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Shorewalkers wishes to thank the many people who submitted their stories from our first Virtual Great Saunter.  Austin, Texas was perhaps the most creative with a Virtual Great Saunter song.  Evy Haroldson of Seattle, Texas created a detailed hiking plan and then had to wait for the air to clear due to fires.  Local member Steve Thomaschek wrote the longest story–a journal of his multi-day hikes.  Janet Gottlieb of New York skirted the waterfront.  And finally like so many of us, Susana Mendez of Silver Spring, Maryland, discovered her own neighborhood.

Austin, Texas

A Virtual Great Saunter song sung to the tune of 16 Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

You walk 32 miles 

And what do you get? 

Feet full of blisters 

And a cer-tif-i-cate. 

A Manhattan saunter I can only dream, 

A Texan can’t get there ’cause of quarantine.  

Seattle, Washington

   By Evy Haroldson
Our plan (see map) is to walk by the Puget Sound east to Lake Washington joining the Burke Gillman trail (a rail-trail) to the University of Washington, cross through an arboretum, proceed downtown to Elliot Bay, pick up the Mertle Edwards and Interurban trails, cross the Locks or the Ballard Bridge.  We will finish by walking home north on one of our safe streets created after the covid outbreak.

Stay safe and keep walking! The air quality here is too bad for me to walk (170 ppm this morning). I remind myself I’m lucky to have a home and community not severely impacted by the forest fires.

New York, NY

   By Janet Gottlieb 
While I did record my Saunter segments–walks in which I attempted to skirt the waterfront–on Strava, I don’t know if Shorewalkers is monitoring those. So here we are.

10/3: 20 Brooklyn miles–Brighton to Sunset Park
10/9: 8 Manhattan miles-Upper West Side to the Lighthouse
10/11: 7 Brooklyn miles–Gowanus to DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass)

My 2020 Virtual Great Saunter didn’t follow any particular route, nor did it have to be completed on a particular day in May, or even on one day.
We can’t know if Cy Adler is rolling over in his grave or chuckling sardonically. We do know he’d have an opinion.

Silver Spring, Maryland

  By Susana Mendez
32.6 mi in Silver Spring MD, 90% on trails from my house. I missed going to NYC, but I have discovered so many cool local places!

Queens, New York

By Steve Thomaschek
October 2, 2020

Today, I launched my Virtual Saunter with an afternoon walk through Astoria, Queens. Starting at 42nd Street and Ditmars boulevard my son and I headed to Astoria Park via 23rd Avenue, 37th Street, 31st Street, Hoyt Avenue, and 21st Street. At Astoria Park South we walked west to Shore Blvd. and from there we continued north alongside the East River with Astoria Park on our right

Walking through a green stretch called Ralph D’ Marco Park we saw a commercial fishing vessel with an aqua green hull named Ocean Venture cruising south, not a common sight in these waters. More typical are tugboats pushing or pulling barges, the usual ferries, occasional sailboats, and the ever present DEP ships. What got my attention was the aqua green hull. I’m used to black, brick red, battleship gray, and white, but certainly not aqua green! It was followed by a speedy NYPD patrol boat, always a welcome sight, passing us from the opposite direction

At 20th Avenue we headed east alongside the Con Edison power plant and returned home by way of 31st Street and Ditmars Blvd.. Today’s distance was about three miles. Not a bad start to the Virtual Saunter and a nice little warm-up for the walks to come! 

October 3, 2020

Today was Day 2 of the Virtual Great Saunter. I joined with Pam Cress and other Shorewalkers for Saunter Stretch #1 along the Hudson River shoreline. After a relaxing lunch near the 70th Street ballfields in Riverside Park I somehow lost sight of the group and then backtracked to 57th Street and 8th Avenue for the train ride home. Mileage for today was about 8 miles–a beautiful day for walking!

October 5, 2020

An early morning three mile walk took me through Astoria yesterday as on Friday, only in reverse. I first headed north to 20th Avenue from 42nd Street and Ditmars Blvd and from 20th Avenue straight to the East River at Shore Blvd.  Shore Blvd. led me back to Ditmars at its west end, at which point I zig-zagged through Astoria Park using its looping walking paths. From there I headed home by way of 24th Avenue, a couple of residential streets, and Ditmars Blvd. to have Sunday breakfast with my wife and son, and “Breakfast With the Beatles” on the radio.

October 6, 2020

Another three mile morning walk today as on Friday, only with a detour to the exercise playground under the Tri-Borough Bridge ( I still use the old name. No offense to RFK or the Kennedy Family). Astoria has a few of these playgrounds, but this one is my favorite. It has stations for exercising the legs, core muscles, and upper body, as well as stretching and balancing. From there it was a pleasant walk along Shore Blvd. and then back home to 42nd Street and Ditmars Blvd. for a light breakfast. A great way to start the day!

October 8, 2020

I did another neighborhood walk through Astoria  yesterday;  this time from 42nd Street and Ditmars Blvd. I walked north and headed west at 20th Road, one of the oldest streets in Queens.  Along the way, I came upon the Lawrence Cemetery with its raised grounds, stone and brick walls, and iron fence. Members of the Lawrence clan saw service in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. They also served as state and local government officials. Its amazing what tidbits of local history can be learned just by getting out and walking. As always, I made a left turn at Shore Blvd., continuing on to Astoria Park, but this time walking in the street, which is closed to traffic. I turned left at Astoria Park South and zig-zaged my way home. Another three miles.

October 10, 2020

On Thursday I did another three-mile clockwise early morning walk to Astoria Park and the East River from 42nd Street and Ditmars Blvd. intending to make a stop at the exercise playground under the Triboro/RFK Bridge on 21st Street. I declined however, after seeing a few too many exercisers already there without masks. On Shore Blvd. about halfway between the Triboro/RFK and Hell Gate Bridges, I came upon a sign detailing the General Slocum tragedy of 1904. The Slocum was a ferryboat that caught fire with about one thousand passengers aboard, mostly German immigrants from Manhattan’s Lower East Side attending an annual picnic on Long Island’s north shore. Many drowned after jumping into the treacherous East River. The event was dramatized in a captivating book, Ship Ablaze, by Edward T. O’Donnell, which I highly recommend to all Shorewalkers with a taste for local history. Anyway, I finished my walk my walk by taking 20th Avenue to 31st Street and Ditmars Blvd. for the final stretch home.

October 16, 2020

Last Friday, my family and I drove out to Jones Beach. After eating lunch along the surf we gathered up our possessions and headed inland to begin our walk on the boardwalk. Reyna, Daniel, and I walked west from field six encountering the usual gathering of senior citizens in beach chairs outside the east bathhouse looking out towards the horizon. Continuing, we came upon Wild Play, a facility with zip lines and an obstacle course that looked to be at least thirty feet off the ground. This spot used to be the  pristine pitch-and -putt golf course which I sorely miss, but I understand that times change. This is the sort of thing that today’s young people prefer.
The three of us continued our walk passing the iconic water tower, Jones Beach’s picture postcard landmark, the art deco band shell and swimming pool, ping pong tables, shuffleboard, pickle ball, and volleyball courts, and the first of two immaculate softball fields occupied by geese rather than infielders and outfielders. Unfortunately, the boardwalk was fenced off just before the second ball field forcing us to shorten our walk from a modest four miles to a more modest three miles. On the way back to parking field six we shared the boardwalk with slow and fast walkers, and a handful of joggers, bicyclists, and roller skaters.
One may think of Jones Beach as a place for summer recreation, but its also a peaceful place for fresh air, exercise, or meditation any time of the year. Here’s a suggestion– Come here on a clear blue sky winter afternoon and watch the sunset. It’s breathtaking!



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