Yesterday morning I went on a bike ride to my favorite destination, the George Washington Bridge.
It’s an hour and a half round trip ride up the west side highway from my house in Greenwich Village.
It was my birthday and I felt like hearing When You Wake Up Feeling Old, so I grabbed my iPod and put on Wilco’s Summerteeth.
By the time I got to the west side highway, the sun was rising up the side of the Empire State Building.
As I passed midtown, the sight of cars coming down the ramp reminded me what a great gift it is to live without a commute in my life.
Riverside Park is one of my favorite stretches of the ride. I love the old pier that has fallen into the water. I also love the boat basin at 79th Street. I always wonder what it would be like to live on a boat in the middle of NYC.
When I got to 125th Street, I passed the Fairway market which is full of energy at 7am. This is one of the best markets in NYC.
After 125th Street, I passed the big water treatment plant and ended up in a part of Riverside that feels like it could be upstate NY. It’s really hard to believe you are in the middle of Harlem when you are on this part of the ride.
I got to the Bridge in just under an hour and hung out at the Little Red Lighthouse for a couple minutes. This part of the shoreline is called Jeffrey’s Hook.
The bridge itself is an amazing sight. There were thousands of cars crossing it at this time of the day, but underneath, all you have is the river and the steel glistening in the early morning sun.
So it was time to head back. I took off Summerteeth and put on Tonight’s The Night. After all, it was time to Go Downtown.
As I was listening to Neil sing “Please take my advice, open up your tired eyes”, I passed a group of homeless guys sleeping on the shoreline.
When I got back to Fairway, there was this older guy, a Harlem local, fishing. He wouldn’t let me take his picture, but I got his rod on camera. I asked him what kind of fish he catches. He looked at me with this disgusted face and said, “Do you know how many times I’ve been asked that question?” I apologized and he volunteered that he caught Striped Bass, Bluefish, and some other kinds of fish. Then he said the me, “This used to be Harlem, but now it’s full of people like you all day long”. Boy did I feel like I’d interrupted his peaceful morning.
As I was riding down my favorite stretch of the ride, between Fairway and 96th Street, I saw the sun rising up around The Church of St John The Divine. That was nice.
Right next to the Intrepid Sea and Space Museum at 42nd Street, there was this enourmous yacht. I guess one of GW’s “base” was in town a week early.
The ride is basically over when I get to the Richard Meier buildings on the west side highway at Perry Street. Most people I know hate these twin buildings but I love them.
It’s a great ride. I do it at least twice a week when I am in the city. It was hot yesterday and I was dripping sweat when I got home, but I felt great.