pitfalls and transgressions

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Governor’s Island is a short, free ferry ride from the south end of Manhattan.  It’s been abandoned for about 10 years.  Since then, it’s been made into somewhat of a park / landmarked site / location of art installations.  I highly recommend you bring your bike to explore, though if you don’t, they actually have bike rentals on the island now.

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There are many acres of empty housing, in various states of disrepair, due to roofs starting to cave in, and the strong ocean breeze taking it’s toll on them.  The city has been largely successful in keeping vandals out, which causes these places to feel like an untouched ghost town.

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You may have been following the Swimming Cities of Serenissma recently (an extension of the Swimming Cities of the Switchback Sea, however this vessel pictured above is possibly more compelling, for it’s sustainability alone.  The project is called The Water Pod, and it’s currently docked on the south side of Governor’s Island, and houses crew amidst livestock, rainwater collection and filtration, while also growing many diverse plants and utilizing other alternative energy (ie: stationary bicycles that generate electricity).  Additionally the two large geodesic domes serve as beautiful, 1960s-era removable shelters.  Definitely check out the project.

• I caught a free Matt & Kim show at Pier 54 in Manhattan last week one night after work.  Robin and a few of her friends ran into Jenn and I there, and we caught some of the Flosstradamus set, as well as the entire main act.  Matt & Kim seemed thrilled to be playing at the space, but it didn’t feel like the best environment to experience a show (due to being long and narrow, sound dissipating in all directions, and no slope to the space, making for obstructed views all around).  However, still a scene (a pretty young crowd, as to be expected), and great to see them free.

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My block may be even more rowdy than I’ve been giving it credit for.  Sure, I’ve definitely seen drug deals, livery cabs meeting up for lots of coronas between shifts, many people stopping their car to relieve themselves near the cemetery, and all of the extra trash that shows up at the end of the street mysteriously, however, I have not yet seen public sex, prostitution, or break-ins.  Time permitting, I’ll have to check out this community meeting, it sounds like my block is on the up-and-up!

If you’ll bear with me a minute, I’d like to provide an update on Jenn’s and my current bike stable:

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This past Friday, I picked up a really nice 5-rail Cetma rack for my primary commuter, my 2008 Mercier Kilo TT, nicknamed “the Urban Explorer.”  Thanks to the guys at King Kog over in the Williamsburg area.  I’ve already people asking me on the street where to get them.  Lane currently has the black 5-rail on sale on his site.  I’ve heard they can hold a lot of weight, though I’ve only done a smallish grocery store run with it thus far.

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Affectionately known as “the Backup Bike,” I picked up this 1988 Centurion Ironman the other month via NYC Craigslist for a really great price.  I may have mentioned it previously, it’s got all Shimano 105 components, and recently I replaced the bar tape with bright yellow FSA tape, changed out the nice, stock Nitto stem for a shorter Kalloy, replaced the slightly-too-short Sugino seatpost with a lighter, used Bontrager post, and replaced the pedals setup with MKS GR-9s and MKS (LL) clips, among other small changes.

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Jenn’s new bike (a 1988ish Peugeot Nice) was a recent addition, to replace her 1983 Miyata 210, which had been known as “Brownie.”  There may still be some slight tweaks in the future, but it definitely a step up from the Miyata, in terms of components, gearing, color, and weight.

OK, back to the regularly scheduled programming.

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Recent ink: I got a raven that I drew tattooed onto my arm by Mike Drexler over at Fly-Rite in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  They do great work over there, highly recommened, plus Mike’s a good guy.

• Two blocks over, Landis and Ed hosted a fundraiser rooftop party for Landis and David Downs to run for charity in some upcoming marathon/half-marathons.  Excellent chicken sandwiches from Jacob, a fellow former North Carolinian, and Cindy provided great burgers (vidalia onions inside, and topped with tomatoes and guacamole).

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In closing, here’s one more picture (of Jenn) from the Outer Banks, North Carolina trip the other week.

you’re painting a kinda-gross picture


A handful of 35mm scans from a trip up to Connecticut for some canoeing the other weekend.


The vignetting in bright daylight with the $4 plastic camera I picked up a few weeks back is intense.  You’d be surprised at the amount of abandoned factories and warehouses to explore along the riverfront.  The homeless population seemed pretty low from our surface-level survey, we only discovered one or two somewhat permanent habitations.


We visited the scenic waterfall where Shane proposed to Echo several years back.  Certainly a popular hangout spot for the local teens.


As a followup to what I was talking about the other day, here is one of the aforementioned tiny groves a block from my apartment in South Slope, Brooklyn.  While the recent non-stop rain has been obnoxious for commuting via bicycle, the weeds on the sidewalk have been loving it.  This tree was unfortunately chopped down a while back, but it has company at the moment; a whole little ecosystem, semi-fertilized by people’s dogs and occasional banana peel.

smash a kangaroo


Deciding what to write on a sign for the afternoon.  A little stumped after “HOMELESS.”  19th Street, Manhattan.


Fifth Avenue in South Slope, Brooklyn, vacant on New Years Day, a few months back.


Stripes, skirts, legs, bikes, plants.  It’s springtime at last.

• Speaking of bikes, after a lot of errands recently around several neighborhoods, I was able to source a bunch of parts very inexpensively for some upgrades I’ve been making to Jenn’s bike during this week of solid rain.  Thanks to John over in Bushwick for a used wheelset; thanks to Bespoke Bicycles (the brand new shop in Fort Greene) for some brake cable, housing, and a tire; thanks to Dixon’s Bike Shop in Park Slope for a lot of help with a rear hub issue, and for the very cheap rear wheel; thanks to Henry and Chris over at the sparkly new Brooklyn Bicycles, just down the street on 6th Ave at 9th Street for a bit of brake cable and conversation; thanks to On the Move on 7th Ave in Park Slope for brake levers; thanks to John in Greenpoint for a set of bars; and to Spokes and Strings in Williamsburg for another set of bars and some super cheap brake pads; and I think the list goes on.  Suffice to say, with everything in order, nothing to do now but ride.


Mr. Appalachia, may be the only one of my friends to possess a full-size backyard in the borough of Brooklyn (chime in if I’m overlooking someone).  He invited Jenn and I over the other day to his Red Hook backyard for some planting of seeds and installing of chicken wire (mainly to keep the feces of feral cats out) in some raised beds he created out of salvaged ikea shelving.  These were some seperate seedlings I noticed on his desk.


A popular gentlemen in the financial world.  Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


If you’re in the NYC area, feel free to join my friends and I on a little adventure next Saturday (May 16th) at 9AM at the Circle Line pier (somewhat near Times Square) for a leisurely ride up the west side parkway, a short rumble through the Bronx, and crossing over a bridge or two to get to the small fisherman’s village known as City Island.  Relaxed pace, bring some sunscreen, a bicycle, some money for seafood, and possibly a camera if you’re inclined.  Adam will provide the pepper spray.  Send me an email if you have any questions.