To walk is to take one step after another; to put out a special issue called Walking New York is to want to start counting all those steps being taken. So the magazine rounded up a random cross-section of New Yorkers and asked them to spend a single workweek wearing a Fitbit wristband, which tracks steps taken and miles traveled. Here’s how the subjects measured up against the 10,000 daily steps recommended by health officials.

Dr. Erich Anderer
Neurosurgeon, Maimonides Medical Center and Coney Island Hospital, Brooklyn

“During an actual surgery, I don’t move around. I’m on my feet just standing there for two to three hours. But on my surgery days, I’m going to and from the operating room and my office, and I’m doing my rounds, walking around the hospital, visiting patients. I’ve always felt lazier and more sluggish on a day when I’m just seeing patients in my office, because from 9 to 5, I do a lot of sitting. I had no idea that I’m literally half as active on that office day as I am on my surgery days.”

Total mileage, one workweek: 48.47 (steps: 98,071)

Most miles in a single day: 11.10 (steps: 22,465)

Isabel (Calamity) Chang
Advertising art director, burlesque performer, Lower East Side

“Tracking my steps was a big motivation for me. I’m Asian, so of course I respond well to goals! I live on the 10th floor, and if I was worried about hitting the 10,000 steps, I’d take the elevator to the fifth floor and walk five flights up. Or if I hadn’t hit the 10,000 steps by the end of the day, I’d stand in my living room and do jumping jacks.”

Total mileage, one workweek: 21.87 (steps: 53,463)

Most miles in a single day:

4.8 (steps: 11,734)

Nick (Catchdubs) Barat
D.J./producer, co-founder, Fool’s Gold Records, Brooklyn

“I found that I was more active than I thought. My girlfriend likes to joke that I walk on my toes and bop from place to place. At one point I was doing a loop of errands from the record label’s office in Williamsburg — going to the bank, grabbing a sandwich, going to the computer store to buy a mouse, picking something up. After, I noticed that there had been an intense spike in active minutes. Almost as much as when I was D.J.’ing, bouncing around onstage.”

Total mileage, one workweek: 27.86 (steps: 63,458)

Most miles in a single day: 7.46 (steps: 16,966)

Arlene De Castro
Teacher’s assistant, CP Kids, Chelsea Piers, Chelsea

“Once I’m at work, I’m on the go the whole time. I’m wired and jumping around all day with the kids. Thirteen 3-year-olds. I’ve got to bring so many snacks for myself to keep going. I’m eating apples, peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. I need it. These kids have you on your feet. We’re always moving. I’m just amazed at how much I walk in a day.”

Total mileage, one workweek: 29.33 (steps: 71,281)

Most miles in a single day: 6.0 (steps: 14,485)

Cathy Franklin
Realtor, Corcoran Group, Upper East Side

“I found tracking my activities empowering. I walk a lot when I’m showing a property. I spend a lot of time going over every room. At the beginning or the end of the day, my business partner and I will go over to somewhere in Central Park and have a walking meeting. We’re there with our BlackBerrys and iPhones, walking along, checking emails, making our schedule for that day or the next one.”
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Total mileage, one workweek: 33.33 (steps: 73,798)

Most miles in a single day: 5.74 (steps: 12,452)

Todd Wilson
Ground operations, JetBlue, Kennedy International Airport, Queens

“I knew I moved around a lot. I didn’t know it was this much. Once a plane docks in, you’re on the clock. You have to offload and upload. We work in four-, sometimes five-man crews. The guys I work with, we’re like family. We don’t even have to talk to each other. We’re on the move the whole time.”

Total mileage, one workweek: 83.55 (steps: 185,044)

Most miles in a single day: 22.79 (steps: 50,358)

Yasser Baki
British diplomat to the United Nations

“Without a doubt, being active, walking, getting from meeting to meeting, is a very big part of my job. Being ever-present in the U.N. facilities, in the offices and coffee shops, being seen there has its advantages. There’s lots written about how diplomacy is dying and the digital revolution will kill it. But actually, the world is showing that the reverse is true — that there is no substitute in diplomacy for having those face-to-face contacts and for building those relationships.”

Total mileage, one workweek: 16.06 (steps: 34,449)

Most miles in a single day: 3.3 (steps: 8,116)

Kenny Polcari
Vice president at O’Neil Securities, New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street

“I’m a Type A personality, so even though the trading’s been automated, I still walk around about 50 percent of my day. As a broker, it’s part of the benefit of being down on the floor. You can see which brokers on the other side of a trade, go find them and put a deal together verbally. It’s no longer the days of the open outcry down here on the exchange, but walking the floor allows me to constantly talk, gather information and negotiate face to face.”

Total mileage, one workweek: 47.85 (steps: 102,944)

Most miles in a single day: 10.19 (steps: 21,918)

David Melendez
Waiter at the Red Rooster, dancer, dance instructor at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School, Harlem

“I do walk a lot all around my neighborhood in Harlem. It was interesting to see how much. I’ve never gone to the gym. I’ve never had the desire or need to do it for longer than a month. Of course as a dancer, I have to keep in shape, but I’ve been a food server for years. That’s my exercise. Doing that, I get all the legwork and cardio I need.”

Total mileage, one workweek: 46 (steps: 109,170)

Most miles in a single day: 8 (steps: 19,002)

Source: The New York Times Magazine

April 23, 2015

By Camille Sweeney, Illustrations by Radio