18 July 2010

Flight, Water and Heat

Today was another beast of a day:  ninety-five degrees, with more humidity than we had yesterday.  I'm definitely not a hot-weather person, but I wanted to get in a ride, however brief.  And I did, until I simply didn't want to deal with the heat anymore.

Time was when I would have soldiered on in even hotter weather than what we had today.  But I'm guessing that I'm still not at 50 percent of my normal condition, so I don't want to take unreasonable chances.  I know, I could ride more if I hydrate.  But I'm not training for any races, and a big tour--if I am going to do another one--is probably two years away.  And, being older and presumably wiser--and without testosterone--I'm not trying to prove anything.

Part of my ride took me along the World's Fair Marina.  It's just north of the site of the two World's Fairs held in New York City. (1939-40 and 1964-65:  I attended the latter as a small child.)  Between the Marina and the Fairgrounds (a.k.a. Flushing Meadow Park) stand Citi Field and the US Open Tennis Center, where Arthur Ashe and others had some of their greatest moments.  Citi Field replaced Shea Stadium, which opened at about the same time as the second Fair in 1964.  Just to the east of everything I've described is everyone's least favorite airport:  LaGuardia.

I did a "slalom" here:

It seems that every structure built around the time of the second Fair was either built by Eero Saarinen or was a copy of or parody of something he did.  A year or two before the Fair, he designed the TWA terminal of the JFK (Don't you love all of these three-letter abbreviations?) International Airport, which has been closed since TWA was grounded about a decade ago.

I remember being in that terminal for the first time when I was about fifteen years old.  One could still feel the romance of flight Antoine Saint Exupery conveyed in books like Vol de Nuit (Night Flight) and Pilote de Guerre. (Why that was translated as Flight to Arras is beyond me.  Then again, I still don't understand how Se Questo e Un Uomo became Survival at Auschwitz.)  And to think that some French teacher ruined him--and French literature--for you when she force-fed you Le Petit Prince!

Anyway...Arielle is still one of my preferred methods of transportation.  She withstood the heat better than I did:


  1. ! I was in that TWA building at 15. Alone on a break of trip to visit the world fair in Montreal, I still wanted to be an architect back then and that building was a revelation.

    nearly five decades on it is clear from airport design that the world would have been a better place if I had followed my dream...

  2. Coline--Why is it that airport architecture is so dreadful? And, if the aesthetics weren't bad enough, they're not designed, in any way, to facilitate movement within them.

    I, too, wish you had pursued your old dream...sigh...