Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Epic Bike Ride of 2010

It was more like an Epic Weekend, which started with a trip to Jacob Riis Park in Rockaway, Queens. Constructed on the site of one of the first US naval air stations, the park was designed in 1936 by innovative Park Commissioner Robert Moses, who had also created Jones Beach in 1929 further east on Long Island. Moses envisioned Riis Park as a Jones Beach for poor immigrants, a destination accessible by public transportation and closer to the city. In 1972, Jacob Riis Park was transferred to the control of the National Park Service.

It was a really quick car ride, but if there is a ferry which takes you there from Manhattan, which I think would be fun. ( I do love ferries!) It was quiet there, and lovely. I haven't been to any beaches in NYC other than Coney Island and this Riis Park was sooooo different! I highly recommend going if you can't leave the city for the weekend and are feeling the sirens' call.

The next day we set out to ride our bikes to Coney Island. It was to be about 8 miles each way, with two very specific stops on the agenda.
First up, Di Fara's Pizza.

There's a lot of hype surrounding Di Fara's, which is attributed to, in my opinion, many variables: it's out-of-the-way location, it's weird hours, and the fact that only the venerable 80-year-old Dominic makes the pies. We got there at 12:25 and there was already a line forming. We waited patiently and ordered two slices and paid $10.
Yep, $10.

For the price and the trip, not really worth it. And I've eaten a lot of pizza in NYC. A lot. But it's just my opinion and you have the right to form your own, so travel to Avenue J at your own risk.

The journey continued all the way to Coney Island. I've been there two times so far this summer, and, God help me, I love it there. I can't quite tell you why. I feel like I'm being transported in place and time. Like I've entered a time warp or a worm hole and come out the other side somewhere completely other than New York. (It's the same way I feel about South Beach, which inspires the same kind of confused reactions from my friends. What can I say?)

We roamed the boardwalk and watched some crazy kids dive off the pier, while quiet older couples fished and picnic-ed. Having finally worked off the pizza it was on to the main event. That's right, people. I was back for tacos.

YUMMMMM. Doesn't that look amazing?! Having been twice now I would recommend the spicy pork, but not the steak. I would definitely have the chicken if I were to go again. Which I will.

We sat in the Plaza Mexico and listened to the canciones and fantasized that we were somewhere else, though the cries from the Cyclone reminded us that we were, in fact, not. Then it was time to go and work off those tacos on the ride home, which always seems shorter, doesn't it? On the way home we got caught in the rain - a good, soaking, mid-summer rain - and laughed the whole way.

Epic, indeed.

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