Navigating Manhattan in one day can be a challenge to say the least. Not only is Manhattan huge, but if you can imagine, it’s not the easiest of places to run. A city like no other, the sites and sounds perk every emotion and can be quite overwhelming. Nonetheless, Ross and I did about 17 miles of walking and running in Manhattan and feel great about what we were able to accomplish!
We woke up at the Hotel on Rivington, got ready, and headed out the door to explore. Our initial goal was to get down to the southern tip of Manhattan to get a picture with the Statue of Liberty and then head north, with Central Park as our final destination. Our hotel was very close to Little Italy, and I stopped to thank my old pal Sparky Reardon next to a giant cannoli. ‘When in Rome.’ We decided against a filling Italian breakfast and kept moving.
Chinatown connects to Little Italy in Manhattan. It’s awesome to seamlessly move from one cultural haven to the next. As I mentioned in my Philadelphia post, I love Chinatowns, and Manhattan’s provides the full hustle and bustle that you would expect. I took the opportunity to thank Dallas Short, a University of Miami Phi Delt, a proud resident of Manhattan (near Chinatown), and an all-around nice guy.
Our next stop was the financial district, home to many fun sites in the city. I love seeing the combination of tourists and business folks in this area. It always seems a bit too calm, knowing the scale of business that occurs in any one day in the area. The New York Stock Exchange was our first stop, and I thanked another fellow Phi Delt Nick Scalice. When I think of Nick, I think of a young scrappy business kid, so the shout out made sense!
One of the newest additions to the area is the Fearless Girl statue that stares down the fabled Wall Street Bull. As a proud father to a 3-year-old girl, I really enjoyed this stop. As I raise my daughter, one of my biggest hopes is that she is able to capitalize on every opportunity presented to her that she desires. I thanked my Fort Dodge friend Kristen Morrison, a proud mother of two girls in Chicago. Thanks Kristen, a great stop!
Feet away is the giant Wall Street Bull, and this picture couldn’t have captured it better. Swarmed by tourists, Ross and I had to fight the crowd to take the picture, and we made some friends in the process. A big thanks to Mike Hyatt at this stop who has been one of my biggest supporters on these trips. I truly enjoy Mike’s friendship, and as an investments advisor himself, we always enjoy a healthy debate. Thanks Mike!
We reached The Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan for the opportunity to take a picture with Lady Liberty. I thanked my Uncle Tom and Aunt Colleen at this prized landmark, and I followed up on this thank-you later in the day with some fun.
From The Battery we headed north towards One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial site. Obviously, this area of the city brings on many emotions. It’s a feeling you can’t describe, but it will leave you very thankful of what you have. The new building itself is amazing and can be seen throughout the city.
Where the former twin towers stood are two huge memorials that could not be more impactful.
At the south tower memorial, I thanked Ira Blatt, a proud New Yorker and a wonderful volunteer for Phi Delta Theta. I was able to spend some time with Ira last year at Citi Field when presented the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award to Curtis Granderson. Thanks for everything you do Ira.
By this point, Ross and I were quite hungry, and we stumbled upon one of the best meals we’ve had on this trip. Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer in SoHo was incredible. Apparently there is usually a line around the block, but we were lucky to get right in and sit at the bar for an amazing chicken sandwich (me), a kobe beef burger (Ross) and a great music playlist. One of the restaurants specialities is their shakes – amazing concoctions of goodness. We passed though, a great decision on our end.
We continued north to Washington Square, a vibrant area of the city filled with youth. New York University (NYU) connects to the park, so you can always find a combination of students, tourists and residents in the park. The Washington Square arch is one of my favorite landmarks in the city, and I took the opportunity to thank Mike Scarlatelli. New York City is a special place for Scar, and his son works near Washington Square. Scar is also a New York Yankees fan, so we brought him two big wins while were were in town.
The Flatiron Building is amazing. You never know what you’ll find in Manhattan, and this building is one of my favorites in the city. It really needs no explanation. I just kind of want to live in one of the corner rooms. I thanked my buddy Jon Hernandez for his donation. Jon is a Fraternity brother from Iowa State, and we enjoy pushing each other’s athletic goals these days. Proud to know ya, Hern.
Our next stop was the amazing Hi-Line in Chelsea. The Hi-Line is an old, above-ground, railroad track that has been converted into a pedestrian park. It spans a few miles and weaves in and out of many structures. The idea itself is brilliant and provides great views of the city. I thanked my colleague Dylan Berg for his donation. I had the opportunity to visit North Dakota for the first time in my life this year to attend Dylan’s wedding. It was an absolute blast, and it was fun to experience the state that leaves Dylan so proud.
Madison Square Garden was our next stop. One of the most famous venues in the world, it is home to the New York Knicks, Rangers, and Liberty, and hosts many concerts and events throughout the year. Tillie and I were able to watch our Cyclones in the Sweet Sixteen at The Garden a few years back. An experience we will never forget, despite the outcome. I thanked Joe & Sarah Wechsler, great friends of ours. Tillie and I say it all the time, we wish the Wechslers lived closer. Joe and I surprised our wives on Mothers Day with a trip to see each other, and they really need to get that trip planned!
The Chrysler Building is the tallest brick building in the world with a steel structure, and it is considered one of the finest building in the city. I thanked Jon Hernandez again for his donation.
Next to the Chrysler Building is Grand Central Terminal, Manhattan’s classic train station. Train stations are always a highlight for me while traveling. I always feel like I’m traveling back in time when I visit them, and any centralized travel structure is great in my book. I thanked Dean and Carla Breneman for their donation. Dad and I stayed with the Brenemans in Davenport, Iowa as we navigated the Mississippi River last year. It was great to see them. The Brenemans are die-hard Cubs fans. I cannot say that Ross (a Cubs fan) and I brought luck to the Cubbies during our stop in Manhattan.
Sparky Reardon challenged me to a stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral along the way, and I’m glad I capitalized on it. Sparky is a proud Catholic, and this church is absolutely incredible!
Rockefeller Center was the next stop, and we were lucky to see it in full force, equipped with the bustling ice skating rink. Big screens were setup to watch the Yankees game with baseball-themed bleachers, and it was crowded with visitors. I thanked Andrew McGuire, another Phi Delt volunteer. Andrew and his wife are a few months into their expat experience in Europe, and I look forward to watching their travels from afar. If you watched the U.S. Open this year, you might have seen Andrew’s skills on display as a line judge. He was all over the TV.
Being very tired and entering Times Square is not really the best combo, as you need all the energy you have to take it all in. Wow. I know resident New Yorkers generally stay away from this haven for tourists, but I always appreciate a stroll through Times Square. It never disappoints. I thanked Taylor and Haley (Griffith) Abel for their donation. I grew up across the street from the Griffiths, and I always like to say that Haley and her sister Jenna are my unofficial little sisters. Haley lives in Toronto right now which is amazing in my book!
I mentioned earlier a follow-up to my Statue of Liberty shout out, so here we go. The trick with the Statue of Liberty is that it’s a tough picture to get if you are not actually taking a boat out to it. So I grabbed the next best thing for Tom & Colleen. We even got the Naked Cowboy in the back.
Heading north on Broadway towards Central Park, I snapped a Runner’s Choice photo for my nephew Graham. My sister’s love for musicals got me interested in them at a young age. While we didn’t have time for a show on this trip, it’s normally a standard practice. We found School of Rock, a musical that made me think of Graham rocking and rolling. Love you G-Train.
We made it to Central Park, really the first area of the city that we could get into our running rhythm. Central Park is a city within itself and a place where New Yorkers go to escape. We could have spent an entire day exploring the park, but we were tired, and needed to hit the subway back to the hotel. I thanked my colleague Deb Smith for her donation. Deb is a New Yorker herself (the other side of the state), but takes great pride in her state.
The one landmark that I missed on the schedule was the Empire State Building. We ran very close to it, and saw it, but I kept thinking that we would get a better vantage point for a picture. Well, that didn’t happen, so I decided to thank Tom & Colleen Good again in Central Park. This area was filled with couples taking engagement and wedding photos.
As we ventured towards the subway, we passed two well-known museums. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met)…
And the Guggenheim museum where I thanked Brad & Kelly Becker. Brad, a Fraternity brother from New York, and a man of humor, had challenged me to take a picture with another common landmark in Central Park, horse droppings, but at this point in the day, I probably would have lost my chicken sandwich in the process. So I found a landmark that looks similar. Thanks Beckers!
We had quite the day, but we were dog tired. We made our way back to the hotel and enjoyed the accommodations. Seriously, the Hotel on Rivington was a wonderful experience. Our room was amazing.
And the views from my room will be missed!
Ross and I capped off the evening with dinner with his cousin Grant and his wife Kim. Grant is from Spencer, Iowa (where Ross is from), but has lived in the city for a number of years. And what are the odds, Grant’s son is a sophomore member of Phi Delta Theta at the University of Michigan. We enjoyed their company greatly over dinner!
On to Providence, Rhode Island!