03 June 2011


Today I didn't go to a social function that I didn't really have to go to, but it might have been a good idea even though I might not have had the chance to see and talk with the people I really would've hoped to see there.  You probably have an event like that every year or two, or even more, especially if you work in the arts or "people-oriented" or "helping" areas like education.

Truth is, I was tired and wanted to sleep late.  I took care of a couple of errands and, at the very end of the day, took a quick spin out past PS 1 to the Long Island City piers.

The Long Island City Piers is one of the places to which I would bring a first-time visitor to New York.  I think the only  way one can get a view of the Manhattan skyline that's as good as the one from the LIC piers is to go to the Brooklyn Heights promenade, or to take the B, D, N or Q subway lines across the Manhattan Bridge or board the Staten Island Ferry in Staten Island.  However, each of those views is more limited in scope.  The wonderful thing about the view from the piers is that it's just about picture-postcard perfect, for only the narrowest part of the East River separates it from the United Nations, Chrysler Building (which has always been my favorite New York skyscraper) and Empire State building.  

Actually, the half mile width of the East River (which is really a tidal basin) wasn't stretching in front of me, exactly.  It was Marianela who got up-close and personal:

As I was sitting on one of the benches, munching on something called a "French wrap" (ham, Brie, Dijon mustard and a couple of other things) I recalled the times in my youth when I watched the sun set from the Christopher and 14th Street piers in Manhattan.  It was all lovely, although the view wasn't what I had today.  From those piers, you can look only toward the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.  That I sat there and gazed for as long as I did tells you that I was indeed intoxicated.  I can say that, as it was more than half of my lifetime ago!

So, instead of alcohol and illicit substances, I got "high" on the ride, the food I was eating and the view.  To all of you young people:  This may be what you have to look forward to in middle age!

Back in the day, I didn't know about the view from the Long Island City waterfront.  Then again, the piers were falling apart and the neighborhoods around them were a mix of grimly entropying industrial and residential areas.  That's also a pretty fair description of  what the 14th and Christopher Street piers, and their immediate environs, were like .  

As it got dark, I started to feel chilly and I hadn't brought a sweater or jacket with me.  That was all right:  I left feeling peaceful yet energized with twilight images of the city I reached on my bike.


  1. Justine, I've been to NY many times with the family, but have never ridden a bike there. Next time I go, if I get the chance, I would like to look you up and maybe we can go for a ride.

  2. Congratulations on a year of blogging! I'm new to it myself. The view from Queens looks heavenly but I must say, if you haven't checked out the Brooklyn Waterfront recently, it's pretty great! There are more and more paths springing up. Nothing at all like what NYC must have been like back in your Christopher Street Piers days... :)

  3. Jessica: This city really has come a long way in terms of bike-friendliness, and in a variety of other ways. The Williamsburg part of the Brooklyn waterfront has undergone a complete transformation in the past few years. It used to be that during the day, one had to contend with lots of truck traffic along Kent Avenue. Nights and weekends, it was usually deserted. The Sunset Park/Bush Terminal section of the waterfront is something like what Williamsburg used to be, but it will probably change, too, as industry leaves the area and commuters to Manhattan move in.

    Sue: Write to me at justineisadream@gmail.com and I can give you my address and phone number.