I have a new favorite Bronx neighborhood. Since I had my AM swim session shut down at Orchard Beach and I have to wait for my local pool to open at 7:30AM, I had to find another solution for my swimming needs. I’ve come to love swimming for the fitness and ease on my joints. I also have my final triathlon of the season on October 2nd. This is the race I’ve been preparing all summer for and I’m not about to let my swimming go down the drain in the last month.
So, 2 weeks ago I did the only logical thing and joined the Bronx Y in Castle Hill. It is the only YMCA in the Bronx and it’s exactly what you’d expect and more. It feels like a Y. There are tons of services, classes, programs, a pool, and a welcoming vibe. It’s a little gritty and definitely authentic. Did I mention the pool? There are 3 lap lanes all day beginning at 5:30AM. In my 3 visits, it’s been a consistent 82 degrees, perfect for swimming laps.
So far, so good. The real surprise for me in the Castle Hill area was my run last Friday. After a short swim, I left the Y and ran west. I stayed within sight of the water until I hit Pugsley Creek Park. It’s basically a paved wildlife trail along an inlet off the East River. Staying close to the water eventually leads to Soundview Park, a gem of a running spot. Ballfields, greenways, playgrounds, Bronx River access, and eating facilities abound on this 200-plus acre expanse. My run felt like it kept going deeper into parkland, despite being within close proximity of Castle Hill throughout.
Being a superstitious runner who will avoid a U-turn at all costs, I looped it up by turning right out of Soundview and taking Lafayette Ave east. Crossing White Plains Rd, Castle Hill Ave and onto Zerega I was able to run in the street in a bike lane without fear of getting mowed down by oncoming traffic. The morning rush was not yet in full swing making for a relaxing run. The loop is mostly flat except for an up and down at Caste Hill Ave, and very enjoyable.
I predict that I will definitely be working on my fitness in Castle Hill over the next few months. I like the path I took, but I’ll probably explore other avenues in my new favorite Bronx hood. Please feel free to comment with any suggestions.