The Jones Beach promenade was deserted, populated only by several bikers. The seagulls were so hungry that were surrounding you like in the Hitchcock movie if they sensed that you were planning to eat anything.
“William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail” is maybe one of the best maintained bike trail we recently rode. It connects a number of communities whose houses can sometimes be seen sometimes just a little bit off the trail, behind the tree line.
Completely paved from Hopewell Junction all the way to the Hudson River, the trail continues over the spectacular “Walk over the Hudson” bridge.
On the other side of the Hudson river the trail is linked directly with Hudson Rail Trail another about 3.5 miles that ends in a local park. This part of the trail is not as well maintained, thou is still paved all the way only that the pavement may need a little bit of extra work to take out the numerous bumps.
If biked all the way over the Hudson and to the end park, the entire round trip goes for a little more than 37 miles. However the good pavement makes the ride like a breeze and you barely feel the effort.
At 1.28 miles, the “Walk over the Hudson” bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. It is also the oldest bridge over the Hudson built between New York and Albany. It was opened in 1889 for trains to move coal from Pennsylvania towards the North-East and it was in operation till 1974 when a fire destroyed its infrastructure. It was renovated and opened in October 2009 as a pedestrian and bikes bridge.
From its top it confers spectacular views over the Hudson Valley with the train tracks on both sides of the river, one for freight and the other for passengers on Metro North line.
Right after crossing the bridge is the hamlet of Highland, one of the few places close to the trails we found where you can stop for a bite or a beer.
In the rest, for sure there must be places close by but they are not seen from the trail and may require to descend in towns and start biking the streets looking for them. The most convenient place is a Java truck selling great cappuccinos right at the entrance of the “Walk over the Hudson” bridge.
“Modernism on the Ganges” is the photography exhibit of Raghubir Singh, a pioneer of street color photography. Born in a privileged Rajasthan family he lived in Europe and New York being exposed to the work of the famous Western photographers.
In the brochure of the exhibit it is stated that he was “…deeply influenced by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson (whom he met in Jaipur in 1966), Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray, and American street photographers such as William Gedney and Lee Friedlander.” Many of these photographers visited India and created there substantial bodies of work.
No matter that Singh lived extensively abroad he returned many times in his native country where he created an astounding body of work that describes the spectacular photographic paradise that is India, as interesting today as in his time.
The exhibit shows about 85 of his photographs in counterpoint with photos by Cartier-Bresson, Friedlander, etc taken also in India. Beside the exhibited body of work the photo albums he published during his life time are available for viewing depicting the same fascinating world.
The exhibit is hosted by the Met Brewer, the new wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located in the old Whitney building on Madison Avenue and will run till January 2, 2018.
Biking is a good excuse to be in the colors of the Delaware river in the fall. And the Delaware Bike trail, part of the D&R and D&L bike paths makes the visit very attractive.
We biked these paths several times and we chose again to do an “8 loop” starting in Lambertsville, NJ and crossing through Bull’s Island to the Pennsylvania side continuing to Uhlerstown, PA and crossing the bridge into NJ at Frenchtown.
The return was on the NJ side crossing Bull’s Island and ending in New Hope, PA a charming town where we landed by accident in a local art action of a famous town collector, Robin and John Larsen art collection, who was selling his entire art collection.
The entire loop is just a little bit more than 35 miles on a very good packed dirt trail, with sopectacular views of Delaware River and amazing fall colors on the bike path.
“China after 1989-Theater of the World” hosted by the Guggenheim Museum is a spectacular and extremely ambitious retrospective of Chinese art from the last two decades of the 20th century and following into the 21st century till the Beijing Olympics in 2008. This more effervescent period started at the beginning of the 1980s in sync with the economic liberalization reforms and was abruptly stalled after the events in Tiananmen Square of June 4, 1989.
The frustration of the Chinese art community and the mistrust in the government for this lack of freedom of expression is expressed in many of the curated works of art.
On the same token are the diverse perceptions of what the western art scene was expected from the Chinese art and what the Chinese artists were also expected from the West.
Most of the works in exhibition are conceptual but there are also works in a new, uncompromising, realistic style.
The Hudson River bike trail is going all the way from Battery Park to Inwood Park for about 25 miles round trip. It starts in downtown where you may have to cross some streets but after that continues uninterrupted all the way till Inwood Park.
The bike trail crossed from the downtown and midtown area through Harlem and further through Spanish Harlem, presenting a real cross section of the Manhattan population.
Close to George Washington Bridge, a local artist arranged the stones to stand as servants marching towards the large pylon of the bridge inspired by Dante’s “Divina Comedie”. “The Sisyphus stones” is an immersive sculpture by the Bronx artist Uliks Gryka, a 33 year old Albanian immigrant from the Bronx, using the stones from the river’s shore that are perched one on top of another, balanced without any kind of adhesive. Nature or humans may cause the stone to topple adding a dimension of impermanence to his work, beautifully described on a manifesto that is posted by the sculpture area.
On the return, several restaurants on the Hudson were more than inviting to take a break and bask in the sun in a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Pocono Biking is a rental bike place in Jim Thorpe, a charming town in Pennsylvania. Beside the rental business, they shuffle bikers up the Lehigh Gorge Valley in an old school bus that leaves Jim Thorpe almost every hour. During the week the bus ends its route at Whitehaven, about 25 miles north of Jim Thorpe. During the weekend there is an extra special bus at 11:00 AM, only one, that brings you all the way up the mountain at the end of the maintained trail, about 36 miles away.
We biked this 25 miles trail about two years ago in the early summer. We followed the bike trail guarded on one side by a forest of rhododendron in late bloom and on the other side the colorful rafts full of people going down the Lehigh Gorge.
Right outside of Jim Thorpe, the city is working at the construction of a bridge that would connect this northern sector of the trail with a southern one that is continuous packed dirt till Northampton, PA, about another 20 miles. After that it has a six miles section that follows the road and continues on packed trail all the way till it reaches Easton, PA where it connects to the another 50 miles of the D&R Canal Bike Trail.
Pocono Biking plans to expand its operation and drop people at the end of this southern section in Northampton, PA next year when the bridge would be finished. However, according to what they told me, they will only drop people there and would do no pickups so I don’t know how it can be done to do the entire 45 miles trail, if you’d like to bike it.
The train that was used to carry coal is now shuffling tourists that pack the small town of Jim Thorpe coming in buses early in the morning. I did not see any black bears as posted on the board but there are lots of timber rattlesnakes around.
The town of Jim Thorpe is charming, full of curiosity shops and lots of gourmet places with wine tasting, cappuccino and great restaurants.
About 2-3 miles out of town is the rectangular lake of Mauch Chunk. The town used to be called after the lake but it was renamed in the memory of the famous Native American athlete Jim Thorpe that was unconnected to the town at all. But after his death, his third wife took his body and made a deal with the town that will end up carrying his name, to bury him there and erect a monument in his honor. The monument is located just on the main road as you drive into town.