“Hitch Hiking” Through The Urban Jungle!
For part four of my series of “Hitch Hiking” – a cool hike followed by a classic Hitchcock thriller – I decided an urban hike would be good for the film being discussed: the voyeuristic thriller “Rear Window”, based in the urban jungle of New York!
The Majesty Of Central Park!
This incredible view from W. 57th street shows the magnitude of the park – it’s 2.5 miles long between 59th Street (Central Park South) and 110th Street (Central Park North), and is 0.5 miles wide between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West.
A single day doesn’t even scratch the surface of what there is to see in this park, but since we needed to get an urban hike in, we were going to see how far we could go – and that was 196 city blocks!
The night before our hike, the skies turned a bit ominous, but I had faith that it would clear up and give us a great day for walking…
This was the view from our hotel room, so I could see much of the park – and it cleared up nicely and we headed in – and you quickly come across great pathways that make for great shots:
There’s one area in the park I discovered a few years ago, and I am always drawn back to it:
The lush Central Park woodland, known as the Ramble, is composed of 38 acres of winding pathways between 73rd and 78th streets.
Described by Frederick Law Olmsted as a “wild garden”, the Ramble’s maze of trails amidst its abundant flora and fauna contrasts spectacularly with the formality of nearby attractions, such as the Bethesda Terrace.
I shot a bit of the walk, to give you an idea of the area’s many trails, along with a bit of history about the area’s more notorious past:
This is where you also see some of the park’s great bridges, and when you look south, this is your view of New York:
As you head north, you will come across the building where the National Weather Service operates – it is, of course, a castle:
Originally designed in 1865 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould, Belvedere Castle was intended to be a Victorian Folly, a fantasy structure that provides a great backdrop and views, but without a real intended purpose.
The castle is closed now for restoration, expected to reopen in 2019…so you just keep going and you come across the next great spot in the park:
The Great Lawn!
the Great Lawn, a green pasture of 55-acres that is considered one of the most famous lawns in the world. Located mid-park from 79th to 85th Streets,
I love that all around the park, unique rock formations are everywhere to admire and sit on!
As you keep walking north, you run into something that turns the park into one large oval path:
We are now almost 80 blocks into our circuitous urban hike, and we are at another great Central Park destination.
Officially named the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in 1994, the Reservoir is famed for the 1.58 mile track that encircles the 106-acre body of water – it covers approximately 1/8th of the Park and holds over a billion gallons of water.
When the Reservoir was built in 1862, its original purpose was to provide clean water for the city. While this function is not carried out today, the Reservoir does distribute water to other Central Park locations, such as the Pool, the Loch, and the Harlem Meer.
You can walk a dozen more blocks and come across more Central Park sights like these:
Across 110th Street!
I grabbed one last picture at the small lake on the northeast corner of the park, at 100th street – a great early 70’s film called “Across 110th Street” refers to the neighborhood at the northeast end of the park…but after 100+ blocks, it was time to head back.
Because the park is so big, I can do a loop and head back down the west side – knowing where my last stop would be – a poignant one and a must-see:
Strawberry Fields Forever!
Located across the street from where John Lennon was murdered, this memorial to the late Beatle is always crowded with fans stopping by to pay tribute:
As the sign said, it’s a “quiet zone”, where people stop and reflect for a moment…
I ended the walk at a place I’ve come to love in New York – conveniently located just off of Central Park at 72nd:
With a full stomach and 194 blocks under my feet, it was time to settle in and watch one of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest films:
James Stewart plays a wheelchair-bound photographer, who fills his days by spying on his neighbors from his New York apartment window.
His world slowly unravels when he becomes convinced one of his neighbors has committed murder. Grace Kelly plays his girlfriend, who isn’t sure if he actually saw something, or is slowly losing his mind…
Check out this trailer:
According to great trivia on IMDB, everyone was crazy about Grace Kelly. According to James Stewart, “Everybody just sat around and waited for her to come in the morning, so we could just look at her/ She was kind to everybody, so considerate, just great, and so beautiful.” Stewart also praised her instinctive acting ability and her “complete understanding of the way motion picture acting is carried out.”
Hitchcock captures the voyeuristic allure of living across from neighbors, and the secret thrill from spying on them…James Stewart captures that perfectly as well.
A great film that also captures the streets of New York, even though the film never leaves the apartment! I love New York because you come across stuff like this – Times Square at midnight:
This chess-playing Bird was part of my walk down 54 blocks of Broadway.
You can see my “54 Blocks Of Broadway” story here:
I love sharing “these hitch hiking” stories: here are the first three, beginning with this hike:
Check out the view from Will Rogers State Park near Malibu by clicking here:
If you want a different kind of “Hitchcock” hike, maybe you want to try this:
We hiked near the location of Hitchcock’s classic “The Birds” – see more here:
And maybe you want to get out and see nature – well, we have that for you as well:
See my “walk among the vineyards” here:
Let me know if you’ve done an urban hike through the trails of New York!
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