Saturday, April 7, 2012

UWS to NJ via GW

West side by TheTurducken
West side, a photo by TheTurducken on Flickr.
Since I realized I could walk over to New Jersey, I was determined to make it so. I took advantage of the college being closed Friday to do just that.

I started off from my apartment, heading north through Riverside Park. The park has paths at different heights, including one right by the water, but you have to cross over the Henry Hudson Parkway to get to it - not advisable unless you are a pro at Frogger. In any case, the park varies in width; the easiest thing to do is stay up on the highest level, even though it's not always scenic. You can see New Jersey the entire way up. At one point, the GW Bridge looks misleadingly close. In fact, at 165th St., you have to veer away from it and turn up Fort Washington. Then, at 178th St., turn west again. (I tell you this in case you want to make the trek yourself; the directions are not intuitive.)

The bridge has bike/pedestrian paths on both the north and south sides, although the north one is closed. There is no toll, incidentally, for those of us without motors.

From the bridge, unsurprisingly, there are some great views of Manhattan and the Hudson, such as the photo above. There are also a lot of signs warning about suicide. I have to say, I don't understand. Oh, sure, I understand that the rails on the bridge aren't high enough to prevent it, and a fling over the edge would be deadly. I also understand that people get very unhappy and wish to end it all. I just don't get choosing that method over the others available. While I'm not scared of heights, I don't like jumping from them. Cliff jumping, or the high board at the pool, scare the bejeebers out of me. If I'm already miserable, why would I want the last few minutes of my life to be filled with more terror?

But anyway, if you can rein in your self-destructive impulses, you eventually make it to New Jersey. If you turn left off the bridge, you end up at Fort Lee Park, at the top of the cliffs. (I haven't figured yet how one gets to the Shore Trail at their base.) There, one can have a nice sandwich, stare back at Manhattan, and wander around looking at (mostly replica) Revolutionary War fortifications and ordinance.

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