Frum Outdoorsman: Rare but Possible

The wanderings and adventures of an orthodox Jew

Archive for the ‘NY metro area’ Category

Sunday afternoon rides that fueled my love for the outdoors

Posted by Frum Hiker on March 20, 2009

I can remember lying on the shaggy gray carpet of my living room on cold Sunday mornings watching the weather channel, even as a kid, before my love of jazz kicked in, I can remember being drawn to the funky yet soothing music of the weather channel. Sunday mornings where always started with H and H bagels, philly cream cheese, lox and red onions with the weather channel turned up and my father asking my brother and I if we wanted to take a ride.

A ride was not just a ride, a ride meant multiple things, it meant that we would leave the city behind for a short period and search for snow in upstate, I remember my father driving us over 2 hours north just to see some snow once, he truly loved the adventure of wandering the back roads of upstate, NY.

A ride could also mean going to the restaurant in the park, which was a small cantina Mexican restaurant located just off the Saw Mill River Parkway in Westchester County. It could have been in the middle of nowhere as we were concerned, for we would walk on this abandoned railroad track and look for old pieces of coal and rusty spikes. My father instilled the love of all things old and abandoned at this small county park just north of the city.

A ride could also mean a little farther drive to Harriman state park, where we would wander around, knocking over dead trees, checking out the ice fisherman and go sledding. In high school we would go shoot my BB gun and cross bow and later my .22 rifle. We never actually hiked, we parked and went into the woods, nothing was official. I don’t remember actually taking water with me into the woods until I got into my later teenage years.

We always ended up falling asleep on these long rides into the country with my father listening to the news or nothing, as we wondered why it was taking us hours to get home. He always took the “scenic” route, which sometimes meant going 80 miles out of the way. He would stop at the oddest of attractions. Old cemeteries were high on the list, as were abandoned railroad tracks, flea markets, main streets filled with old Victorian mansions and any time there happened to be a 57 Chevy in any condition sitting on the side of the road. I could tell my father longed for the days when he would own one of these beauties again, have a barn to store it in, in some off the beaten track barn in Vermont, and be able to walk out of his front door, with a piece of long grass in his mouth, humming Carlebach classics as he hobbled down the road in the dead of winter.

My father was what you would a call a four seasons man, but he loved the crisp cool air of winter. He would tell us random facts like, the clearer the night the colder it would get or how to tell how old a milk bottle was based on the way the glass was formed at the edges. He seemed to be a bottomless pit when it came to information and looking back on it now, it really formed who I am today.

Everything that he loved and that he shared with us, I took and went more extreme then he would ever have done. He instilled something I have grown to accept and this is what John Steinbeck has called Insatiable Wanderlust.
After those rides we would inevitably wind up at the Chinese Restaurant in Teaneck or at Ratners on the Lower East Side, with a warm bowl of French onion soup and melted butter dripping off of those incredible onion rolls they used to have.

Posted in general Outdoors, Harriman State Park, NY metro area, Rural America | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »

20 mile road bike loop around Manhattan

Posted by Frum Hiker on June 20, 2008

There is a time in everyones life when they must acknowledge the beauty of New York City, I did this as I marveled at the crystal clear day reflecting off the skyline of the city which seemed to stretch to infinity as I tried to navigate the stop and go traffic on the George Washington Bridge. The sky was clear, the breeze was cool and dry and my bike on the roof of my car was begging to be ridden.

I had to be in Brooklyn for a free Madeski Martin and Wood show in Prospect park so I drove to the tip of Manhattan and tried to find a spot, not an easy feat- since everything is for official vehicles. I found one near China Town and donned my cycling gear and took off following the east river up to 23rd street where I switched to 1st ave. Then up to Central park for a loop around the park and then down the west side bike path. Beautiful and exhilarating riding as fast as traffic on singing tires pumped to 120 – psi, there is something great to be said about riding the rides of NYC- I have been doing it for 20 years and I love it.

18.78 miles total at an average of 16.5 mph.

Posted in NY metro area, Road Biking | 6 Comments »

My XC bike is fixed

Posted by Frum Hiker on March 11, 2008

Thank the Lord the shock was not broke, just a little fine tuning and all is well. Its 45 degrees out and the day is waning by because I am gonna ride Ringwood (parking lot C- I was told) tonight. Its supposed to be a great place in this part of park and I am looking forward to it. Came in early for work to get out earlier.

Posted in Mountain Biking, NY metro area | 1 Comment »

Poetic cycling

Posted by Frum Hiker on February 14, 2008

The wind rustled through the almost bare trees, it made a louder than normal yet peaceful sound. The crunch of the golden, brown leaves could be heard as the wind jostled the leaves together, the leaves held on for dear life as they saw their brethren lifted off their ever fraying roots and strewn about the ground as they were kicked into mini-cyclones of leaves, Styrofoam cups and the mornings left over newspaper sections. Every few minutes I was stunned at the silence only to have my mind quickly understand that the light had turned red and no, it wasn’t nuclear holocaust -since that appears the only way that one would be able to derive silence and peace from the city that never shuts up. Judging by the gentle hum of the tires and the lack of horns the traffic must have been moving at 40 mph. The lack of horns might be the reason for the convincing silence though I knew the silence as well as the darkness was fictitious. My island of peace lasted for about 30 seconds each time the light halted the masses, and prevented video game like driving from occurring on this park lined byway. These cyclones of garbage and summers last grasp rumbled about as I turned my attention elsewhere.

The mild night stifled the sounds of the leaves as they blended into a firestorm of traffic, every few minutes as the wind died down and the traffic appeared to halt silence regained its foothold only to be rudely pushed aside as the light turned green, a helicopter decided to land or a garbage cyclone decided to try and disturb the peace of this calm eavning. This calm evening when the polluted, algae laden waters of the grandiose Hudson River gently lapped at the piers lining the East shore as the crashing waves reflected light off the spires of economic wealth situated neatly across creating a mini city of residences and abandoned barges that could only be seen in the day time. The light almost seemed to be a fancy light knowing that while I my aching limbs rested on this slab of marble trying to create a sense of park like conditions in this mess of concrete, noise, screaming streaks of yellow taxis, and the red brake lights of everyone else who seemed to ignore the peace that these marble and granite slabs amidst newly planted trees that was trying to block out these images in the first place. Though darkness seemed to displace the surrounding never fading lights, and madness itself, it didn’t take long for the eyes to adjust to the illusion of darkness. Not only was it not dark, but once the sweat glazing over my retinas was swiftly wiped away with a rather smelly bike glove, my eyes were greeted with the simple fact that darkness could hardly exist in a place like this. Darkness could not creep into a city that prides itself on noise, light and zero greenery besides the never slowing green lights that grace the maze of roadways that zigzag the city like a pot of uncooked pasta spilled onto the kitchen floor.

I began to notice the orange light that illuminated the walkway that I had traveled down trying to escape the light. I had noticed how deceiving these lights could appear since they were on the sides of the path creating darkness in evenly spaced intervals so just for one second the passerby was hidden in utter darkness until abruptly the symphony of darkness was ended and another lamppost appeared. The quiet could also be noticed when one was lost in their thoughts. Deep in the meditation of the constant circles made by their feet while propelling a bicycle or maybe the constant beat of their fancy sneakers on the asphalt as they steadily, under their own power ran into the night. Maybe, just maybe under these meditations of the heart beating rapidly and the sweat slowly collecting in the belly button or folds of their extra fat that was gained at last nights dinner of fried wings and micro brews, this may lead to peace. Not only inner peace, but I too admit that while my legs quickly whitening legs fading from summers tanning pumped away at my pedals, and sweat was wiped away from my brow every couple minutes, and my breaths were shortened, and my camel back bladder was slowly emptying its contents into my esophagus trying to hydrate and cool my body, I gained peace, a peace that is quite rare in the cacophony of noise and madness that greets ones eyes, ears and body anytime they set out from their shells of concrete and try to discover peace, a peace that is almost impossible, and very pricey if sought unnaturally possibly through the spa, massage parlor or luxurious restaurant.

Posted in Mountain Biking, NY metro area | 3 Comments »

Riding Blue Mountain Reservation

Posted by Frum Hiker on August 16, 2007

I have been riding my road bike quite a bit lately, up to around 100 miles per week, so last week I decided to take out my mountain bike after having not ridden it for a week or so. I was on my way down to New York so I decided to stop at Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill, about 35 miles north of New York City. The trails are literally right off the highway. One would take the Welcher ave exit off of route 9 and go up the hill- Welcher ave goes straight into the park.

The park itself is full of hiking, biking and horse trails. It is fairly empty most of the time and the trails are vast. I have successfully gotten lost every single time I have come here. I usually take the trail at the end of the parking lot and follow that up the hill. All the trails are basically up and down and there are some long and steep uphills, it is not for the faint of heart.

I especially love the downhill singletrack with all the rock ledges and jump options. There are tons of steep rock faces and stuff to jump off of, with trails around the obstacles. The scenery is not bad either, with a few open fields, views of the Palisade Cliffs and small ponds and wetlands.

On the weekends it is very crowded here due to its close proximity to the city, but during the weekdays you will be most likely the only one here.

Posted in Mountain Biking, NY metro area | Leave a Comment »