Date: Sunday, February 8, 2009
Start: 181st Street & St. Nicholas Avenue, Washington Heights
Hares: Fast American Dave & Lauren
Finish: Keenan’s, Broadway & 204th, Inwood
Scribe: Wet Willy
A hasher, in his or her natural state, generally appears lost and confused. This trait was brilliantly displayed even before the trail started on recent Sunday at 181st Street & St. Nicholas in Washington Heights. Individually and in small groups, hashers emerged from the subway with a goofy grin and relieved expression associated with someone realizing that things are working out fine, but not really understanding why. This was chiefly due to 181st Street being awfully far from anywhere (1) and everyone was heartened, even surprised, to have arrived in one piece. Additionally, despite a recent cold snap and a start location practically at the Canadian border, it was a beautiful day, bright and in the low 50s, bringing out a spring-like crowd of 40+ hashers. Lauren and Fast American Dave warned that there were two chicken/eagle splits, portions marked in flour and a bunch of unmarked falses – a dangerously complex trail to be thrust upon a pack that wasn’t too clever.
After throwing our bags into Lauren’s car, the pack staggered north and east toward High Bridge Park. The first indication that there may have been some problems with the hares’ trail (or that that pack wasn’t particularly bright) came with a speed check into High Bridge Park. One group of hashers, in lieu of checking, stood at the check under the impression that divine inspiration would point them in the right direction. Another group boldly ventured into the park, despite a complete lack of arrows, under the even worse impression that if they kept running they were bound to find trail. (2) Surprisingly, neither of these approaches succeeded. True trail was eventually found going west and the hashers in the park had to scramble over a fence.
The pack headed back toward St. Nicholas Ave and eventually north; checking, slopping through a delightfully muddy park, and ending up down by the boathouse along the Harlem River. At this point, one particularly inept hasher (3) nearly got run over because he looked the wrong way while crossing a street.
The first eagle split sent the overly-ambitious across the Harlem River and into the Bronx. On the far side of the river, several hashers took note of an imposing neoclassical building high on the bluff. Later research indicated that this building is the “Hall of Fame for Great Americans,” designed by Stanford White, on the Bronx Community College campus. It features 102 bronze busts honoring such luminaries as George Washington, John Marshall, Horatio Fletcher and Henry Clay. Fast American Dave was nominated in 2004, but was rejected when details about his scandalous past emerged (including the infamous “Tripod Incident”).
The eagle trail wound through the Bronx, back into Manhattan, (4) and across the bridge at Broadway. After briefly joining with the chicken and heading up past Baker Field, the second eagle went into Inwood Hill Park. Despite the beautiful day, the park was rather treacherous as most of the paths were still pretty icy. The pack managed to get somewhat lost in the park (including one incident where Fireman Tim called “Last mark?” while standing on top of an arrow), but staggered out at Beak Street. In an effort to prove that “you’re only young once but can be immature forever,” the hares marked the corner of Cumming Street and Seaman Avenue with “Look up! Ha!” It was appreciated by all.
The on-in was just around the corner. The pack was thirsty from the long run and the hares had negotiated a deal in which the beer was practically free. This is a good combination.
In the circle the following down-downs were doled out:
• Virgins: Liz and Kate
• Visitors: Returns to the Womb (Pecan City, GA; although there was some discussion that he is apparently the only member of that hash) and Just Pat (Guam)
• Ewa: for struggling mightily while attempting to scale the fence in High Bridge Park that was not actually on trail
• Bottom, Don Juanabe, and Returns to the Womb: selflessly assisting Ewa over said fence and, in the process, copping a feel (and who says that chivalry is dead?)
• Just Pat: for being afraid of the neighborhood
• Hoboken Dave: for declaring that he was running through the “only swamp in the Bronx” while still in Manhattan
• AOTW to Chris: declared to be a racist since he ran the Bronx half in the morning and the double eagle in the afternoon (approximately 20 miles)
Following the circle, the drinking continued with a reckless abandon; the hashers forgot they would soon face an interminable subway ride home and the hares confident that hash cash would never run out. (5)
Sadly, all good things must come to an end and after a few too many beers, I staggered off into the night with a single thought: “Where the hell am I?”
(1) A consultation with an atlas revealed that the start location was still in
(2) It should be noted that your intrepid scribe was in the latter group. All I can offer in our defense was that our plan seemed to make sense at the time.
(3) Your intrepid scribe.
(4) New York Fact of the Day: Marble Hill, despite being north of the ship canal and geographically part of the Bronx, is politically part of
(5) Informed sources tell me that hash cash in fact never ran out despite the valiant effort of a small number of die-hards who kept drinking past 10pm. Good work, hares!