Rode to the beach late this morning. Had to watch my favorite Japanese science show on Manhattan Cable: Megaten. Today's episode, "How Science Can Help A Young Boy Learn to Swim". Don't look for it on your TV unless you live in the New York or DC metro areas. Rode without the trailer, which felt odd. Started south on West End Avenue (11th Avenue) to the West Side Highway (12th Avenue or West Street). Transferred to the interim bike lane through the never-ending construction zone that one day will be the new Hudson River Park. The interim lane is clogged with every form of human-powered transportation: bikers, joggers, dogs, pot smokers, old people with walkers, baby carriages, in-line skaters, shopping carts filled with recyclables, crazy people looking for attention, shirtless bodybuilders, young homosexuals in love, and much, much more. The bike lane under construction will be segregated from the pedestrian areas, but I don't trust New Yorkers to observe that separation. Crosstown at Murray Street instead of the usual Chambers Street then behind City Hall to the Brooklyn Bridge entrance.
Crossed the East River into Brooklyn on the promenade down the middle of the bridge as I've done a thousand times before. This being a weekend means the pedestrian traffic is low. Still, there's always an amateur on the bridge who doesn't see the pedestrian and bicycle icons stenciled on the deck. "Let me see. I think I'll wander over this yellow line to the other side of the bridge. Without looking. Duh." Of course, they don't say "duh" but they think it. Over the bridge to Todd's apartment in the painfully upscale neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights. He loads a ton of photo gear into a backpack-style camera bag for the trip to the ocean. We basically head southeast on a series of city streets. Clinton, Union, half a lap around Prospect Park, Ocean, and a long ride on Bedford Avenue past Midwood High School (at Brooklyn College, of course). We Ride Bedford to its end at Sheepshead Bay then it's east on Emmons to the newly resurfaced Shore Parkway Bike Path. An excellent paving job. They even painted lanes on the thing. The path continues for several miles to Marine Park, but I don't know how far the repaving job has gone. We turn right on to Flatbush Avenue beside the remains of Floyd Bennet Field, a retired military airfield. Over the Rockaway Inlet on the Marine Parkway Bridge. "Walk Your Bike" signs everywhere. I've never walked across it before and I see no reason to start walking across it now. Just be careful going past the people fishing from the bridge.
We're now in Queens on the Rockaway Peninsula. Down 169th Street to Jacob Riis Park, a segment of the Gateway National Park. Ride along the concrete boardwalk in search of a sign saying "Welcome to Rockaway Beach", but we don't find one. Transfer to Rockaway Beach Road when the boardwalk ends. Ride on that for a while then back to the boardwalk, which is actually made out of boards here. Bicycles are not permitted on it at this time of day, but none of the cops or park workers says anything to us or any of the other cyclists. Just ride carefully and nobody has any reason to care about it. We ride pretty far out before we find a sign to photograph. Not a very scenic location. We find another one on the way back that looks better. This stretch of the beach is not as attractive or as clean so we head back to Jacob Riis. Ease the bike into the water just far enough to wet the wheels and my feet, take a photo, and remove the computer from the mount. The water is excellent. As warm as the coast of West Africa. Thirty degrees warmer than Rockaway Beach, Oregon. Time for a swim. Body surfed the better waves. Even took photos in the water with the waterproof point-and-shoot camera I've been using.
Rode back on the Shore Parkway Bike Path. Saw this older woman with leather brown skin I recognized from last year sunbathing with her friends in the exact same spot: halfway into the bike lane. Some people must think the earth just revolves around them. Next year I think they should try sunbathing in the street. Let the cars deal with them for a change.
Took a different route back. Went to Spumoni Gardens in Bensonhurst for pizza and, what else, spumoni. I found the pizza tasty, but hugely overrated given its reputation as (fanfare) "The Greatest Pizza on Earth". The spumoni was quite good, however. Bought Middle East baked goods at Damascus Bakery on Atlantic Avenue. Got a week's supply of my favorite cheese bread they sell. Over to Todd's to gather up the remaining processed film. Halfway through the ride I switched to the slower speed films available at the drug stores along the way. It was so gray in Michigan, Ontario, and New York. I didn't like the quality of those photos as much as the ones I took out West with the higher speed film under the blazing sun.
Back home through Manhattan on the same route I took out. Nothing interesting to speak of. I ride this way every weekday to and from work. Work? Work? Hmmm. I've heard of this somewhere before. What is it?