Monday morning began with a 6am wake up call in Philly. Ross and I packed up, grabbed ourselves a Wawa coffee, and walked about 15 blocks to the 30th Street Station to catch our Megabus. My initial running trips were powered by Megabus, but the past two years took me on routes that didn’t work with the bus routes. This year’s logistics include a mashup of options – Planes, buses, subways, a rental car. We will be taking buses from Philadelphia to NYC and then to Providence. In Providence, we will pick up a rental car that we will have for the rest of the trip.
Ross and I reserved the top deck, front seats on the Megabus, offering us an unobstructed view of driving into Manhattan. Pictures never do New York City justice. The city will leave you in awe and is truly one of the greatest cities in this world. We jumped off the Megabus near Madison Square Garden, took the subway south, and checked in to our hotel for the next two nights – The Hotel on Rivington.
The Hotel on Rivington sits within the Lower East Side of Manhattan and is a perfect jump off point for us to run Brooklyn and Manhattan. What a unique and amazing property! The views from the hotel are dynamite.
The staff was kind enough to place us in a room with a balcony! Incredible. More about the Hotel on Rivington to come during our two-night stay.
I had originally planned for us to run Manhattan today, but I decided to swap in Brooklyn to give us an entire day in Manhattan on Tuesday. We started at the Brooklyn Bridge. Running or walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of my favorite tourist experiences that I’ve ever had. The views are stunning. The bridge was very crowded today, which made it a bit difficult to run, but we navigated through the crowd.
On the bridge, I thanked Jason Brannon for his donation. Jason is another long-time supporter of my running trips, and a Fraternity brother from Iowa State. As a runner himself, I love seeing his passion for the activity and the places that he visits.
Another pic from the bridge. We couldn’t stop taking photos.
This was my third time running across the Brooklyn Bridge, but my first time visiting the Dumbo neighborhood in Brooklyn. I’m glad we did, as it was a neat little community with fun views. I thanked William Kneip for his donation. I saw William during last year’s running trip when dad and I swung through Oxford, Mississippi. He’s a proud Ole Miss Rebel and a fellow Phi Delt.
A view of the East River and Manhattan from Dumbo.
One of the best places to run in this area is along the western edge of Brooklyn, south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Ross and I were talking about how easy it is to run when you have great sites in front of you. Brooklyn Bridge Park is along this path, and I captured a high-school graduation style picture for William Kneip. I knew he’d appreciate it.
Another shot from the area.
Before we turned west, we entered the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and I thanked my sister-in-law Lauren and her husband Tom. As the holidays approach, I look forward to spending time with our youngest nephew, Talan, who was born this year. I appreciate your ongoing support Lauren & Tom!
One of my favorite stretches of the day was through Cobble Hill. What a beautiful neighborhood filled with red brick, trees, crowded streets and great character. I thanked John Bohrer, a fellow Phi Delt from Washington College who lives in Brooklyn. John is a reporter, historian, and television news producer. His research and writing has been published in a number of recognizable media outlets, and he just released The Revolution of Robert Kennedy, his first book. Thanks for your donation John, it was a great surprise!
The Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Islanders was our next stop. On the way, a man who claimed to be a former professional boxer flagged us down and gave us some breathing and life advice. It was great, and I wish I would have taken a picture with him. The last time I was in this area, the Barclays Center was being built. The arena is part of a $4.9 billion future business and residential complex now known as Pacific Park. I thanked Joe & Jess Vonsak again for their donation.
The final stretch of our run took us from the Barclays Center to Prospect Park. We didn’t appreciate the slight incline the entire way there, but we made it. Just before Prospect Park sits the Grand Army Plaza where we found this fun fountain. I thanked David & April Etler, our wonderful second family. April has provided daycare for both of our children over the years, and our kids adore her and the entire Etler family. We are lucky to know them!
Nearby is the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch, and I used it as a Runner’s Choice to thank my brother-in-law Don. Don is a world traveler, and I’ve learned a lot from him over the years on how to have amazing travel experiences for cheap. His teachings have opened many a travel opportunity for Tillie and me. Don and my sister Anne love Paris, so the arch reminded me of Don.
The end of the road was Prospect Park, a very large park in Brooklyn where people go for open space! I thanked Jay & Heidi Longnecker. Jay is a regional volunteer for Phi Delta Theta and a fellow Iowa State Cyclone. It’s been fun to get to know Jay better over the years, and I always love running in to the Longneckers. Our run ended up being close to 7 miles today, and we walked another 8 miles throughout the day.
Ross and I jumped on the subway to get to Williamsburg, one of Brooklyn’s most well-known neighborhoods. When you think hipster, many think of Williamsburg. I found an awesome mural to thank Myra Druritsch, a colleague at Phi Delt. Myra has been our champion for wellness at the office and pushes all of us to do more. I thought she’d appreciate this mural.
During my junior year at Iowa State, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Swansea, Wales. While there, I crossed paths with Sean Berthiume, at the time a UMass student on the same study abroad program. For all of us from Iowa State, Sean became one of our highlights of the experience. You know that person in your life who instantly puts you in a good mood, makes you laugh all the time, and make you think creatively about life – that is Sean.
Sean owns two pizzerias (Vinnie’s Pizzeria) in Brooklyn (Williamsburg and Greenpoint). Why Vinnie’s vs. Sean’s? “Because nobody wants to buy pizza from Sean.” He has become a viral sensation for his unique pizza creations. His pizza topped with mini slices of pizzas, as well as his pizza box pizza (a pizza that is contained by a box made of pizza) took off, and the pizzerias have become a destination stop for many. I remember staying up late with a few colleagues at a staff retreat to watch Sean on Jimmy Kimmel.
If you want some daily enjoyment, you need follow Vinnie’s on Instagram. Sean uses his creative talents to develop his “Special Bored,” his specials of the day that are named after pop culture figures. They are amazing and pun-tastic.
And the pizza is great! Classic New York-style pizza with a whole lot of creativity.
Sean surprised us with dessert slices – Nutella, honey, ricotta and crushed pretzels!
And t-shirts accompanied by T.Hanks stickers.
I thanked my colleague Renee and her husband Kevin at Vinnie’s. Renee and Kevin, whenever you get to Brooklyn, you must eat here!
Vinnie’s from the outside. Classic!
On the subway ride home, I thanked my cousin Adam and his wife Lindsey. Adam and Lindsey also live in Ames and their son Will now goes to the Etlers for daycare. It’s fun to watch the Good kids growing up together!