Monday, June 25, 2007

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Brooklyn Paper
That kind of training may lead people to think this kind of thing is easy, but when Gary Jarvis tried to run all 1,742 miles of Brooklyn earlier this year, he made it halfway and petered out.

The sidelined borough runner had some advice for the two aspiring city walkers: “Wear comfortable shoes, take some toilet paper, and go through neighborhoods you’d otherwise not have occasion to visit,” said Jarvis.

“Oh, and stretch those hamstrings.”

Read More of Limp, Forrest, Limp!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Some photos

We're still getting all our photos together, but, for now, here are some from Day 1.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

And We're Back

We apologize for the lack of more frequent posts over the last week. My body largely crashed after I arrived back in Los Angeles late Sunday night after a brief jaunt to North Carolina, so I've been fighting a dreaded summer cold for the better part of the week.

Although my trip to New York didn't end as I had initially hoped, I was able to enjoy my last two days in the city. Unquestionably defying all unspoken doctor's orders, I found myself alone in New York City, so naturally, I wasn't going to stay inside all day, even if my ankles would have thanked me for it.

I couldn't wear shoes without extreme pain, so I donned my flip flops and headed into Manhattan. I had considered meeting Matt for a meal or something, but the extended time requirement of taking the subway from southern Brooklyn all the way to the Bronx made that idea unfeasible. As it was, walking was only somewhat painful, but stairs were simply brutal, so I was actually avoiding the subway and its stairs wherever possible.

I had planned on visiting Ellis Island, but found an absurdly long line of nearly 2 hours awaiting me, so I got a refund for my ticket and walked gingerly up to the 9/11 memorial at the site of the twin towers. I was amazed at how fast the emotions of that day returned as I looked out over the open construction area. The memorial itself is very simple, yet remarkably profound in its simplicity. It features some photos from that fateful day, as well as a list of the victims. Despite being right on top of a bustling subway station, the mood was predictably muted, even with the passage of nearly six healing years.

From there I walked across the street to a nearby church that was a base for operations in the 9/11 aftermath. There was a unique juxtaposition of history and modernity, as it was the site of George Washington's inagural prayer in 1793, in addition to serving as a resting place for countless first responders on 9/11.

I then took the subway to Midtown, walked around the Theatre District and over to Times Square, and then to the library map room on 42nd St, which was one of my most-anticipated stops on our "checklist." It turned out that Matt arrived too late to enter the map room, so I planned an unfathomably awesome trip. Details will follow in due course.

The rest of the day was passed people-watching in the incredibly eclectic atmosphere of Washington Square Park. From musicians to protestors to bad hacky-sack players, I was able to witness a little bit of everything during my couple of hours there. I picked up some dinner at several small restaurants in the village and then headed back to Brooklyn, my feet begging me to spend a few hours resting.

I had a fun/busy day Friday as well, but I'll write about that a bit later on.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


We have an interview up on Gothamist. Apparently the editor does not think much of my sense of humor.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

More Press

Time Out New York's Blog highlights the walk
I have a confession to make. Many mornings, when faced with the daunting task of walking from the A train at 34th Street and Eighth Avenue all the way to the TONY offices on 36th and Tenth Avenue, I chicken out and take a cab. Hey, don’t hate—those are really long blocks!

Continue reading He should’ve gotten Dr Scholl’s as a sponsor.

Friday, June 8, 2007


157 miles down, 0 to go

Madison Square Park

Getting close. Shooting for a 10:00 City Hall arrival.

Coming Down the Home Stretch

Matt's at about 30th and 7th, and is trying to knock off one last language and cuisine, as well as trying to find a park to clean up trash to serve as his volunteer work for the checklist. He's moving along steadily, but his pace has slowed a bit due to general fatigue and increasing foot pain.

On another note, I've never used an internet in a Burger King before. First time for everything, I suppose. For all you "Who eats at a BK in NYC?" types, don't worry - I'm not actually eating anything here.

Matt thinks the time for meeting at City Hall will be closer to 10 than 9:30. In any event, we won't leave before 10, so feel free to meet up with us then!

Times Square

I hate this place so much

Central Park

Fishing, boat rowing, and carousel riding checked off

Who's buried in Grant's tomb?

12th Ave in Manhattan

Coogan's Bluff

This staircase used to lead down to the Polo Grounds

Join Us for the Last Mile!

Matt is currently planning on arriving at City Hall between 9:30 and 10:00 PM. I'll be meeting up with him there, and we'll set out on the last mile of the walk. We'd love for anyone interested to join us for the last mile of the walk!

Many people have been encouraging and helpful to us during this walk, and we'd love for all of you to come walk with us!

Matt will provide updates during the day as to his ETA at City Hall. Should something change, he'll post it here.

Hope to see you there!

Check another one off the list

News Report

The media is keeping up with the story. Metro New York notes some of the interesting things that have happened so far:
“The people who’ve agreed to help have been amazing,” Green said. A woman from the Queens tourism bureau helped get them into the borough hall bathroom and into the Queens Museum of Art to see the Panorama before the museum officially opened. Someone at Greenwood Cemetery let them in a back entrance, workers at the stable at Pelham Park kindly let Green ride a horse for a few minutes (without charging him), and an Astoria resident kindly offered a couch and a prime spot for a rooftop drink (also on the checklist).

Read Burning Some Dust: Minus 1.

Not the most welcoming sight on day 5

On the way to Manhattan's highest point

Broadway Bridge over the Harlem River

Last river crossing of the trip. Battery Park here I come.

Marble Hill

Marble Hill used to be part of Manhattan Island. A re-routing of the Harlem River to make it more navigable for big ships disconnected Marble Hill from Manhattan, and when landfill was added where the river used to run, Marble Hill became part of the mainland. Even though it's attached to the Bronx, Marble Hill is still part of the Borough of Manhattan.

Henry Hudson Bridge

Connecting the Bronx to the northern tip of Manhattan. Is the image quality better in this picture?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Matt's in Riverdale

I just got off the phone with Matt, who has arrived in Riverdale, Bronx, for his final night on the tour. He will be staying with the kind people at the Society for Ethical Culture in Riverdale.

Due to today being longer than 30 miles, as well as making an unplanned detour near City Island due to a wrong turn, he had to cut out the Van Cortlandt Park in order to save time, as he didn't want to be late to his lodging spot.

He seemed to have a good day, and even managed to establish a personal best bowling score of 139. Maybe he should always walk 120 miles prior to going bowling!

He's said that he is going to set two alarms tomorrow - one for 4:00 AM, and one an hour later at 5:00 AM. Good thing Matt does better than the average person on little sleep! For you worry-warts out there, Riverdale, where he will begin his walk, is a very nice area of the Bronx, and safety will not be a concern.

City Island

Welcome to the Bronx

Pelham Bay Park

The drawbridge is up on the way to City Island

Bronx Borough Hall

Bathroom #4

Who knows what this means

Handed to me by two women in the South Bronx whom I greeted in Spanish (language #8)

Jenny Craig Would Be Proud

As you may remember, just prior to the start of the walk, we weighed ourselves, planning on seeing how much, if any, weight we lost on our hyper-intensive exercise program. Despite not being able to finish the entire program, I did manage to lose some weight.

Before = 169 lbs.
After 83 miles in 58 hours or so = 163 lbs.

So, I somehow lost 6 lbs, despite the fact that I ate a fair amount of food along the way. I can't say I'm surprised, however, as both Matt and I commented several times that we didn't feel like we were eating as many calories as we were burning. From basic web searching, it seems that walking at 3 mph means that someone off my weight burns between 100 and 110 calories per mile. Given I completed about 83 miles, that means I burned well ovver 8000 calories just from walking, and obviously the body continues to use energy at lower levels even during periods of rest, sleep, or composing subway ditties.

In sum, while I might have eaten a lot, I certainly didn't consume nearly enough calories to account for the massive amount I burned!

Mile 100

The Hell Gate Bridge as seen from the Triborough Bridge

Rhyming meetup

Pat met Matt. That's it, I can't think of any other rhymes. Pat posted pictures.

Lost Pictures

Today from about 6:45-7:00 I met up with Matt on the corner of 26th St & 1st Avenue on his way up 1st Ave. We sat and chatted while he took a short rest. It was really great to meet him and get a chance to hear about the trip. unfortunately I did not get to meet Rob (feel better!) but mat seemed to be in good spirits and doing really well. I was very impressed. I did participate in the hike, albeit for 3 blocks to 29th st. We did pass by Bellevue hospital which was interesting. Due to some strange karmic situation the picture I took with matt is not on my camera anymore (it was there we checked) .

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

When Ankles Look Like Tennis Balls...

Bad news to report this time...I've had to stop the walk due to tremendous pain in my ankles, most likely caused by tendonitis. The front of each ankle is incredibly swollen; each features a large lump that doesn't feel any more comfortable than it looks. Additionally, the back of my ankle eventually reached a point where each step I took became more and more painful, often to the point of being excruciating.

Had all this happened on Friday, I'd probably have been able to tough it out, but with nearly 75 miles left to go, I decided to avoid risking further injury and call it quits a bit earlier than I had planned. So, instead of a 150+ mile walk over 5 days, mine ended up being about 82 or 83 miles over 3 days, through all the boroughs except the Bronx.

Matt has decided to continue with his original schedule and press forward. He's got some blisters and is certainly feeling the general fatigue of having covered nearly 90 miles so far in 3 days, but overall, he's feeling good and is ready to move forward. So, keep supporting him with your comments as he continues to post new updates from his phone!

I'm planning on taking things easy tomorrow, and then possibly joining Matt for a few miles on Friday in Manhattan, depending on how I feel. Hopefully things will improve a bit by then!

Gantry Plaza State Park

Best view in the city?

Hike New York


Update on meeting locations

Williamsburgh Bridge crossing looking more like 5:45, cable car 8:00

Long Island City

Tallest building in Queens and all of Long Island

Sunnyside, Queens

A nice leafy hood

Oh-oh! They're halfway there!

I met up with the boys at Krystal's Cafe here in Woodside (69th and Roosevelt). They were able to greet and receive a greeting in Tagalog, and we sampled filipino cuisine at the lunch buffet for the unbelievable price of $6.25 (tax included) per person. Spirits seemed high, but the agony of da feet was certain. And da ankles.

Matt makes a funny sound when he walks- but it's just the Advil jiggling around in the bottle. Maybe they'll take my advice and get pedicures tonight, but as Rob said, he pitied the person who had to touch his feet after this. That's why they get paid the big bucks, Rob. That's why they get paid the big bucks.

Our next East River crossing

We will be crossing the Williamsburgh Bridge later today, probably a little before 5 pm, if anyone wants to meet up. We will be taking the cable car to Roosevelt Island a bit later, maybe around 7 or so.

Could the Police Stop the Trek?

I'm not a legal scholar, but this seems like it could have implications for Matt and Rob!
Police stopped a 5-year-old boy from setting off on a 60-mile walk in scorching heat across eastern India on Wednesday, citing a government order that labeled an earlier such stunt as "torture."

Are Matt and Rob torturing themselves? Or just those of us who have to look at the pictures of them?

Only 50 bucks?!

If you're in need of a good muffer, just come on down to Roosevelt Avenue

Flushing Meadows part II

The Unisphere

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

A couple miles into Day 3

Beginning of Day 3

Rego Park

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Mile 61

A well designed drainage system

Mile 58

Jamaica Bay

Mile 54 of the trip

Broad Channel, an island in Jamaica Bay


I think we went a little too far north

Typical NYC

12 miles into day 2. Headed toward Floyd Bennett Field and the Rockaways.

4 miles into day 2

We are heading through Bensonhurst toward Coney Island. Weather looks great today.
Samuel Morse, famous for devising the code that shares his name, died on April 2, 1872, but if you thought that it would stop him from calling Matt and Rob on this momentus occassion, you don't know crap about Sammy "F.B." Morse.

I'm glad to see he's using the phone these days. It takes a big man to admit he's been beat.

Does anyone speak his code? Then let me know what he's saying in the comments. I hope it's positive. Here's the wikipedia entry on Sammy. Who says Matt and Rob aren't educating people? You? Oh.

Monday, June 4, 2007


We have completed 33 miles and are now sleeping soundly at the house of a generous congregant of Christ Church in Bay Ridge. Tomorrow is our longest walk of the trip, so we will be waking up at 5:00.

Missed Connection (NYC Trek Edition)

Commentor Pat and NY1 both appear to be in the same boat, missing a sighting of Matt and Rob. (Pat was kind enough to put the pictures online).

Marathon men

I make a cool face as we crack 26.2 miles

Meet Up Tonight in Brooklyn!

Meeting up with our intrepid explorers, given their variable walking speeds and ambitious schedule, is going to be a challenge. Save for those people with plenty of time and the duos' cellphones numbers, it would be difficult to see Matt and Rob as they pass by quickly.

So, here's the first opportunity for an actual MeetUp.

Matt and Rob plan on arriving at Christ Church, 7301 Ridge Blvd., Brooklyn around 8:30 p.m. They plan on meeting their host for the evening at that location, and then possibly crossing off another ethnic cuisine in the neighborhood.

Note: their original plan called for them to arrive at 8 pm, and Matt thinks it is equally possibly that they would arrive at 9 pm, so make allowances for them being a little early or late. Basically, if you want to become a part of NYC Trek 2007, I'd clear your schedule from at least 8:10 until 8:50 tonight.

Now is your chance to grab a picture or scoop the major media outlets! If you upload something to Flickr or something similar, consider tagging it "NYC TREK 2007" or otherwise alerting us to the picture in the comments.



We're at an internet cafe/middle eastern restaurant, checking off the first of our ten required ethnic cuisines on the checklist. Matt is going for a falafel platter, while I ordered something I'd never heard of.

We've had quite a day. The soreness from walking 19 miles has started a little bit, but we're plowing through, with some well-timed breaks helping us out. We're now in Brooklyn, just south of Fort Greene Park. We passed through the 0-100 block of S. Portland Ave, which was voted by Time-out-NY as the "best block to live on" in NYC. It has a lot of Cosby Show style brown brick condos, is well-maintained, clean, and diverse.

On our way here, we dropped our shoes and socks off at a laundromat to sit in a dryer during lunch, so we're in our flip flops now. I'm definitely glad we don't have to walk too far in flip flops! As ready as I was to take my shoes off (although no one else was as excited about this as me), they're quite a bit more comfortable for walking.

In case you couldn't tell from earlier entries, we got absolutely soaked today. Ridiculously soaked. Saturated. Etc. It's finally stopped raining, and while still overcast, it's looking better as time goes on.

Anyway, our food is here! We'll update more later.

Into Brooklyn

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge we knock out our second borough hall bathroom of the day

Wouldn't Hold Out Much Hope For the Tape Deck

Another message from one of Matt and Rob's well wishers.

John's voicemail is on topic, as every CCR fan knows that he wrote the hit "Who'll Stop the Rain" after Woodstock about the rain there.

One borough down

Staten Island: check. Highlights: South Beach boardwalk, Greenbelt trail, Todt Hill (409 ft, highest point in NYC), getting totally drenched in downpour, eating fresh cookies for breakfast, and using the bathroom at Borough Hall

Meet Ups on the Trek?

Anyone out there planning on meeting up with Matt and Rob during the trek? Someone must be thinking about briefly coming into contact with genius (and Matt too, of course).

We can post stories, photos or whatever else if readers want to submit their harrowing tales. Leave a message in the comments if you want more information on how to get your tale posted on the blog.


So wet

Top of NYC

Quite wet, we reach Todt Hill

1 percent done suckas

1.52 miles down

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Last-minute Stuff

We're in the final stages off pre-trip planning, and are furiously trying to get everything done that we need to. We spent 2.5 hours tracing the route onto our large AAA New York street maps. While useful, that was quite a bit longer than we had anticipated. In order to give us the best chance of successfully completing our checklist, we read over the list, item by item, compiling addresses and phone numbers off relevant places throughout the city, including numerous backup plans in case our initial plans fell through.

Last but not least, at the suggestion of a friend, we weighed ourselves to see how much, if any, weight we would lose during the course of the walk. The contenders weighed in as follows:

Rob - 169 lbs.
Matt - 160 lbs.

Unfortunately, tomorrow's weather outlook hasn't gotten any better. We're hoping the hardest rain comes during the night so that things have died down somewhat by morning, but it's looking more and more like the first 6-8 hours of the walk are going to be extremely wet.

That's all for now. Next time you see an updated blog, we'll be on our way!

Our last day of freedom

Celebrating Rob's successful arrival in New York, we took a few minutes today to enjoy the last rays of sunshine we're going to see for quite a while.

Here we are hanging out around the base of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, one of the more exciting locales in the city. It was hard to find a place to stand amongst the throngs of sunbathers and picnickers surrounding us. You may not know (or care) that the Verrazano is the largest suspension bridge in the US, with a main span 60 feet longer than the Golden Gate.

We also decided to load up on some heavy artillery, in case we have to fend off any hooligans or other street toughs. Here we are taking our new purchase for a test run.

Good Luck Message

Here's an example of the kind of support Matt and Rob are receiving as they prepare for their journey.

Down goes Frazier!!!

In unbelievable news that will shock and appall any connoisseur of competitive eating, American Joey Chestnut has smashed Takeru Kobayashi's record, eating 59.5 hot dogs (buns included) in 12 minutes. Chestnut, an American hero, bested Kobayashi's record by nearly six hot dogs.

San Jose Man Destroys Immortal Record

As people who share irrational desires to do things to excess, we applaud the efforts of Mr. Chestnut and encourage California residents to support him in his undoubtedly approaching Senate run. Mr. Chestnut, we salute you.

However, if you are truly the champion, you will eat this hot dog.

Giant hot dog

Good luck!

3000 Miles Down...

The hard part of the trip is done. Only 150 miles left to go! I've already covered over 95% of the total distance, so how hard can this week be?

Despite the best efforts of Minnesota's stellar weather, I've arrived in New York City. Matt picked me up from LaGuardia, and we headed to Matt's apartment in Brooklyn. Below is a picture that concisely demonstrates why we're walking instead of driving the 150 miles.

I have one question for pilots: Do you really expect passengers to not use the restroom when you leave the seatbelt sign on for a 2.5 hour flight? From Minneapolis to New York, our pilot might have turned off the seatbelt sign for 20 minutes, during which the flight attendants were in the aisles with their drink and snack carts. It goes without saying that, upon landing, the bathroom lines resembled Soviet-era grocery store lines. The collective sigh of relief was audible as far south as Philadelphia.

So, pilots...remember that biological systems continue functioning despite mild turbulence. Thanks!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

It gonna rain

Well, Monday's shaping up to be a perfect day for walking 30 miles. Looks like the city's putting our resolve to an early test. Bring it on!

Note to self: add extra socks and waterproof bags to packing list.

Free Lodging? In New York City? Hah!

Since I fly to New York in the morning, we spent the bulk of today taking care of last-minute details. Because I leave approximately twelve hours from now, it was vital to spend our time wisely, to make sure all possible contingencies have been anticipated, no matter how minor they might seem. Obviously, all major particulars have long been sewn up, but those pesky trivial details, such as where to sleep at night, still remained.

Naturally, this is largely in jest, but until yesterday, we weren’t exactly sure where we were going to be spending each night. Keeping costs low is paramount to the philosophy of this trip, and anyone who has ever visited and searched for a cheap NYC hotel room knows that frankly, they don’t exist. Furthermore, hotels don't generally provide the kind of interesting experiences we are hoping to have. Staying with friends was a possibility, but one of our rules was that even a stranger to New York should be able to complete this trip, and a stranger wouldn't have friends to stay with. Hostels were an option we considered, but they proved difficult to find outside of Manhattan. Additionally, we didn’t want to have to sleep with one eye open watching out for the petty thieves that seem to follow me around in youth hostels. Besides, after walking over 30 miles a day, I’m not even sure I’d have the energy to care if someone was stealing my bag.

So, we thought about what other options we had. While we fully appreciate the tremendous efforts of New York’s Finest in recent years to lower crime in the city, we’re not quite ready to sleep in an alley somewhere. We began our searches at religious establishments near the scheduled stopping points, and after numerous unanswered e-mails, unreturned voice mails, and people on the phone who thought we were serial killers, we expanded our search to anyone who we thought could conceivably have floor space for two weary pedestrians to crash for a few hours for a night. Come to think of it, perhaps we should have phoned mattress stores and furniture outlets!

We did have some success, and yesterday, we nailed down our one remaining night courtesy of a kind and enthusiastic member of the couch-surfing community at In the end, the generous folks at an interesting variety of establishments were cool enough to let us stay with them, despite the fact that we will almost certainly smell like sweaty orangutans upon arrival. Our accommodations will therefore be as follows:

Day 1 – A church in Bay Ridge

Day 2 – A Jewish center near Forest Hills

Day 3 – Couchsurfing in Astoria

Day 4 – Society for Ethical Culture in Riverdale

Some of these descriptions have been left intentionally vague until we find out whether or not our hosts want their names to be public.

In summary, lodging = $0. Mission accomplished!