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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Walking New York City

March 3rd, 2011 · 4 Comments

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New Yorkers are walkers. A lot of them walk, or at least the sidewalks of Midtown Manhattan were always crowded when I was there for the past three days. And they walk fast. As a result New Yorkers look fitter than most Americans.

I too had a chance to walk around Manhattan even though I went to New York City on business. I stayed in the new Andaz Midtown hotel across from the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. Since opening just eight months ago, it deserves its excellent publicity.

It is “the newest, hippest, coolest place,” said USAToday when it opened in July. It still is in my experience. I have never stayed in a hotel I enjoyed more, not only the high standard of the facilities but the exceptional service of everyone I met who works there.

The fledgling Andaz chain is the “luxury boutique brand” of Hyatt Hotels. The Andaz name means “personal style.”

Our group of seven people who write about diabetes and four people from the company that we consulted with met at the hotel on Tuesday evening and then we walked across the city. We walked to a restaurant called “Ça Va Todd English.” This is the new restaurant of celebrity chef Todd English, who calls himself a “restaurateur, author, entrepreneur, and television star based in Boston, Massachusetts, and New York City.”

We Walked Through Times Square on the Way to Dinner

We Walked Through Times Square on the Way to Dinner

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I had never heard of Todd, and not surprisingly he was too busy on one of his many other ventures to cook for us. Yet we had a great meal in his classy surroundings anyway.

Dinner at Ça Va

Dinner at Ça Va

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After my consulting work finished on Wednesday afternoon, I walked a mile or so from the hotel to B&H Photo, the largest photo store in the world and the one where I have been buying a lot of my photo equipment online. But this was the first time I had ever had a chance to visit the store.

The visit was like a pilgrimage for me. And I was like a kid in a candy store, buying everything that I went there for and more that I thought of while I was there.

Besides going to B&H, where I most wanted to go on this visit to Manhattan was the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I especially wanted to take my own photograph of the statue. I got a chance sooner than I expected. Just before we landed at LaGuardia Airport I took advantage of my window seat to snap this shot:

Approaching the Statue of Liberty from the Ferry

The Statue of Liberty from the Air

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In a little free time I had this morning before returning home early this evening I visited the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum by taking a ferry from Battery Park at the foot of Manhattan Island. The statute and the museum are on separate islands that form the two parts of the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

The Statue of Liberty from the Air

Approaching the Statue of Liberty from the Ferry

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Since I had visited the statue before, I concentrated this visit to New York City on Ellis Island. More than 12 million immigrants entered the United States here between 1892 and 1924. Nowadays, more than 100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to these immigrants.

The ferry was crowded, but included only a few Americans, at least few people who I heard speaking English. Almost every one of my fellow ferry passengers were Asians or Europeans. I was not surprised to see no Native Americans or Africans.

I was prepared to be moved by the Ellis Island experience, but was initially disappointed by the stark facilities of the museum. Then, as I scanned the photographs of some of the immigrants who had entered America here I was moved. What moved me was how little they looked like today’s Americans, appearing just like the miserable refuges from third-world countries we see all too often on the news.

The Baggage Room at Ellis Island

The Baggage Room at Ellis Island

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I was also miserable this morning, but it was just the weather. While the skies over New York were clear and calm, the temperature today turned much colder — colder, in fact, than at home in Colorado, where in fact this morning the temperature reportedly reached 55°. Two people told me that in New York City the thermometer this morning read 21°, and at times I was shivering.

But the moving visit to Ellis Island and the views of New York made it all worthwhile. The population and building density of New York still impresses me.

Lower Manhattan from the Air

Lower Manhattan from the Air

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Except for the cold weather, my visit to the big city went exceptionally well, packing business, pleasure, and a good amount of exercise into a few days. Like the New Yorkers I shared the city streets with, I walked.

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Personal training in london // Mar 28, 2011 at 3:48 am

    Study and Research now a day proved that regular exercise on daily basis makes a person healthier and increase circulation of blood in the body reduces the causes of heart attack. Exercise boosts your body’s immune system and make you more fresh and healthier.

  • 2 Alex // Mar 28, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you for your informative story. NY is a very interesting city!

  • 3 Scott // Apr 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    yes, in new york everyone gets at least 30 mins of exercise a day walking to the train station and up and down subway staircases. so it makes sense that the BMI of new yorkers is a a few notches lower. In the midwest if you are outside walking people assume your car broke down and will offer you a ride!

    I recommend everyone living outside nyc to get a dog as I have, it give you a great reason to be outside walking and getting some relaxing low intensity exercise.

  • 4 Martin // Apr 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    After almost a decade of reading your articles, trying your recommended diets, utilizing your product reviews, and following your life changes, I have to describe myself as a fan, so I am glad to read that your experience in NYC was interesting, engaging, and energizing. As a 25-year resident, I’m always pleased when others experience those qualities, the ones that have kept me here, in NYC life.

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