On Cycling- 28 August

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Using NJ Transit to haul myself to New York. I would soon learn that this was a one way trip…

So I don’t know how many more days like today we have left this season- and with that mindset I did my best to make sure no other inconveniences got in the way of my complete enjoyment of perfect, low-humidity weather.  You know… things like chores, shopping or even work.  I ditched everything on the agenda the moment I peaked out my bedroom window and let out a sultry “aww yes….”

While I have been struggling, and I mean deeply struggling, with what I really want to consider my hobbies to include- there is just two that have been by my side since a very young age: cycling and photography.  It has only been in recent years that I married them together… but if I had to choose it would be cycling hands-down.  I love the bike.  I feel good on the bike.  The bike shows me more of the world than any other mode of transportation: feet, cars, planes, whatever.  You know why?  It is because you go fast enough to see it but slow enough to enjoy it.  Want to smell the roses?  No problem, just lean it on a tree or throw it on the ground.  No parking.. no frustration of any kind.  Just.  Do.  It.

Anyway, I love the bike, and I love to bike.

Blue skies and progress.

Blue skies and progress.

Something like 80 degrees, ultra low humidity, light breeze…  This was truly weather to write home about.  Down on 31st Street at 10th, we see the endless progress that defines New York City and it’s ever-changing landscape.  Watching ironworkers (Union pride) at work is like watching ballet with absolutely huge dancers spinning about gracefully amongst each other carrying loads that will kill you if they even so much as touch you.  It’s all very impressive, and as the gorgeous towers all around will demonstrate:  safe and effective, too.

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Took me a little while to get going today but I decided to take this quick snap before heading out.  This bench is a big stainless steel art installation.  NYC has done a lot over the recent years (all pre-DeBlasibitch of course) to foster artistic expression from it’s residents.  There are art installations in all of the parks, many of the subway stations, on street corners…  simply everywhere.  All these items make up the fabric of our great city.  This piece is one large stainless steel tabletop and then chair positions cut all throughout.  To me it seems to say something about how even when we are sitting alone, we all share the same table.  Sort of like New York City…  most of us are living very individual lives (very high single and not seeking rate here) but we all share this city and we wouldn’t want to go it alone on the macro scale.  Does that make sense?

Take my bike and the girl in the background.  We have a lot in common:  We both obviously are not about to let something stupid, like work, get in the way of enjoying this beautiful day.  We both seem to care enough about our body to work on it’s running condition.  We both like this park… or at least we both have an interest in the water fountain behind me.  But at the same time, she does absolutely nothing more for my entire life than to be a small item in a photograph that leads to a talking point here on a website broadcast to everyone but read by damn near no one.

So whatever…  we share this table but sit alone. That’s New York life.

What a crazy world.  …Or crazy me.  I don’t know.

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For those of you living outside the experience of Manhattan, you may not realize this by just about the entire border of Manhattan (about 30 miles) is a park.  Thirty.  Miles.  Of.  Park.  It’s just about complete and it probably would have been if DiBlasibitch wasn’t so hell-bent on destroying everything Mayors Guilianni and Bloomberg worked to create.  Anyway, the entire west side is complete from south of the World Trade Center (Battery Park) to north of the George Washington Bridge.  It’s not just a walking path or a multi-use path, either…  It comes complete with fitness arenas (several), dog parks, tennis courts, basketball, football, helipads, marinas, sailing schools, driving ranges, huge lawns for sunbathing, piers for sunbathing and picnicking, water fountains, public restrooms that are actually clean, stellar views of New Jersey, fishing, an air craft carrier, ocean liner ports, sea planes, bowling. . . so there is enough to keep you occupied.  Oh and coffee, food & booze.

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The above photo is the sailing school with awesome picture of New Jersey in the background.  This is a couple blocks from the World Trade Center and in the midst of the World Financial Center.  Funny thing about that name..  Most of the time when ‘world’ is included in the name of something, like “World’s largest Honda dealership,” it is pretty worthless.  The fact isn’t checked by anyone because it is a complete waste of time to find out if that is, in fact, the world’s largest Honda dealership.  I mean… who cares, right?  If I need a Honda, I’ll buy a Honda.  I don’t need ALL the Hondas or anything…  But the World Financial Center… yeah… it actually is the financial center of the world.  More money is made, lost and sometimes even created out of thin air here than anywhere else in the world.  As a person- that means nothing.  As a capitalist- it kinda turns me on.

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Such a beautiful day.

Bankers having lunch.

Bankers having lunch.

While I’d like to have a job at the top of one of these meccas with their glorious views- I’m also quite content with the job I have that allows me to spend a weekday riding without a care in the world.

Seaplanes in the Harlem River.

Seaplanes in the Harlem River.

Off I rode around lower Manhattan and up the east side, which runs along the Harlem River and separates Manhattan from Brooklyn and Queens.  Somewhere around 34th Street I stumbled across an airport of sorts…  Pretty amazing to see these planes taxi around the water and then eventually take off towards the sky scrapers before turning directly north and over the Queensboro Bridge int he background!  The near-white skinny skyscraper on the left with the blue windows is the United Nations.

Riverside Church

Riverside Church

So I kept riding for awhile and this weather meant I just wasn’t getting tired!  This is the Riverside Church- a gorgeous church in Morningside Heights adjacent to Columbia University.  This is around 122nd street back on the west side.  This entire city is a piece of eye candy, really.

General Grant National Memorial

General Grant National Memorial

I have ridden by this national monument many times on an adjacent street but never took a minute to stop and see what it was! I’m glad I did, but I did not go inside because I decided not to carry a bike lock with me today.  This might be a good minute to talk about my photo setup.  The small bag on the top of the bike carries my camera, a Sony RX100 IV, which effortlessly takes photos as good as those you have seen on this blog and my Flickr page as of late.  It is a fantastic point and shoot camera with a large one inch sensor and fast 1.8-2.8 aperture 24-70mm zoom lens.  It will fit in you pocket and effortlessly make prints at 11×14 (the largest size I personally tested at 300dpi).

I still yearn for a larger camera with interchangeable lenses because I know that while this little camera blows me away, it still is not a fully-featured dSLR or mirrorless interchangeable lens camera system.  I have, somehow, in the last three years gone through too many cameras- from a D700, to an EM-5, to an EM-1 to a Canon 6D complete with tilt-shift lens to a Fuji XT-1 to a D750 and D810 simultaneously then BACK to the Fuji…somewhere there was a X100S but I forget where…  to the Sony a6000 and now this tiny little thing.  I have used the best available glass with each system and learned a couple things:  1) Amazon seller accounts are simply AMAZING.  My best time, no kidding, was something like 25 minutes.  25 minutes from listing to actually selling a lens.  Most takes no more than a day.  Amazon takes a smaller total percentage than eBay, is a hell of a lot safer than craigslist, and simply works.  2)  I have learned that despite what the internet says… the best camera is not the best camera and all cameras are capable of taking a decent photograph.  A hired gun will pay attention to nuances that most others will not see.  We pay them to do that and their efforts are not in vain…  but for the rest of us… well if we actually want to carry it than I would recommend the D810 right now but if you don’t actually want to carry it, then go as small as you are comfortable with.

The RX100IV is like therapy for me.  I invested way to much in this hobby, and so I am forcing myself to step back- at least for a little while.  The timeline is undetermined, but if you suddenly see a glorious night landscape shot then you can best your boots I pulled the plug. ; )

Anyway- back to cycling.  RX100IV.  Fits in the top tube snack bag.  Nice.

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“Let Us Have. . .”

And this is what it is all about for me- having a camera that I will actually take with me while cycling and not be too bothered to use it.  To give credit where credit is due- the inscription on the memorial is “Let Us Have Peace,” and while that is a meritorious request- I think it is not as good as the blank slate of ‘Let Us Have.’  You fill in the blank.  What do you want?  Anything you want, it is here in New York.

Mosaic benches

Mosaic benches

One thing we can have is mosaic benches surrounding the west and north sides of the General Grant Memorial.  So that’s something.  As I said above- art is everywhere here.  I love the way the benches seem to be “draped” in mosaic tile- like sheets of mosaic.

General Georgie Boy

General Georgie Boy

So I reached the GWB and completed something like 20 miles.  It was much shorter than I thought but I guess with the stopping it made sense.  I still had a few hours before having to go to work and I thought to myself…  well the house is like 15 miles or so away and yeah… why not.  So I rode home.

It’s not a small fifteen miles!  There are two rather large ridge lines that need to be crossed between this bridge and my house.    But all and all it was a great time taking Main Street through Fort Lee, Hackensack, Ridgefield and shooting through Moonachie as fast as I could.

And what to eat?

Surf 'n Beer

Surf ‘n Beer

Emilio gave me the hookup with Salmon, cauliflower with hummus dip, fa-toosh salad (salad with toasted bread chips and I decided to top it off with a bottle of the heavenly Scottish brew.

Thursday was a nice day.

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