Michael Strickland's blog on all things travel: news, deals, destinations, dreams and more.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A weekend as a New York City tourist

One great thing about living in New York City is the ability to play tourist at will. With a city this large, so full of cultural and recreational opportunities, one need not travel any further than home to explore new places. And, since I've lived here less than a year, many New Yorkers would probably still call me a tourist anyway.

Friday night, Cassie and I threw our names into the "Wicked" lottery. Each evening, two hours before showtime, the box office holds a lottery for a limited number of $25 tickets. We'd tried unsuccessfully a few times, but Friday was our lucky night. They drew our names, and two hours later, we were sitting front-row center for this tremendously popular Broadway show.

Saturday dawned warm and sunny, one of the first of such weekends this year. We wasted no time hopping on our bikes for a ride up the New York City Greenway (map). Starting from home in Brooklyn, we crossed over the Manhattan Bridge into Chinatown and navigated the cross-town traffic (an adventure in itself). Finally making it to the west side, we joined the Greenway, a 32-mile route that winds all the way around the island of Manhattan.

On the west side, the Greenway travels along the edge of the Hudson river, offering an abundance of scenic views. Springtime dusted the icing on the cake with blossoms covering every tree. Even a flat tire didn't dampen our spirits for long.

Along the way, we met up with Simon and Nicole, friends from our recent scuba diving trip to Roatan, Honduras. The four of us toured north on the Greenway, all the way to the Henry Hudson Bridge at the northern tip of Manhattan. Sights along the way included the George Washington Bridge (pictured above), the Cloisters (where the Met houses its Medieval art) and the Grecian Temple.

On the way back, we made a pit stop at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, a well-known BBQ joint in Harlem (that I, the newbie, naturally hadn't heard of). The original restaurant was opened in Syracuse in 1983 by three bikers, which perhaps explains the presence of a pack of deafening Harleys during our visit. The food was good and abundant, and we left fat and happy.

Today, I'm feeling yesterday's 35+ miles. But I'm excited that it marked the beginning of a season full of outdoor activities. As a southern California native, I still haven't gotten used to the winter hibernation that forces a hiatus from such outdoor fun. But I suppose it also makes me appreciate it all the more.

[Photos by Cassie Craig]



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