On the annual listings of “Greenest Cities in America,” New York, surprisingly, ranks near the top. A stellar public transportation system and the energy efficiency born of density has a lot to do with it. But maybe the most compelling factor is this: folks walk.
New York City isn’t the Italian Piedmont or French Riviera. It’s not pastoral and arboreal. But urbanity and heterogenous chaos have their charm. Manhattan island is, I think, one of the great walks on the planet. On a recent visit, I strolled more than 40 blocks, from Columbia University in Harlem to Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side. All my senses enjoyed constant stimulation, and I felt supremely glad to be alive and part of the crazy tapestry of modern life. New York is alive. Its inhabitants are alive. A visitor feels alive.
The walking invigorates, too.
Birders have their life lists, and mountaineers have their peaks to conquer. I foresee an informal, lifelong project of walking every block of Manhattan for no other reason than it feels so good.