Perimeter: brief chapter descriptions


Part One
Introductory words; The author introduced; Motivation given; Concept laid out, Place met; A bow to John Finley, silent mentor.


1   Preparations / Starting 

Planning; A counter-clockwise walk begins; Morning; Sights, West 21st Street to East 23rd Street; No water yet.


2   East 23rd Street to 60th Street, along the East River   

A fancy boat; Musings on a sharp edge; The East River and rising sun; A park unpacked; Traveling the F.D.R. without a vehicle; The birth of an island; Edenic Manhattan; Rockefeller delivers the U.N.; A different view of the same stretch years later; North on Sutton Place; A mysterious building.


3   East 61st Street to Carl Schurz Park, along the East River  

Down York Avenue; Back to the river; The island as pawn between the British and Dutch, and the rise and fall of John Manning; Welfare Island becomes Roosevelt Island; East Side Esplanade; John Jones—a great park, Politics and the birth of recreation; Transport of coal, then oil; Thoughts on urban design for pedestrians and their internal maps; The last ferry to Welfare Island; Hell Gate; Meet John Finley.


4   Gracie Mansion to the Washburn Wire Products Factory  

Archibald Gracie and his mansion; Carl Schurz and his park;  Public art controversies then and now; The point at East 90th Street; Disappearance of the Rockaway ferry and the rise of the Triborough Bridge; Understanding the coast’s line; The General Slocum disaster; Crossing 99th Street; Fishers and crabbers; The first stripped car; 107th Street recreation pier; Washburn Wire factory; A muse on walking and more on Finley.


5   Triborough Bridge to the Polo Grounds site, along the Harlem River  

Salt piles; Under the Willis Avenue Bridge; A plumber’s aside; Third Avenue Bridge history; Certified Concrete yard and a concrete mountain; Harlem River Drive; The tire encampment; The shoreline served by boat and then by wheeled vehicles; In clover; Back on a highway; History of the 155th Street Bridge; Minimalist stone throne; Thoughts on mapping the edge; Author’s arrival in NY; A history of the Polo Grounds.


6   The Ralph Rangel Houses to Dyckman Street  

Out of the projects, into the woods and up the face of a bluff; Edgecombe Avenue along Highbridge Park; History of the High Bridge and the public water supply; How the shoreline has evolved; History of the ice trade; Alexander Hamilton Bridge meets the Trans Manhattan Expressway; The Washington Bridge’s History; Right on Laurel Terrace; Yeshiva University; Blocked by a fence; A rest at Dyckman Street.


7   Sherman Creek to the Northern Tip along the Harlem River  

Southeast along Dyckman; Sherman Creek; Decayed marina; The utility building; Car washing; The Northeastern Waterfront; A 1930’s houseboat community; Crabs, groceries and beer; University Heights Bridge; King of the Bridge; 221st St.; Thoughts on circumnavigation; The North End in myth and legend; The first bridge; Harlem Ship Canal.  


8   The northern tip to the Hudson River  

Columbia Presbyterian Hospital; Broadway’s history; West on 218th; A dead body in Baker Bay; Rowing in N.Y.; Henry Hudson Bridge; Inwood Hill Park; $24 for the island; Inwood Hill itself; Native springs; The death of Cold Spring; A perfect beach; West through the fence; Onto railroad land, then south; Quarrying the palisades; “The River that Flows Two Ways.”


9   Exploring the northern shore along the Ship Canal  

Clockwise travel; American Museum of Urban Fencing; Sonic art at the R.R. Bridge; Under the Henry Hudson Bridge; Columbia University’s property; Natural self-taught construction genius; Wein Stadium and grandmother in an orange van; Dyckman’s ice pond; Behind the Allen Pavilion; A wall of tires under the Broadway Bridge; The Ship Canal’s effect on the ecology; The fisherman; Same route, again, later.  Read Full Chapter


10   Spuyten Duyvil to Washington Point along the Hudson River

Walking south; Rip rap; Chubby Point Canoe and Kayak launch; Old Dyckman Street; Wewona Yacht Club and a country walk; Stone to stone with the George Washington Bridge ahead; Finley and archival box #61; The original coast; Shad rows.


11   The George Washington Bridge to 125th Street along the Hudson River

Treacherous Jeffrey’s hook; Jet skis; A green pup tent; Walking on car hoods; Snowshoe tracks; A soccer-like game; More springs; The gridding of N.Y.; Car repair area; James Audubon and the changing landscape; Riverside Church, the world’s largest instrument; Noordt River; Water treatment in N.Y.; Street cleaning dump; An abandoned motel; A junk heap house; Worden and the squatters’ shacks; The Bonus Army; A history of ferries; A supermarket and its parking lot; A diner; A diner disappears.


12   Grant’s Tomb to the 79th Street Boat Basin along the Hudson River  

Grant’s Tomb as tourist attraction; Naval anchorages; Rip rap and maintaining the edge; More on Smith and springs (and snakes); A basement spring and pool; Oysters and the ecosystem; The Jersey shore; Moses and cars; Starlings and rats; Sports stadiums never built on the Hudson; Smoking and walking; Expanding island, shrinking river; Thoreau’s camel; The narrow spot near the widest point; The Columbia Yacht Club and its demise; Unseaworthy vessels; 79th Street Rotunda. 


13   79th Street Rotunda to 23rd Street along the Hudson River  

Through slot at the end of the fence; The Tunnel; Flora, detrius and the former Penn Yard; N.Y.’s greatest sculpture; The demise of railroads; Urban pheasants; Red-lit Sanitation building; Favorite smoke stack; Re-entering the built environment; Thoughts on coasting; Cruise port; A view corridor; The Circle Line’s source; A new ferry line to N. J.; Busted for indecency; Yale truck; The Trump Heliport; The Maxwell House sign; Breaking slate; An upside-down forest; A favorite pier.


Part Two

14  Chelsea Piers to Pier 40 along the Hudson River


15  Holland Tunnel to Pier A along the Hudson River


16  Battery Park to the Southern Tip along New York Harbor


17  South Ferry to Corlears Hook


18  Williamsburg Bridge to East 23rd Street


19  Conclusion and other thoughts