Halloween Hike Across Manhattan's Bridges

by Walt Wright, hike leader

Thanks to all of you who turned out on Halloween last October to make another memorable Great Manhattan Bridge Walk.  We couldn't have had better weather or a more friendly group of walkers. Thirty-two of us participated: 30 signed in at the start and 2 joined us at the High Bridge.  Most of the early 30 group got started by 8:45 AM.  Even the late arrivals were not very late and got started a few minutes after 9 AM.

After a round trip on the  GW Bridge (bridge #1) we reconvened and split into two groups.

We had a relatively large group of 15 enthusiastic walkers who wanted to complete the whole walk without the use of any public transportation and they set off with Ian, an inveterate long-distance walker who has done this walk many times. The seven finishers in Ian's group of 16 ended up walking about 34 miles. (Note: This group of 16  includes Bruce, who started with me but soon joined Ian.)

The 13 walkers who remained with me set off right after Ian.  The six finishers in this group of 14 took one subway ride and one bus ride, reducing our mileage to about 29 miles.

Here is how things played out for our group:

    * My niece  Bella and her friend  Patrick pushed ahead on the way through Inwood Hill Park to the  Henry Hudson Bridge (#2).  They went on to finish all 17 bridges at a few minutes before 7 PM.  

    *  Jerry, a regular who likes to hike 10 miles, stayed with us for the  Broadway Bridge (#3) and the  University Heights Bridge (#4), and then caught a bus home. 

    * We crossed the  Washington Bridge (#5) and found Gary and Carla waiting for us at the  High Bridge (#6), as planned. They are frequent participants on this walk, but they drive down from Boston and usually join us along the way. If you are counting, our headcount was now back up to 13.  

    * We crossed the McComb's Dam Bridge (#7), the 145th Street Bridge (#8), and the  Madison Avenue Bridge (#9).  At this point I had to say "goodbye" to old friends Jan and Kathy—friends for 40+ years!—but I'm sure glad they were able to make the trip down from West Hartford, CT, in time to join us at the start of the walk. They had always known they would have to leave at 3 PM to get home for another commitment.  

    * We stuck together for a stop at McDonald's after the  3rd Avenue Bridge (#10), then continued over the  Willis Avenue Bridge (#11), and immediately proceeded across the  Manhattan Span of the Triboro Bridge (#12) to reach Ward and Randall's Islands.  We survived the horrors of the ghosts and goblins and escaped via the 103rd Street Footbridge (#13). At this point, we walked to Lexington Ave and took the 6 train to 59th Street. 

    *  On the subway, Cecilia decided that rather than getting off at 59th Street she would continue to 14th Street, near where she lives. She has completed the walk before, but we were sorry to see her go.

    * We tramped across the  Queensboro Bridge (#14) and caught the B62 bus from Long Island City to Broadway in Williamsburg—this ride was a welcome rest break! 

    * After the long slog over the  Williamsburg Bridge (#15),  Jack and his father Jieming ended their walk.  Jack has done the walk several times, and his father had been with him once before, so they are getting to be regulars—I hope they come back for future walks.   

     * And then, much to everyone's surprise and disappointment Pat and Cathy, two strong women who have completed this walk many times, announced they were dropping out. Unfortunately, they had a train to catch. 

    * At this point, having been reduced to six final walkers, both Virginia and Barbara announced that they could walk no further and would be dropping out at the nearest subway.  But as we approached the start of the next bridge they each decided to push on! They had come too far to back out now!  Way to go, Virginia and Barbara!

    *  BarbaraVirginia, Kim, Gary & Carla, and I continued over the noisy Manhattan Bridge (#16) and then back to Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge (#17). The Brooklyn Bridge is always a beautiful walk on a clear night, and we were treated to great views of the Statue of Liberty (with her glowing torch), the Empire State Building, the Freedom Tower, and, of course, the structure of the bridge itself.  We finished at 9 PM.  

Ian reports that 7 of his group of 16 made it to the end, finishing at about 8:35 PM:  Ian, Tom, Joe, Som, WeiFrerica, and Nihupa.

I can account for some of the others in Ian's group as follows: Caroline left after crossing the Broadway Bridge (#3), Kanika left after the University Heights Bridge (#4), Jamie after the Washington Bridge (#5), Lee after the McComb's Dam Bridge (#7), Bruce after the 145th Street Bridge (#8), Susan and Anne-Marie after the Willis Avenue Bridge (#11), and Rikki left about 2 miles after the 103 Street Footbridge (#13).  I don't know what happened to  Manzar.

Summary: Of the 30 who started at the GW Bridge, 13 completed the entire walk. Those who shunned public transportation finished at 8:35 PM. Among those who reduced their distance by five miles by using a subway and a bus, two walkers finished slightly before 7 PM and four participants finished at 9 PM.

Congratulations to everyone who started and helped us enjoy such a beautiful day on the bridges of NYC. I hope to see you on future hikes.

Additional information