Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn

Filet Mignon
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2011/06/18 02:24:19 (permalink)

Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn

Earlier this year fellow RFers Karilyn and Bethgrd asked me to join them in The Great Saunter, a 32-mile walk around Manhattan Island on May 7, 2011.  I was up for it but not sure how far I would walk altogether though I did look forward to spending the day with these two wonderful ladies!  Plus, I was hoping to do some reconnaissance on the footpaths of Northern Manhattan as part of some very early prep for a run around the island in a year or two!  We were to meet up at Pier 84, just south of the U.S.S. Intrepid see below but I was running late so they started walking and I met up with them later in the saunter.  

I run by this ship quite a bit on my nightly route downtown and if you think it looks great here just take a gander at it lit up at night!

My walker's bib.  This wasn't a timed or scored event, just a casual walk to promote being active and a way to see parts of Manhattan that many people do not.  Walkers could deviate from the mapped course at any time and get back on whenever they liked, which we did.

While walking north along the Westside Highway, I came across this art installation and just HAD to take a picture!!  Through the top of the wine bottle you could see inside and it was outfitted like a small studio apartment or an RV.  It reminded me of the first time I saw the inside of Woodstock's birdhouse.

One of the other Saunterers and myself tried to take shots showing the inside but ended up with this cool pic instead.  If you look between my hands you can see the image of a woman.  It's actually the photographer's friend looking into the bottle through a window on the other end.

I always think of asparagus when I see these in the Hudson River.

Some of the walkway heading north along the west side of Manhattan.  Those tall buildings on the right are some of Trump's gaudy monstrosities.  

I often wonder what the backstory is to some of the structures half submerged in the Hudson.  I'd love to know the history of them and the people who may have worked with them.

Finally meeting up with Karilyn and Beth near Riverside Park.  They took their time and were relaxing on a bench when I came by.

Yes, there is actually FOOD in this report!  After about 4-5 miles, we decided to veer off of the path and head towards the subway to go further north and check out the Cloisters.  What I realized (totally by chance) is that our detour would take us right past the new location of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Harlem.  I suggested we pop in for a quick bite.  Being that they had just opened for the day we were seated right away.  

Love the new booths.  They didn't have these in the former location.

Being the nerd that I am I took my camera into the bathroom (honestly between the graffiti and the artwork on the walls who wouldn't?) and snapped a shot of this flying pig.

A cold Saranac root beer hit the spot.

We all split a Swag Sampler Platter of Wango Tango wings, fried green tomatoes, boiled shrimp and deviled eggs.  Very tasty as usual.

I spied this sausage, pimento cheese and black pepper crackers app and felt the need to try it.  Very good.  I think they may have made the crackers in-house and the sausage and cheese paired up quite nicely.  The ladies each ordered a pulled pork and a brisket slider and enjoyed them.  Beth really loved the brisket slider.

We walked east on 125th Street towards the A train.  Walking through Harlem is very different than riding the train.  Not a neighborhood in which I spend much time but I feel I should as It is so different than my own.  We exited the train at 190th Street in Fort Tryon Park and walked north to the Cloisters.  I really do enjoy coming here as it's so easy to forget you are in a huge urban area and the inside is so cool on a hot day, the sculptures, tapestries and other artwork is just incredible and the views of the Hudson are spectacular!

The courtyard at the Cloisters.



This guy looks like he should have turned down that last drink!

Now this is a coat of arms of which I whole-heartedly approve!



I love this old subway sign.

We walked back to the train and after about 6 miles of sauntering in total we were somewhat tuckered out.  Our plan was to take the train to 116th Street and walk to Amy Ruth's for some rib-sticking soul food (think chicken & waffles, mac & cheese, collards, red velvet cake and Kool-Aid of the day).  Unfortunately I had forgotten that the A train goes express to 59th Street from 125th Street so we missed our stop.  Yes, I had Travelin' Manned us!!  We got off of the train at 14th Street, transferred to the L train and came upon these guys beatboxing in the Union Square station.

Part of my plan was to head over to STAND anyway so we just made it there earlier.  We started out with a plate of tempura battered and fried bread & butter (read: sweet) pickles.  The mustard sauce was okay but to me, totally unnecessary.  I grew up on sweet pickles and while after 8 years in the city I do love dills and all kinds of sours, sweet pickles will always be a taste of home to me.  We loved these.  They had a light sprinkling of salt on the outside that paired with the beverages to come...!

The Fab Five shakes from left to right:  Toasted Marshmallow, Toasted Marshmallow, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, Toasted Marshmallow and Chocolate Malt.  I know, this seems more like a Buffetbuster/Cousin Johnny breakfast picture but the three of us managed to polish these off in spectacular fashion and we all agreed that the Toasted Marshmallow was the favorite.  



After our sugar rush we hopped in a cab and headed to 26th Street to sample some Texas style barbecue at Hill Country Barbecue * Market.  Karilyn had a Coke in the bottle and I gave Big Red a second try after having tasted it for the first time during my dinner with Ellen4641 and not being crazy about it. I see the appeal though it is very sweet.  Definitely an occasional indulgence.

Sweet Potato Bourbon Mash.  A great complement to the rich smoked meats.

White Shoepeg Corn Pudding.  Creamy and a bit spicy.  One of my favorites.

The beef rib.  Sometimes it's very tender and other times it can be chewy.  This one fell somewhere in the middle.  Not chewy but I had hoped it would be more tender.

A smoked pork chop.  This had a hammy taste that Beth and I both loved. The smoke penetration, peppery rub and tender meat put it over the top for me

And a group shot.  Karilyn did order some of the moist (read: fatty) brisket while I picked up some of the lean.  I still prefer the lean as I think it as plenty moist but I do see the appeal of the moist.  Very decadent.

Some saltines to balance out the meat or to make little meat canapes with my brisket!  After this meal the ladies were stuffed and had to make their way back to Boston.  

About 5 minutes after we parted way, I came across this Eat At Madison Square Park outdoor food fair going on throughout the month of May and early June.  Well, I couldn't pass THIS up, now could I?

This looks interesting...

Wait!  What?  Girl Scout Cookie?  Samoa?  Oh, I'm on it!

A caramel-mascarpone cheese inside of dark chocolate covered cannoli shell garnished with toasted coconut.  I liked it but didn't love it.  I have a great affinity for the Samoa cookie and this just didn't seem like the right application.  Not that it stopped me from eating the whole thing!  Stuffed Artisan Cannolis does have a storefront on the Lower East Side and features inventive flavors such as:  French Toast, Peppermint Bark, Candy Corn, Red Licorice and Bacon & Chocolate.  More research may be required.

My next stop was People's Pops.  I have seen them at other markets and have been hearing about them for months.  

Love the creative signage!


I went for the Blackberry & Sour Cherry pop.  (Quick note: it's my understanding that the Unilever company owns the trademark to the name "popsicle" and had sent a "cease & desist" letter and that is why these are now called People's Pops and not "popsicles.  For more info, read here:  http://blog.peoplespops.c...ease-and-desist.html).  The blackberry flavor really came through in this.  I didn't find any whole blackberries so I think they pureed and strained them to eliminate any seeds in the final product.  The sour cherry flavor was there as well but they had left them whole and as a result the texture was similar to that of a wet paper towel.  I think they would have been better served had they been pureed as well.  Some fruits don't work out in the freezing process.  Nonetheless, I'll be trying more of their inventive flavors in what promises to be a hot summer.

They also offer different flavors of shave ices.

The Flatiron Building at 23rd Street & Broadway.

The fountain in City Hall Park between Broadway & Park Row in Lower Manhattan.  I love walking in here at night when the gas lamps are lit!

Thanks for reading!
"Eating is an adventure, enjoy the ride!" - Billyboy, 2011
The 411
1.)  The Great Saunter
2.)  Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
3.)  The Cloisters
4.)  STAND
5.)  Hill Country Barbecue * Market
6.)  Eat At Madison Square Park  (Sorry, this has already closed.  I should have posted this back in May!)
7.)  People's Pops
8.)  Stuffed Artisan Cannolis

13 Replies Related Threads

    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/18 07:27:06 (permalink)
    Billyboy, As usual a very enjoyable report. I copied and pasted your "411" into my Travel folder for future reference. Thanks for taking the time to post! 
    Double Cheeseburger
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/18 07:31:20 (permalink)
    Great report..... as usual!
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/18 08:21:51 (permalink)
    Billyboy -
    Your reports just keep getting better and better and better...
    Loved the asparagus analogy!  Agreed!
    The sauasage, cheese and cracker plate is right in my wheelhouse and looked really good.  I've not seen that exact combo before.
    The shakes...will be dreaming about those babies!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/18 08:35:26 (permalink)
    Thanks for the great report! I've always wanted to do the Great Saunter, but I'm not sure if I could make the whole 30+ miles. My wife and I did the West Side from Battery to about 100th street last year and we were pretty pooped. Very scenic though. I loved the light fixtures along the Chelsea stretch that are replicas of those that used to be on the old West Side Highway along there before it was torn down.
    Dam, I didn't even think of Dnosaur BBQ even though we were near it. For the record, after the walk we ate at Flor De Mayo on the Upper West Side, noted for thier Peruvian Chicken. It was very good, and different (I don't recall ever being in a Peruvian-Chinese restaurant before), but not the life-changing experience I'm always hoping for:

    Thanks again, glad to see you're still writing reports.
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/18 08:51:04 (permalink)
    Nice report as usual, billyboy!  A 32 mile walk on concrete has to be tough.
    What is your favorite NYC BBQ?
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/18 10:04:54 (permalink)
    Thanks for all of the very kind replies! 
    Ken, I'm guessing many people didn't do the whole Saunter either.  32 miles is a LOT!  I run pretty regularly but nowhere near that kind of distance.  We made it from 42nd Street to 125th before heading to Dinosaur and then probably walked another 20-40 blocks altogether.  Love Chino-Latino cuisine!  They seem to pair up very nicely.  
    Don, My favorite NYC BBQ seems to fluctuate between Dinosaur, Hill Country and RUB.  Each of them has things that I love and weak spots as well.  Sometimes it depends and what I'm craving at a particular moment.
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/18 12:12:35 (permalink)
    Your saunter reminded me of a website I visit every once in a while, since I enjoy history.  It is called "Forgotten NY" and is at  If you haven't come across it before, you might find it helpful when planning your saunters and runs.
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/18 16:25:48 (permalink)
    Hello all .
    Again another great trip report !!
    I know the Cloisters well as that was part of my patrol area when a police officer . It is in the confines of the 34th pct and a pretty high crime area once you get away from the park area  and go east of Broadway .
    The museum is a hidden gem , you would not believe how many people would stop me and tell me they had no idea this was here . From there you can also stop at any number of local restaurants and indulge in the Dominican cuisines if you like .
    NOTE : You were not far from the highest point in Manhattan at 183 st and Ft Washington Ave and a marker is there to confirm , now a neighborhood park .
    For another time but .. mid nineties we were chasing a stolen car onto the Henry Hudson Pkwy , the occupants ( notice I reiterate not the owner) crash it and bolt for the Cloisters .  I caught one of them directly in front of the tower pic you posted , it was twilight ,  and he spun around with a _____ in his hand , a black object , turned out to be a cell phone not a gun  , but from twenty feet away and twilight it bothered me for a long time . Guy was calling his cronies telling them he was caught . Came  that close to blasting the guy , .
    The rest will come out in the book hhahahaaha
    ann peeples
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/18 22:10:52 (permalink)
    You always find the neatest food on your adventures!!! Thanks for sharing.I think I would go gonzo over the pimento cheese sausage appetizer.
    Double Cheeseburger
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/19 09:24:55 (permalink)
    after 23 years of chicago food and 25 years of what florida calls food those photos may make me take a roadtrip, great work but wheres the smellavision?
    mr chips
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/19 14:36:58 (permalink)
    Great report about a part of manhattan that i don't know very much about. Thank you for sharing.
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/21 23:20:36 (permalink)
    WOW . . . you captured that day on so many different levels than I would be capable of.  You touched on all five of my senses!  You should send your report to the Great Saunter people . . . I bet they'd get an even bigger crowd joining them next year.  I'm just home from the Taste of Shrewsbury Street in Worcester MA.  $25 got you free food/drink at every restaurant/bar/bakery on both sides of a 1 1/2 mile long street.  Live bands played up and down the street too.  I was stuffed after just a 1/3 of the stops . . . but of course I kept going!  Of course the Wonder Bar for pizza was a must stop . . . but the margarita cupcakes at Sweet were high on my list of favorites too.  Thanks Billy!!!!
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    Re:Sauntering Around Manhattan in May with Bethgrd and Karilyn 2011/06/28 19:59:02 (permalink)
    The semi-submerged structures  photographed you are are ramps for loading and unloading railroad cars from barges. These were probably ones abandoned in the late 1950s by the New York Central Railroad in the area of W 72nd St.
    The common term for them is/was "float bridges"
    BTW, I really enjoy your posts.
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