Walking down Broadway – A Start

Walking down Broadway from Broadway Bridge, connecting Manhattan to the Bronx in the very North, down to Battery Park in the very south of Manhattan was one of my set to-dos. Not in one day though. The Manhattan part of Broadway is about 13 miles long. My only rule was not to go astray but strictly stay on Broadway. Stops are allowed. Today I walked the first part.

Again I didn’t manage to get up early. Before breakfast Colum McCann distracted me, after breakfast a story written by one of my classmates did the same. So it was about 12:30 when I left the house. I caught a westbound bus on 125th street that happened to go to Inwood, Manhattan’s northernmost neighborhood. So I did not take the 1 train up to Broadway Bridge but stayed on the bus. It took almost an hour to get there this way but I saw a lot. The bus first turned into Amsterdam, changed to St. Nicholas Boulevard in Hamilton Heights and finally onto Broadway. The final stop was close to the bridge. I walked onto the bridge to really start at the beginning.

Inwood is a quiet and residential mainly Hispanic neighborhood with ample and hilly parks – Isham Park and Fort Tryon Park, with the Cloisters up on the hill. In the north there are lots of car washes and car repairs. Broadway is lined by friendly looking apartment blocks, restaurants and shops, e.g. a cigar shops where cigars are rolled on the spot.
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At 207th Street Dyckman Farmhouse is still standing like in old times. It was built in 1784 and was a farmhouse until 1870. In 1915 it was restored and opened up as a museum in 1916. It has several rooms showing old furniture and household items and a garden. It can be visited for just 1$.
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Walking down Broadway is relative. Having left Inwood behind it is going up. Washington Heights is up on a hill – that’s why it is called Heights. Manhattan’s highest point is in Washington Heights.
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High rise buildings are entering the scene. Rents are low, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans live in the neighborhood and give it its unique character.
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Broadway is busy here. Not only is it lined by lots of shops and restaurants, has wide sidewalks where street vendors sell fruits, clothes and sunglasses and men sit around little tables playing domino, it is as well an access road to Washington Bridge.
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Right here in the huzzle and buzzle an unforeseen problem stopped my walk. I thought I had charged my camera’s battery but apparently had not. My camera shut down. So all I could do if I didn’t want to continue my walk without taking pics was find the next subway stop and come back another day. On my way to the subway t 168th Street I found an Empanada place where Empanadas with a variety of fillings were freshly made. I had one with cheese and one with chicken – could as well have had fillings called “pizza” or “ropa vieja” (old clothes). They were still hot and delicious.

I caught a 1 train and got off at Columbia University at 116th street. There I was watching out for copy shops but found just one and it had closed for vacations. What I did find however were two bookstores. A Barnes & Noble attached to the University and an indie one across Broadway. Tons of cafés all around.
Amsterdam Avenue took me down – really down, from Morningside Heights – to 125th street where I took a bus home.

I enjoyed a fruit bowl with dragon fruit (tastes slightly sweet), mango and banana, managed to write at least two pages on my story, read some pages of Colum McCann and had the fried rice for dinner.
So I managed not so much of Broadway but all in all had a nice day.

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