Posted by clubsodaandsalt on February 15, 2006
A few weeks ago, I finally acheived my (admittedly modest) goal of biking around the island of Manhattan. It was unseasonably warm, and I figured that if I didn’t do it before moving across the river, it was never going to get done. After all, biking in Brooklyn is vastly preferable to biking in the city. So I set out around 1:30, and about 3.5 – 4 hours later, I’d done it! I mapped out the route here, in case you care.
Anyway, some thoughts from the ride:
- Frank Gehry is a true nutbag. I think his designs are fine and all, but I dislike his disregard for urban context. I fear for my new neighbourhood and what Frank Gehry will do to its north side with the Atlantic Yards project. Will we not be able to walk along Flatbush without getting fried? On the other hand, I’m actually curious as to how his project at the ol’ Princeton will turn out.
- Gotta love Manhattan’s beaches.
- A while back, the blog Curbed was going on about the “ViVa” micro-neighbourhood. “ViVa” stood for Viaduct Valley, where the viaduct in question just happened to be the West Side Highway. Now, if you haven’t spent a lot of time driving from Columbia to the George Washington Bridge, let me assure you, this area isn’t taking off anytime soon, Fairway or no Fairway. The bike path along the Hudson sends you into this lively area for about 15 blocks, which is always fun — go from your relaxing riverside ride to seeing prostitutes and dealers hanging out underneath a freeway. Watching all the yuppie cyclists look mildly disturbed at the change of scenery is kind of fun, though.
- Biking up the West Side is rather nice, but biking down the East side suuuuucks. The bikeway is still largely incomplete, sending you into Harlem and East Midtown for long stretches. This part of the ride allowed me to observe that there are still a number of abandoned row houses in Harlem, just waiting for gentrification. The East Midtown part of the ride allowed me to almost get killed by a prick driving an Explorer with Jersey plates, thus adding credence to my theory that people in NJ cannot drive. On the other hand, I got a nice shot of the Queensboro Bridge, so there’s that.
- In case you were wondering why biking 30 miles took 4 hours, the East Side is largely to blame. Once I was down in the East Village, I ran into the Idiotarod, which was just ending. Unfortauntely, those pics didn’t come out well. Did get a shot of the Domino plant in Williamsburg. We’ll see how long it takes for that to be turned into condos. Sigh.
- I really enjoy bridges. Also, fish.
That’s about it. I pretty much just raced home after this, and got back in time to clock about 4 hours. Ooof! I’d estimate the split is about 1 hour on the Hudson, rest on the East side and some time to cross town. Still, very happy about finally doing this. Full set of pics here.