10 August 2013


My son is finally into cycling.  In recent days, he actually asked me when we would be going cycling.  Today, after tutoring class and lunch, instead of a walk in Forest Park, we rushed home to get ready for cycling.  Something else came up and I was not sure if I would be needed elsewhere but it all turned out in my favor and we did go cycling.

On a recent ride, I realized that in my neighborhood we actually have very few bike lanes.  When we made a big loop of the Coney Island Rail Yard, it was only on Neptune Avenue that we finally found a bike lane.  The rest of the way we just had to share the road with cars.  Luckily there was plenty of room for the cars to pass our short bike-train of three (me, son, and nephew).  To really enjoy cycling without the fear of being hit by cars, we would need to be on the waterfront by the Belt Parkway, or on the Riegelmann Boardwalk (aka Coney Island Boardwalk) between 5 AM and 10 AM, or start from Plum Beach toward Queens and the Fuhgeddaboutit sign.  Today, we checked the Belt Parkway waterfront off our to-do list.  We didn't go all the way to Owl's Head but instead turned around shortly after passing under the Verrazano Bridge.  It was a beautiful day, even if we sweated a bit.  I brought along a bag of Chips Ahoy cookies and two bottles of water.  We stopped for photo-op near the bridge, but the sun was not in our favor so we took better photos on the way back.  Along the way, I pointed out to son and nephew telltale signs of parked cars that might suddenly swerve into traffic (tail-light on), anglers who arch back to swing their baits out into the water, yapping cyclists traveling side-by-side, reckless children (isn't that an oxymoron?), accompanied by parents or not.  While not as bothersome as driving, cycling is still full of hassles.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed the ride.  On the way back, near home, I pointed out the triangular playground that mere weeks ago son and nephew were newbie cyclists limited within the fence of that very playground.  I am so happy.

Earlier in the day, I took a stroll in the Corona-Elmhurst area.  Years ago, the reason we moved from the Bronx to Elmhurst, Queens was partly because of my father's job at some box factory.  During a subway strike, he had to stay at a friend's apartment to be able to get to work.  Ironically, shortly after we moved to Elmhurst, he got laid off from the job.  Over the years, I am curious where this factory was.  I have a vague idea of where it was and today made the trip to find it.  Unfortunately, over the years things changed and I think the building now is some public school, namely Elmhurst Educational Campus.  The word "Campus" makes me think about schools, like Newtown High School nearby, that received failing grades year after year.  After unsuccessfully shutting down the school, the City tried to rename the schools and replace a big chunk of the personnel, coupled with renaming of the school.  Supposedly, the change qualifies as making the schools all-new again and qualified for federal money.  One of the shot below even has Newtown's tower.  The stairs are for traveling over some LIRR rails.  For a few years, each morning I would go straight from Denman Street to get to the footbridge and cross over to catch the B58 to get to school at JHS 73 in Maspeth.  The area was desolate back then.  Today it is well-developed, possibly with much manufacturing replaced by residential buildings.

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