Saturday, October 06, 2007


It is a lovely, unseasonably warm weekend here in the Big Apple so what are Squid to do? Go for a bike ride, of course!

The Squidlings wanted a "lame-o" ride, so we mapped out a path that would take us down the new piece of 9th Avenue bike lane, over to the green market and then back via Chocolate Haven, the Birdbath and the Lilac.

Setting out, we took a different route then the "same-old, same-old" and found ourselves giving the kids a history lesson on the corner of Second Avenue and 10th Street. St. Marks Church, seen above, is built on the site of Peter Stuyvesant's farm. It does, in fact, rest where Stuyvesant's private chapel used to sit. Stuyvesant, himself, rests in a vault below the church. For those of you who do not immerse yourselves in New York City history, Stuyvesant was the first Governor of New York or, rather, New Amsterdam as it was then known. Old Pegleg ruled with an iron fist and a wooden, silver studded, leg. My alma mater is named after the Governor and, amusingly, all the teams are supposed to be called "The Peglegs." Since, for many years, the name reflected the skill of the football team, the athletic department decided to allow the teams to name themselves whatever they pleased. Hence the Penguins swim and the Untouchables fence and many of the team are now tops in their leagues.

Across the street is the former site of the Second Avenue Deli. During the "summer of love" (1986 if you care), Mike took me there for some of our many dates. Mushroom barley soup and tongue sandwiches. Yum!
Still remaining is the Yiddish Walk of Fame. The founder of the deli, Abe Lebewohl, created this walk to honor the stars of Yiddish Theater, an institution that still exists in New York.

At this point, Mike was able to persuade the kids to extend our ride into Brooklyn with a trip over the Williamsburg Bridge.
On the other side there is a monument to Valley Forge but we did not get close enough to confirm that the figure in the saddle was George Washington.
Slipping under the bridge to the other side, we came upon Peter Luger's, the famed New York steak house, home to many wonderful meals with my mother-in-law. Just thinking about them make me want to go there for lunch on Monday.
And across the street is one of the branches of the former Williamsburg Bank. This is not the famous Williamsburg Bank building but rather a "lowly" branch.
Heading toward the waterfront and the Manhattan Bridge, we took in some lovely sights.

And then stumbled upon the Sweet 'N Low factory, across from the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

As we pedaled past the Navy Yard I gave Little Squid a quick history lesson and we discussed what life was like during World War II. I am on a little bit of a WWII history jag right now as I watch The War on PBS.

History lesson over, we continued on over the Manhattan Bridge (to avoid the crowds of the Brooklyn Bridge), and rode around Chinatown for a bit looking for my favorite frozen dumpling place. I wanted to stock up on the sticky rice in leaves things (yea, I don't know the proper name) but they were closed. Squidette saw one of her friends from school at about the time that I was about to say "hey, see any of your friends around?" She has a fair number of friends who live in Chinatown. My kid travels in a multicultural crowd.

No, there are no pictures of Chinatown. For some reason I feel odd taking pictures there, like I am saying "look at the funny stuff here," and I don't want to do that. I find Chinatown to be a great part of NY and one day I will take some pictures but I need to be able to do so in a respectful way.

That said, we then continued on uptown where we got some chocolate and toured the Lilac.

The Lilac was a lighthouse tender, providing service and supplies to the lighthouses on its route.
The engine room. She still has her original steam engines.
Crew bunks.
The original propellers.
Um ... I have no idea but they look like they were to pull things up.

From the Lilacs pier (Pier 40), there was a lovely view of the Lakawana Railroad terminal which also serves as a ferry slip. When Papa Squid and I circumnavigated the Hudson last summer, we took the ferry back from here.
More views of New Jersey.

And a couple of New York.
Heading back down the pier, we gazed at the paddle wheel boats in dock. These go out on pleasure cruises as party boats.

Notice the lack of paddles on the bottom of this wheel.

To finish up our ride, we stopped at the Birdbath for pastries and such and then, for the sake of syncronisity, stopped at Lilac chocolate for just a small treat.
Today? All about errands.


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the 'tour' today. I always love seeing your views of NYC.

Thanks for posting them.

knittin'_kitten said...

What a fun bike adventure! The bakery sounds delightful..aren't sweets especially satisfying after biking?! Wonderful pics!

Kristen said...

Great post. The history lesson reminds me of stuff I learned listening to The Island at the Center of the World. I especially like your final photo; it looks like an Edward Hopper painting.

Penny said...

how great. we took a page from your normal travels and used our two feet and found ourselves here :)