Wednesday, June 8, 2011
A Bike Ride Through Riverside Park
Roses at sunset (click on photos to enlarge)
The other night I went uptown to meet my friend Elliott who was laid up at home after a little surgery. Elliott lives on the Upper West Side which is not a neighborhood I get to often and we had decided to have something to eat in Riverside Park so I rode the blue Schwinn up the bike path which runs along the edge of the Hudson River. Usually on the weekends, the bike path is terribly crowded and I actually avoid it because it can be dangerous but at 6:00 on a weeknight it was pleasantly free of traffic. The path is flat and I love whizzing up it right next to the river and past the boat marina at 79th Street. Further on I crossed the West Side Highway and got into the wooded, hilly part of Riverside Park, which stretches from 72nd Street to 158th Street. Elliott lives on West 90th Street and I couldn't tell where I was exactly so I rode for a bit. I love parks that offer trees and grass and flowers in New York. Although I am a city boy, I also am a country boy. Parks offer the simplicity and pleasure of nature in the middle of a very sophisticated city.
Elevated over the river is a wide promenade which is perfect for strolling.
At the top of the promenade is a wonderful flower garden bursting with plants. A sign says that it is maintained by volunteers called the Garden People. Looking it up, I see that this garden provided the setting for a scene in the 1998 movie You've Got Mail.
Roses and flowers run the length of the promenade.
As the sun grew lower over the Hudson River, the shadows grew longer.
I found my way up to 90th Street. The elegant buildings that line Riverside Drive curve gracefully to follow the street.
I picked up Elliott and we headed back down to Riverside Park to catch up and eat some sandwiches and salads. Bikers and runners and walkers passed by. This building rose above us. Elliott said it was the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Monument built during the Civil War to commemorate those who served.
The sun slipped down behind the crest of New Jersey.
When it was dark we said good bye and I rode my bike home. There were even fewer people on the path and it was a delight to zip along the river towards 15th Street. Lights sparkled on the black river and there was a moon overhear. Something about being on a bike at night, like our ride in Amsterdam, takes me back to my childhood in the most joyous way.
Here is a little video I made while riding along the promenade. Enjoy the sounds of the birds and the musicians. The only thing you don't get here is the rich fragrant smell of the trees and the grass.