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Hike the Heights and High Bridge Reopening Celebration

11:40 AM EDT on June 2, 2007

As part of the third annual celebration of Hike the Heights – supporters of the High Bridge Coalition will thank and celebrate Mayor Bloomberg for his announcement that the High Bridge will be restored and reopened. The bridge was built in 1848 to carry clean water to New York City. The restoration and reopening of the only pedestrian bridge in NYC will benefit the neighbors at each side of the magnificent structure.

City Life Is Moving Bodies (CLIMB), a member of the High Bridge Coalition steering committee, is dedicated to developing community involvement in the parks of northern Manhattan to promote health. Its third annual Hike the Heights event will feature the Giraffe Path, an outdoor art installation of giraffes created by children and adults from northern Manhattan. This project was spearheaded by Creative Art Workshops for Kids and supported by Kenworthy-Swift Foundation..

"On the day of the event," explains executive director of CAW Archie Nagraj, "hikers will go on an urban safari through paved and unpaved trails inside Highbridge, Jackie Robinson and Saint Nicholas Parks in search of giraffe herd sculptures. Making the giraffe sculptures has been half the fun! On June 16th we get to see them in the wild."

The event is a "neighborhood potluck festival" as the organizers like to call it. The CLIMB project's consensus group – the body charged with planning the event – is composed of representatives from Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, Partnerships for Parks, Columbia's Center for Youth Violence Prevention, the Friends Committee of the Fort Tryon Park Trust, Accentuate Fitness and the Community Research Group. In addition, the event will feature play activities led by volunteers from Children's Aid Society, the Harlem Health Promotion Center, Columbia's Center for Children's Environmental Health, Friends of Payson Avenue, the UNIDOS Inwood Coalition, Latinas en Accion, Literacy, Inc., Harlem Children’s Zone, Children's Carnival, Abyssinian Development Corporation and DOHMH’s Reality Check. Local businesses will also support the day's festivities.

"Last year we had close to 500 participants, including over 100 hikers!" says Maria Lizardo of Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation. "This year, on the same day, there will be another event on the Bronx side of High Bridge. We'll probably wave at each other and yell 'wish you were here!'. With Mayor Bloomberg's announcement we are so much closer to making our dream of a two-borough party a reality!"

For those of adventurous spirit wishing to hike to the event via the Giraffe Path, there will be three starting locations to choose from:

    • 10:00 a.m.: St. Nicholas Park Hike (meets at 141st Street and St. Nicholas Ave) Sponsored by Shape-Up New York and the Harlem Food and Fitness Consortium.
    • 10:30 a.m.: Jackie Robinson Park Hike (meets at the Plaza at 148th Street and Bradhurst Ave) Sponsored by Harlem Children’s Zone and Partnerships for Parks.
    • 10:30 a.m.: Swindler Cove Hike (meets at Dyckman Street and 10th Avenue) Sponsored by Friends of Payson Avenue and New York Restoration Project.

Experienced volunteers will lead all hikes. There will be goodies – water, snack and a T-shirt – for first 50 participants at each location. Paths are of moderate difficulty and will take hikers through paved and unpaved trails inside the parks and on the sidewalk in between park connections. Expect stairs and encounters with hidden giraffes along the way. Stroller and wheelchair friendly hikes will take place starting at the Highbridge Water Tower Terrace. For a map of the Giraffe Path, pick up this week's Manhattan Times, visit www.caw4kids.org or pick one up at local participating businesses.

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