It seems that fall, as we normally think of it, has come late to this area this year. Perhaps it has to do with Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent nor'easter, as well as the mild October weather that preceded them.
When I say "fall has come later", I'm thinking about the kind of light and the feel of the air. Also, I'm thinking about the trees (the ones that are still standing, anyway), which seem to have shed their leaves later and have not taken on the sere, wizened facades so many of them have by this time of year.
Maybe the lateness of the season is one reason why Tosca was so enjoying this part of an after-work ride:
Admit it: You're not above taking a roll in the leaves. Tosca is a fine traveling companion; she's entitled.
As she so frolicked, I noticed that the house directly in front of us is for sale:
For decades, members of the Steinway family lived here, in the Astoria Mansion. At one time, part of their piano workshop was housed on the grounds. When that business grew (i.e., when Steinway pianos came to be regarded among the world's best), they had to build a bigger factory a few blocks away.
Michael Hiberian died about a year and a half ago after living all of his 82 years in the house. He'd put the house up for sale a few months before breathing his last in it; now his son is trying to unload it. At the time the house was put on the market, it had a potential buyer at $5 million. But that deal fell through, and the current owner is looking for $3 million.
I've never been inside, but from what I'm told, it's even more impressive there than from where I stood. The problem is that it's in, ironically, what might be the least desirable location in Astoria. When the house was built, it was surrounded by meadows that rolled into the bay. The house, on the highest hill in the area, had some expansive views, to say the least. But now the house has an even better view of the Con Ed powerplant along the shore--and the bridge to Rikers Island. Also, in the area around the mansion are warehouses and a cement plant.
Anyway, from there, I continued to ride along the water, past LaGuardia Airport and the World's Fair Marina, to a waterfront area I hadn't seen before--at College Point.
My bikes just love waterfronts and sunsets!