Concettina Died and Other Stories of the East Side

My Ass Hurts, posted August 12, 2007 at 02:22 PM


I finally rode my bike across the George Washington Bridge. 25.5 miles from my house, across town, up the West Side Highway, across the bridge, and back. (The orange path in the map above shows my route). It's a beautiful day today, and I got a nice early start so it wasn't killer hot until the last part of the ride.

The Hudson is so beautiful, even though the view across it is New Jersey. When you get up to where the bridge is, though, and you look north, it's just soft rolling green hills with a beautiful wide river bending through it. The GWB is much higher than the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, so the views from it are spectacular. Leaving the city, I could see the lush cliffs of the Palisades, and the river curving behind the land farther north. One of my favorite movements in American art is the Hudson River School--and whenever I see this amazing view, I can understand why these great painters were so moved to paint the Hudson's stunning beauty over and over. Like this gorgeous painting: Sunset Over the Palisades on the Hudson, 1879, by Sanford Robinson Gifford

When I got to Jersey, I pulled off into the woods to sit in the shade for a minute. I called Aunt Joyce and said "I'm just down the street from you!" She got all excited, then when I told her the street was I-80 and I had just crossed the GWB she called me a shithead. Hey! It was true--I was just down the street! A long street, true. But really....

Coming back, the city was a magnificent gray silhouette in the distance. Back on the West Side Highway I stopped for a while to rest and reapply my sunscreen. I sat under a tree right next to river and was mesmerized by the water, the way one is mesmerized by fire. And yeah, I longed to jump in. It was very inviting, but I had visions of myself being sucked under some Norwegian cruise ship or choking on a plastic grocery bag or something and I quickly gave up my fantasy of river swimming. I got back on my bike and rode home to my new best friend: my air conditioner.

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