the road to nowhere

Here we go again: six months worth of photos dumped all at once. My housewarming, and ‘s wedding, Arisia 2004 and a buncha other stuff. And…a story:


This shot, believe it or not, is of uptown Manhattan. It’s a little hard to say for certain, but I’d guess that it’s somewhere around 189th Street and 12th Avenue…inasfar as it’s close to anything.

No, seriously.

See, back in September, when I’d just moved my ass from Brooklyn to Inwood, one of my first priorities (after unpacking the mountains and mountains of cardboard boxes) was to figure out a way to continue my habit of bicycling to work. The commute promised to be a little longer than it had been — roughly 12 miles from Inwood to TriBeCa compared to 6 from Park Slope — but I’d heard rumors that the long-under-construction NYC Greenway had finally been finished, so in theory the ride, while longer, would be down almost entirely flat ground along the edge of the Hudson River.

But as a wise man once said, there’s a difference between knowing the path and riding the path. Or something like that. It turns out that the difference is this: first, you have to find the path. That ended up being a little harder than I’d anticipated. Miranda’s ex-roomate claimed to have done it once, but her instructions were a little vague: take a right on Dyckman and then go up a flight of stairs to the actual path…and expect it to be a little rough in patches.

So on a lovely fall morning, I got up much earlier than usual, allowing myself a good two hours of getting-lost time. I took a right on Dyckman and followed it to the end, which is a little marina on the water. There weren’t any steps in evidence, but there was, in fact, a somewhat rough-looking path heading due south along the waterline. Not having any better ideas, I followed it. And followed it. And followed it.

I bet you didn’t know that there were fishing shacks along the Hudson River! The old Dominican guys in it seemed a little nonplussed to see a yuppie bicyclist pass behind them, but no matter, I pressed on… and on… It was certainly peaceful enough: all I could hear was the river, all I could see was… well, you can see it above. No cars, no people, no nothing.

After about a mile, the trail started to get narrower and narrower. Eventually, there was barely a visible trail at all, and the surrounding greenery was rubbing against my legs. I pushed on because I knew damn well that I’d been told that there would be rough trail and then stairs to the proper path…and surely there would be stairs somewhere.

Well, no: the trail took a small jog to the left and terminated at a crushed section of fence leading into the white pebbles of a Conrail rail bed. The George Washington Bridge was looming above at that point, and from above and to the left I could hear the sounds of cars on the West Side Highway. Sadly, between annoyance and nervousness, I didn’t stop to take any pictures at that point — I’ll go back and do so this Spring.

It took another 20 minutes to backtrack all the way to Dyckman Avenue and find the actual stairs to the actual bike path, which I’m pleased to report is a very enjoyable ride.

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