A crossing to the farther shore

B&W photo of the shore where we catch the ferryView facing west as we await the ferry

On an Easter Monday back in early May, Z, J, and I went on a cycling wander with our friends in Amsterdam. Though it was chill and overcast, we had a fantastic day exploring Amsterdam Noord.
B&W photo of our bikes on the ferry from Centraal Station
Two of our bikes on the deck of the ferry
B&W photo of the industrial shoreline
B&W photo of the harbor areaB&W photo of a club called Sexyland in Amsterdam Noord
A club called Sexyland in Amsterdam Noord
B&W photo on the farther shore, Amsterdam Noord
Edge of the beach outside at
Pllek (pllek means Place in Dutch)
B&W photo of my cycling buddies on a waterside cycle path
B&W photo cycling through Nieuwendammerdijk
Entering the town of  Nieuwendammerdijk
b&w photo of gables in Nieuwendammerdijk
Bell gables hide steeply pitched roofs
b&w photo of our bike posse
#squadgoals 🙂

Color photo of the Botel



Returning from Riis Beach after a light rain warned of a coming storm

The rain was very light, but the skies were darkening. After learning what the satellites warned, we broke camp— packed as quickly as possible, ran to the boardwalk and rode fast to beat the real rain at our backs. Made it to a bayside pub to wait out the rain then another quick dash to the ferry dock.

By the time everyone boarded the rain had stopped. Later, as we rounded the bend toward the Verrazano Narrows, the divide between the portside storm and clear skies ashore (starboard) was dramatic, and those of us on deck got a little of the rain. (Still, better to be on deck in rain and wind than below in the too-chilling air conditioning.)

The situation of the weather in these photos brings to mind the original meaning of the word POSH: Port Out; Starboard Home. On a larger vessel, posh seats would have been just the thing in this case.Back in Sunset Park, cycling northward on Second Ave, the post-storm light was too good, so I had to stop to take pictures a few times. 

Cycling and swinging: ways to fly

The other night around 11:15 I texted TL—

Wanna ride bikes to the swings at third street?
I could do- sketching a song at the moment
Maybe at midnight? We could walk too, either way
Bikes def. Adult swing on midnight’s wing

And so we did. Such a joy, and a perfect evening for these endeavors. A couple who’d been walking their tiny dog had stopped in the playground to swing, too. Like us, they were giggling with delight as they flew up into the velvet clouds again and again.

After a spell on the swings we biked up third street to the Park, rode the paths therein to the 15th street exit, then back down the hill. Kids again, both cycling and on the swings, zooming around the empty midnight city.

a late night ride in the rain

Landed in Amsterdam to a blustery day and a welcome nap in W&B’s guest room with the cat before headed out to the Jordaan for a beer at Cafe t’Smalle. Then walked westward.

Dinner at Pendergast was super (especially as I’d not eaten since early morning). A Friday night, fully booked— they had to turn away walk-ins. Tineke and I sat at the bar and caught up, shared food. Left empty plates then complained of being too full.

I stayed past the last tram, so Wouter loaned me his bike and he rode on the back of Brandon’s. I followed behind them in the drizzle, tried to memorize them, their unerring fluidity. Wouter looked so at ease, perched cross-legged and leaning against Brandon’s backpack, whistling some tune. (He wasn’t slouching as much as in the drawing.)

It’s the sort of thing we do as children but are scolded for it, so lose it growing up. “It’s too dangerous!” But in the Netherlands, it’s commonplace. The person driving gets some momentum, then the person riding jumps on the back. In a cycling culture, a bike becomes an extension of the body— but also there’s an evident trust between them.

I shouted into the wind. “You look so relaxed!” Through the rain, “I am relaxed!” and continued whistling.

Cycling weather

Our bike routes around the neighborhoods
I outlined our biking routes amongst three neighborhoods (click to enlarge)

The September weather has been beautiful for biking and walking; sunny and crisp, humidity pretty well gone now. Zac and I did some cycling on Tuesday in the gorgeous sunshine and into the night; from South Park Slope to Ditmas Park (aqua route to Sycamore), then through Prospect Park (the uphill half!) to Prospect Heights (pink route to Beast), and finally back home down Fifth Ave in the Slope again (green route).

Having been here so long, I know Park Slope very well, and Prospect Heights to an extent, but I’m least familiar with Ditmas Park and its environs. The bikesterNYC app for iphone has been remedying that— it’s really helpful when planning routes through unknown neighborhoods or the stretches between familiar ‘hoods.