Archive | October, 2011

The Cyclist vs The Antelope

24 Oct

This photo taken in Jan 2011 shows how narrow the bridge is even when empty.

This is an interactive post, first of all you have to watch this very funny if a little unnerving You Tube clip.

Now imagine the course not to be the African Savannah but the urban jungle of NYC and more specifically the narrow tract of land that is the Brooklyn Bridge bike path. Admittedly the chances of being thrown from your bike by a galloping antelope (Hartebeest buck actually) are a little slimmer than a spatially unaware human stepping out into the path of an onrushing bike. However you hope that the human intellect at least offers some added protection.

It is true that the bike path is narrow, and in terms of urban planning a pretty poor solution since the entire width of the foot bridge can be no more than 12 feet and this is meant to accommodate pedestrians, tourists (they are their own sub species) and two-way bike traffic. The three city employees stationed across the bridge speak of the danger to all concerned.

Having made it 3/4 of the way across I suddenly saw my nightmare, a large female stepping over the white line and directly into my path. I dinged my bell, shouted and braked all before she had registered her misstep, even so our shoulders collided  and I was sent flying.

This is where mine and the antelope’s story meet. Watch again as the antelope heartlessly regains its own footing and travels on without even looking back to the poor stricken rider. Yes folks the antelope, (sorry big-boned lady) that hit me did the very same without even turning her head, she just carried on walking. Several passers-by checked that I was ok and also made the point that she had not even broken stride to see what she had just caused. Fortunately I only suffered a minor but painful cut to my heel as the wooden surface of the bridge was much more forgiving than asphalt would have been.

Buzzing with adrenaline I chased after the woman to try to illicit some reaction, if only a fudged apology, but amazingly she ignored my existence again and carried on walking. It seems ironic then that a week earlier I had been told by an overly aggressive driver that when he rides his bike he,”respects the car, because the car is what can hurt you”. The truth is it is not the car, the bike or the pedestrian that can hurt you…it is the human. So when out and about beware of stupidity, it surrounds us…….

Also check out this very funny NYC biking video….

Tokyo Bike Takes Manhattan

16 Oct

As a wedding present to my wife I bought her a bike. In part it was because I wanted to have a cycle partner for those days when nothing is better than exploring a city by bike, but also because I knew she coveted the Blue Gray Bisou Tokyo Bike more than any other.

We followed the signs from home that led us onto the narrow Brooklyn Bridge bike path and into the city heading towards the Hudson River where there is a picturesque path which travels up the west side of  Manhattan. From here it is a tranquil ride to anywhere from the West Village all the way up to Columbia University and beyond.

We however, had a lunch date in mind so crossed into the Village to check out the Spotted Pig. Long waits abound in the evening but we only had to wait 10 minutes for our spot looking directly into the tiny kitchen at lunch. I knew before I arrived that I had to try the much blogged about burger but Angela struggled to choose between the battered pollock and thrice cooked chips and the pumpkin salad. For some reason she picked the salad….

Lunch turned out to be delicious, the unadorned burger was juicy and flavourful (I opted to leave off the Roquefort cheese), the salad was apparently good and we enjoyed the devilled eggs and a not quite chocolate nemesis cake. (having worked at River Cafe I had hoped the chef, April Bloomfield had ‘borrowed’ the recipe). The service was the best I have experienced in a long time and reminded me how good a waiter can be. It was personable without being in your face and absent until needed, just the right balance.

We left very satisfied and with nothing pressing we entered the West Village and mooched for a good couple of hours. There are an almost unlimited number of nice stores, cafes and restaurants in this neighbourhood and should you become bored with them you are close to the Highline or The Hudson River Greenway, both are a great way to walk off lunch.

A Year In The Making

10 Oct

As we head into autumn it seems strange to think that I have now completed the seasons in NYC. When I first arrived on this adventure I did not know exactly where it would lead, but, I had a good idea. Fortunately all those tentative plans that I did not wish to verbalise for fear of scorching them have come to pass. I am now a married man, and very happy too, still awaiting my Green Card, but hopefully well on the way. I have made new friends, reconnected with some lost ones and been joined in this great city by old and trusted ones.

Whilst I left London for New York I slowly learnt that it was in fact Brooklyn that I was moving to. In terms of the culinary scene it is unrivalled. Everyday someone is starting afresh and pushing the envelope, there is still so much I am yet to see and sample. Life here is good. Everybody  struggles to survive the high cost of living, the grime, the noise, and all the other pitfalls of major city living but there is not a single opportunity that is outside of my grasp should I wish to seize it.

While my work future lies in the hands of the government there is still one great new adventure to look forward to in the coming year. Perhaps unlimited time off seemed appealing when I first arrived but it very quickly lost its sheen and now I yearn for a sense of belonging.

Again this is yet another post not really about food specifically, but I have learnt that while my life may revolve around food it is not always the most interesting part of the story and sometimes the journey outshines the destination.

Here are some of my favourite pictures from the last years food inspired escapades.

Giant pumpkins, the first photo I took…Oct 2010

Learning to bake…Nov 2010

Discovering Red Hook, my favourite place in all NYC…Dec 2010

Back to Brooklyn, after a short trip home to London the first thing I did when I got back was to head to the Brooklyn Bridge…Jan 2011

Using my new found skills..mmm..pizza…Feb 2011

The Brooklyn Kitchen, Foodie Heaven…. March 2011

London, BBQ with friends followed by serious poker…April 2011

Tiki Disco at Roberta’s, summer has arrived…May 2011

Getting away from it all, Amagansett…..June 2011

Friends and Family in town for my wedding….July 2011

Post wedding relaxation, Shelter Island..Aug 2011

Flushing Meadows US Open…Sept 2011