Tag Archives: Bike New York

Epic Bike Ride or How I Ended Up In The Bronx

This morning I woke up and sprung to action, making a list of all of the things I wanted to accomplish and setting to accomplishing them. After getting showered and dressed and brushing my teeth, I decided to embark on a bike ride.

I really only had two things I wanted to hit on the ride and I knew if I put it off for any reason, it wouldn’t happen. The weather was 55 degrees which is perfect, nearly. A little chilly, enough for a light hoodie. You’re a bit cold but the energy you exert ends up keeping you warm without making you sweaty.

11:30am to 12:00pm – Apartment to 188 Prospect Park East

I’ve known for quite some time that the esteemed Nighthawk Cinema is planning on opening a second location on the East side of Prospect Park. It is set to claim the location once held by the now defunct Pavilion Theater.

I rode the route I thought was correct based on the Google Maps search I’d done just before leaving my apartment. However, a cursory glance lead to slight miscalculation on my part which made me re-route and, on take two, I arrived at the work sight flawlessly.

IMG_8394The Pavilion Theater, soon to be Nighthawk Prospect Park

The site, at least from the facade, was much less far along than I thought it would be. I thought they had said it was supposed to open in the spring, but I might be making that up. It’s no rush, I’m just excited to see it as it’s closer to me than their Williamsburg location, which, though I’ve been too and looked at from the outside, have yet to see a movie there.

After taking a few pictures of the marquee, I headed to destination number two.

12:05pm to 12:25pm – Prospect Park to Domino Sugar Park (Williamsburg)

My next destination was the Domino Sugar Park. Technically my destination was the park right next to it, as this park is still under construction. I first read about this park in an issue of Time Out magazine.

IMG_8395Panorama of the Williamsburg Bridge and the Manhattan skyline from Grand Ferry Park

This too I had thought was set to open in the spring or in May, but according to an article I read on my phone while sitting on a bench in Grand Ferry Park (the adjacent park), it is set to open in June.

After resting and chilling on the bench for a bit, I headed to destination number 3.

12:35pm to 1:10pm – Williamsburg to Long Island City via Greenpoint and the Pulaski Bridge

I hopped back onto my bike and into the Kent Ave bike lane, making my way through  Greenpoint and briefly stopping at the Manhattan Avenue Park before taking the Pulaski Bridge into Long Island City (Queens).

It had been a long time since I had ridden over this bridge and to my surprise I found that they had added Jersey Barrier to block off the far lane to dedicate it to a bike path. I thought this was a great way to separate the cyclists from the pedestrians and to decrease congestion.

I rode around trying to find the same street I’d taken on the 4th of July to view the fireworks. I rode to the north end of Center Blvd and dismounted my bike to sit on a more posh and shadier (it was more in the shade, not sketchier) bench.

IMG_8397View from shady bench

Eventually I got back on my bike and rode along the waterfront, passing the iconic LIC Pepsi Cola sign, to Hunter’s Point South Park. This is my favorite spot in Long Island City and is one of the places I used to bring my students when I was an instructor for Bike New York.

After hanging out in the park for a bit I made a few laps up and down Center Blvd trying to find the exact street from which I view the fireworks on the 4th of July. When I was satisfied that I’d found the correct street (of which I am still not 100% certain), I headed to destination number 4.

?  – ? – Long Island city to Randell’s Island via Astoria and the RFK Bridge

I rode up to Vernon Blvd retaking the path I rode with my Bike NY students underneath the 59th Street/Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and through Queensbridge Park. I popped out the other side and back onto the bike lane.

I took it passed the Roosevelt Island Bridge where I paused to leave my co-worker Jonathan, who lives on Roosevelt Island, a voicemail. I also took a pic of a Mercedes Maybach because, wtf are you doing in Queens?

IMG_8403Mercedes Maybach in Queens

I continued down Vernon Blvd, rode through Rainey Park (another spot from my Bike NY days), passed the Socrates Sculpture Park and through the Hallets Point (projects) waterfront bike path.

I made my way through Astoria to Astoria Park. I then rode through the park to the pedestrian entrance of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. I had driven, or rather been driven on the RFK Bridge while on the bus to or from New York but had never traversed it under my own power.

It reminded me of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It is much higher than the three bridges that connect Brooklyn to Manhattan and is significantly longer. However, the ride down the ramp from the bridge to Randell’s Island is a worthy payoff.

? – ? – Randell’s Island to The Bronx

Once on Randell’s Island I continued north and made my way onto the Central Road/Randell’s Island Connector bike path. This lead me, inadvertently, into The Bronx. I had no idea I’d gone over a small bridge and into my third borough of the day.

? – ? – The Bronx to Central Park via the Madison Avenue Bridge

I exited the bike path onto E 132nd Street, passed Pier 132 (not an actual pier) and took my first right onto Willow Ave. I rode up to E 138th Street and took a left onto 138th to head West. After passing the Cypress Ave subway station, I took a few minutes to get my bearings.

I eventually continued on 138th street and crossed the Harlem River via the Madison Avenue Bridge into Manhattan; my fourth borough of the day. I continued west on 138th until I reached Malcom X Blvd where I turned and headed south. I knew that this would lead me right to the 110th Street entrance of Central Park.

? – ? – Central Park to President (bodega) via the Williamsburg Bridge

As I was approaching the entrance I briefly considered taking Central Park West and avoiding the crowded park. However, knowing that most of my ride through Manhattan would consist of few turns and essentially be filled with long straight stretches, I decided to take the scenic route.

After emerging at the Columbus Circle exit, I went around the rotary and headed south on Broadway before cutting over to 9th Ave. I took 9th all the way down to 14th where I cut over to 2nd Ave.

While on 14th Street I came across a bus that was starting to pull away from the curb. Standing in the street between the sidewalk and the bus was a tiny older woman with an oxygen tube in her nose. She was waving at the bus driver to open his door and let her in, but she was too small for him to see.

Defeated, she made her way back to the sidewalk to wait for the next bus. Seeing this, I caught up to the bus and waved and yelled to get the driver’s attention before he pulled away from the curb. To my amazement, he saw me and opened his door.

“There’s an older woman who wants to get on the bus,” I said to the driver, “can you wait for her?” A little confused, the driver nodded. I yelled back to the woman, “Ma’am, the bus is waiting for you, you can come back.” Eventually she heard me and slowly shuffled back to the bus. The driver said to me, “I thought you were yelling at me because I was gonna hit you or something. Thanks for doing that, that was great. You’re awesome man!”

I was really happy to have helped this woman and that I got such a positive reaction from the driver. It’s moments like this that give me faith in people. We gave each other thumbs up and I rode on.

I took 2nd Ave all the way down to Houston, across Houston and onto Chrystie Street then left onto Delancey and then onto the Williamsburg Bridge.

I slowly made my way up the Williamsburg, and, as expected, my legs began to cramp. I had by that point done at least 25 miles with essentially no breaks and no food besides my small breakfast. I barely made it to the top and, once I did, dismounted my bike to give my legs a break.

I stood to the side of the bike path and let my legs stretch out. I must have looked like a winded wuss who couldn’t even handle a relatively easy climb. I literally could not move my legs. I was in so much pain and the cramps were so bad that there was nothing I could do but stand still.

After a few minutes it subsided and I decided to punk out and ride back down. I could hop on the (F) at Delancey/Essex and take it to Carroll Gardens. I mounted my bike again and began the downhill. As I rode, I got a second wind. I didn’t want to bring my bike with me on a crowded train. I didn’t want to punk out. I had come so far under my own #PedalPower, I could survive another 5 or 10 miles.

I turned around yet again and, struggling, made my way over the crest of the bridge, down the other side and back into Brooklyn. At the bottom I turned around and made my way back to the waterfront and to the Kent Ave bike lane. I made my way out to Franklin Ave and took a right on Dekalb Ave towards Downtown Brooklyn.

I passed Fort Greene Park and eventually took a right onto the Fulton Street Mall. I took a left onto Smith, a right onto Schermerhorn and a left onto Court. I rode down Court for a bit before going right onto Sackett before eventually taking a left onto Columbia and arriving at President bodega.

? – 5:00pm – President (bodega) to Red Hook Crit

Because I didn’t have my lock with me, I took my bike into the bodega. I figured they wouldn’t mind and, as expected, no one said a word about it. I ordered an Italian Sub and grabbed an Arizona Ice Tea from the fridge. After my $10 transaction, I took the short ride to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in Red Hook.

I followed some other cyclists to the Red Hook Crit, a foot and bike race two of my coworkers had told me about. I was due to meet one of them at 4:30pm but by the time I got there, set aside my bike and found a loading dock to sit on, it was a little after 5pm.

I called my buddy Darryl and found out that he wasn’t there yet. Even when I’m late to things I’m early. Good thing I didn’t rush to get there by 4:30. I sat on the dock, ate half my sandwich and drank some of my drink. Eventually I got up and walked around a little bit.

The day, which had started out chilly and had gotten warmer was now getting cold again. The sun was going down and clouds were rolling in. I was exhausted but I wanted to meet up with Darryl since I’d already come all this way. I looked at my phone, it was 6:13pm. I decided that if he wasn’t there in two minutes, I was gonna bounce.

Moments later I looked over and there was Darryl and his girlfriend Jess, riding over to greet me. I told them this story which you’ve now read and that I was cold so I was going to need to leave. After hugging both of them, I headed back to my apartment.

6:15 to ~7:00pm – Red Hook Crit back to my Apartment

I took the half hour or so ride through a dark and chilly Prospect Park. I returned home with a sunburn and bloodshot eyes. My lips were chapped from dehydration, my neck was sore and my legs were shot. I had survived a seven and a half hour day out on my bike.

The first half, the adventure part, the way there, all the way up to the point where I got to The Bronx, that part was cool. It was the whole ride back bit, particularly the Williamsburg Bridge that killed me and was less fun.

EpicRideA rough idea of my route starting at the bottom right and ending at the bottom left

I learned to always wear suntan lotion and a hat (that’s what you bought it for dummy) and to maybe stop for more breaks or for food. That said, I’m proud of myself for pushing through the pain and not punking out and taking the subway. My trip totaled somewhere between 35 and 40 miles. Tomorrow will be low key.

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Pedal Pushers Club

For those who don’t know I recently moved back to New York after having been away for almost two years. This time however, rather than flying by the seat of my pants, I relocated because of work.

However, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Just as was the case the last time I was here, today I attended Bike Expo New York. Like last time, there were basically just a bunch of booths trying to sell you bike related gear and what not.

NYC_manhole_1024x1024Not the shirt I bought

This time, though I didn’t walk away with a free Kryptonite lock, I did buy a couple pieces of swag. The main piece I want to talk about is a t-shirt I bought from a company called Pedal Pushers Club.

Let me start by saying that the last thing I need is another fucking t-shirt. That said, this one is pretty dope. This company specializes in making bike themed t-shirts. They do them for a lot of major cities.

The last time I lived here I wanted something, a shirt or hat, that represented Brooklyn. Well this time I got something. I highly reccomend checking them out as they make some really sweet designs.

Oh, and I almost forgot, because they were selling them at the Expo, they did a discount. Rather than costing $25 it only cost me $20. Hard to pass up a deal.

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Catching Up

So I feel like I have sort of been doing a bunch of stuff and I haven’t written about any of it. The other side of it is that I don’t really even have the interest to write about all of it, or at least not in detail. So, I guess I’m just gonna post pics and maybe give brief descriptions.

DJ-ing at The Delancey – April 14

DJing

Here is a pic my friend Elle took the other night that I DJ-ed. It ended up being pretty lame. Of the 30 people I invited, only three showed up. It really shows you who your friends are. Now some people were like, “Yeah, but did you have fun?” and I sort of did, but what’s the point of DJ-ing if no one is there to dance. It sort of defeats the purpose; I might as well be listening to a playlist I made and dance by myself.

The best however was when the carry over’s from the previous band got to dancing to my music. It was vindicating to see that they liked the choices I was making. That is the gratifying part of DJ-ing or performing in any sort of venue, seeing people react to what you are doing, otherwise, why else do it? (Apart from, because you love it).

Adidas Superstar x Pharrell Williams – April 20

AdidasSuperstar

I went out to see if either of the Adidas Stores had the Pharrell Williams colors pack. To my pleasant surprise, they did, however, they didn’t have the color I wanted -red- in the size I wear. It was probably for the best as I shouldn’t be making frivolous charges and regardless it was still cool to see them in person.

Velodrome – April 21

QueensVelodrome

After finally going home to get my bike I was able to do what I’d wanted to do for a long time. I took the train to Queens and biked to the velodrome. I had always wanted to ride on one and now I was finally getting my chance. To be honest it was sort of a let down. Because it was outdoors it was not a wooden track and because it was paved, there were a bunch of cracks. Additionally, because it was outdoors, you still had to fight the wind. However, I was impressed at the banking. It doesn’t look it but it was steeper than I thought, which was great.

Redbird – April 23

RedbirdTrain

While I was home getting my bike, I fulfilled a craving I had been having to watch the first Toby McGuire Spider-Man. While watching it, I noticed an elevated subway train running in the background and the train was red. (I had noticed red subway trains in Die Hard With a Vengeance too). After a bit of research I found that Redbird trains used to run on some the subway line until 2003 when they were discontinued.

I also found that there was one on display out front of Queens Boro Hall. So, I took an excursion to check it out. It was cool to see one in person and there is even like this little gift shop thing inside. However, it is only open 10am – 2pm and I had gotten there at like 2:30pm or 3pm.

Bike Expo – May 1

KryptoniteLock

The free Bike Expo New York took place this past Friday and Saturday at Basketball City. It was a pretty basic expo, nothing too special to write about in terms of the exhibitors that were there. However, there was one thing cool that happened. During the Kryptonite presentation they asked for volunteers to see who could lock a bike faster. The winner would take home a new Fahgettaboudit lock. I had been wanting one but didn’t want to spend the $90 some odd dollars to get one. I was determined to win, and to my pleasant surprise, I did! Thank you Kryptonite for the free lock.

Also, that night I met up with friends and we went out to Shakin’ All Over, the dance night at Home Sweet Home. I’d been there once before by myself but it was cool to go with friends. Before they showed up I danced with this one girl who kept taking the lead and swinging me around. I couldn’t tell if she was purposely trying to be off-putting so that I would leave her alone, or if she just does that. However, I eventually backed off because I was very confused by the whole situation.

After dancing with my friends for a bit we made our way to a 99 cent pizza joint. After a couple of slices we went to another bar where we just chilled until they closed before walking to our trains and going our separate ways. I didn’t get back until 5:30am and the sun was just about to come up. Pretty solid day.

Guggenheim Museum – May 2

GuggenheimMuseum

I went to the Guggenheim Museum for the first time the other day. I had been wanting to go for a while but was always too cheap to pay to get in. Then however, I found out that on Saturday nights (and I think Friday too) they host “pay what you want” after 5:45pm.

I got to the Gugg at 4:30pm and I was at the end of the block. Apparently however, the line went all the way down the block and around the back. When we were let in I ended up only paying $1 which was great. The featured exhibit was On Kawara – Silence. He was either a genius or a crazy person.

One section had hundreds, maybe thousands of postcards that were sent 1, day after day, to different people that said “Today I woke up at (insert time here) .” and that was it, no other message. He also did something similar with telegrams except the message was “I am still alive.” He kept albums fill with pages, each page was a day, and on each page he typed the names of the people he met that day. It was really bizarre but really eerie and cool.

Staten Island/5 Boro Bike Tour – May 3

StatenIslandFerry

Sunday was the 5 Boro Bike tour, a 40 mile tour of New York free of cars. I wanted to join but a) I didn’t want to pay and b) the registration had closed by the time I knew about it. Regardless, I wanted to go on a ride that day so I took the free ferry to Staten Island and went on a little ride. I had ridden to SI once before (a few weeks ago) just to say I’d been there but I wanted to explore more  and the best way to do that is by bike.

I didn’t go very far south because I didn’t really know where I was going. I thought there would be a ring road that would go around the perimeter, but there wasn’t. I ended up just going in this weird loop which took a few hours before hoping the ferry back to Manhattan. It was packed with cyclist who were finishing up the 5 Boro. Once on the other side I booked it back to the apartment before passing out.

There are several other things that I should have mentioned but I’m past them at this point. I guess none of these were really “big” events and thus I didn’t feel the need to make dedicated posts. Typically when I do adventures, I have a post in mind. Lately I’ve just been doing stuff sans posting. I hope I am not phasing out HWS but I think I just havn’t been going on excursions worthy of note. Maybe I’m just lazy.

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Super(bowl) Weekend

Saturday the 31st

So, if you hadn’t figured it out by now, I get enjoyment out of just going places and seeing things. A few weeks ago I saw an add for the Fulton Center, “New York’s Newest Public Space.” When I got home I looked it up and found that it is new as of this past November. I had organically been to the station before but had never needed to change trains there, or if I had, never needed to go through the main area and thus never saw the cool section featured in the video below.

Finally, the other night I had to change trains there and got a momentary glimpse of the skylight (pictured below). I also had the trippy experience of walking through the hall with the video art installation New York Minute. After that glimpse, I decided to make a little trip of it on Saturday morning (last week).

FultonCenterSkylightThe skylight at the Fulton Center/Fulton Street station

I rode out to the Fulton Street station and just took my time looking at all the advertisement and beautiful interior architecture. I was not able to tell whether there were shops there yet, but it is still just cool to stand in and look at. I was sort of on a time crunch and felt weird just wandering around a train station, so I decided to explore the financial district.

FreedomTowerFreedom Tower

I made my way passed the Freedom Tower and down to the waterfront. I found myself wishing (as has been happening a lot lately) that it was spring or summer and that I had my bike with me. The area was really nice and I happened upon a pier off which launch helicopter tours.

Waterfront_FianacialDistrictThe waterfront by the financial district looking out to Brooklyn.

After making my way up and down the waterfront, I headed back to the station and went to my new friend Elle’s apartment to work on music.

Sunday February 1st

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is to get a good New York bagel. So, I Googled, best bagels in New York. Upon planning my Sunday, I realized that Terrace Bagels (one of the ones on the list) was right near Prospect Park, one of the things on my “to do” list and thus decided to go there for breakfast.

As I was walking up I got nervous because there was a big fire truck double-parked right outside the shop. Of course the day I go there, they have a fire. However, when I went in what I found instead was a chief and like ten of his men yelling stuff like, “Yeah, can we get three everything bagels with cream cheese?” in thick New York accents.

After eating half of my sandwich (and taking the rest with me) I made my way over to and through Prospect Park. This is the Central Park of Brooklyn and the surrounding area, Prospect Heights is beautiful. There were kids sledding down the small hills and I was suddenly smiling, brought back to a time when I was a kid and that was me. I enjoyed the calm and the quiet and the cold as I made my way to Grand Army Plaza where I took the train into Manhattan.

I got out at Canal Street and made my way to Opening Ceremony. OS is a high end fashion store I had found out about while looking for retailer of a brand called ICNY. (If I haven’t talked about them before, ICNY makes cool reflective clothing for cyclists). Unfortunately, OS only sold the sock and I was looking for the shirts, so I left.

Next I made my way uptown to the Intrepid Museum. I have know about and wanted to visit the Intrepid for a while but now I finally went there… sort of. I basically just looked at it from the sidewalk because I didn’t want to spend the $25 for admission. To be honest, the only real thing I wanted to see there was the Concorde. I guess if you pay a special price for the tour they let you go on it. Though I didn’t go on it, I did get a good glimpse of it.

Concorde_IntrepidMuseumSo close…

During my time looking at Concorde, I gained the urge to pee. Fortunately as I was making my way over to the waterfront I passed a place called Gotham West Market. It looked cool and I wanted to check it out but had no reason to, until now. Basically, the place is a conglomerate of restaurants where each place has its own section that flows into one another, like a high end hipster food court.

Fortunately, because of this layout I was able to go to the restroom without being detected by someone who might out me for taking advantage of it. On my way out, I passed this one restaurant that had a glass fridge filled with tons of craft beers I’d never heard of before. Definitely a place I’d like to check out at a later date.

Studio54The Roundabout Theatre, formerly Studio 54

With an empty bladder, I made my way to my next location, Studio 54. Again, I didn’t want or need to go in, I just wanted to look at the famed location where so much cool shit went down in the 70s and the 80s. Sadly now it’s back to just being a theatre. After a moment of silence, I moved on.

I would not have thought to check out the Phillips Auction Gallery if it had not been for the fact that it was posted on the Opening Ceremony blog. And I was only on the OS blog because, as you know I was looking for ICNY merch. The gallery had a cool display of fashion photography from photographer Steven Meisel. I checked out the the art for a bit before making my way to my last stop.

Bike New York is a company I found out about through an add on the subway. They are, apparently a non-profit that helps teach people how to ride as well as sponsor group rides through the city. Unfortunately I went all the way to 116th street just to find that they were closed. I should have figured. It was a Sunday after all. After that I made my way back to Brooklyn to pick up the snacks I had bought for the Superbowl Party I was planning on attending.

Superbowl Party at Elle’s apt

I grabbed my things and then made my way over to my friend Elle’s apartment. I was planning on stopping off at Brooklyn Beer and Soda, a liquor store that apparently has a plethora of beers to choose from. However, upon looking them up, I found that they were already closed, so, I just went straight to their place.

I can’t really even put my finger on what was so cool about it, but once the crew showed up it ended up being a really fun night. Everyone was really nice and it just felt like we’d all been friends forever. We drank and joked and talked and ate and barely watched the game and to top it all off, the Pats one. Pretty solid Sunday. Pretty super weekend.

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