Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Great Blight of Dullness

I had to bike up to 187 Street in the Bronx yesterday. In the giant jigsaw puzzle of this city, I got to fill in a few more pieces in my mental map!

Every time I head north, which isn't too often, I'm often amazed by, what are they called... Hills! In New York!

Ride the City Route Planner set me up nicely. There were painted bike lanes much of the way. Then I had to head to Hells Kitchen.

Coming back into Manhattan, I got to ride (for the first time) on the green line that is the Harlem River Greenway. It's on the upper east side (lowercase upper and "east" should be in quotes) of Manhattan.

(photo credit)

Lot of glass up there, I couldn't help but notice, and not too many bikes. Still, the bike path made for a fast ride...

But...

What a boring ride. Yeah, I know there's river next to me and water is always nice. But really, I didn't move to the city to be sandwiched between a loud ugly freeway and a not-so-pleasant body of water.

I felt like I had died on gone to my very own urban hell. Sure it's nice having a deserted path to ride down, but it's next to a friggin freeway!

You can call it a park and make it green on the map, but what part of "next to a freeway" don't you understand? It's ugly and not particularly pleasant. And perhaps the greatest crime for city life: it's monotonous. A Great Blight of Dullness.

And I think the worst place to live in the city may be the Rangel Homes (Ralph, not Charles. But Ralph is Charles's brother... what a coincidence). These projects are pinched in a weird triangle of low ground between two freeways and the Polo Grounds Towers to the south. How do you get out? Where do you buy anything? And how do you carry groceries home?

I missed the city: the people, the stores, the sights, distractions (though not the traffic).

Green line be damned. Next time I'm taking an Avenue.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah it's dull, but nothing beats Route 9W for dullness. It may not be a bike path, but it's a dreadful bore (b/w Fort Lee and Piermont.)

I'm okay with this greenway: Ride fast enough and it shouldn't take more than 10min. Once, I came across an old man in his Caddy (Florida plates) stuck on the greenway as another biker tried to guide him backward. That sure broke the monotony.

e said...

You will have a hard time finding an avenue to take you from the Bronx and keep you on the east side. Did you not notice the cliffs on the other side of the highway? Go west on Dykeman and take the west side greenway next time, much nicer. Or... south to Randalls Island and the Triboro. Us uptown people do those hills everyday!