Trudging along with these impediments, it took most of the day to cover the two hundred miles to New York. When I got there, I was let out right after crossing the George Washington Bridge. Here the highway was a conglomeration of ramps, tunnels, no curbs or breakdown lanes where I could try to catch a ride. So I found myself in far upper Manhattan with no way to get out. I knew the transit system could get me across to the other side of the Bronx where the New England Thruway commenced. Experience taught me that once on that highway hitching conditions were vastly improved. My dilemma was I did not have enough carfare to take public transportation for more than one ride. Getting across upper Manhattan and Bronx would require multiple fares. I remembered that a single fare subway left from Times Square to the far reaches of East Bronx, quite near a highway ramp to New England. The solution required I hike to Times Square.
I reckoned I was on an island and as long as I did not cross any bodies of water, I would stay on that island. I also knew that Times Square was several miles to my south. I was currently near 177th street and my destination was near 42nd Street. So long, as I kept following declining street numbers and did not cross any rivers, I would reach Midtown. Then it would only be a short hike to Times Square, just about midway between the shores of two rivers that bounded Manhattan. What I had not figured was hiking barefoot, carrying a small bundle was immensely different going through the rubble strewn streets of New York than the damp mountains of West Virginia. But again I was embraced and carried through as a result of human kindness.
As I picked my way downtown, it was glaringly noticeable that uniformed officers largely ignored me. It wasn’t because I was so well camouflaged that I was not noticeable. A long haired white boy, carrying a bedroll, would not hide well in this environment. I figured they likely had enough tasks at hand and were quite willing to leave me to the fates. My attire also attracted good attention. Several times an elderly black man sitting on his stoop would motion or call me over. My hike was punctuated by small conversations with these block mayors. They showed interest in my journeys and likely were performing watch duties for their streets. More than once I was offered a swig of wine. I welcomed these breaks because it turned out that New York streets can prove perilous to bare feet. This whole walk felt less threatening than my hikes on clean rain washed roads in the mountain a few days ago.
Finally, I arrived at Times Square Station and used my last funds to get a subway ride to the far end of Buckner Boulevard, Bronx. From here was a short hike to an area next to where New England thruway commences. It also provided a sizeable space where I could spread out my bedroll and rest my weary feet. Being late evening, this became my campground for the night.