Thursday, July 14, 2011

Note: click on photos to view larger images.

New York, New York, a helluva town.
The Bronx is up, but the Battery's down.
The people ride in a hole in the groun'.
New York, New York, it's a hell of a town.

- "On the Town"

Here are some of my photographs from my trip to NYC in early July.



My wife and I made the trip to visit our older daughter, Rebecca, her new husband, Lee, and Lee's parents, and to attend a wedding. Well, those are the reasons my wife had for visiting The Big Apple. There were a more reasons for me, including photography and cycling, and a chance to ride with a couple of cycling friends.

As in past trips, I had my own bike with me (which I shipped through usually reliable Fed Ex Ground, which this time managed to put a big dent - not one that would cause failure - in the frame of my bike).

On our third day in the city, I linked up with my two friends and we rode from my daughter's apartment in Brooklyn across the wonderful Brooklyn Bridge, into Manhattan. At 6:30 a.m., the city was still largely asleep; streets were devoid of the usual assortment of cars and trucks and tour buses and pedestrians who like to step in front of cyclists, and the glass and steel skyscrapers the define the city soared above us into a blue sky, their shadows keeping us in the cool shade.

We rode up though lower Manhattan and then turned north, for a long way, on a bike path along the broad Hudson River. We crossed into New Jersey on the magnificent George Washington Bridge, cycling along the west bank of the Hudson River, through the beautiful, thick forests that made up Palisades Park. The difference between the landscapes of the two shores could not have been greater, with one a lush, densely wooded semi-wilderness, the other a bustling metropolis.

There was some work to perform on the Jersey shore, because there were a lot of rolling hills, with inclines reaching 10%, and I was on a fixed-gear bike, just one gear, with no coasting – I was either pedaling, or I was stopped. And that single gear was designed for riding flat city roads. The challenge only gave the ride more value.

We returned to the no longer somnolent Manhattan, some 45 miles into the ride, about noon. I let my experienced friends lead me through the now clogged streets, where pedestrians who stepped without looking into the streets were as dangerous to us as wayward motorists who turned without looking left or right into our path.



Above: a grab shot from the boardwalk south of Coney Island. (This is a crop from a much larger scene; I didn't notice the couple shown here when I depressed the shutter button; see the subway below for another example of a "found" photograph.)

By the time I returned to Rebecca's apartment, I felt cooked in the humid air that had settled like a damp, heated blanket, over Brooklyn and all of NYC. It took me about an hour to cool down in the air conditioned apartment, and then it was time to go to the wedding.

The next day, July 4th, I made my other epic ride. This time I cycled alone, making my way 30 miles to Atlantic Beach, a resort town, north of Brooklyn. Part of the way led along the coast, where I had a view of the beautiful Verenzano Narrows Bridge, connecting Brooklyn with Staten Island. At times I rode the beach boardwalks, which were made of wood, rather than the concrete we use for our "boardwalks" in Southern California. Riding the boards on the skinny, high pressure tires on my fixed gear bike was a noisy, bone-jarring experience , so most of the time I stuck to the roads.

Because it was my first time making the journey to Atlantic Beach, I spent a lot of time looking for street signs, getting lost, and stopping for photographs. The heat and humidity began, the last third of the ride, to take a toll of me, and with the largely flat riding, I began to notice that I was sitting on a small, hard racing saddle.

Off the bike path, I encountered some awesome traffic near famed Coney Island. More than 30,000 people were expected to be on hand for the annual hot dog eating contest. Intersections were blocked, people were honking or were even getting out of their cars, shouting at one another. The heat was getting to them, too.

When I finally arrived in Atlantic Beach, I linked up with everyone at a beach club, a feature, like real boardwalks, not much seen in Southern California. We had a lovely area under an awning, with a changing room and a shower. The little beach cabanas are set back some distance from the edge of the water; beach chairs and umbrellas are closer to the waves.

My daughter's in-laws, Joy and Steve, introduced me to the many other friendly members of the club. After a rest, Lee and Rebecca and Steve and I walked out along the beach, enjoying the views, digging for little sand crabs and looking at the amazing collection of shells that had washed up on the beach.


Above: a sand crab.

I had a late lunch, which soon morphed into appetizers and then dinner. Whatever weight I might have shed on my ride from Brooklyn I certainly gained back.




Above: beach club umbrellas



Above: Rebecca and Lee. All of the photos here were downloaded from my cameras – an iPhone and a digicam – onto an iPad, and then edited on the iPad. I used some software on the above image that, with one touch, gives a photograph a painterly look. The text for this blog post was composed my iPad, too.



Above: at the end of the day, we enjoyed a wonderful sunset that seemed to be in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, for nture put on quite a fireworks show for us. Back at the apartment, we could hear the incredible cannodade coming from a massive fireworks show on the far side of Manhattan, over the Hudson River, echoing off the buildings in Brooklyn.

There was a lot more to view in NYC. Come join me and see what I saw.



Above: a little shrine in the front yard of an apartment. I've never seen a shrine in front of an apartment building in Los Angeles; they aren't that uncommon in Brooklyn.






Above: a view from my ride to Atlantic Beach, looking toward the impressive Verenzano Narrows Bridge, connecting Staten Island with Brooklyn..



Above: cycling beneath an expressway in Brooklyn.



Above: biking the George Washington Bridge, linking New York and New Jersey.




Above: weary passengers riding the F Train from Brooklyn into Manhattan.




It may look like I was busted sneaking the above photograph. In fact, I doubt the woman looking askance at me actually noticed me or my camera. I accidentally pushed the shutter release; the uncropped photo shows a far wider scene, which includes those sleeping passengers, shown two pictures above; the camera itself was tilted on the diagonal.



Above: waiting for the F Train.


Above: tourists near Times Square with a mounted officer.


Above: fishing in beautiful Prospect Park, in Brooklyn. I made a couple of trips to the park, circling it a few times on my bike. There are miles of hiking trails, playgrounds and picnic, open fields and secluded woods, and a cycling-friendly road that encircles the entire park.


Above: Surreal lighting on a motorbike.


Above: in Prospect Park.




Above: he didn't look it or act it - a 93 year old man I met on Court Street, in the Carroll Gardens District of Brooklyn.



Above: Times Square, about 10 p.m.




Above: at the Mets-Yankees game (Yankees won).




It's too difficult to explain what's happening here. Just accept that there are many photographs and yet there is just one photograph.






Above: My reflection in the cat's eye.


Above: my iced coffee.



Above: peaches at an open air market, $1.39 each.




Above: a good way to enjoy Brooklyn - on foot (or paw).

Click on photos for,larger-sized images.





2 comments:

ADDjeff said...

Dave, It's been many years, probably 20, since you came to the central coast campsite at Morro Bay with my mom, Alice Weit. I remember making coffee for your group over the course of 3 evenings using a simple proportion since I had no clue, as I didn't drink coffee.
I throughly enjoyed your posts and feel your growth as you challenged death.
I have three kids in college, but look forward to the day when I to can tag along. Until then I will learn and grow through your posts and other photographers on the internet.
Thanks once again,
jeff weit

ADDjeff said...

Dave, It's been many years, probably 20, since you came to the central coast campsite at Morro Bay with my mom, Alice Weit. I remember making coffee for your group over the course of 3 evenings using a simple proportion since I had no clue, as I didn't drink coffee.
I throughly enjoyed your posts and feel your growth as you challenged death.
I have three kids in college, but look forward to the day when I to can tag along. Until then I will learn and grow through your posts and other photographers on the internet.
Thanks once again,
jeff weit