“You run errands on your bike? That must eat up so much time!” said a friend. Well, no. For one thing, to paraphrase what Colette (or Freud or May Sarton – maybe all three) said of cats, time spent on a bicycle is never wasted. For another, in NYC a bike is often the fastest way to get somewhere, and certainly the most entertaining.
On Saturday, for example, I rode to Kalustyan’s, an extraordinary spice/herb/et al. emporium at 28th and Lexington: probably a $30 cab ride, round trip, or at least an hour of convoluted subway slogging, either option low on cost efficiency (and pleasure). Instead, Maggie and I set off into the bright summer morning, enjoying the sights and sounds of the city.
The 68th St. entrance to the Hudson River Greenway offers this view of the old railroad transfer bridge framed by the highway above.
Greenway to 30th St., then left, which landed me in a construction zone.
To be accurate, these signs should read everything and everyone in bike lane – proceed if you dare.
Clueless pedestrians, off-leash dogs, parked delivery trucks, aggressive motorists, wrong-way cyclists, litter, potholes, recessed manhole covers… I appreciate our bike lanes, but they are not for the faint of heart.
I continued across 30th St., watching the scenery shift from west to east. Loud construction under the High Line…
…gave way to residential calm a block later…
…then back to bustling commerce at 7th Avenue…
…and peaceful canyons at Madison.
Kalustyan’s bounty so overwhelmed me that I forgot to take a photo of Maggie folded and parked at the entrance. You’ll just have to trust that she was with me.
One can travel the world in this little shop. It carries every spice I’ve ever heard of, in various forms, and much much more. I bought cumin seeds, both white and black, ground ginger and a jar of chili [sic] garlic paste to replace one I bought about 20 years ago. (The stuff never goes bad.)
A quick glimpse of the Empire State building as I headed over to 8th Avenue and back uptown.
8th Ave. has a protected bike lane that gets tricky near Times Square. The far left lane is reserved for taxis, so bikes move to a shared lane in the middle of the street. Motorists don’t always acknowledge the “sharing” part.
I stopped near Lincoln Center to check out the farmers’ market. Tomatoes!! This early in the season they need a little help; mozzarella di bufala, fresh basil and minced garlic scapes turned them into a satisfying caprese salad.
Nearly home, I was struck by this pretty composition of clouds, sky and buildings.
Cycling can turn humdrum errands into an adventure. Riding Maggie has given me a richer, more intimate sense of my big noisy city, and all the diversity it comprises.
Oh, another wonderful tour of NYC! I love Kalustyan’s, too; between that and the farmers’ market you had a nearly perfect shopping day. Aside from the many benefits you mention, you’re also engaging in healthful exercise — which is nothing anyone can accuse a taxi of providing!
True, cycling in traffic is better exercise than sitting in a cab, even when both are stop-and-go! I wish I could swap a city tour for one of your trail rides, Brommie.