19 June 2011

Accidental Gatsby

As so often happens when I'm riding alone, I didn't exactly go where I'd planned.  Then again, sometimes my plans aren't firm when I'm riding alone.  I can't say they were today.

So...I had a vague idea I might take another ride to Point Lookout.  (Can you tell it's a favorite of mine?)  And, well, I took a "wrong" turn--accidentally, in a Freudian way, if you know what I mean.  I found myself riding underneath an Air France plane that I could've sworn I could've touched.  That meant, of course, I was even closer to JFK International Airport than the union is to management at my job.  (You would really appreciate that comment if you saw what I wrote yesterday on my other blog.)

From there, I rode through a few neighborhoods that I have been to a couple of times before, and a couple of more I haven't seen in years, all of them on one side or the other of the Queens-Nassau county line.  What those places had to recommend them were that they were quiet and traffic-free, which is no small virtue on a nearly perfect day for cycling.  

I passed among residential areas that ranged from cookie-cutter suburban to ostentious in the way of a 1970's Lincoln Continental.  I also passed by and through a couple of rather lovely parks, the Belmont racetrack, then some neighborhoods with increasingly interesting architecture, all the way to the North Shore.

Now, that wasn't the most opulent or architecturally distinctive house I saw.  But I think that if I had lots of money, I'd want to live in something like that. I imagine that the rooms would be full of light undulating in waves like the water that's only about 100 feet away.

I get the feeling Arielle wouldn't mind it at all.  After all, she's the one who led me here.

Some people--and bikes--like the beach. But I think Arielle really loves the light and water and waves.  

Surprisingly, I saw only one other cyclist along that road that skirts Long Island Sound.  However, I did see a fair number of couples--mostly middle-aged and older, though hardly looking worse for it--taking leisurely or romantic strolls.  All of them smiled, waved or said "hello" to me.  

I don't suspect, though, that they'd buy flowers in this place:

To be fair, that florist is nowhere near the Gatsby shoreline I reached by accident.  It's in Richmond Hill:  one of those places where I took a "wrong" turn.  The florist is in business; I've passed it any number of times because it's not far from where I work. Whatever happens to that florist, I hope someone preserves that sign:  If you remember when FTD used the "Mercury" logo in all of its ads, you're old, or at least of my generation.  As you can see, that sign had neon lights on it at one time.  I don't know when they were removed, but somehow I suspect that the sign is from the 1940's, or even earlier.  In those days, the neighborhood was populated mainly by the children and grandchildren of Irish and German immigrants; later, second-generation Italian-Americans (including some relatives of mine) moved in, only to be replaced by the current Indian and Guyanese residents.  

One of the neighborhood's most noted residents was Jacob Riis. But I doubt Gatsby ever went there, even by accident.

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