I jogged over to one of those rusty pull-up bar stations in Prospect Park. Novices, I was coming to learn, rely too much on their biceps. Spring came, and I canceled my gym membership. The Pull-Up. Soon enough, I was even doing sets of pull-ups.
A half-century later, I dangled at the bar. On the day of the challenge, I managed to bang out the situps and push-ups. I started in on a set and a giant, tattooed Eastern European man approached me. He asked if he could show me something, I said sure, and then he placed his hands beneath my armpits.
I found bars under the Brooklyn Bridge, beneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and on the riverfront in Long Island City, where I practiced my pull-ups before a sunset-pink Manhattan skyline. Spring came, and I canceled my gym membership.