Back in the saddle

Every year the Summer Streets program gets busier and better. All the way from 72nd street to the Brooklyn Bridge, Park Avenue is closed to normal traffic for the first three Saturdays in August and the strip becomes a rush of cyclists, walkers, runners and fun. Apart from the joy of owning the streets for a few hours, there are events sidelining the celebration, which means that even though you can travel faster on the car-free track, there are more reasons to stop along the way.

There was a circus atmosphere in front of City hall as muscle-men challenged the crowd to ripple massive ropes under the stop watch, people traded their wheels for the whizz of a ride on the flying fox, and a giant popping machine introduced the coming of a most welcome Museum for Food and Drink. The popper had everyone transfixed. Corn was poured into a compression container on the roof of the truck and as the pressure – and anticipation – grew to boiling point, a well armed fellow whacked the release of the corn which exploded into puffed perfection. Then it was all swept aside for tasting.

If the queues along Park Avenue were any measure of the popularity of the various entertainments, then the most successful was the tunnel, which runs underground from 33rd Street to meet the overpass of Grand Central Station. For the first time since the 1930’s this tunnel was open to pedestrians, and not for a simple walk-through. There was an amazing light show with sound effects created by people’s voices recorded over music, resulting in a totally eerie experience. It was an art installation, but my awareness of the traffic that would normally be racing through that very space, contrasting with the peaceful aerial view to the skyscrapers on Park Avenue, made it feel more like a time machine. No pressure, but it was time to get back on my bike…

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bike shot

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4 Responses to Back in the saddle

  1. tony says:

    what a great day-and to see people cycling without helments is great,the police will fine you in OZ for going helmetless,enjoy summer yankees,its freezing in sydney !

  2. sandra says:

    I’ve heard of a girly basket for your bike but………that would take the weekly shop!

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