A PLAN (or so we thought) -- by Jane Kelley

The PLAN was to walk across all the bridges to Manhattan--at least the seventeen with pedestrian paths. Crossing that railroad bridge that pivots over Spuyten Duyvil was a little too dangerous even for my husband.

Lee and I are spending the holidays in New York City. Many things are closed, but the bridges are not. Last week we thought we'd walk the three that span the East River to connect Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn.

We thought we knew where we were going. We used to live in Brooklyn. Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge has been a tradition of ours for decades. We've driven across the other two many many times. But when we set out to cross Manhattan Bridge, it quickly became clear that we didn't know where we were going. 

The bridge was there. We could see it! But somehow we ended up wandering blocks out of our way through Chinatown before we could find the way to cross it. 

And so we learned there's a big difference between a goal and a plan. 

A goal is what you want to accomplish.

A plan is the specific steps you take to do that. 

Sometimes seeing the goal only makes it more frustrating when you can't find the "on ramp." That certainly was true for us. We looked up and saw others already on the bridge. We felt foolish for not knowing the way and also for not having known that we didn't know the way. 

But we didn't let that deter us. We kept walking. And walking and walking. (Because it turned out that the first staircase we took led to the bicycle side--not the pedestrian side.) 

Was it cold? Yes. Was it windy? Yes. Were there other obstacles? Sure. But we chose not to focus on them. We were having fun walking through Chinatown. And I was learning these valuable lessons.

Have a goal -- the bigger the better. That is what will start your adventure, whether it's a five part fantasy series, a moving character study, or a way to enjoy New York City in the time of COVID.

Make a plan -- you don't need to cross all the bridges in one day. Whatever you doing will be more of a marathon than a sprint. Pace yourself so that you don't get exhausted or lose heart.

Look at a map -- it isn't cheating; it's smart. If you chose to stray from your path, you still can.

Research what's along the way -- if others have gotten there ahead of you, be glad that they can be a guide. 

In the end, you'll be rewarded with a great sense of accomplishment and a spectacular view of where you might be going next.  


  1. A brilliant take on an exciting and fun journey. The final note you need to ad to your list-choose travel companions carefully, someone you can trust and whose company makes the journey fun.


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