Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

17 April 2016

Waking Up And Finding A Bull's Head In Your Box

Today's weather was just like yesterday's, just a couple of degrees warmer.  Still, I did a shorter ride:  I got off to a late start.

But I enjoyed it nonetheless.  I rambled through some Brooklyn and Queens streets.  It's funny how I can roll through neighborhoods I know well, yet as I pedal down a particular street, I might think, "Hmm...haven't been here in a while.

So it was as I cycled down one of the major streets in a pocket of Brooklyn that no one seems to agree on whether it's in Williamsburg, East Williamsburg, Bushwick or Wyckoff Heights. 

("East Williamsburg" is an actual part of Brooklyn.  It's not just something you say when you're trying to impress someone--a potential date, perhaps--but you don't want to say you live deep in the heart of Bushwick.  For that matter, "Wyckoff Heights" actually exists, but about the only people who've heard the name are the ones who use it in reference to the area I rode through today!)

The street is bounded by the Broadway elevated train line and a cemetery.  On one side of the avenue I rode are projects and a senior center; the other side is lined with old factories, warehouses and storefronts.  If that doesn't sound like the sort of place in which artists live for about a decade before the neighborhood gentrifies--or becomes Hipster Hell--well, it is.

Not surprisingly, there are "vintage" and "antique" stores that charge more than most of those artists can afford for things other people threw away.  I stopped in one because it  had a couple of interesting-looking bikes and trombones (How often do you see them together?) outside the door, tended to by a rugged-looking woman in a long black skirt whom I took for one of the Orthodox Jews who live nearby but who, in fact, is the wife of, and co-owner with, a who looks like he could be one of the artists.

The woman was actually nice to me:  She invited me to bring my bike in.  The man was dealing with a haggler--actually, someone who was trying to shame him into giving her something at the price she wanted.  "I just bought property in this neighborhood.  I have a stake in it," she said, stridently.  Yeah, you're going to price all of the artists out of this neighborhood, I said to myself.

Anyway, there was some rather interesting stuff in the store.  This caught my eye:

I wish I could have better captured what I saw:  The curves of the handlebars and trombones.  It wasn't so surprising to see the latter.  But a box full of handlebars?  Even though a few bikes were for sale, that was a surprise.  I asked the female co-owner.  She didn't know how he came upon them.  "Probably they were getting tossed out," she speculated.  Perhaps, I thought, by some bike shop.  Most of the bars were cheap steel and alloy dropped bars, so I'm guessing the shop had them from old ten- and twelve-speeds that were "hybrdized".

Given all of the artists in the area, I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of those handlebars ended up in a sculpture or installation.  Could the next Picasso's Bull's Head be sitting, embryonic, in that box?

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