Day 2: Midtown meandering

I got a late, lazy start to my day after staying up late last night with ukeleles and good times. I hanged around the house in Jersey City talking with Derek and Si over coffee. We talked a lot about our bikes – I’m not the only one who makes personal touches to my bike, and as a confirmed bike geek, I loved every bit of the conversation. 
I pet Brodie a bit. She’s an old little girl and she’s in diapers but she’s a sweetheart.


Derek and Si packed up their gear on their bikes to head to Brooklyn for a dog sitting gig. I was tempted to join them for another night of fun, and was offered one, but it’s going to be so much easier to head south from Jersey City tomorrow morning as opposed to Brooklyn, so I opted to stay behind. I saw them off at the front door after trading contact info. I hope to see them down the road…maybe I will, maybe I won’t. I’m entering a life where I’m going to meet so many wonderful people and will then just move along. I suppose the goal is to just appreciate the connections I make for what they are and be open to the possibility of connecting again in the future. Hey, it happened for Si and Derek between Florida and Virginia. It can happen again.

I decided to take the PATH train into Manhattan for the last time before I leave tomorrow morning. 


I love seeing this in front of a train station!

I didn’t really have an agenda other than to not spend any money. This town ain’t a cheap one, and I have to stretch my money as far as I possibly can. So the PATH let out at 33rd street and I just decided to stroll around, people watch (which I’m a pro at), and get Manhattan all over me. I made it to the Skylight Diner and had a bison burger, which totally hit the spot.

It was a good thing I decided against doing any riding today, because there was a pretty steady downpour much of the afternoon. I didn’t let it get me down though (thank you, non-cotton, quick drying touring wardrobe). One thing though… So many umbrellas. I have this fear of a lot of umbrellas in one place. I feel like I’m going to get my eye poked out. In that light, the afternoon was like umbrella phobia therapy. Had to confront it head-on. I came out unscathed but I did see a woman hit a taxi with her umbrella because the driver was trying to plow through a crosswalk when we had the walk sign in Times Square. Yup, New York.

I basically walked dozens of blocks surrounding Times Square. It wasn’t necessarily my first choice, but since the Jersey train dropped me off at 33rd and I was unwilling to buy a subway ticket, midtown was the place to be. I’m not a sucker for the rampant consumerism, but I love watching tourists be tourists. I always have. It invariably puts me in the position where I get stuck in tourist traps not really tripping on whatever the thing is that makes the place a tourist trap, but just marveling at the happy tourists. But although I basically surrounded Times Square, I didn’t spend much time there. I tried to just keep moving. I stopped long enough to get those lights covered in rain though:


It made me think of my previous visits to the city. This is my fifth time here. The first was during spring break in 2002, when 9-11 was fresh in the fabric of the city. The second was in 2006 for a honeymoon. The trip was ok I guess. I just wish it never happened (…). The third was to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on their Dig Lazarus Dig tour in 2008, which was a show I really, really needed at the time. The fourth was this past summer when I flew into and out of Newark for training for work and spent a couple afternoons riding around town on Citibikes. Two of those times I went to Broadway shows and always loved the experience. But if I’m being stingy about buying a subway pass (even though I stuffed my face with a bison burger?) I’m definitely not going to spring for a ticket to a play. I briefly fantasized about seeing the American Psycho musical, but yeah. Didn’t happen. 

I got one last glimpse of the Empire State Building beyond Madison Square Garden…


 …then took the train back to Journal Square in Jersey City, where I was treated with quite a dramatic sky:


A brief walk through the neighborhood, and I was back at the house. 


I’ve mostly just been lying low tonight, trying to relax before a long day of riding tomorrow. I’m headed 60 or so miles south to Lawrenceville, NJ, where I’ll stay with my first Warmshowers host! I’m excited about that. I’m about to hit the sack but before I do I’m going to pack everything up so tomorrow I can roll out early and quick. I wish I had more time in the city (to ride, especially), but there’s a whole country ahead of me. Gotta remind myself of the long game.

-J

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