize how much I had never seen, that was SO worth seeing. I’m already planning my next “new” neighborhood visit!

  3. Missing the city more than ever after reading this. Pre kids I would wander the city of hours! Love this.

  4. Thanks Charlotte – I’m determined to keep a foothold there as much as possible. Usually it’s with one of the kids, so it was such a treat to spend the day alone!

  5. Sheri, love how you focused on a part of the island that many people overlook. When I think of NYC, I think of Midtown and Times Square — this makes me want to fly back and visit soon!

  6. I’ll be your personal tour guide Danny!

  7. Great images!

  8. I wasn’t finished yet. lol I’m thinking we need to plan a little roadmance to NYC!!

  9. Happy to help if I can! 🙂

  10. I’ve only been to NYC twice: once on a business trip, and once on a whirlwind 48 vacation, and I have to admit that overall, I didn’t feel the same draw and rapture that everyone always gushes about NYC. But of all the spaces we (quickly) took in, I was drawn to this little corner. I’m always smitten with old architecture, and I loved the old cobblestones and narrow streets of the Financial District, and how they draw you straight up to the water! I know I need to give NYC another shot, and I think this part of Manhattan would be the perfect place to start!

  11. Well I’d love to show you around – I have MANY favorite places that you might not know about! 🙂

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