#GreatManhattanLoop meets CitiBike and Egg Rolls

come again?Last year when I went to Egg Rolls & Egg Creams I had thoughts of completing some of the Lower East Side section of the Loop. Yeah, it didn’t happen. I did some exploring, but not along the river. In truth, some of the same happened yesterday.It was a beautiful day for the Festival, during which I learned a lot about the synagogue’s history. It really is amazing that it was saved and preserved in such wonderful detail. As a result, it stands out as a relic from another era and time among the 21st century chaos that is Chinatown.After leaving the Festival, I retraced my steps along Eldridge Street toward Houston (destination: Katz and Russ & Daughters) when I happened upon Adath Jeshurun of Jassy aka the Emory Roth synagogue at 58 Rivington Street. It’s apparently now a private house, but whatever it is, it’s in a sad state. It really highlights the value of restoring Eldridge Street, which apparently had pigeons roosting in its balconies at one point. The Lower East Side has some amazing history and I definitely need to explore it more.Katz and Russ & Daughters (best twitter bio ever, btw: After almost 100 years, it was time for a Twitter). I honestly didn’t have a great desire to visit, but it seems like one of those NYC Bucket List things. Walking up Eldridge, you hit Russ & Daughters first as it’s further west. When I first saw the marquee, I had no idea what the appetizer part meant–and I thought it was a secondary location. Nope, it means things that go with bagels. Lots more learnings in the blog, and now I’m hungry. I wish I had been yesterday because I’d probably have gotten lox. From there, it’s on to Katz’ which sits along side Lobster Joint and Cold Stone? There’s something very wrong with that.

Some of the change around the Bowery is a very good thing. Harvey Wang has captured a lot of that in his photos (A World of Change on the Lower East Side) and his writing (1,000 men in flop/lodging houses as of 2001, down from 25-75K men sleeping on the Bowery-wow!) Is all of it good? That’s subject to debate, although Annie Polland made a good point when she said:

“If you went to someone who lived in a tenement 100 years ago and said, ‘We’re preserving this tenement,’ they’d say, ‘What? Are you crazy?’” Ms. Polland said. “They’d rather see their grandchildren or great-grandchildren living in a luxury condo. ”

I think there has to be some middle ground between progress and Katz located in what is beginning to look like a strip mall.

/tangent

That was the end of my planned exploring for the day, and I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go next. I happened upon a Citi Bike stand and thought possibly of biking to the craziness that is Magnolia to find Buckeye Balls, but I’m glad I didn’t as they don’t carry them. Does anyone know a bakery in NYC that has them?

I kept wiggling south and vaguely east-ish (still in search of Buckeye Balls) and hit: Essex Street Market and Economy Candy ( drool!) en route to DessertsNYC, which unfortunately is closed. Note to self: check Yelp before departing on wild goose chases. It was then that I essentially gave up on the buckeye ball quest and was again tempted by the CitiBike stand, this time at E. Broadway & Essex and I decided why not give it a whirl.

After a few false starts (machine not working, no available bikes), I got one at Cherry and Market and was off. With that 10 feet of road between the bike stand and the Greenway, I crossed riding a bike on a NYC street off the “bucket list” (nope, still no formal bucket list although I’m working on one — but this is definitely something that would be on it. I miss commuting by bike like I did in Osaka, but there’s no way I’d do it here.  Unsure of my pace on a road bike, I decided to check the bike in at Battery Park and then plan where I wanted to go. A break for a Diet Coke and A/C was nice and I checked out my next bike at State St. across from the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, another of those downtown sites I want to explore. One day. (NB: the $9.95 day pass doesn’t give you the bike for a day, just for unlimited 30 minute increments within the 24 hour period.)

From there it was back north along the path I’d just traced from Market St. to the Battery and up to E. 35th. I originally planned to swap bikes at Houston, but poor planning/timing led to me sucking up the overtime fee and finishing the ride.  The view heading north into Stuyvesant Cove is among the best in NYC with the water and skyline.

I pulled into the Citi Bike Station at E. 35th and the Ferry Terminal and with that, the Loop is done. I walked south along the East River Promenade to 59th St. and there is no Greenway (PDF) between these two points due to the UN. I’ve walked 1st Ave many times. I’ll do it again if the Greenway is ever completed. But for now, it’s done.

Thoughts on finishing it via bike:

  • the 6.21 mile ride was nothing. If I was ever to do the Manhattan Saunter, I’d do it via bike. But not a timed bike like Citi Bike — 30 minute increments is too short for me.
  • It certainly makes dull points (between the Battery and South Street Seaport) go quickly
  • It’s hard to stop and take photos — certainly nowhere near as easy as on foot. It feels more like a race than a meander, which is what I like about the Loop.

All in all, a gorgeous day for a walk/ride and much better than being in the gym.

Onto the next location/challenge.