Friday, December 11, 2009

OK, the Smart Car isn't intimidating to other drivers, but...

...that doesn't give Van 9 of Yeshiva University the right to "share" my lane with me when going around the bend. It's a big, white, 12-passenger van with the YU logo on the back. The driver routinely keeps the left-side wheels in the Central Park bike lane when cruising through Central Park.
And, when in the right lane, he invades the space of the car in the left lane, whenever the road curves to the left. He got so close to me that I could see the top of the van in my sun roof. I am NOT going into the bike lane because this guy has to invade my space frmo the right. I will speed up or slow down, take other action. Today, I honked at him. By convention, almost no one honks a horn inside the park. But the Yeshiva U van wasn't being driven safely, so I honked once. Then I honked twice more when nothing changed. But the only thing that got the driver back in his lane was the fact that the road straightened out.

What's wrong with his own lane?

Someone in NYPD or PEP should be stationed on foot at those long left bends, like the one going up the Great Hill. They can watch for vehicles that use the bike lane as their secondary car lane, and signal ahead to summons those drivers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's finally cold out

It's not going to go over 35 F today. It's sunny and breezy. I drove a friend around NYC and NJ in the Smart Car much of yesterday, during the wild rainy weather we had. When done, I was tired. I knew I should have gone to work but I didn't feel like it. Now I wish I had taken advantage of that day of late afternoon sun and temps in the 50s. NYC is 15 or 20 degrees shy of 50 right now, and it'll be even colder tomorrow.

There's a "HEATED SEATS" sign I clip to the pedicab for cold weather, but it blows off in the wind, and today is a windy day. If I charge $20 per ride in Midtown, my usual fee, I doubt I'll get five rides for $100 by 10 PM, my quitting time. Nobody believes the seats are really heated until they sit on them. Here's how it's done:

Here goes. I'm off to work. Please hire me when you see me on Fifth or Sixth Avenues tonight. I'll warm you up.

Monday, December 7, 2009

From the Apple Store to the Metropolitan Museum

A young couple on asked how to tweak their itinerary for a Christmastime trip to New York City. I gave them a walking tour through Central Park, since they wanted to see both the Metropolitan Museum and the Apple Store. The two are connected by Central Park.

Here's my reply:
Start at the Apple Store. Go one half block north of the nearest corner of the park, and enter through the wall, down a flight of steps. Turn right along the duck pond. Go up on the stone bridge and have someone take your picture with The Plaza behind you. Skating rink is nearby. Wanna hold off on Bryant Park and skate here instead?
Walk uphill to a multicolored wall-less building that has a slate roof. This is the Dairy, where they sell clothing that benefits the Central Park Conservancy. Go up the path, not the road, uphill from the Dairy and over the top. You should see rising steps cut into the stone, to your left about here. Continue down and under a bridge. Continue to the Carousel. It's $3.50 a ride.
Uphill from the Carousel, walk alongside East Drive. Out to the left on Central Park West, see a twin-towered apartment building, home of Steve Martin and other notables. It's called the San Remo. You're looking at it over the grass of the Sheep Meadow. You may see lights in the trees at Tavern On The Green, across the meadow. The tavern is better looked at than sampled, for another month, at least.
Continue parallel to the road. You're going uphill. Many massive trees are ahead. This is the world's last grove of American elms. Dutch elm disease killed off almost all of our native species. You will see a statue of a man in a robe holding a furled flag. He is Columbus. Turn at his statue and go up under the arching elm branches, on The Mall. This is where Meryl and Dustin exchange the little boy in Kramer Vs. Kramer, where Santa's sleigh runs out of power in Elf, and where Jennifer and Ben walk the ferret in Along Came Sally. The Mall runs between English-language authors' statues, about a quarter mile north. As you near the north end, you see a real mall, not the kind studded with stores but a real mall. Sit on the last original park benches in the park. To your right is Nussbaum Bandshell, dating from a time when, to hear music outdoors, you had to make it yourself. In Mr. Deeds, Adam Sandler buys bikes off of two boys. He and his girlfriend then ride them dangerously down the stairs.

Go down those stairs. Restrooms are halfway down them. Continue down to the Navy Terrace. The Angel Of The Waters, at Bethesda Fountain looks down at you, as seen here:
Facing the Lake, head to the right, toward a distant green roof. This is the Loeb Boathouse. You may recall a Sex & The City scene taken on this path, with the guy who was such a snob that he would never leave Manhattan, because the rest of the world sucks. Coming closer to the Boathouse, another Sex & The City scene: Carrie fell in the water here at the verandah. Mr. Big leaned over to help her out, and she pulled him in too.

Bathrooms are attached to the Boathouse.

Walk uphill on East Drive, in the pedestrian lane. It's shared with bikes, so be respectful of them. Watch out for the crouching black panther on the rocks to your left.
Farther ahead is an open space punctuated only by a lone statue. Get a good look at his face, then pull out a $10 bill. Notice the similarity?

Continue on. You should see a huge building -- not so much tall as wide -- dominating the view ahead, across the road. Next crosswalk, cross and head downhill. This will be the Metropolitan Museum. Go warm up.