Sunday, August 10, 2008

A New York treat.

For three Saturdays in August (yesterday being one of them) Park Avenue becomes closed to ALL cars. Only bicyclists, rollerbladers, skateboarders, pedestrians, etc, are allowed on the road, BOTH WAYS from 72nd street all the way down to City Hall.

It was so much fun, and a little surreal, seeing a usually busy street free of traffic. There was a stretch in Midtown lined with closed stores and empty buildings (being Saturday in the business district). For a moment, it was easy to pretend everyone had disappeared, and us bicyclists were the only remaining ones on the island. Kind of like that scene in Vanilla Sky where Times Square is empty. Or that horrible Will Smith movie, Legend, where he's the only one in Manhattan. (By the way Will Smith, if you're reading this, you owe me 10 bucks and two hours of my life back. A shit script is one thing, but no 3rd act?)

Anyway, it was one of those special NYC events where adults become kids, and strangers laugh along with each other. Like being out in the city during a blackout.

Everyone screamed as we rode through the Park Avenue tunnel to hear their echo. It was nice to hear so many New Yorkers yelling without any cursing being involved.

Some of the cool parts were: Going up and touching statues you normally can't due to traffic surrounding them. Taking pictures from vantage points like this one, in front of Grand Central Station, which is pretty hard to do any other time. And being able to inspect the sides within the Park Avenue tunnel, and see all the odd fixtures lining its walls. It was a whole new side of the city, and it made me look at my home in a new way. I felt like a tourist, in a refreshing way, taking pictures and marveling at the sites.

A funny thing I heard: A pedestrian trying to cross the street as a slew of bikes whizzed past him. "Fuck, this is worse than when there's cars."

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