Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Brooklyn Bicycle Surprises

My neighborhood allows me to take advantage of all the hassles of life in New York City, and spares me most of its pleasures. There is one aspect of my neighborhood that I appreciate, however, and that is it's pretty bike-accessible.

This is due to Ocean Parkway. I was surprised recently to learn that the Ocean Parkway bike path was the first bike path created in the country, created in 1894.

The bike path follows the entire length of Ocean Parkway, meaning it goes from Prospect Park (Brooklyn's version of Central Park) to Coney Island (Brooklyn's version of Brooklyn). The distance between these landmarks is less than 6 miles, so it's not a long ride.

According to the signs that line the path, this is a dedicated bike path. In reality, it's mostly bikes, with enough pedestrians and dogs to provide a lonely rider with the companionship of annoyance while riding along. The frustrating part of this is that Ocean Parkway is lined with 6 wide pedestrian sidewalks and paths. And all 6 run the entire length of the parkway. One of the 6 is supposed to be used by bikes. That leaves 5 other perfectly suitable places for people to walk and for animals to roam. But the pedestrians use all 6.

Another biking-related surprise I experienced was that it takes me the same amount of time to get to Lower Manhattan riding my bike as it does taking the subway. I'm not a hardcore cyclist, and I don't ride particularly fast. The trains are slower than I realized.


Or are they? I discovered my last surprise after returning from a ride last night. My computer reported the maximum speed I'd achieved was 74.3 miles per hour. This is incredible, in the most literal sense.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Funny Part 1

I've been meaning to write about what I think is funny for a while. Here are a few. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Party Down
I'm not a fan of quirkiness. A couple years back Michael Hirschorn wrote an article titled Quirked Around about quirkiness in The Atlantic. Even though I do like a couple of the examples he offers - This American Life and Miranda July, which I only mention lest someone think I liked a moment of Garden State - I didn't enjoy most of the examples he listed. I can't stomach shows like Desperate Housewives or Glee.

Party Down features a cast of mostly quirky characters. It is definitely at the edge of what is, to me, an acceptable level of quirkiness.

But when Roman explains how Jesus was clearly "African-American" I almost spit out my drink. This is a great series. Maybe I'm the last one to figure this out. If you have Netflix you can stream it.

Terry Crew
There's something about this guy that cracks me up. I was at work when I first watched the euro training video. I couldn't stop laughing. It actually rendered me useless for the rest of the day. Now's he's starring in these bizarre Old Spice commercials.

Parks and Recreation
Yes, I can accept the argument that this is a ripoff of The Office. But as soon as a camera focuses on the character April and her weird scowl, I always lose it.

Absurdistan
This is not a new book unless you consider something written in 2006 to be new, but this novel about a wannabe American was laugh-out-loud funny.