Monday, May 3, 2010

Bikes and Car Bombs in NYC

One of the things we learned two years ago in Staten Island is how bad the bus service can be.  We fell for it again this year and waited an hour for the fifteen minute interval 44 coach to the Staten Island Ferry.  Again, two buses showed and the first bus picked up passengers at every stop, while the second followed empty.

This year we decided to hang out in West Village.  Greenwich Village to the old timers reading.  It's very eclectic and a pretty cool place to hang out and shop.  Our guide Gwen mentioned that many of these Brownstone Buildings have been featured on the HGTV in the show "Selling New York".   The going rate for these places was in the four to five million dollar range. None of us knew the village well enough to pick a dinner spot.  We did stop for a martini (or two) while "people watching".  West Village is definitely a people watching area.

Gwen had to get back to Queens for a dinner date which left us three tourist on our own. We decided to visit Times Square.   Margie got herself into a couple of group hugs and we were looking around for a place to eat.  That's when we noticed the excitement begin to build.  There were cops everywhere and what looked like a car fire.  Next the firemen showed and hundreds of tourist followed the cops and firemen to take photos of a burning car.  We didn't find out till turning on the news around midnight when we got back to the hotel that the car was filled with explosives.   No one had any idea what was really going on till the firemen put our the fire and saw what was in the car.  Eventually, that area of Times Square was evacuated.  We found an outside restaurant in Rockefeller Center and had four appetizers and six drinks. (two each).  $180 with the tip. Hey, we're on vacation right?

New York knows how to move people.  And New Yorkers know how to wait to get moved.  We three were exhausted and just wanted to get back to the hotel for some sleep.  We needed to arise by 5AM to catch the ferry back to Manhattan the following morning for the ride.  This night we had to wait till 10:30 for the next boat to Staten Island.  Topping that off, the 44 bus, our nemesis from earlier, was running late.  We opted for a car back to the hotel.  Another $30 bucks.  The ferry provided free parking on the Staten Island side and it's a 10 minute drive from the hotel.  If we go back, and stay on the Island, we won't be using the bus.

We had learned three years ago, not to go the back of the starting line.  It could take 90 minutes from the time of the official cannon start to cross the staring line even then it's stop and go all the way to and through Central Park.  We now ride our bikes up 8th Ave to Park Ave and enter Central Park there.  On the way we stopped for breakfast at Starbucks and still got to Central Park by 8:30. 

The city has built lots of bike lanes and installed traffic controls that take into account the bikes. Rich after this photo the bike lane light changed to red and there was a car in the left turning lane.  I stopped and Brandon came screaming up and slid into me and my bike during his power braking.  He started yelling, "what are you stopping for?"   It needs to be understood that till then we had been rolling through the lights because the traffic was so light that early in the morning.

The follow are random shots from the 40 mile ride through the five boroughs and over five bridges of NYC.  It was a really good day. 



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