Monday, October 27, 2008

NYC: Tour de Bronx interview

Photo by: Unknown

On October 19th 2008 the Bronx hosted its 14th annual Tour de Bronx, which is the cities largest public ride. Thousands of NY's come out of the wood work to participate in this free ride. One such person Dania B., a good friend of mine rode the tour and let me interview her:

DY: What hood do you call your crib?
DB: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

DY: What kind of bike do you own?
DB: A black Specialized Sirrus. It's effin Hot. if i could have sex with it i would!
DY: How long have you been riding?
DB: Not long at all. Bought it back in July-ish.

DY: For what reasons do your ride?
DB: well let's's kinda therapeutic. I'm from the suburbs and had a car from the moment I turned 16 until about 5 years ago. There's always something liberating about driving a car. The feeling of riding a bike is similar to that.

DY: Do you usually bike alone or with a group?
DB: Alone

DY: How did you feel entering the Tour de Bronx? and how do you feel now that it's over?
DB: Well I had the option of a 25 or 45 mile course. I was worried about the longer one but my friend seemed like she really wanted to do it. She's done these before, this was my first. Anyway I somehow convinced myself that I could do it. I did and could have gone a bit longer.I impressed myself. But maybe my sweet ass bike should get all the credit!

DY: What kind of training did you do for the ride?
DB: None. Zero. Nada. But i go to the gym pretty often. David Barton gym, nuff said!

DY: What advice would you give someone wanting to join a tour?
DB: Do it!

DY: How would you have changed your biking technique if i were riding with you?
DB: I don't know you like that!

DY: What are your feelings about joining another ride?
DB: Would do it again but my friend that I rode with on the Bronx tour said the ones in the summer are not as fun. I think I picked a good one to start with. It was perfect fall weather in the boogy down..

DY: How did this change your view on biking, or did it?
DB: Way more into it now. I make up reasons to ride my bike! then, there are those special moments like making eye contact on the Williamsburg bridge with a hot guy on his bike... okay let me stop.
DY: About how often do you ride a week, or day?
DB: twice a week

DY: If you could change one thing for bikers in the city, what would it be?
DB: Safer bike lanes, and more of them.


Thanks to Dania, and hopefully we can ride the next one together!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

NYC: The Haunted Pt. 2

Photos by: David Y.

Every time i enter Washington Square park i enter on the West side (West 4th St.), and somehow i always exit through the arch. The beautiful thing about Washington Square Park is the live shows you can watch for free. There is always something going on out there, music, skating, singing, poetry, dancing, and sometimes hula hooping. My favorite thing is to go and lay in the grass and take in the day. What most people don't know is that Washington Square Park is the burial ground to almost 20,000 people. The park was the old hanging grounds to many of the criminals in town, in fact the picture to the right (photo by: Wikipedia) is supposedly the old hanging elm which is still situated in the park (on the Northwest side). During the 1800's there was a Yellow Fever epidemic which took the lives of many New Yorkers, and WSP was the burial place for most of the bodies as a safe spot far from the city. The park has such an illustrious history and is worth taking some time to read about. i read that most of the bodies were buried right under or near the Arch. So needless to say the park is haunted by the ghost's of the past.

The next and last stop is the Bridge Cafe, located on 279 Water Street down in the South Street Seaport. This is a wonderful little bar/cafe, and has been the such since it was open in 1794. The building has a haunted past of pirates, and was home to a brothel for a while. In fact the building used to be a major stopping point for the fish market and pirates that seemed to come through. There is a story of folklore of a 6ft tall woman that used to bounce there named "Gallus Mag". This woman was one of the most feared female by both scoundrels and police. Legend has it she used to beat men over the head with a club, and drag them out of the restaurant by their ear, and if they protested she would bite it off and place it in a jar of alcohol which she kept behind the bar. The Bridge Cafe is now haunted by the ghost of Gallus mag...

i hope that you have enjoyed this ride as much as i have enjoyed writing, and telling you about it. It is always fun to dive into a bit of NYC history, and pass it on to someone else. If you are ever in the area and want to see these places please feel free to email me and i will surely share their position. Have a safe and haunted well as safe ride!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

NYC: The Haunted Pt. 1

Photos by: David Y.

With October coming to a close and Halloween just around the corner, i have decided to base my last two posts of the month on "The Haunted" NYC. One of the main reasons i love living in NY is the endless amount of history this city keeps. i've heard it said, "LA has a good vibe, but NY has soul." This is such a true statement, on so many levels, and i feel the "Souls" of NY can best be found, and seen, in the many buildings around us. Some of the best known places to find the ghosts of past are on the west side of the city. i took a ride up Chambers street heading over to my friend Amy's place off Reade. While i was riding i noticed some of the old Architecture that paves the way near City Hall. The ornate buildings, door's, lamps, and appendages that make up the Gothic Revival and Art Deco of our downtown. The copper has just the right patina to make it feel cold, lifeless, and yet alive. We took off immediately making our way up Greenwich St. passing the many warehouses that make up Tribeca, and finally coming to our first stop on Spring St.. Nestled between two buildings is the "Ear Inn".

The Ear Inn is a bar/house built back in 1817 by (legend says) John Brown, aide to George Washington during the revolution. This is one of the last wooden bars in NY and stands 2.5 stories originally 5' away from the original Hudson river shore (since they have leveled the city, and dumped the soil along the bottom tip of Manhattan making up Battery park, and the west side of the Hudson Shore). History writes that a sailor, "Mickey", who was living at the Inn was leaving the bar after a long night of drinking and was struck by a car. Since the killing many people have seen Mickey walking around the bar, ordering his Corn Whiskey (which they used to brew and sell) which was kept above the bar. When we walked up to the bar we noticed the building had shifted a little, which is normal for most pre war buildings, the doors are still painted green (which was the original name of the bar "The Green Door"), and the dusty bottles of the past sitting above the bar were still intact. The low ceilings make the place a bit more cozy on this crisp day. The building originally was a men's only bar, consisting of sailors, traders, and of course Mickey. There was no music back then, just the songs of the sailors. The door to the original Inn was just outside which i took a photo of here. The bar was later named "Ear Inn" when someone painted of the letter "B" in "BAR" making it appear to say "EAR". The sign dates back to the 1940's and is still intact.

From here we made our way up Greenwich crossing to Hudson St. and making our way to the West Village. Again while we were riding i was looking for shots of old NY. The West village is one of the oldest places in the city, and one of the most expensive to live, even though it originally was one of the poorest to live during the depression. Many of the buildings are sought after treasures because of this illustrious past. We made our way up the Hudson and crossed over to Grove to find the oldest bar in the city "Chumley's" which is another haunted pub. We rode up Grove to find out that it had been torn down, and levled recently due to a chimmney collapsing. Chumley's is where the phrase "86" was coined (the address: 86 Bedford), and is now a piece of faded history.

We made our way up Grove to Christopher St. coming to our last stop of the day, "The House of Death". This house is located on one of the most beautiful streets 14 W. 10th st.. The house was built in the classic Gothic Revival style, and was home to Mark Twain who lived here from 1900-1901; he and his wife were leasing the house, which he reported as haunted. The place is haunted by 22 ghosts, one of which is Mark Twain that can be seen walking up and down the stairwell. This is the place of the famous Lisa Steinberg murder (where Joel Steinberg beat his 6yr. old daughter to death). There is a small Mark Twain plaque on the house which i took a photo of. This is one of the only homes on the block that is covered by trees, and is lit by one of the 'Bishop Crook' lamposts (circa: 1892). We rode up to 5th ave. and made our way to Washington Square Park where i will start next week.......

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Autumn in NYC

Photos by: David Y. & Megan H.

Some of the most exciting things about living in NYC are sometimes the simplest things. One of the great things about living here is that you really get to see the seasons change. Once the last days of Indian Summer have burned off, you are always left with the beautiful changes in the leaves. The best place to witness this is Central Park, which is the destination of thousands of New Yorkers each weekend. There is something wonderful about chillaxin on the great lawn, perhaps throwing a football, baseball, or even a Frisbee. When i started this blog one of my main intentions was to bring to life a view of city life through the eye of my camera, and the wheels of my bike, while sharing some of NY's best rides.
Today i took a ride down to Chelsea to meet my good friend Megan who accompanied me down to the Park to walk/ride around and catch some beauty of the season. We rode up West Side Hwy. till we got to the 70's, took a turn down 72nd to see the Dakota, and entered the park through Strawberry Fields. We took the main rode around till we got to the east side and dismounted at Shakespeare Garden to walk. The Lavender was in full bloom, along with a few of the last season hydrangeas (mostly the rusty red).
From here we made our way up to the Ramble, and through to Belvedere Castle where we looked down on the ducks swimming through the algae floating on the lake. We made our way down to Bow Bridge, and over to Bethesda Fountain, where we got some great shots of the water, and vegetation under the skyline of the city. There is something fun about walking around with a camera and blending in with the tourists, it's like being undercover and discovering the city all over again. One thing i always loved about Bethesda Terrace is the fact it was all hand carved out of sand stone. To see it is truly amazing, the ornate pillars, and columns so perfectly groomed.

This part of the park is truly breath taking when you experience it during autumn. I highly recommend jumping on your bike and heading down to the park to take a break from busy schedules and rushing streets to take in the beauty of this years autumn. You will be so happy that you came.
From here we took our bikes back on the West Side Hwy. and headed down to 8th Ave. and Jane to my favorite burger joint, "Corner Bistro". This is the perfect place to end a ride, in my opinion. There is nothing better than a great burger, and of course crispy fries to accompany it, with a cold Stella.

I Love NYC!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bike Valet, & Greenwood Heights.

Photo by: David Y.

This week i was searching the NY Times for some biking news and stumbled across this article, although a bit older, it is interesting. The article is about the need for the obvious, more bike racks in the city, mainly mid-town. The writer goes on to talk about the minimal overhead for parking bikes seeings how you can fit 20 bikes in a single vehicle parking spot. The idea has become more popular for movie premiers, and events during fashion week. i personally would pay the money to have my bike parked and watched throughout the day since i can't take it up to my office, as many in midtown are finding out. Parking is the number one reason people don't ride their bikes to work, which to me seems a bit ridiculous in a city like New York.

Photo by: David Y.

This morning it was a bit overcast outside, and i decided to take a walk through the Green-Wood cemetery, located in Greenwood Heights Brooklyn. i have always wanted to take a walk through this cemetery, with its winding trails and old headstones. Although the cemetery offers no biking on its grounds, it is a wonderful place to take a peaceful walk, and look at the history of NYC. Among some of the more famous people buried here are: Big Boss Tweed, Basquiat (artist), Louis Bonard (animal activist), and Louis Comfort Tiffany to name a few of the hundreds. The picture taken above is of Minerva/Athena who watches over the soldiers of the Civil War. Her left hand is raised facing and saluting the statue of liberty, which faces Minerva. This is the highest point in Brooklyn (200ft above sea level), and from here you can clearly see the Statue of Liberty. If you get a free day, i highly recommend walking through this cemetery, you won't be disappointed.