03 April 2011

Scapes and Escapes

Today's ride was pleasure without revelations, or epiphanies--at least regarding bicycling or The Meaning of Life, anyway.  And those are all you really care about if you're reading this blog, right?

All right...My ride, which took me up by Throgs Neck, led me through an industrial area of the South Bronx.  I've mentioned it before:  I enjoy cycling there on weekends because there's absolutely no traffic.  But sometimes I see things, too, that I hadn't been expecting.

From a block away, I thought I saw the kind of sand-art-in-a-bottle that was so popular in the 1970's, rendered in the entropic colors of dystopia:  just what someone might see if he or she were to watch Miami Vice while coming down from an acid trip.  

Then I could swear I saw someone--trying to escape? or simply "losing it?"  

I couldn't help but to think of the woman in the pattern of the yellow wallpaper of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story, which I've read and assigned to my students more times than I'll admit!

The "prisoner" or "captain" or whomever you see in the second photo was actually in the window of a factory.  The other photo is of another window on that same building.  As best as I could tell, some sheet or something that was used to black out the windows was falling off or wearing away.

I guess I could rescue him (or her) by climbing on this:

I'm pretty sure that both are still used by trains; it's been a couple of years, at least, since I've seen a train pass over either of those trestles. Then again, that's about how long it's been since I've seen those trestles on a weekday, and I suspect that those trains run when the factories are open.

But if they aren't in use, I'd love to see them become the next High Line or Viaduct des Arts--except, of course, that bicycles would be allowed on it.


  1. Oh yes, I'm old enough to remember making those sand art bottles in school. Funny what you see when bike riding that brings back memories. Happens to me all the time.

  2. Hi Sue,

    I think that cycling heightens our senses and allows us to see things we couldn't have seen before.

    Believe it or not, quite a few websites are selling kits or individual supplies to make those sand art bottles. I guess they're coming back--or they never really went out of style.