We did it! All thirty walks done ! In under a year, no less!
Length: 3.1 miles
Navigation: Muy easy-o
Weather: Brisk, but warmed up a bit as the day went on
The walk is separated into three parts: (1) Cypress Hills, (2) Highland Park and (3) Cypress Hills revisited.
1. Cypress Hills
You may remember from my first walk (on the Brooklyn Bridge and the Brooklyn Heights Promenade) that I was a bit concerned about this experiment’s timeline. You see, I was so impressed with that particular walk, that I was worried that the rest of them would pale in comparison. I was also worried that the walks would gradually go from awesome to suckville as we went from the first one to the last.
Thankfully, my fears were a bit unfounded (somewhat). While the first walk was, in fact, my favorite of the thirty, there were a lot of other amazing ones. There were also the not-amazing-but-pleasant-enough walks. But then there were the so-so walks. And, unfortunately, there was even one shitty walk.
Sadly, the last of the thirty falls under the category of so-so.
It’s not that Cypress Hills is a bad neighborhood; in fact I wouldn’t mind living there. It’s just that there isn’t a lot to it.
Don’t worry, there are some highlights. Such as…
…and also a
Oh wait, that was it? We’re at the park already? Crap!
2. Highland Park
One of the “interesting” aspects of this walk was that I would be steps away from Queens at certain points of this walk. Indeed, Highland Park is shared between the two boroughs. Judging from what I saw of it, the park is kinda “eh”-ish.
For most of the park-part of this walk, I only really got to see the sports courts. This, to me, isn’t all that interesting. I took a photo of it anyways, mostly because there was an autumn-y tree nearby (and this site has yet to have one of those pictured).
There were two items that did grab my attention: a WWI memorial statue of a dude taking off his clothes (?) and a children’s community garden.
And in case you’re wondering: yes, the naked man and the children’s garden are practically next to each other.
3. Cypress Hills (Revisited)
After the park, the book had me dip into Cypress Hills again. The next three photos are of two churches and a cool house.
I also stumbled upon a few colorful buildings that looked a bit out of place in this neighborhood.
And that, my friends, is how this blog anti-climatically ends.
No it doesn’t. I wouldn’t do that to you guys.
Epilogue: Revisiting the First Walk (Brooklyn Bridge & Brooklyn Heights Promenade)
You remember how I said that the first walk was the best? Well, I was so unmoved by the thirtieth that I decided to not go home but do the first walk all over again. I changed the route a bit and sort of did it backwards. In case you’re interested, here is the path I took:
Even though my wife and I photographed that walk, I decided to do it again for three reasons: (1) unlike the first time around, there won’t be any gross snow lying around, (2) I have a better camera now (so don’t forget to click the photos for the high rez experience!) and (3) it would give me something to break up the somewhat-serious epilogue with.
I grew up in the small suburban town of Cranford, NJ. Back then, NYC might as well have been on the other side of the earth. After all, Cranford was nothing like what we perceived New York to be; it was peaceful, safe and clean. It was also a bit boring and very uninspiring.
As I got older, I found myself yearning to get out of the burbs. I wanted to live somewhere that could inspire me to do cool things like, I dunno, make art or compose music or go vegan or organize political movements or something.
So eventually I would find myself hanging out in Manhattan a lot. Sometimes I would go for a specific purpose, like to listen to jazz or some hip-hop. Other times I would just walk around the city or sit in a park or a cafe for a bit. Sometimes I would go by myself, other times with friends. I also found myself in Williamsburg a half-dozen times or so during my college years. On rare occasion, I would venture into other sections of the borough known as Brooklyn.
Still, at the end of the night I’d have to either take the PATH train or hit the Holland Tunnel and then take a boring, lifeless highway back home to small-town, NJ. I hated leaving; I always felt like something amazing was going on in the island on the other side of the Hudson and I was missing it.
At some point after college, I got a stable job. But this job was not in the city. In fact, the job took me further away from New York. It took me to the college town of New Brunswick. So I moved there, instead of moving to the city. Luckily, New Brunswick was a fantastic town to live in and I really enjoyed my time there. But it still wasn’t the City.
During my two+ years in Brunswick, I met a young woman who would eventually become my wife. At the time, she was working in Manhattan (but commuting from central Jersey, and about an hour and a half each way). I asked her if she liked working in New York and if she would ever consider moving there. Her answer to question #1 was a shrug. To question #2, it was a hell-to-the-no.
So there it was. I fell in love with the girl, but I knew that me and NYC were not destined to be.
Fast-forward six years.
My wife and I were living in Elizabeth, NJ and were married for about three and a half years. We both were working good jobs, but she wanted to break into a different sector within her field. Doing so was proving to be difficult; it was one of those situations where she needed experience to get the job she wanted, but in order to get the experience, she needed, well, a job.
One night I get a phone call from her while she’s on her way home from a meeting.
“Dude, I think we’re moving to Brooklyn”.
Oh. My. God. Did she just say that?
Apparently, she networked her way into a job in the sector where she wanted to work. Only thing was that the job was in Brooklyn. And commuting from Elizabeth to Brooklyn SUCKS. We had to move.
I was overjoyed. It was like being told that you were not allowed to go to Disney World (because of, I dunno, religion or something), getting used to the fact and then:
Settle down, Gambit.
So we enthusiastically (and nervously) start making plans. My company transfers me to another job site in Manhattan. We find an affordable and spacious apartment (well, affordable and spacious for Brooklyn anyways) near Prospect Park almost immediately.
Months later, my wife gave me the book. I get inspired and create this blog.
A few months after that, two life-changing events take place literally within days of each other:
- My wife’s job didn’t work out
- A small stick with some lines on it told us that she was pregnant.
It was an emotionally confusing week. While on the one hand we were disappointed with the first bit of news, we were absolutely elated about the second one.
Added to all that was the burning question: what the hell are we going to do now?
The reality was that looking for another job was most definitely going to take some time. And time was not something we had a lot of; as her baby bump got bigger, the harder it was going to be for her to find employment.
So we moved back to Jersey. Specifically, back to Cranford. More specifically, with my parents.
It just made sense. We lost half of our income and we were living in the second-most expensive city in the world (Tokyo is #1). And we were supposed to be getting ready to feed another mouth. And on top of all that, all of our family is west of the Hudson.
As you can imagine, this was not a fun decision to make. Don’t get me wrong; I love my parents, everyone gets along real well and I kinda dig the small town thing (now that I am in my early thirties). But there it was: a year after I moved into the city of my dreams, I was back in Jersey again. And I didn’t quite know how to feel about this whole thing.
However, now that some time has passed and the completion of this blog has allowed me some closure, I think I figured out how to feel about the “Brooklyn experiment”, as my wife calls it.
I think it’s called gratitude.
- I am grateful that I got a chance to live in the most exciting city in the world.
- I am grateful that I still get to visit, five times a day & during business hours.
- I am grateful that my wife got me the book and that I decided to blog about it.
- I am grateful that this book empowered me to discover a lot of this wonderful city.
- I am grateful that I got to finish it, especially since the last five walks were done while living in NJ.
- I am grateful that you guys read it, whether you followed the blog from start to finish or just visited once to view a picture.
- Most of all, I am grateful for my wife. Without her, none of this would have been possible.
So what’s next now that the blog is over?
As for the blog itself, I’m going to keep it up until the foreseeable future.
As for me, well, my wife is mere weeks from carrying our baby to term. So we’re very excited. This is our first child and I can not wait to meet him, face to face (Be’ezrat Hashem).
I also can’t wait to show him Brooklyn. After all, he was made there.
Thanks everyone.Yours, Aaron Special thanks to our friends who walked with us. A very special thanks to both of our families, who have been nothing but supportive of us during these “interesting times”. p This blog is dedicated to my wife and our son (Be’ezrat Hashem).