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Two views of New York City ...(1 post)

Two views of New York City ...Humma Hah
Mar 10, 2002 7:19 PM
... actually, this IS cycling related, in an off-bike kind of way.

My wife and I have been talking for years about doing dinner and the theater in NYC, and this seemed like a good time, an early 21st wedding anniversary celebration.

So we take the train up for a 3-day weekend, and our first stop is a hike up from Penn Station to Times Square to snag some half-price theater tickets. She's looking at the flashy signs and crowds. Me, I'm eying the bikes --"That's a fixie! That one, too."

The next day we met the best deal in the city, our Big Apple Greeters volunteer tour guide. Picture this: just for asking, they hook you up with a native New Yorker who gives you an entire morning of his time to walk you around the part of the city of your choice. Free subway tickets come with the deal. John, our guide, is a Merrill Lynch stock analyst who was born there, raised in Chinatown (speaks Cantonese), did the Catholic School thing, knows all the best spots to eat, and walked us about 12 miles on Saturday around most of the south end of Manhattan.

Nina: "Is that the Empire State Building?"
Me: "Wow, that yellow and red fixed-gear is the exact same bike Miss M rides."

Nina: "Lets walk over the Brooklyn Bridge to see the other side."
Me: "Hmm, about a 200 ft climb, grade's about like that long hill on the Parkway, worse than anything else in the city, but the cruiser could take it. Look, that old Schwinn cruiser's about the same vintage and model as Humma Hah, singlespeed, lookit that sumbitch go -- I believe I've just seen my match."

My observation on New Yorkers: They don't give a rat's patootie WHAT they ride, as long as it is servicable. Cheap is good. Most of the bikes were old, a few looked to be from the EARLY half of the last century. Fenders were common. Locks generally exceeded both the bike's weight and value. They RIDE. In today's 50 mph winds, there were still cyclists about.

It is not a wonder that folks ride bikes there. The wonder is that anyone attempts to drive a car.