Tagged: Independence Day

Bikes and Trains, Independence Day 2015 Edition

My favorite convergence of two nineteenth century technologies is that of bicycles and trains because they work well together. In fact, they complement each other much more than the two quintessential twentieth-century transportation technologies: airplanes and automobiles. Don’t believe me? Think about how onerous it is to pick up or drop off someone at the airport, let alone park a car there.

One of the great things about bicycling in the New York City area is that there are trains that can assist with planning your long bike rides. Having a train enables you to do a long ride that isn’t a loop. Thanks to the tireless work of bicycling advocates throughout the region, it is possible to ride for a whole day and catch a train—and an attendant nap—to whisk you back home.

Although we still have a long way to go compared to the west coast, where you can reserve a space and roll your bike onto many Amtrak trains, the New York City–area does have some excellent infrastructure to carry a bike on a train.

Except, perhaps, for holiday weekends…such as this coming Independence Day weekend.

The patchwork of separate railroads have implemented an array of restrictions:

These restrictions put a damper what seemed like a nice idea: an Independence Day bike ride to Philadelphia, our nation’s former capital city. Instead, it looks like I’ll be riding with some friends north through Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties this Friday. The ride will end in Beacon, but we plan to take a very scenic and hilly route by way of Amenia for a day-long double metric century.

And, yes, we’ll be taking a late Metro North train back to NYC.

Heat Wave Envy

Apparently, there’s a heatwave afflicting Western Europe, bringing the hottest July day ever in Britain. I’m a little jealous.

With daytime temperatures in New York hovering in the low eighties all week, it hardly feels like summer, despite Independence Day weekend starting in two days.

As a fellow academic put it, I almost feel like I should be assembling my course packets for the fall.

North Brooklyn and LIC on the Fireworks: “That’s It?”

The 2014 Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Everyone was excited about the fireworks coming to the East River after many years of being staged on the Hudson River. The streets of Long Island City were full of people heading towards Gantry State Park and LIC Landing to see the fireworks.

We didn’t stick around the neighborhood and headed to Greenpoint for a rooftop party. Many of the attendees were excited to finally see the fireworks from Brooklyn, which haven’t been able to do for several years. When the show started, a bit after 9:00 PM, the crowd reacted in disbelief to the show.

“That’s it?”

We could barely see the fireworks because all the barges were south of the Brooklyn Bridge. It even appeared that we were watching the Jersey City’s fireworks, but we were in fact watching New York City’s epic firework show. What a disappointment!

At least we didn’t pay as much as $125 to hardly see any fireworks.

Celebrating Independence and Pig


While we didn’t picnic at Riverside Park on Independence Day, we did have the pleasure of going to a party at the City Foundry in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The party was hosted by Industry City Distillery and was a benefit for the Trade School Everywhere. (I’m still trying to wrap my head around the scope of the entire event.)

The party boasted a potluck, a variety of beverages, live music, and pretty limited view of the Macy’s Fireworks. The highlight of the evening was a pig roast. Whoa! I had some loin, belly, and then some other random bits at the end of the night, and it was delicious. The sides consisted of some Beet Cole Slaw and Vegan lentil and farro salad with kasha. It was almost a well-balanced meal, and a great night.

I just wish we were off from work the next day.

Belated Birthday Wishes to America… and Corn!


How else does one celebrate the declaration of independence of this nation? What better way to pay homage to the USA than with corn?

I spent this weekend in Kentucky with Sarah and her family, who had a reunion. There was not only lots of food but there was also cornhole.


Corn is everywhere. It’s in just about every major beer brewed in the United States, as a cheap adjunct for other grains, and Doritos are full of corn, as its their primary ingredient. Don’t forget that if you grilled anything that day, it was most likely fed with corn. In fact, if you were drinking beer in Germany, there wouldn’t be any corn in it. It’s prohibited by the Bavarian Purity Laws.

Happy birthday, America!


Man, I love summer! And, of course, the crazy sunsets that the clouds and city pollution create each warm season.

Independence Day Picnic

This photo was from earlier today, Independence Day 2011, in Riverside Park. We were waiting to see the annual fireworks show begin after sundown.