A quick trip to McCarren Park turned into a “make your own,” map-less adventure into Queens earlier today.
(We also went to check out the general area that my friend, A, will be moving to in the next few days.)
We didn’t stop and explore McCarren Park though. An act borne partly out of an awkward-person-type blunder of mine. We saw the baseball field to our left. The Olympic-size pool was to our right. Where the fuck is the so-called “park”? We were stopped along the side of the road. In a sense, we were kind of in the way (?).
“Let’s just keep going,” was the suggestion from M.
So we kept going up Lorimer Street—Oh, that’s where the “park” is—connected back with Manhattan Avenue, all the way down ’til we couldn’t go no more.
i.e. Newtown Creek.
We took a small break to admire the view a bit. We could see RB’s office building off in the distance. A tall, black mass of a building, pseudo-sandwiched between the Bank of America Tower and the MetLife building.
Whilst admiring the skyline, a guy on a jet ski came put-putting by into the creek. Where he came from, or where he was going, I’m not quite sure.
Coming towards him in the opposite direction though, was a barge full of scrap metal. The captain of the barge cracked a joke, “You should go swimming! The water is totally clean!”—or something along those lines.
Reality: Newtown Creek is not clean. Given its history as an industrial site, the estuary is one of the most polluted waterways. Though, it’s probably second to the lovely Gowanus Canal, which is “the most extensively contaminated bodies of water” in the U.S., according to the EPA. Emphasis mine.
Better believe. And don’t even attempt this. Oh, god. Don’t even look at the water.
Anyway. After that sweet moment between the barge and random dude on jet ski, we decided to continue our bike ride into Queens.
From Manhattan Avenue, we hooked left onto Greenpoint Avenue and crossed over the John Jay Byrne Bridge. Nice little bridge, that is.
To our right was the First Calvary Cemetery. I wondered if my family had a plot somewhere in the state, if not the city itself.
We didn’t have a particular destination in mind, so we just kept going towards Astoria. When we go to this junction at 48th Street, I suggested we make towards the water but lo, and behold…
I have a feeling it wasn’t “officially” open yet, but there wasn’t anything blocking the bike track along Queens Boulevard so the hell with it.
We took it to its end at 65th Place, did a U-turn and took the bike track back up to 48th Street. (Queens has a weird street system… e.g. 65th Street followed by 65th Place; or 64th Avenue crossing at 64th Street…)
At this point we made our way towards the waterfront. And I thought it would never come.
But we made it. To Rainey Park (which is right next a friggin’ Costco). We took a small break; admiring the skyline of Roosevelt Island, and the tall buildings of Midtown East and the UES.
The one thing we noticed passing each block is how much the homes, buildings, and life resembles D.C. The only difference is that you get the quiet “suburbia” feel of Northwest buttressed alongside Southeast and Adams Morgan all within 5 blocks of each other. It’s quite a sight.
The hunger was setting in at this point, but instead of stopping somewhere we used the last remaining energy to get home.
We followed Vernon Boulevard down to the Polaski Bridge.
Rush hour is not a fun hour. Also, road conditions are uh… yeah. Backlogged by pedestrians, we slowly made our way over the Pulaski Bridge. From there, it was a fight with buses, cars, and delivery trucks.
An hour and 40 minutes after starting from Bushwick, we made it back home.
Margaritas on the rocks immediately made. We’re that kind of people.
In all, we did about 16.5 miles of biking today. And it was a nice afternoon to boot. Perfect for mileage-adding, non-training prep for the upcoming century ride.