Since I’m back to running three days a week, I did my second run for the New York Harriers winter scavenger hunt on Wednesday. The third run will be Friday. I’ll keep up the Sunday-Wednesday-Friday schedule for as long as my feet cooperate WHICH THEY WILL, RIGHT, FEET?
Here’s some backstory about the scavenger hunt, a fun activity that is going to keep my legs occupied for the next two and a half weeks!
WINTER SCAVENGER HUNT RUN #2
- Clues: 3
- Miles: 4.01
- Time: 43:52
- Weather: 48º, overcast
- Location: Upper Manhattan
After making a list of all the clues separated by neighborhood, I noticed that three of them ran along a 4-mile stretch a bit north of where I live. This seemed like a perfect distance to attempt, as my longest run since April has been a little over 3 miles and I’m trying to up the mileage gradually.
So I took a subway up to 168th and started running from there.
CLUE #3 of 25: The High Bridge
The High Bridge was the original destination for my 14-mile run with my friend Elle, who I met here on this very website. On that run, back in October 2018, although we liked the idea of going to the High Bridge, neither of us had a clear understanding of exactly where its entrance was – so we did the next best thing and ran around the perimeter of northern Manhattan, leaving the bridge for another time.
This time around, I saw that the bridge’s entrance was accessible through a park and down some steep steps, so that’s how I got there.
I didn’t know this until now, but the High Bridge is the oldest standing bridge in New York City, having been completed in 1848. I also did not know it was closed for decades. Here’s a fascinating tidbit via ny.curbed.com:
Exactly why and when the High Bridge was closed is a surprisingly murky topic, with no official records available and people’s memories putting it anywhere from 1960 to 1970.
My next clue was about a mile south of the High Bridge…
CLUE #4 of 25: Morris-Jumel Mansion
This clue required our detective skills (Google), as it was written as:
This Washington Heights mansion served as George Washington’s temporary HQ for a month in the fall of 1776
I’ve lived in NYC for the better part of the past 24 years and did not know this mansion existed. Which is too bad because there is something truly wonderful about old houses standing in the middle of the busiest metropolis on the planet. The Morris-Jumel Mansion is no exception, having been completed in 1765!
When I arrived, I noticed the front gate was decorated with yellow and orange streamers and drawings of what look like angels.
There’s a sign that reads CoVIDA: Homage to Victims of the Pandemic. Each streamer has a name on it – these are victims of COVID-19 (more about this public art installation created by Andrea Arroyo).
Although it’s obviously terrible that so many people have died in this pandemic, it’s nice when they can be individually memorialized in some way. It reminds people that the losses are more than numerical – they are human.
As I was taking photos, another runner stopped to take photos of the mansion. I didn’t recognize her but thought she could have been a fellow Harrier. I asked her if she was doing the scavenger hunt. She shook her head no, as it’s hard to talk through masks. I gestured a “sorry, never mind” and went on my way.
My third clue of the day was another mile south…
CLUE #5 of 25: Alexander Hamilton Grange
Another old timey mansion in upper Manhattan is the Alexander Hamilton Grange, a.k.a. the Hamilton Grange National Memorial.
As I came upon the mansion, built in 1802 and home to some guy who later became the subject of a popular musical, I realized it was located directly on the route of the Percy Sutton 5K – specifically, on the steep hill I nearly died on twice (well, felt like I was dying on). For some reason, I hadn’t noticed the mansion during those races. Maybe because I felt like dying.
It’s so interesting to me to think of what Manhattan looked like back then. According to forgotten-ny.com:
[Hamilton] built the first house he had ever owned in upper Manhattan, in what was then completely rural land, on a hilly 32-acre plot.
I must have misread the map (or not taken elevation into consideration) because I wound up on the street above the mansion as opposed to its entrance. I thought perhaps there may be an entrance from my location; alas, there was not. While I could have run around the block to get a closer look, I will be honest, Reader: I was getting tired.
So I took a photo from afar.
It still counts.
With that, I ran another mile and a half or so south and went home.
More hunting on Friday.