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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Reaching new heights

So I finally ventured out onto the Walkway Over the Hudson on Sunday— no small task for a guy who has a fear of heights.

Actually, I handled being 212 feet above the Hudson River fairly well. The metal railings mitigate the sense of being so high up, and my wife (pictured at right, with me) and son and I walked primarily down the middle of the Walkway, rather than close to either side, so most of what I was seeing was a broad view of my surroundings, rather than the dramatic distance to the water below. That helped a lot.

My reaction to the overall experience, though, was mixed. The view from the Walkway is all it's cracked up to be, but I was surprised at how bare-bones the whole thing is. There isn't so much as a bench along the 1.28-mile crossing, let alone vendors on the bridge or anything else to make the walk more than just a walk. (Trash cans would be a good idea, too.) And I was unpleasantly surprised to learn bicyclists are allowed to share the Walkway with pedestrians. The Walkway is only 14 feet across, and on a day like Sunday, when the place was teeming with visitors, the prospect of someone on two wheels running into someone on two feet seemed high. It didn't happen, to the best of my knowledge, but why allow the risk?

Would I recommend a trip to the Walkway to people haven't been there yet? Sure. It's free, and it's a nice way to spend part of a day. But I'd feel obligated to tell them it wasn't quite what I expected.



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