D103.com: Archive
This is an archived page of D103.com, a daily weblog by Daryl Lang.

High on the G-Dub

» Got out of work at two yesterday, so I rode my bike uptown and over the George Washington Bridge — a humongous bridge over the Hudson River linking New York and New Jersey. The bike path has a dazzling view, though it's no place for the acrophobic.

Unfortunately, it was a hot day, I didn't have enough water, and I pushed myself too hard on the way back to Brooklyn. By the time I got home and carried by bike up the stairs, I was really hungry and thirsty, so I ate to much and felt sick.

I wasn't about to stay home, though, because I had plans to meet my friend Jeremy, who had snagged cheap tickets to a Broadway play called "Sight Unseen." The play stars Laura Linney, who you might know as Jim Carrey's wife in "The Truman Show," or perhaps as the voice who reads the Nancy Drew books on tape. (Thank you, Playbill.) Jeremy and I and Jeremy's friend Kim went out for a drink afterwards at some preppy place in Times Square, and I tried my best to avoid being surly despite feeling exhausted and slightly ill.

- Daryl

Holy waters

» After work yesterday, we had a going-away party for one of our coworkers at the Frying Pan, the bar-on-a-barge permanently moored on the west side of Manhattan. While we were hanging out and enjoying the breeze, a parade of tugboats floated past on the Hudson River. There were several tugs, fireboats, a Circle Line boat, plus a few other tour boats and work boats. We wondered what was going on until somebody announced that this was the "Blessing of the Fleet." The boats formed up by Chelsea Peirs, and received a blessing. Something new every day.

» News: My mom was just offered a new job as an art teacher in Fairplay, Colorado at South Park High School! Before you ask, yes, this is the same South Park on which the cartoon is based.

- Daryl

Greed is good

Things I want:

» A jamming device that silences car alarms
» The second and third Harry Potter books
» All-you-can-eat soft-shell crabs
» An Internet refrigerator
» Some cooler neighbors
» A transporter beam
» Donnie Darko on DVD
» Peace on earth
» A new dominant paradigm
» A new toothbrush
» To rock and roll all night and party every day
» A lover that won't drive me crazy
» A new drug
» Candy
» Money, lots and lots of money
» An exotic pet, like a llama or an emu
» To run through the halls of my high school and scream at the top of my lungs
» A ticket to the Rufus Wainwright / Ben Folds / Guster show in Central Park next month
» Fame...
» ... but not the stalkers and paparazzi and painkiller addictions that come with it
» A Dyson vacuum cleaner
» A Suzuki X-90
» More frequent flier miles
» A creamy, delicious chocolate milkshake

- Daryl

After the thunderstorm

» Sometimes I want to carry a camera with me everywhere. When I got out of the subway at the end of the day yesterday, a thunderstorm had just blown over Park Slope and the sun had come out. There was a brilliant double-rainbow arcing over the neighborhood. It only lasted about five minutes, but while it was there, everyone on the sidewalks glanced up at the sky as they walked. A rainbow exists for only a short time, and doesn't even exist in a particular place. It behaves not like an object, but like a feeling. If I had a camera, I could have tried to capture it, but photographs of rainbows are somehow never that impressive. You just have to be in the right spot in space and time to experience it.

» Charlie LeDuff, who now covers Los Angeles for the New York Times, is an excellent writer. I saw him in person a few years ago as part of a journalism panel at Penn State. He's a strange character, yet his work is so good that he can get away with being strange. Check out his story yesterday about the judge's daughter in Las Vegas. It's rare for a reporter to actually nail a story about teenage misbehavior, but this one rings really true. (To see a similar story that doesn't work as well, read this story.) I'm not sure I agree with the idea that the city, not the parents, is to blame for the way kids act, but that's a great discussion, isn't it?

- Daryl

Hey June

» I talked to my brother on the phone yesterday as he was outside at his girlfriend's place in Maryland. Like the radio announcer at the site of the Hindenburg disaster, my brother narrated for me the scene as scores of cicadas crawled out of the ground and sputtered to life like mutant zombies. (Sorry for that mixed metaphore; I just watched "28 Days Later.") So where are the cicadas in New York? I walked through Prospect Park after brunch on Sunday and saw no sign of them.

» Coca-Cola recently redesigned its 2-liter bottles into a new shape that makes them "easier to pour," per its commercials. And, oh yeah, they also only hold 1.5 liters. Hmm.

- Daryl

Little Red Lighthouse
A complete cycle

» No journal tomorrow — Have a good Memorial Day. In the mean time, here's a little photo journal of a bike ride I took yesterday. (All links go to photos.)

My goal was to ride the entire length of Manhattan, do a toe-touch in The Bronx, and ride back to Brooklyn. I started out my usual route, over the Brooklyn Bridge and up the West Side. It's Fleet Week, so there was a massive crowd of people by the Intrepid Museum to look at the battleships that have docked in the harbor. A few piers up, a cruise ship had just docked at the Passenger Ship Terminal, and travelers with massive amounts of luggage were trying to stuff themselves into buses and taxis.

The Hudson River Greenway is such a useful and well-placed trail that if it didn't exist, cyclists would demand that someone build it. At 125th Street, I took a short detour off the trail to visit Grant's Tomb. At long last I've figured out who's buried there: Grant.

The next part of the ride was confusing, because the roads along the west side split up into several overlapping tiers, making them impossible to render on my two-dimensional map. After a trip down some steep ramps and steps, I made my way to the base of the George Washington Bridge, where I took a break at the Little Red Lighthouse, the only lighthouse on Manhattan. (Yeah, there's another lighthouse on Roosevelt Island, but despite what some real estate brokers claim, Roosevelt Island ain't Manhattan.)

I biked through Inwood, under the elevated 1 train, and over the Harlem River at 207th Street. I rode up the hill to Bronx Community College, home of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. This odd monument was once part of the New York University campus. (NYU built the Bronx campus in the late 19th Century, then sold it to the city in the 1970s and moved back to the East Village.) The campus is gated, so I had to talk my way in past a guard. Apparently, The Hall of Fame doesn't get many visitors, but the guard reluctantly let me pass. The monument itself is a plaza of 90-some bronze busts depicting famous dead white men (including Ulysses S. Grant!) neatly sorted into categories such as "Scientists," "Authors," and "Statesmen." Okay, they're not all white men — the display includes George Washington Carver, plus Susan B. Anthony and a few other women. It's a weird place. Don't believe anyone who tells you there's a good view from the terrace.

For the ride home, I tried to follow the greenway down the Harlem and East rivers on Manhattan's east side, but big chunks of the trail haven't been built yet, so much of the ride involved weaving through traffic in Harlem. There are some obstacles, such as the United Nations headquarters, that make it seemingly impossible to build an unbroken trail along the East River. I stopped at a hot dog stand by the 59th Street Bridge, then had to cut back into traffic on Second Ave until I found my way back to the trail at 23rd Street. Below 23rd Street, the trail is mostly a straight shot to the South Street Seaport, passing under the three big bridges: Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn.

Back in Brooklyn, I stopped at the one-lane Carroll Street bridge over the Gowanus Canal and took a picture of the weird sign that graces it. I got an ice cream cone in Park Slope and made it home by 4, after what I figure was about 40 miles. Biking is a healthy way to see the city, and it totally clears my mind and leaves me feeling refreshed. No better way to spend a beautiful Saturday.

- Daryl

"Making Pies" - Patty Griffin - 6.1.04