14 August 2016

Where Was Everybody? I'm Not Complaining!

I swore that I wouldn't ride to any beach areas on weekends this summer.   Well, I broke that promise. It was just so hot and humid I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to ride--or go by any other means.

Actually, I didn't ride just to one beach.  First, I heeded the Ramone's advice and rode to--where else?--Rockaway Beach.  I worried when I encountered a lot of traffic on the streets near my apartment--at least some of which seemed headed toward Rockaway.

But, as soon as I passed Forest Park, traffic started to thin out.  By the time I crossed the bridge from Howard Beach to Beach Channel, the streets started to look like county roads in upper New England or routes departmentales in the French countryside--at least traffic-wise, anyway.  And, oddly, there seemed to be less traffic the closer I got to the Rockaways. I thought that, perhaps, whoever had planned to be on the beach today was already there.

What I found when I got to Rockaway Beach invalidated that hypothesis.  Although temperatures reached or neared 100F (38C) in much of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan--and humidity hovered around 90 percent--there actually was space to stretch out on the beach!  I've seen days where people were literally at arm's length, or even less from each other.  That's what I expected to, but didn't, see today.

I didn't see this. (Apologies to Francisco Goya.)

What's more, I could ride in more or less straight lines along the boardwalk:  I didn't have to swerve or dodge skateboarders, or families with men and boys in shorts and tank tops, women in bathing suits and cover-ups and little girls in frilly dresses--or dogs on leashes that seem to span the length of the boardwalk.

After soaking up sun, surf and sand (perhaps not in that order), I ate some of the salsa I made and tortilla chips from a local Mexican bakery.   Thus fortified, I decided to ride some more.  

Along Beach Channel Drive, I encountered even less traffic than I did on the way to Rockaway Beach.  There were even empty parking spaces along the street, all the way to Jacob Riis Park.  The beach there was slightly more crowded than Rockaway, but still nothing like what I expected.  The streets from there to the Marine Parkway Bridge were all but deserted, and the bridge itself--which spans an inlet of Jamaica Bay and ends on Flatbush Avenue, one of Brooklyn's major streets (it's really more like a six-lane highway at that point)--looked more like a display of Matchbox cars than a major thoroughfare. 

Stranger still, I saw only two other cyclists on the lane that parallels Flatbush, and none on the path that rims the bay along the South Shore of Brooklyn to the Sheepshead Bay docks.  From there, I encountered one other cyclist on the way to Coney Island--a bicycle patrolman!

Surely, I thought, I'd see throngs of strollers, sunbathers and swimmers at Coney Island.  Throngs, no.  People, yes--but, again, not as many as I expected.  

I didn't complain.  I finished the salsa and chips.  They were really good, if I do say so myself.


  1. Maybe nobody goes there any more because it's too crowded?

  2. Mike--Good one!

    Even if I never watch another baseball game, I'll miss Yogi. I met him once, briefly. Everyone remembers his malapropism, but he actually seemed like a very intelligent--and classy--man.