Walker For All That's Positive

Passing gas. Kicking ass. Walking the roads less traveled. All for positive change.

Start Of Week 4(07/30/11-08/05/11) Update And Final Failed Attempt At SI1

I took my second(and final for reasons I’ll explain later) attempt at SI1. This post’s title feels rather inappropriate. The expedition was too epic to be called a fail even if things didn’t go according to plan and the goal wasn’t achieved. I still feel compelled to call it a fail though because of my lack of guts and preparation.

Nonetheless it was absolutely wild and amazing. Especially the people very nice and helpful. Lots of it is feelings I just can’t describe. As usual what follows is but the crudest of echoes.

I was nervous that morning. Felt quite nauseous but didn’t throw up. Even managed to get half a cup of tea in. But that’s that. Tried another method for securing the banner to my backpack using my usual cutting edge tools of scotch tape and dental floss. This time it worked. Lasted me to whole trip. Banners rather worn and beaten but still it stayed on.

The walk through Brooklyn was fairly routine except for a few minor hiccups. Due to repair work at Grand Army Plaza I’ve had to take a slightly longer way around. This construction site on Flatbush Avenue a block or so past Dekalb has opened up. It’s some sort of market. Didn’t check it out yet but am going to one day.

The Brooklyn Bridge has been getting to be quite a pain in the ass to cross. With all the repair work being done and lots of it covered up the tourists cluster in the few places where you can actually see something making it quite hard to cross them. The Brooklyn Bridge was awesome before that. The view was incredible so beautiful. The energy, the chaos. When you crossed you felt like you were on top of the world. You don’t feel that with other bigger taller bridges such as the Manhattan Bridge. Glad I got to experience that before the Brooklyn Bridge went into this state. Not to say it’s the only one. The aforementioned Manhattan Bridge has also gone into a far less visible state of repair. On the failed Yonkers expedition I crossed the north side instead of the south side as usual due to repairs. Not that I’m complaining. I didn’t know how to get onto the northern walkway before and now I do. Amazing how things change. Sometimes though they do change for the better. On previous expeditions back in the day outside the Staten Island Ferry Terminal there were repairs being done. Now it’s done. Quite nice outside there. Unique in it’s own way. Wish I had photos but alas not. Really must replace my camera. The route I took from the Brooklyn Bridge to the terminal this time around was more efficient. Also let me pass within maybe 2 or 3 blocks of the construction site where they’re building another skyscraper.

Anyway here’s where things start speeding up a bit. Upon arrival at the terminal I was very lucky. Perfect in my timing. I was one of the last people to board the ferry that was about to depart. Went to the back meaning I’d be able to see SI coming towards me. I’ve seen Manhattan and Staten Island back away. I’ve looked out of windows. Wanted to see Staten Island come towards me and I did. Amazing view. Really lets you see how big Staten Island is. As far into the horizon as the eye can see. Most amazing view of the Verrazano Bridge ever period.

At the St. George terminal I quickly swung by the bathroom and got myself a metrocard for three rides. Confirmed that both the ferry and railway operated 24 hours. I really can’t stress the peace of mind that confirmation brought me later on. Also in addition to my previous complaints about the damn place the bathroom there has horrible toilets and in addition really needs toilet seats. I try to make myself one. I put down a piece of toilet paper it blows off. I try again I get the 2 critical pieces down pray it stays still long enough for me to sit down no such luck. Luckily I didn’t need to go. That attempt was just in case because who knows where the next bathroom is.

The north side was scary but not as much as last time. I guess familiarity breeds contempt. Also it was a lot smellier at least in the beginning for a tiny bit. Smelled salty. Not the salt you smell in the air from the sea but from some sort of salt processing place. All in all went through there fast enough no real incidents to report. Had an encounter with a homeless guy basically asked for 50 cents which I gave him to help him out. I was a bit startled. Overreacted a bit I guess to someone trying to talk to me. The nerves do get to you on the bigger expeditions. Very smooth journey all in all nonetheless.

The west side was where my experiences went from ordinary to extraordinary. Quite a lot of really cool stuff happened.

As I was walking down Western Avenue to heat was starting to get to me. I wanted to be able to sit down drink some more of the water and eat some of the food I had with me. Now Western Avenue is mostly desolate. However I came upon a Coca Cola distribution center. Didn’t exactly look like a normal store. At that point I wasn’t quite sure what it was. I knew the closest place where I could possibly sit down for a bit would be West Square Plaza where me and Paul failed last time. It was quite a good bit ahead. I wasn’t sure what I was looking at but I thought maybe I could find a place to sit cool off or buy myself a cold soda(carrying an icepack with me didn’t make sense because it would heat up fast and then be dead weight also when your drink has a taste it’s usually better). Anyway I decided that I’d check the place out.

I go to the entrance of the place. There through the door I see a guy sitting at a desk and the door seemed closed. Didn’t look like a place where I was supposed to be. It looked like I didn’t quite belong there. I turned around and was about to continue on my way until wherever I could sit down for a bit. Then the door opened and the guy came out. He asked me was I lost, was I OK, and what was that thing on my back. I started explaining what I was doing and why I checked out the place. He let me in, let me sit there for a bit in the office. Got me a cold bottle of water and we talked. Really cool guy his name was Nevin(hope I spelled that right). Training to become a firefighter he is supposed to start that in September.

Just an amazing feeling when someone gives a damn about what you’re doing. And a cold bottle of water is appreciated on a hot day. Nothing else like that. Also being able to crash for a bit really helped. Strong moral boost, it really brought back the spring in my step and helped me power through the next few miles. The roads really get tricky there.

As I said before me and Paul got lost last time due to him. Not that I can blame him. We all have our moments when we lose it. On that desolate road was his. He took a turn that didn’t follow the perimeter instead of one that did and thus weird stuff happened. Ironically when I took the one that most strictly followed the perimeter while it was a pretty awesome walk it led you to West Square Plaza also. Just a longer path. Sadly from there there were streets blocked off and it just got confusing. The roads in that area are quite something as I said before. Staten Island is much less forgiving than Manhattan should you get lost. I tried following the perimeter as best I could. At least then you know you’re somewhere along the perimeter. Even then the disorientation you get is major. Furthermore I knew it would get worse because I had yet to go around a y shaped river jutting into the west side. I knew it would wreak absolute havoc.

There came a point as I was walking that after climbing a small hill I was at a highway overpass. I look what do I see to my left? The Goethals Bridge. Then I’m thinking oh no it’s the Staten Island Expressway. I’m heading north again. Otherwise I had no idea where I was. Part of me thinks hey maybe I should keep going. I’ma hit Richmond Terrace follow it back to the ferry head home. The other part of me is thinking back to this landfillish site I saw a bit back. There was a road going through there. Didn’t look like a normal one but still it’s closer to the perimeter and would take me west and then south. So I decided to go check it out because as I learned on previous expeditions some paths lead you to the most surprising places. Like on the Epic Saunter shortly after you are forced onto the streets of East Harlem trying to keep as strictly as possible to the perimeter you see a staircase going who knows where. One would think it leads to some sort of overlook and a dead end, but no, instead it leads to more streets and just the ones you need to stick close to the perimeter. Thus I decided that it was worth backtracking and seeing where that road led. I started walking down that road. Like with the huge piles of earth to my left and right in a perverse way I felt like I was in a desert and in some sort of action movie. Just one of those moments where you go completely out of this world which I really can’t describe for the life of me.

Anyway I’m walking along and come upon what seems to be a dead end but am not sure and am debating weather or not to walk further. At this point I was like right next to a building(more of a warehouse?) of some sort not that I paid it too much notice at that point in time. From within I hear a noise that I think was a hey. I now look towards the door of the building and see two men coming out. They ask me what I’m doing there. I explain my situation as best I could. Of course being quite disoriented and overwhelmed I don’t know how good of a job I did of that or of understanding what they told me. They explain that that road I was on now led nowhere and that I wasn’t supposed to be on the site. They furthermore said something about me needing to get to Arthur Kill Road to continue going down the west side. About the landfill being blocked off. There was a Con Edison plant also blocked off and that I’d be in trouble if I’d went near there. Also said something about me having to walk alongside a big highway, that it’d be a long way around, and that I’d likely be picked up by the police for questioning if I do.

They said I could go to the bathroom and refill my water bottle if I want. Also offered me a donut. Furthermore by purest coincidence one of them, Steve, was about to go home from work. He lived in New Jersey and the route he took home was via the Outerbridge Crossing so he offered to give me a lift. Like needless to say I wasn’t sure what to do first and foremost for safety concerns but also because I wanted to walk everything myself unless there was absolutely no other choice. Needed to use the bathroom again partly due to stress getting to me. While doing business I thought it over. Like again my two aforementioned concerns were on my mind but at the same time I absolutely dreaded that y shaped river/swamp and knew the only way along it would be very convoluted even if I could get as close to it as I initially expected. They knew the area better and seemed quite decent people so I decided to take the chance. Frankly I wasn’t sure what I’d do otherwise so I went with those who knew the area properly. The point of these expeditions was to explore to test my limits and to meet people. Sometimes things don’t quite go as planned. While it’s important to be in control of the situation its just as important to know when to give it up to the journey and let it carry you where it may. Thus I did and had literally the most amazing road trip of my life. I’ve been on longer but that one was hands down the best one I’ve ever done.

At first it was stressful. I was nervous before going in the car, but then who wouldn’t be. I was again offered a donut, even asked if I wanted to take the whole box with me. I didn’t and furthermore couldn’t because my backpack was filled to capacity. I didn’t even have the room to put a tarp or some other waterproofing in along with the beach towels. Was literally relying on the good weather. Still since I only had the 2 small pb&j sandwiches I packed and the donuts looked good I decided to take one. Boston Cream is good stuff. I couldn’t eat it then due to stress so I ask if there’s a bag I can carry it in. I get one of those ziplock bags and put it in. I was told to eat it fast while it was still cold and the chocolate frosting didn’t melt off. It’s a shame I couldn’t eat it till later when I calmed down quite a bit. It was quite chilled and chilled is good.

The drive was awesome. Though at the time I didn’t fully know exactly what route we took. Anyway I saw quite a lot of stuff got a small history lesson from Steve. Lots of cool stuff. Just wish more of it stayed in. As a wise man once said in travel you see more than you remember and remember more than you see. That rang true yet again that day. First we hit Travis. It was beautiful and had an old charm. Quite different from what you’d think it was had you read the Wikipedia article which leaves you depressed. We drove by the landfill. Didn’t expect to see it that day. Thought it was somewhere in the center of SI for some reason. Still cool that I got to see it after hearing about it. It’s after all the highest point on the eastern seaboard. Of all the things that could be the highest point it’s a landfill.  Saw lots of other things on the way don’t remember what order in or what was where. We passed by a mansion I forget what it’s called but it was around since colonial times and is the oldest building on SI. Was abandoned, then turned into a restruant then again abandoned. We passed by P.S. 1 the oldest school in Staten Island and I think possibly New York but am not sure. Closer to the end we passed by the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility a small prison which is going to get closed down soon. I saw it on Google Maps before and having driven by that was a relief. There was this shooting range that’s been around since colonial times. Some other stuff that’s slipped my mind because a lot was happening at the same time and there was this wow I’m hitchhiking for the first time feeling.

It was a really awesome ride. Saw a lot ,learned a lot, got to cool off a bit. Steve was really knowledgable about the area told me various transportation options if I want to go home at any point there. I was dropped off a little before the Outerbridge Crossing. Stepping out into the heat was a bit of a shock to the system. Worked my way down to the southern tip at Conference House Park. There was this nice viewing area there where I sat down and took a break. Finally I felt up to actually eating the donut. The frosting did indeed partly melt off but it was delicious. Just really amazing how nice people are. Just wish I could have eaten it while I was cold. But alas the nerves wreak havoc on you. Nausea isn’t good. And stress wasn’t it’s only causer. Like your body has to get used to the starting and stopping. When talking to Nevin I felt quite nauseous due to that also. Just good to be able to chill there until you recover. First meal I could actually stomach that day. Breakfast at 6pm is quite something.

I then proceeded to think what next. Obviously as the whole camping out thing comes closer it really starts sinking in. I called Paul he advised me to go on the train home but I didn’t want to give up. Furthermore since SI’s perimeter is a monster to traverse and I only got that far thanks to Steve’s help and sheer blind luck I realized that this is a one time thing. If I’m doing it then I’m doing it now. Asked Paul how far to Great Kills Park also Butler Manor Woods and other places I saw near there before on maps. As I wrote in previous blog posts I thought Great Kills Park was my best bet. Also Nevin told me that it and some other place I forgot were safe for camping. Didn’t know if I could make it too Great Kills Park though given how gassed I was. Started thinking about how I was gonna make my way back up. I was free to go along the beach for quite a bit but from previous experience with these shoes sand got in easy and was a pain in the ass. Also the fish heads I saw when making my way to the southern tip before scared the daylights out of me. I thus opted for taking a less strict path along the perimeter and going along Hylan Boulevard which would take me straight to the Verrazano. Went up there seeing what’d happen. Before that I asked people who might know the area better for their input as well.

At the start I took a bit of detours here and there. The last of them was interesting. I was going along a small park near the Tottenville Pool and saw a ranger so I asked him where would be the best place to camp. He wasn’t too sure where nor about the legality of things so he got me in touch with this PEP officer and she told me that Butler Manor Woods wasn’t safe to camp in and that it was closed off in the evening. Great Kills Park however had a free campground so that’d indeed be my best bet. Also asked Ryan where I could buy more water as my supply was running low. He told me but he also said that if I had any empty bottles he could refill them from a water cooler they had and so he did. Including the one Nevin gave me. Saved me some walking, some money(which is appreciated for any budget traveller), and most importantly some time as I hoped to make it to Great Kills preferably before dusk.

Just amazing how nice and helpful people are. I’ve heard from other travellers these stories of the kindness of strangers and I’ve even experienced some of that beforehand in various very small ways. But that day set a record. Just absolutely incredible. Each time someone helped you that really raised morale and put back the spring in your step. I guess when you attempt big enough things it really makes some noise and more people are willing to aid you as the scale of these expeditions increases. Cliche as this may sound it is still true nonetheless. This expedition was a remarkable demonstration of the kindness of strangers and of the common man.

Absolutely amazing experiences. To remind myself of this I have saved the bottle Nevin gave me and Ryan refilled. Also saved the bag Steve’s coworker gave me in which to hold the donut chocolate mess inside and all. I rolled up the bag put it in the bottle and closed it. I then put the bottle on my shelf with a do not throw out note attached. It sits on my shelf as an amazing reminder of the kindness of strangers.

Anyway I was working my way up Hylan. Pretty cool don’t know how else to describe it to you. Wish I absorbed the experience better myself but I was focused on reaching Great Kills and my right foot was hurting me so I had to really focus on a less painful way of walking. It was pretty beautiful in the south as you were going by parks. Sometimes had this old American farm feel too. Hard to describe. A lot of beautiful houses as well. As you go up north you see a bagel shop or two. Then a bit of stores and restaurants start popping up. As it was getting darker I was getting worried could I make it to Great Kills on time. Got a bit hungry but didn’t have the time to eat sitting so I ate the first of the sandwiches I brought on the go. I called that my lunch break.

I got to Hylan Boulevard and Buffalo Street arguably the main entrance to Great Kills Park. I now had to figure out where the campground was. The sign didn’t exactly indicate. It was almost dark and I didn’t want to go in there because it wasn’t lit all that well if at all. I had a flashlight with me but how long it would last I don’t know. All I know is that I didn’t want to be lost there in the dark.

I was starting to panic about what to do. When it gets dark shit gets real.

I start asking people and flagging down cars. One barely speaks English. Others don’t know. All in all I quickly grow frustrated and try 311 who are a. slow, b. ignorant and c. useless. I try Paul. He gives me possible places he thinks are it but his answer is I don’t know. I try two last things. See in addition to cars coming out I noticed cars coming in. I thought that maybe they too were looking for or knew where the campgrounds are so I tried them. Sadly no luck. Though the people I talked to seemed normal enough on the outside I still wondered why the hell they were driving into the park. They may have been up to no good. I was tempted to ask why they were going in but didn’t because I knew I was already pushing my luck and that if I did it may well be the last thing I ever ask. Thus I was getting even more worried. I finally asked a woman who was going in there but she didn’t know either. Mentioned parts of the park had been closed off for years due to radioactivity. I vaguely remembered hearing before from my dad that SI was radioactive but where I didn’t know. Still don’t. The woman I talked to didn’t look like she was quite there either which wasn’t a moral boost either way.

Anyway that whole thing scared the daylights out of me so I seriously started considering other options. I was near a bus stop but didn’t know if they ran at night. Couldn’t find the schedule. Thus I realized that it came down to either finding the train and pussying out like I knew I might have to. That or the Matt Green technique to score myself some couch surfing. Wasn’t offered any and frankly even if I was I dunno if I would have accepted partly due to safety concerns, partly due to stress, and partly due to a rather unreliable judgement in that neighbourhood of time. Only way I was going to score myself some couch surfing was the Matt Green technique which I just didn’t have the guts to apply. I was just like already too psychologically shot at that point in time. So I decided pussying out and going home where it’s safe would be what I do. Started working my way up Buffalo. I knew the train was pretty close to Amboy Road which was pretty close to the east side but how close exactly. I was getting worried. Saw a woman asked her and she said to keep going and I’ll be there soon enough. I soon came up to a fence. Part of me was optimistic. Maybe this is the train line. As I’d learn by later looking it all over on Google Maps it indeed was but I had no way of knowing that at the time. I thought this could be it but it was dark I couldn’t see whether it was the train line blocked off or something else. Also from my previous expedition I remembered a lot of it was elevated so I may still be who knows where in the middle between the east coast and the train line. SI does not forgive getting lost. Also where was the nearest stop even if it was the train line? I could only go left from there. Left was south further from home. The nerves were really hitting me hard.

There was nobody on the streets and I needed directions. I wasn’t about to take any chances. I thus rather ironically needed to actually ring doorbells to ask people for directions. It took a while to figure out where the train was. 2 or 3 rung doorbells and a family playing out in the yard a couple blocks away. They were the ones who finally helped me get to the nearest stop which was quite close.

Once at the Bay Terrace train station I waited. I knew the Staten Island Railway didn’t run often. To stop myself from completely panicking I was like OK I was told this thing runs 24 hours and though I can’t find a schedule(turns out there was one there but I didn’t look careful enough) any reasonable train line comes in one hour so at 10:38 I panic and either attempt the Matt Green technique or swallow my pride and call my dad to pick me up. I was quite worried. I was the only guy on the station. My memory is rather fuzzy due to panic so the following order of events may be a bit off. A bunch of women joined me. They looked like they were going home after a hard party. From them I learned that the train comes at 10:27. I now had a time to wait for though it was I believe 45 minutes or so away. They’re talking like how their friends have cars and maybe that’s better. Than they all leave. I think I freaked them out for some reason. Don’t know why mind you. There were like 8 or 10 of them and only one of me. At the same time I was scared and lots of people find me weird, I imagine I’m only weirder when I’m scared, they mindlessly equate weird with creepy…

Then I’m all alone on the platform again. Then a guy comes on. Then two women. The guy gets impatient and leaves then. He also comes back in the end I believe. These two women are in a hurry one needs to be awake at 5 the next morning for some reason. The debate leaving but don’t then later I think they do for some reason. During the time or times I was alone it was scary. Just me out there in the dark no sign of life. My mind went nuts from paralyzing fear to a very tranquil calm where I thought hey this place is quiet and peaceful enough. Maybe I can camp out on here if the train doesn’t come.

At some point there was a fireworks display. Provided a distraction from it all. Dunno what that was all about. Anyway if any of you guys know what was going on that evening of July 30th do let me know. Also when a train did come not in my direction but the opposite it was still such a relief I can’t even explain. Really hard wait psychologically. Makes you realize just how thin of a string you’re on. During one of the times I was alone these two girls maybe in their early teens came on the platform. It was quite a relief for reasons I can’t explain. Maybe it was because I was no longer the most vulnerable person there. Maybe because it was brave of them to show up at that was a dose of inspiration. There were then these two or three guys on the street making weird noises. Thought they were just some lunatics. Then I realized they were shouting at each other. Thought at first that they were up to no good and that there could be troubles if the come up there. Wasn’t sure what I’d do in that case and was thus getting worried. Then I realized they were just playing around. What goes on in the heads of teens these days I don’t know. Still I can’t help but be more optimistic about these younger generations because in some ways they’re radically different from the older ones that got our world in the mess its in.

Slowly but surely more people started gathering on the platform. It was a relief. When my train came it was just amazing. As the train was coming I asked this tall large man on the platform was that sound what I thought it was. He answered yes. Remember him. He’ll be back a bit later. Then I get on the train. The ride was where I began very slowly to wind down.

All the while I wondered. Maybe I should have used the Matt Green technique. Also wondered if I should’ve tried it when ringing doorbells asking for directions to the train. When I was doing it a part of me was hoping someone would ask whats happening, I’d get a chance to explain, maybe a place to crash. Kind of disappointing that that didn’t happen. At thesame time though I was asking for and aiming for the train. Also a tall strange panicky man knocking on your door asking for directions to the nearby train probably isn’t someone you want to deal with more than necessary. Maybe I should have camped out. Like if I wasn’t told there was a campground at Great Kills I wouldn’t have let my guard down mentally getting ready to find a camp ground. I might’ve chosen a place and camped out. When you are x is hard but I can handle this and get x+1 when psychologically exhausted it really shuts you down. It was disappointing. I knew I had only one shot at things and I lost it. It was also disappointing because I knew that if I have any chance whatsoever of crossing coast to coast being able to camp out and couch surf alike using various means was an absolute must must. Didn’t know if I did the right thing. Better safe than sorry of course. I’m a coward and proud to be one. But at the same time I must be more manly and be able to handle tough uncertain situations. It was disappointing. Also wondered whether there wwas a campground or the PEP officer I talked to was misinformed or…

As the train neared it’s destination I was called by my friend Daniel asked if I was ok. I told him I was but had to hang up as I noticed the battery was critically low. Needed to call my parents. Called them at the St. George terminal let them know I was alright, not to worry, and get to sleep. Then I started thinking maybe I did the right thing by backing out. Running out of battery at night is bad in case of emergency and would scare the daylights out of my parents.

Anyway being at the familiar turf of the terminal was a huge relief. I really relaxed well there. Most restful moment of the day. Ferry was running late but I didn’t care. I knew I was safe. I was just chilling having a absolute blast there. Walked around a bit. I later saw that tall chubby man again. Asked him if he was the one I saw on the platform. He said yes. We started talking. He was upset about the ferry running late. He had to get to work. He was a stockbroker and was studying for some sort of exam that would further advance him in the field. Said it paid well and that he was used to money. See now here’s where it gets interesting. See he was a professional football player once. Played for the New York Giants played in the NFL. Lived in Europe toured the world all in all some really amazing stuff. Cool guy. Just amazing who you meet on these expeditions. Frank Ferrara himself. Wow. Ok maybe he’s not the most famous footballer out there from what I’ve managed to deduce but still a really cool nice guy. I was just amazed. Asked him what he was doing on that stop in the middle of nowhere at Bay Terrace. Turned out he lived there. Wow. Just wow. I knew then and there that I’d have a story to tell.

The ferry came. Ride was amazing. Watched in the back again as the Manhattan skyline came close to me. Truly amazing. Just beautiful. Great weather, great night, great time to be alive. Talked to this family. Really nice people. The dad was a programmer/web developer. Needless to say I got overexcited in chatting him up. In retrospect maybe not the brightest idea because I remember he seemed kind of tired I think. All in all man if you read this I’m sorry if I came down as overly excitable or disturbed you or anything like that.

The rest of the journey home was relatively uneventful. Ate the second sandwich for dinner on the train. Even though I told my parents to chill I knew they’d be worried so I called them before I got on the train. As I was about to enter my apartment I looked at the time on my cell phone. See I broke my watch like a year ago. Still haven’t replaced it(not to mention my camera). Procrastination on steroids. Anyway I couldn’t see the time because my phone was off. Out of juice. Then I knew I made the right decision in wimping out. In an emergency I’m dead. In not an emergency my parents think I am and needless stress is caused.

Not to say that’s an excuse. It could have been avoided. All in all I rarely use my phone. Mostly calls to and from my parents. Is your head still attached? Yes. Good. Rarely charge my phone as a result. I get away with charging it once every 1 or 1.5 weeks. All in all while I charged my phone a bit that morning I should have put it charging the night before for a full charge. Also talked more that day than usual. Though all four strips were shown it wasn’t all that well charged. Should’ve charged it fully that would’ve saved me. Either that or taken the charger with me as I will have to do on longer expeditions. On that one I did a retreat the only right thing because camping out and couchsurfing wouldn’t have helped the fact there was no communication line.

There are a few final notes I want to make.

It turns out I did the right thing by taking that ride from Steve, and again man thank you for everything. Though it took me two days and many attempts due to an extremely convoluted street layout(and even then I had to look at street view to verify my guess) I found where that site was and the overpass was. The overpass wasn’t over the Staten Island Expressway as I initially thought but over the West Shore Expressway. I was walking along Meredith Avenue not too far from that mall. Not that I knew that at the time. Again my sense of space and time were quite warped. Stress/adrenaline is powerful shit. Needless to say after a few miles I’d have wound up who knows where on the east side or worst case scenario gotten lost. Following that path would ironically enough have actually continued me right along the perimeter(at least I think dunno what dictates strict enough conformance to the perimeter) but again it would have been especially convoluted and very easy to get lost. I knew even beforehand that SI’s perimeter would be convoluted but not even I could have anticipated the convolutedness. All in all SI’s perimeter is quite untraversable. Thus SI1 and SI2 RIP. SI1 will be replaced be another expedition which will take 2 days, will challenge, will intrigue, and will not be very painful. Also if I ever try circumnavigating an island again I will make sure it has a nice traversable perimeter. SI2 will be modified so that when I cross the Bayonne into SI I go yo the southern tip via a route that’s obviously different from the previous thus letting me explore more of SI. There will also be further modifications to the training expeditions to address various other issues that have been bothering me for a while. Stay tuned folks.

An important thing to note is that the banner helped me out. Made it easier to talk to people. Also while I was concerned for safety I was able to pass through even the northern parts of SI quite unmolested. Guess when reading up on advice that Phil Goddard and Skip Potts were right about its usefulness.

All in all an insane expedition. Pushed me to new psychological limits. I took risks I never thought I would. Had an epic time. All in all truly amazed to the core and lucky to be alive.

Finally I wonder what was the deal with the fireworks I saw in the distance from the train station? Were there campgrounds at Great Kills Park or was I misinformed? Why were there cars coming in to the park? Like a lot of the people I talked to looked normal but looks can be deceiving. Other than the usual no gooder activities done in parks what else do people do in Great Kills Park at night? Other thoughts? Anyway if you guys have input as usual drop a comment.

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