Monday, 12 September 2011
There are some things so inherently pointless that, having done them, you can't quite imagine choosing to do the same again. But on the other hand, the very silliness of doing something can contribute to the experience, and make it - one time, at least - quite fun.
I think walking from Edgewater into Manhattan is one of those things.
I didn't actually realise until I gave the address to the cab driver at JFK that my hotel - the closest to Columbia University that my travel agent could find - was on the other side of the Hudson in New Jersey. But the info sheet in my room said that it was three miles up to George Washington bridge - and that's a very manageable distance that I should usually be able to walk in about 45 minutes, so I decided to go a-wandering.
It took me an hour and a half, with over twenty minutes of that on the bridge itself. I also got a little bit lost trying to find the pedestrian path, and was turned away by the police on my first attempt! I wouldn't mind the time, though, if it was even a nice route. But the road up to the bridge isn't that great to walk along, it's very busy, with lots of side-roads to cross and gaps with no pavement (sidewalk!). And once you get onto the bridge itself, the traffic is constant and the pollution overwhelming. But once I'd started walking, sheer bloody-mindedness took over, and I wasn't going to give in half-way and catch the bus.
Still, it was a fun thing to have done the once, even if I won't be doing it again in a hurry. And there was a strange sense of cameraderie with other bridge-walkers as we exchanged windswept smiles and wondered why anyone else would be so daft as to be up there...