My Brompton

Roosevelt Island

The day after I picked up Basil wasn’t really a good cycling day, since no way was I crazy enough to ride my brand-new Brompton on NYC streets, and I was dealing with some time constraints.  I did get a lot of practice taking my Brompton on mass transit, though, going from 168th to 81st (subway);  across the park (bus); down to 14th/Chambers (subway); back up to 59th (subway); across the East River (tram); and back again.

First thing (after stop back at NYCeWheels because I’d forgotten to get a receipt for Basil) was Chambers St./City Hall, where I had a lunch date.  Here’s Basil, next to a park bench:

Bromptons don’t have kickstands; Basil is resting on a luggage rack. If he didn’t have the rack, he’d be sitting on a couple of small wheels that would hold him upright.

As a side note, the plaza was sunny, so we ate Korean from a kiosk, which was surprisingly good, though not as spicy as we make it at home. Chapche dupbap.

Basil fit neatly by the table. Have I mentioned yet how nice it is to grab a quick bite without locking up a bicycle?

Then I headed to Roosevelt Island.  It’s possible to cycle across the bridge, and one day I may, but I was enchanted with the idea of taking a tram across the river, Brompton in tow.

Here’s the tram, preparing to dock in Manhattan:

And a view from inside, of traffic coming off the bridge. Yep, I was just as happy that I wasn’t riding in that. Newbie caution isn’t all bad. (Though the traffic doesn’t look particularly terrible, by NYC standards.)

This is the bridge of the famous 59th Street Bridge Song of Simon and Garfunkel; the tram runs along side. The structure isn’t quite as airy-fairy as the tune.

Roosevelt Island itself? Hmm, what to say? It’s a tiny strip of land, densely populated by skyscrapers.

It is possible to ride around most (and possibly all) of the perimeter, and it looks as if efforts have been made to make it pedestrian-, wheelchair-, and bike-friendly, though parts of what was apparently the path were closed off, and, in other places, the path seemed to peter out. At one end is a lighthouse:

At the other end is a hospital, which explained the huge number of motorized wheelchairs that were apparent all over the island, especially in an area near the lighthouse, which was formally designated as a park, and decorated with a sign expressly forbidding alcoholic beverages. It was a beautiful day, and the men in wheelchairs were taking full advantage — some of them zipping about at high speed. What can I say? It felt like spring, though the sky was occasionally overcast.

In spite of the rather forbidding and largely unimaginative landscape, someone has left a bit of whimsy on the asphalt near the visitor’s center, which is best viewed from the tram:

What does it mean? I have no idea, but that looks like a squashed pedestrian, and a fallen bicycle. And is that a lizard, on the lower left, eating another pedestrian?

Moving right along, the views from the tram are amazing, though a bit tricky to capture if said tram is full of people, restricting a photographer’s movements.

From the tram, Manhattan looks weirdly less dense than does Roosevelt Island, thanks in part to the East Side Greenway,  the waterfront, and cross streets.

The previous day, when I’d ridden down the Greenway, I’d gone up a ramp that goes under the tram lines, next to this edifice.  I have no idea what that stuff on the roof is. Is it art? Is it left-over construction bits? Is it both?  Hmmm.

Ah, Manhattan, you look so unreal to an insignificant human, hanging by a cable, high above you:

This lovely little park wouldn’t look out of place in a train set, would it?

Obviously, I couldn’t take a picture of the tram I was in while it was docking, so here’s a shot of one landing on the Roosevelt Island side:

The cycling was fun (though the island was much smaller than I’d thought), and it was  great to see New York from the air — or, rather, from an altitude considerably lower than that afforded by an airplane. Today was primarily notable for having  learned that hauling my Brommie around the city was perfectly feasible, even for a smallish, wimpish person like me.

It wasn’t until several days later that I noticed that my Brompton-hauling technique needed revisiting: I had been cluelessly bumping the bike against my right leg, and had thoroughly bruised it. Don’t do that. I’m taking measures, in future, to avoid this particular result.  (Yes, I’m somewhat impervious to pain; otherwise I’d have noticed earlier.) People with longer arms, and more self-awareness, will undoubtedly avoid this particular hazard.

2 replies on “Roosevelt Island”

Woot! Congratulations on the beautiful bicycle! I am very jealous that yours came in half the time it took for mine. I’m a little sad that the summer is over and the weather is cooling off. I’m determined to ride on and enjoy every moment. I wish you many happy rides!

Thanks, Andrew! Delivery times seem to be awfully variable — did you get yours during the Olympic summer? Those wait times were shocking . . . but then, does anyone want to wait for a Brompton? Hope you’re able to ride through the fall, and maybe even into the winter. Hoping for the same here, too; I don’t want to give up any riding days if it’s avoidable.

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