Thursday, January 04, 2007

"First, we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin!" - Leonard Cohen 'First We Take Manhattan'

Often, with a day off during the week, I get all sorts of fidgety. Not satisfied with just relaxing, I want to do something. Usually, this is cleaning the house or doing laundry or the like, but this morning, I decided to do something different: I wanted to bike the whole island of Manhattan. At over 40 miles (including the trip into Manhattan from Brooklyn and the countless number of detours), it was the longest ride I have done, probably ever. A good 70% of it is covered by the Greenway, a beautiful shared use path which runs along the edge of the island. The problem was the other 30%, mainly on the east side, during which I found myself racing down, among other roads, 2nd Ave and, occasionally, Broadway. The irony is that these detours are still labeled Greenways. I wanted to take a picture of a Greenway sign among the tall buildings and concrete jungle but I decided my time was better spent trying not to get run over by cabbies. Overall, the trip was very nice though. I learned some lessons on distance biking (bring high-energy snacks!), got to see some beautiful sections of the city that I would have never seen otherwise and got to have a meditative day pushing the pedals. I took quite a few pictures along the way. Dad, if you want larger versions, let me know.

Heading out from our Brooklyn apartment.

Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. This is the neighborhood I work in and a very quiet and serene stretch.

Heading across the Brooklyn Bridge. This is tourist central, with most bobbing and weaving into the bike lane. I'm suprised there's not more accidents here. Though I never even came close, it's only because I noticed the pedestrians. They, on the other hand, would almost always not notice me until I was right up on them. I can't blame people too much though. It's a nice bridge and a absolutely stunning view of the city.

The Statue of Liberty, as seen from Battery Park (I'm in Manhattan now)

Another cyclist, taking a break to stare across at Hoboken, NJ

The Meatpacking district. Besides what you see here, the rest of this area is trendy clubs and restaurants

The ruins of a turn-of-the-century pier. It burned down once in 1880, was rebuilt, then burned down again in 1960. There was quite a few of these old piers in this section of the ride. A reminder of what a huge port city New York used to be. Honestly, the only port commerce going on now, that I saw, was tourists lining up to take boat/helicoptor rides.

The George Washington Bridge. Other than heading up into Westchester, one of the few ways of getting out of New York by bike.

The Inwood neighborhood in Manhattan. This is as far north as you can get in Manhattan. It's, in fact, on a mini peninsula and the Bronx is to the East of it.

Harlem. I took this one for Genevieve's dad.

I'm on my way back. This is a view of Manhattan from the north. There was actually a beautiful view of the city as I was heading up the island, but our camera batteries died before I could take it.

A small lighthouse on the coast of the East river. There's a similar one on the other side (again, missed because of dead batteries).

The Triborough Bridge. In the foreground is a small island off the main one. It's entrance is completely cut off by the drawbridge you see in the previous picture.

In the foreground is the Manhattan Bridge, in the back is the Brooklyn Bridge. With all the bridge pictures here, I had considered getting a shot of the last one I cross (The Union St. bridge, over the Gowanus canal), but decided against it.

6 hours later..Back home!