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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Field Trip: Governors Island

You would not believe what I went through to get this picture.
All summer, I'd wanted to visit Governors Island in New York Harbor. It got its name because it housed the British governors during colonial days. It was closed to the public for almost 200 years as a military base, home to the U.S. Army and later the Coast Guard.  Just 800 yards from lower Manhattan, it's open only from late May through late September. The city bike map informed me it has "five miles of car-free biking with outstandig views of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New York Harbor."

Saturday, 11:45 a.m.: The journey begins. Kurt and I race south on our rented bikes to catch the 12 p.m. ferry. Could we make it? It was like our own personal Amazing Race! We were weaving around tourists and almost took out several kids on scooters.
12:01 p.m. we arrive at ferry terminal. Ugh. But good news: next ferry is at 12:30, not 1 as I thought.
12:03: We pedal toward the South Seaport to kill a few minutes before our ferry. This is when the wheels start to fall off the bus...
12:08 I land hard off the curb (oops) and the bolt holding my bike seat in place falls out. We try to get the part replaced at a bike shop in Battery Park, but they can't help. We pedal back to Christopher Street; my seat is at midget-level and gently rocking back and forth as we weave in and out of traffic. It's now after 1. Seeing the universe is clearly conspiring against this trip -- as evidenced by the clouds that have rolled in -- Kurt turns in his bike. I refuse to give up!
2 p.m. Ferry pulls out. It's just a seven-minute ride to the tiny island. I bike the entire perimeter in about 20 minutes, then pedal along some of the cross-streets. 
Part of it reminds me of being on an abandoned college campus...
Other parts are, um, less scenic...but they've only just begun to turn it into a public space, and I'm sure all of the dodgy-looking parts will be gone in a few years.
There were several special events going art show...and a trapeze demonstration! (The Dave Matthews Band was supposed to perform on the island the weekend of the hurricane.)
It would be a lovely place to spend a pretty day. But given the clouds, after I covered most of the island, I was ready to head back. The bike shop didn't charge us for Kurt's bike, and they started my rental at 1. I thought that was pretty cool of them. 

Kurt had used the afternoon to make some roasted potato, green onion and leek soup. He also put together this clever arrangement for a friend's birthday.
I barely made it through the rest of the afternoon, exhausted from the long ride and drowsy from the big beer I had with my burger when I got back to the neighborhood. It will be an early night...headed to Central Park early tomorrow for the Komen breast cancer run!

1 comment:

Dee Stephens said...

so freaking fun!! I have to come visit :) I know I keep saying that!