Today, being the nicest day in the NY Metro area in the last week, I shut off the Giants-Eagles game at about 3pm and headed south along the Hudson River to get a look at Manhattan from the West shore.
About two miles into the trip, a black blip appeared at about eye level, flying directly at me on the wrong side of the road. In an instant, an enormous splatter of yellow goo exploded on my face shield, just below my left eye. Thank my lucky stars that my shield was down! I believe it was a bumble bee, but it could have been a humming bird egg, if you ask me! (My car got egged two nights ago, too, on Halloween Eve.)
I immediately pulled into a convenience store, bought a bottle of Windex and cleaned up. Too bad, because on my way back to my scoot, I missed the chance to wave to a scooterist who had just passed by on a slimline Lambretta.
Route 9W is a nice ride in the Rockland County, NY to Bergen County, NJ area nowadays... the last rough patch in Grandview, NY has just been beautifully paved over, so it's smooth sailing down past where the George Washington Bridge exhausts City traffic into Jersey. You can hang a left on Main St. in Fort Lee to River Road, and cruise through Edgewater. To the right, on old Main St., I rediscovered an organic looking cafe facade that has been an odd roadside attraction for over 25 years. I stopped in there back in the mid Eighties, and recall that the inside was decorated with fibreglass figures set in amorphous, gloppy surroundings. I wonder if it still looks like that?
It's easy to get involved in the architecture of the area, but the sheer bluffs and high palisades opposite the West side of NYC are even more imposing than what man has wrought. You find yourself slowing down just to take them in, and marveling how at they have been incorporated into the cityscape. It's a nice balance to all the concrete.
Traveling on to Port Imperial Blvd, I got into some Weehawken Ferry Traffic. The ferry is a cool way to go to Manhattan, and the landing has spawned lots of upscale building along the river. I espied some people playing soccer to the left, pulled into Waterfront Park for the first time, and parked. This is what's great about scooters. You try going new places that you would overlook from the isolation of a "cage".
I walked down a paved path curving through river grasses and wildflowers embracing two soccer fields to discover a promenade separating the play areas from the Hudson. What a nice place! Kids at play, their coaches barking commands behind me, a bracing breeze, and the City skyline aglow; by this time, Manhattan was reflecting that gorgeous yellow light of late afternoon. I unsheathed my Blackberry and took a photo as a cutter passed in front of the Empire State Building.
Then I proned myself in the parking lot to shoot my Granturismo against the same backdrop. I'm sure I looked stupid, but I know fellow scooterists understand how great this is!
Remounting, I resigned myself to heading back home, as dusk was coming on. But decided to turn right at the evocatively named Riverwalk Place to see where it ended up.
Good move! The street cuts between banks of luxo condos, and ends in a little circular piazza centered by a street level fountain set in a radiating pattern of brick paving stones. It's very Italianate, reminiscent of the Campodoglio in Rome,or the Plaza at Lincoln center... but on a tiny scale (As if scripted, a young Italian couple appeared to snap tourist photos of each other). The designers took pains to make a simple cul de sac into a destination of its own, not to mention the terrific view it affords of Manhattan beyond the balustrades. If you can find a better place in America for your Vespa to feel at home, let me know!
From there, it was a race against the sun to get home before it got too dark, because I don't relish night time riding where deer live. The moon was full, the road was smooth, and I was on a Vespa.