Category Archives: New York

Long Overdue Post on our Bike Ride to Jersey City

Life has been busy. Between work, planning for our big trip to Asia and way too much quality time with my dentist, I’ve neglected to post about our last two bike rides of the season.

This one took us over the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey on a dreary, wet Sunday. While the fog adds a bit of a mystique to the photos, I was a little sad to miss out on the awesome views across the Hudson we were expecting. In addition, if you attempt this route, know that the Jersey side of the trail is intermittent, especially in the northern portion and you will have to ride in the street or on the sidewalk at times.

Here is our route:

Bike Ride Jersey City - FINAL

We obviously did not bike across the water. We took a ferry from Liberty State Park to Lower Manhattan. Thus, the mileage is slightly exaggerated.

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A gloomy view of New Jersey as we begin our ride

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The George Washington Bridge ensconced in fog

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Riding over the GW Bridge is an exhilarating experience but also a grueling one. You have to ride (or walk) quite a bit up hill to get from the path along the Hudson up to the bridge. The good news is, there is a lot of downhill in your future on the Jersey side!

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The view of Midtown Manhattan from New Jersey

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A 9-11 memorial in Weehawken, NJ. There were several of these as we rode through New Jersey’s towns. After a little research, I discovered the two trident-shaped beams in this picture served as supports for the towers and were salvaged from the WTC site. They stand 8 feet wide, 30 feet long, and weigh 50,000 pounds. The memorial marks the area where about 60,000 people were evacuated by ferry from Manhattan to New Jersey.

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The historic Lackawanna Train Station in Hoboken, NJ

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The view of Wall Street from Jersey City

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Liberty State Park. We were able to see the Statue of Liberty in the distance, but between the fog and the limitations of the iPhone, I could not capture it.

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A 9-11 memorial in Liberty State Park, entitled “Empty Sky.” According to Wikipedia, the memorial’s name comes from the Bruce Springsteen song “Empty Sky,” which is about the “empty sky” where the towers once stood.

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Standing in the “Empty Sky” memorial

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We loaded our bikes on the Liberty Landing Ferry and took a 15-minutes boat ride across the Hudson to Lower Manhattan.

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The view of Lower Manhattan as we get closer…

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And closer…

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And even closer.

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COMPROMISE IS NOT A DIRTY WORD

No, I’m not going to get all political on you. I’m talking about relationships. Every good relationship has to deal with compromises at some point or another. That was how The Boyfriend and I ended up bike riding 56 miles on Sunday.

What?!? Huh? Let me explain.

We were all set to go for a long bike ride on Sunday. The Boyfriend wanted to go north into Westchester County. I wanted to go south into Brooklyn. We were at an impasse.

Now, I love furniture shopping. Love it. The Boyfriend loathes it. So I said we can bike into Westchester if we try to make it to my favorite furniture store in Hawthorne, NY. “It’s only 27 miles away!” I declared.

(What’s so great about this furniture store, you ask. It’s the Bloomingdale’s Home Outlet Store, and it’s the only one of its kind in the country.)

So that’s how this happened:

Bike Ride Bloomingdales 5

Bike Ride Bloomingdales 4

Bike Ride Bloomingdales 3

Bike Ride Bloomingdales 2

Bike Ride Bloomingdales 1

And then this happened:

DJ Furniture Store

Did I mention The Boyfriend loathes furniture shopping?

Here are some other pictures from our 56 mile bike ride:

GW Bridge - distance

The George Washington Bridge in the distance only 4 miles into our bike ride.

GW Bridge

The George Washington Bridge up close.

bikes

Taking a water break after a particularly grueling hill.

Crossing Hudson

The Boyfriend crossing the bridge from Manhattan into the Bronx.

Water reflection

Pretty water in Westchester County.

Covered Bridge

Heading home… only 20 miles to go…

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Biking to Brooklyn

Last week, The Boyfriend and I ventured into a new borough via bicycle…Brooklyn. It was a grey, drizzly day, but crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge — one of the oldest suspension bridges in the U.S. — was a pretty neat experience. We didn’t have time to explore Brooklyn (my fault), but I hope to change that next time. Todays’s bike trip will take us into Virginia and should be our longest one yet. Stay tuned…

Only 15 miles, but I had a pile of work waiting for me...

Only 15 miles, but I had a pile of work waiting for me…

FreedomTower

The Freedom Tower

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Signs…

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More signs…

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The NYC skyline from the other side…

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Must come back with the DSLR…

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Why Run When You Can Bike?

Remember when I ran a half-marathon? It feels like a distant memory.

Sometimes, I look in the mirror and I have to convince myself that I’m the same person who ran 13.1 miles without stopping. The thought of running 3 miles is enough to make me want to throw my running shoes in the garbage. Clearly, my running career has not catapulted quite the way I imagined. And that is mostly because I am lazy and I don’t like running all that much – never have and probably never will. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that I’ve taken up biking again – an activity I used to love when I was younger and didn’t yet have a drivers license. When I was in college, I bought myself a beautiful electric blue Cannondale hybrid for what I thought was an exorbitant price of $500. I loved riding along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, which, I still believe is one of the best biking trails I have ever been on. So a couple of weeks ago, I brought the bike in for a tune-up, got some spanking new tires, and I was off.

One of the best things about biking is that it’s an activity The Boyfriend and I can do together. When I used to ask him if he wanted to go running with me, he would simply laugh – you know, the “what planet are you living on?” kind of laugh. As we switch off weekends between New York and D.C., we’ve been exploring bike trails in each city. This past Sunday, we rode north out of New York City, up through the Bronx and into Westchester. Here’s the map and corresponding pictures below:

Biking route nyc - 2

Biking route nyc - 1

Picture A: Overlooking the Hudson River at 70th Street

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Picture B: The George Washington Bridge at 181st Street

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Picture C: A lighthouse underneath the George Washington Bridge

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Picture D: Overlooking the Hudson River as we cross over the Henry Hudson Bridge into the Bronx

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Picture E: The South County Trail in Westchester County. I took this picture as I was riding downhill!

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Bad Blogger. Bad, Bad Blogger.

I’ve been a bad blogger. In my defense, I’ve been sick. AGAIN. What the hell? And I’ve been traveling — no where exotic, but there has been lots of time spent in train stations, in the airport, in rental cars and complaining about being sick. Some highlights…and lowlights.

I really need to know if this New York City Subway sign is real or a joke.

I really need to know if this New York City subway ad is real or a joke. Do people really pay for plastic surgery for their dogs??? And who would pay for a joke subway ad???

No offense Pittsburgh, but it sometimes seems like you're trying to make me dislike you.

No offense Pittsburgh, but it sometimes seems like you’re trying to make me dislike you.

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SNAPSHOTS OF NEW YORK CITY

I spent the weekend in New York City visiting The Boyfriend. The city never ceases to amaze me. Some snapshots for your enjoyment:

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The Great Tall Buildings Walk

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how much The Boyfriend loves skyscrapers. So much so that I made him this map in a demonstration of what an awesome girlfriend I am. Well, we finally got around to doing the 14.67 mile walk (Yes, we walked the whole way!), complete with photos of New York City’s tallest buildings.

Here’s the map:

And now, the best part – the pictures!

(A) One57: This residential building is still under construction but has topped out at 1,005 feet. The crane you see at the top broke loose during Hurricane Sandy, resulting in the neighborhood’s evacuation.

One57

(B): The City Spire Center: 814 feet

City Spire Center

(C) GE Building: This iconic building, probably better known as 30 Rock, tops out at 850 feet. I love this shot with the flags of Rockefeller Center peeking out at the bottom.

30 Rock

(D) 432 Park Avenue: This building is officially under construction but there’s not much to see. It’s debatable whether it should be included in The Great Tall Buildings Walk, but I opted to include any buildings in which ground has been broken. This building will be 1,379 feet.

432 Park Ave

(E) Bloomberg Tower: 806 feet.

Bloomberg Tower

(F) Citigroup Center: 915 feet

Citigroup Center

(G) Trump World Tower: Not far from the United Nations, the Trump World Tower is the second largest residential building in the city at 861 feet.

Trump World TowerTrump World Tower

Trump World Tower

(H) The Chrysler Building: Standing at 1,046 feet, it was the tallest building in the world from 1930 until 1931.

The Chrysler Building

(I) The MetLife Building: 808 feet.

MetLife Building

(J) Bank of America Tower: At 1,200 feet, the Bank of America Tower is the 4th tallest building in the U.S.

Bank of America Tower

(K) Conde Nast Building: 809 feet

Conde Nast Building

(L) New York Times Building: At 1,046 feet, it is the 8th tallest building in the U.S.

New York Times Building

(M) Empire State Building: Standing 1,250 feet tall, it is the 3rd tallest building in the U.S. and was the tallest building in the world from 1931 until 1972.

Empire State Building

(N): 8 Spruce Street: Designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry, 8 Spruce street is the tallest residential building in the western hemisphere. It stands at 876 feet.

8 Spruce Street

(O) 70 Pine Street: 952 feet

70 Pine Street

(P) The Trump Building: At 927 feet, the Trump Building was the world’s tallest building for less than two months in 1930.

The Trump Building

(Q) One Chase Manhattan Plaza: 813 feet

One Chase Manhattan Plaza
(R) Four World Trade Center: There’s not much to see because the building is under construction and my iPhone died. When completed, the building will be 977 feet.
(S) Three World Trade Center: The building will be 1,171 feet

Three World Trade Center

(T) One World Trade Center: Also known as the Freedom Tower, it will be 1,776 feet when it’s done.

One World Trade Center

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TRYING SOMETHING NEW: WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

The folks at The Daily Post challenge bloggers to a weekly photo challenge, and it seems to be all the rage will my fellow wordpressers. Since it seems like a perfectly  good excuse to take more pictures, I’m going to give it a whirl. This week’s challenge is BIG. So here is my photographic interpretation of big.

New York Times Building

The New York Times building. At 1,046 feet, it is the 4th tallest building in New York City, the 9th tallest in the U.S., and the 58th tallest in the world. (This ranking includes the still uncompleted Freedom Tower.)

 

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The Race: My Time, My Thoughts, And My Unadulterated Hatred of Cold Weather

Today was RACE DAY. It was a painful, cold, demoralizing, cold, sleep-deprived, cold experience. But… it was also kind of awesome.

Let me start at the beginning. Today was the first ever 5K Runway Run at La Guardia Airport. We actually ran on the runway while planes were taking off. Pretty darn cool. Today was also my first race ever in a half-baked effort to become one of those runners other people eye enviously. It’s not going so well but that’s a tale for another time.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this story. At times, I was cursing myself. Like when the alarm went off at 7 a.m. this morning. And when I was standing around shivering my butt off waiting for the race to start. And when I was pushing myself to run as fast as I could towards the finish line even though my lungs were yelling, “I hate you!” And yet, despite all that, I felt a thrill. I felt alive. I felt like I was part of something both silly and special. And, perhaps most importantly, I learned some things.

What did I learn?

THE POWER OF THE BLOG
When my alarm went off this morning I wanted so desperately to hit the off button and go back to sleep. But then I thought about the legions of loyal readers expecting a detailed blow by blow of my public humiliation. The thought of disappointing you was more painful than crawling out of bed. So crawl out of bed I did. Thank you.

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A scary self-portrait

THE POWER OF COMPETITION
I was not fast. Out of 572 runners, I was #358 – not even average. But I was fast for me. I pushed myself, and it hurt. It hurt a lot. I finally crossed the finish line after 34 minutes and 38 seconds, or a pace of 11:09/mile. Compared to the guy who finished in 16 minutes and 24 seconds, I’m a heaping pile of patheticness, but compared to my normal heaping pile of patheticness, I’m practcially a super hero. Even though my time didn’t actually matter – it’s not like I was trying to set a new PR – the simple act of running in a race made me run faster. And when it was all over, I wondered if I could do better. Don’t hold your breath, but there might be hope for me yet.

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Winners on the left; me on the right.

IT TAKES ALL KINDS
Yes, it certainly does. There were your classic hardcore runners – the folks who darted to the front of the line when the announcer called for all people who plan on running a five minute mile pace or under; the lean runner types whose can fit both their thighs into one of my tree trunks; the guy who looked like he just ran all the way from Kenya and said, “what the heck, I’ll do this race too.” But then there were people who walked the whole thing, parents who brought their kids, a woman who ran the whole race in bunny ears and a puffy tail. And then there was a girl who, despite the cold and the unforgiving wind, wore a sports bra, shorts, and – wait for it – gloves! The point is: It didn’t matter that I felt sluggish or that I had no clue what I was doing. I fit right in.

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RUNNING ON A RUNWAY IS AWESOME
The pictures speak for themselves.

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Another scary self-portrait

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This was the conversation in my head this morning:

Voice #1: You look slightly Pillsbury Dough Boyish. You need to start running again.

Voice #2: You should enter a race.

Voice #3: Don’t be stupid. You’re too slow. You’ll look like a fool.

Voice #1: It’s 2 against 1. You lose.

So I entered my first 5K in New York City on October 14th at LaGuardia Airport. Yes, I get to run on the runway at LaGuardia which is pretty darn awesome, but I may finish last, which will be pretty darn humiliating. But I drafted two of my sisters to run with me so at least we will all be humiliated together. What’s that saying? Humiliation loves company… or something like that.

Plus, my registration fee goes to support the Wounded Warrior Project, so really, my imminent humiliation isn’t that big of a deal. Check it out here.

I’ve Entered My First Race

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