04 September 2008

Labor Day -1 (Erev Labor Day, for you Jews)

(click on any photo to enlarge and get the full power of my camera's mysterious graininess.)

On Sunday I spent about 12 hours with Kate and James. That's not all that unusual - we've spent long weekends together, and they are brother and sister, after all - but the day was jam-packed with adventures.

The thing about catching the 11am ferry to Governors Island is that if you live in Inwood, on the far end of Manhattan from the ferry terminal, you have to wake up at 7:30am, the same time you'd be waking up if you were going to work.

Luckily, you're not going to work. You're meeting Kate and James on the D platform at 145th (because someone saw fit to stop the 1 from going past 14th St. this weekend, thanks) and then getting on a boat and then going to Governors Island to rent bikes and ride around the prettiness.

The thing about going to Governors Island to rent a bike is that you may not have been on a bicycle in the last ten years, and you're seriously wondering if what they say about never forgetting how to ride a bike is true.

It is!

So true, even, that when you try to brake you'll reach for hand brakes that aren't there! How's that for muscle memory? Luckily, this braking incident will not give Kate the bike crash she's been sickly hoping for.

In fact, I didn't crash at all. I cruised along on a seafoam-green old-school looking bike that made me seriously want one of my own. James and Kate rocked a tandem bike in the most dignified manner*.

I can't recommend Governors Island and their bike rentals enough. It's a lovely, simple little place, with paths by the water and paths winding through the buildings, which mostly look like an abandoned Southern college campus. Lots of trees, lots of quiet, lots of great views over the water. I could've handled it being a little bigger - one circuit takes maybe fifteen minutes, but we were happy to repeat that loop a few times.

Also, not having done it for ten years, I'd forgotten - or maybe not ever appreciated - how wonderful riding a bicycle feels.

After two hours we boarded the ferry back to Manhattan. (Note to those considering a Governors Island bike-renting trip: our 11am ferry was sparsely peopled, but the line waiting for the 1:30 ride was epic. There were also not gonna be very many bikes waiting for that hoard. Go early.) Here are some other things I can recommend:

Bottle Shock The siblings and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Not the most elegantly structured script, not the most restrained use of soaring shots of Napa Valley, but a really enjoyable, funny, engaging movie. And most of the soaring shots of Napa Valley are really beautiful. So is Bill Pullman.

the Chai Latte at joe For many years, without even knowing it, I have sought to rediscover the delicious chai base we used to use in the Barnes & Noble Cafe, before B&Ns started serving Starbucks chai. Sweet and spicey with almost a honey flavor, I think it was called Writers Chai, and it was delicious. And this tastes just like it.

Red Mango Okay, now I'm just chronicling our afternoon. But all sun-tired and movie-happy, it was a tasty snack. We then went to Astoria for a friend's barbeque, which unlike those Brooklyn barbeques I've heard of, took place not in a back yard but on a wee concrete balcony that we kept worrying would collapse all of us onto 38th Street of wherever we were. But if you stood on your tiptoes you could see the Manhattan skyline, and there was a lot of good food and good people and it was a great Sunday the end.




anna said...

what a sweet picture of you on that bike! not to mention the tandem charmers. my love to james.

isaac butler said...

i will not allow you to like bill pullman. or bill paxton, for that matter.