By Daniel Katzive
Walkers on the Great Saunter, an annual 32-mile hike along the entire shoreline of Manhattan, passed through our neighborhood on Saturday morning, undeterred by the steady drenching rain which kept most of us out of the parks. They were about one fifth of the way through their effort to circumnavigate the whole island.
The annual event is run by Shorewalkers NYC, a non-profit group which describes its mission as “promoting and preserving New York City’s waterfront, as well as raising awareness of its shorelines by leading invigorating hikes throughout the metropolitan area.”
The walkers set out between 7 and 8am from Battery Park with an objective of having lunch at Inwood Hill Park. By 9:30am a steady stream of wet but determined hikers were moving through Riverside Park South, using the bike path and service road under the West Side Highway for an all-too-brief respite from the steady rain.
Walkers we spoke to estimated the full journey would take about twelve hours, though one told us that a fast walker could probably make the trip in around 9 hours.
The Shorewalkers website indicates this is the 35th year that the Great Saunter has been held and that registration for the event had sold out. The group indicates that historically about half of participants complete the entire circuit back to the Battery by the end of the day.
The Saunter, held on the first Saturday of May every year, is the principal event of the Shorewalkers group, but the organization also runs shorter walks in the area throughout the year, according to the website.