5 Boroughs Redux

Bring me your poor, your wretched, your cold, your hungry and wet, your striving to be free from their bikes …

liberty3Anne woke up at five. I got up at a quarter to six. Anne was already dressed and I quickly put on my bike clothes. We rode downtown, on Broadway, to Don and DJ’s hotel, near the World Trade Center Site. Most of the way there was a dedicated bike lane.
An interesting point about New York’s bike lanes is that even though almost all of Manhattan’s streets are one way, you can ride both ways in the bike lane. It was drizzling. There was little in the way of auto traffic. We followed and were sometimes passed by other cyclists, all headed downtown. We passed the Flat Iron building (see below). We stopped for coffee. Reaching southern Manhattan, we met up with our friends (Don, DJ, John and Jim).
Once everyone got themselves put together we got in line at the ride’s start, along with 30,000 other riders. We waited about an hour for the ride to start and were glad when we finally got started.

We cruised north on 6th Avenue. John and Jim took off and we never did see them again during the ride. We rode with Don and DJ until we came to our hotel on 44th Street and Anne and I decided to turn off and use the bathroom. I also got a jacket. I would never had survived without it.flat-iron-building

We rejoined the ride and continued north to Central Park. Riding through the park, you could see outcropings of the granite that this city is built on. The pace started to get a little stop and go in the park. We continued on north into Harlem. We took the Madison Avenue Bridge into the Bronx, our second borough. We only just touched the Bronx, because within a few blocks we were on the 3rd Avenue Bridge, heading back to Manhattan.  Below is a picture of a column in the Bronx.  I hope that Harry recognizes it?

We road down the east side of Manhattan, along the FDR to the Queensboro, or 59th Street bridge. This bridge took us to Queens, our third borough. Anne just reminded me that the 59th Street bridge is featured in the Simon and Garfunkel song, Feeling Groovy. As we entered Queens a ride marshal called out that we were in the first 12,000 riders. This seemed believable when we looked down from the height of the bridge. We made our second rest stop in Queens, almost halfway through the ride. The rain started to pick up and the stop and go bike traffic jams seemed to get worse. We slogged through Queens and on into Brooklyn, over the Borden Avenue Bridge. My last few dry spots got wet and the salt from my helmet’s sweatband started leeching into my eyes, making it hard to see. Some of the other riders started to peel off. The Brooklyn Bridge was an official shortcut.

bronxThere was one more major bike traffic jam on the expressway leading to the Verranzano-Narrows Bridge. One rider wearing nothing more then shorts and a short sleeve jersey was shivering while waiting there. A nice woman from Montréal gave him a power bar and an energy drink to tie him over. Finally, we broke free of the bike jam and continued on down the expressway. We caught up with Don and DJ there, but quickly lost them again. The Verranzano-Narrows Bridge was the biggest climb of the day. It wasn’t very steep, but it was long. A lot of the other riders were getting tired and walked up it. The thing that I liked the best about the bridge was that we rode on the lower covered level of the bridge, out of the rain. After reaching the crest of the bridge we coasted down to Staten Island.

Just off the bridge there was a festival village for the bike ride. Anne got coffee and Don and DJ caught up with us. We rode together, the last couple of miles, to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, for the return boat ride to Manhattan. On the ferry, we passed close to the Statue of Liberty. After docking we took the subway back to 42nd Street and the hotel.

After refreshing ourselves, we walked a block, across Times Square, to Carmine’s a family style Italian restaurant. There we met up with the gang for dinner. I saw a newspaper article that claimed that Carmine’s was Jill Biden’s favorite New York eatery. The food was good, but there was way too much of it. Anne got surprised by an early birthday dessert, complete with candles. A great dinner, to end a long day. We bade farewell to our friends and crawled back across Times Square to our room.birthday-cakeWriting this post twenty-four hours after finishing the Tour of the Five Boughs, I am much better disposed to the experience then I was last night. I was probably too negative in yesterday’s post. Sure the rain and the too many bike jams weren’t all that much fun, but the times in between were. We got five miles on Saturday and another five riding to the start of the tour. We rode rode, walked or swam all forty-two miles of the tour and proud of ourselves for doing it.

Picture are from the top, the gang of six at Carmine’s (today’s header), lady Liberty as seem from the Staten Island Ferry, the Flat Iron Building, a column in the Bronx and Anne’s birthday cake.

1 thought on “5 Boroughs Redux

  1. Who is that homeless guy on the right in your header? He must be doing something right because he is pretty close to that beauty queen. Actually you all “cleaned up” pretty well and would qualify as “beautiful people”.

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