Day 20 – Sunday, October 18, 2015

WE DID IT!!  We have officially walked every street AND PARK in Bay Ridge!  We finished the streets on Friday, but today’s walk takes it one step further and includes all of Shore Road Park and the Shore Road Promenade (which is the bike path along the water) to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

And for your viewing pleasure – the final map, with today’s route in red.  Keep in mind we weren’t actually IN the water, but close enough – as we did get wet –

Bay Ridge Map

I said on Friday that it was the peacefulness, the homes and the parks that I love about the area.  I intentionally left one thing out of that list, as I was saving it for today.  That’s the water.  I need to be near the water.  With Shore Road Park and the Promenade only a few blocks away, it’s the perfect place for me to be.

We started at the north end of the Narrows Botanical Garden, which is the northernmost end of Shore Road Park, and we started walking south through the park system.

The first main entrance to Shore Road Park is at 73rd (ish) Street:SRP 1

Once you step through the gate, you get a sense of what lies ahead

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fields, open space, paved trails and views of the Bridge.  The park varies in width – sometimes it’s wide enough for ball fields and open space, sometimes it’s just a path

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and sometimes it meets up with Shore Road, and there seemingly isn’t any park at all.

At around 92nd Street, you come to a terrace, much like the one at Owl’s Head.  Here there are benches underneath old, old trees and concrete chess tables

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Once you get past the terrace, the park narrows and you’re forced to follow the trail up to Shore Road:

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and then in the higher 90’s you come back down a path to more fields:

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Now who wouldn’t want to play soccer with a view like that?

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or tennis with a view like this?

And then continuing back up to Shore Road, the park ends at the corner of 4th Ave and Shore Road – where Cannonball Park is:

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But to make the loop, and get to the Promenade, you turn right and head over the Belt Parkway.  Once over, you’re faced with this beauty:

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The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, constructed in 1964 connecting Brooklyn and Staten Island.  Interestingly enough, it’s the only bridge in NYC that you can’t walk over – except on Marathon Sunday.  The bridge is quite an architectural feat.  It’s the longest suspension bridge in the country, and number 11 in the world.  The Golden Gate Bridge is ranked number 12 in the world.  And it’s a darned expensive bridge to drive over too – just sayin’.  People don’t usually get to see the undersides of bridges, unless they’re on boats, but not here! Thanks to the Shore Road Promenade, you can stand right under it and see it’s engineering:

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It’s sort of disorienting.

From there, we start north on the Promenade, headed home.  On the left is the water – the Narrows.  And on the right is the Belt Parkway.  On the other side of the Belt Parkway is Shore Road Park.

It’s about 2.25 miles each way (south and then north).  As you round the bend heading north you can start to see the next sight – lower Manhattan:

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That view alone is a reason to walk this path – every day.  And as you get closer, you can see all of NJ, the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan.  It’s like having the world at your fingertips:

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with the bridge behind you

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Continuing northward, we come to the 69th Street Pier.  It’s also known as Veteran’s Memorial Pier.  It’s located at the end of 69th Street (Bay Ridge Ave), on the west side of the Belt Parkway.  From the end of the Pier, you can see this view of Manhattan:

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and this view of the Bridge:

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On any given day or night, people from all over the neighborhood congregate here.  Some eat lunch at the picnic tables, some ride bikes, some play on scooters, and some go fishing.  It really is the cornerstone of the neighborhood.

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And with that, we leave the pier and head home – freezing from the wind and both completely exhausted and exhilarated.  This has been quite an experience and I’m so glad you were able to to share it with me.

And this concludes this version of “Bay Ridge Walker”.  But it’s really just the beginning.  Stay tuned for “Specialty Walks” where I see more of what makes NYC so great – beyond Bay Ridge.  🙂

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