Sunday Bike Ride (Sunday)

Today I did my usual Sunday afternoon bike ride. It’s become a habit for years now. The layout of the day remains the same: Wake up, make (Barry’s) tea (or drink Marisa’s coffee) and watch The Late Late Show, an Irish chat show from the previous Friday night that keeps me up to date with all the usual gobshite (pointless) Irish celebrities from home. I skip through most of it to be honest (Host is unwatchable/celebrities are crap). I decided to take some pics for today’s trip. I also experimented around with different photo-effects which will explain why each one is different (I’m not on drugs).

Every Sunday Morning. 

First stop was Socrates Sculpture Park (former rubbish tip) where I met Frank (possible alias), an old Mexican man who spent 30 minutes (a full half hour!) showing off his ‘vintage’ (rubbish) bike only to tell me later that he stole it (long story but basically he stole it). He had a pair of radio headphones (from the eighties) that he bought from the local catholic church (c*nts) flea market (bedbug hive). He doesn’t wear them while cycling though because that’s against the law, Frank (criminal) says he respects the law (go work the f*ck out of that). He was a nice man (non-violent) but lonely and old and quite frankly just wanted to talk all day to anybody (mental). Considering the head-space I have been in as of late, I got on my bike (that I bought from a shop with my own money) and cycled away while he was still talking.   

Goodbye Frank

I was on my way to Williamsburg (favorite place) but remembered that I spent Saturday (favorite day  – I was born on a saturday) being drunk (favorite thing) there and decided to visit Roosevelt Island instead (I have never been drunk there, ever, I swear). After cycling around the northern part (loud families screaming) I swung south and discovered that The Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park (Jesus, these f*cking names – I could do better*) although not officially open, was open. I cycled in.

*Freedom America Hero Liberty Winning Hulk Hogan The Best Park
Manhattan in The Distance.
I like These Flowers.
Empty Park, Empty Seats
Ruins of The Renwick Smallpox Hospital 
Roosevelt Island Bridge Going Home
Water Below
Queensborough Bridge
Entrance to Roosevelt Island

On the way back I decided to swing by (my all time favorite place) The Noguchi Museum (church) as I do almost every week (whenever possible). I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves (Too lazy to write). A truly magically space (Can’t explain why I love it so much).

Ward’s Island – Demo

Ward’s Island by C. Dempsey 2009

A few years back I would take my bike on the weekend and cycle to specific areas around New York most people would know little about. I’d take pictures, then write instrumental music a few days later based on my experiences. I done it purely for fun and as a creative experiment. Some songs were good, others were simply weird. This song is my favorite because I find it creepy and eerie every time I play it. Ward’s Island can be this and more even in bright sunshine. For more information on Ward’s Island click on the link below:

Enjoy the music and pictures.


Newtown Creek Bike Trip

Every weekend I go for a bike ride in order to remind my body what moving around and being healthy actually feels like. Today I decided to skip my usual route which normally includes the Noguchi Museum, Sculpture Park, 5Pointz and Williamsburg for somewhere I had been putting off for sometime. I read about Newtown Creak on Radiohead’s website and via the Newtown Creek Alliance, or at least the environmental disaster there. It is the location of America’s worst ever oil spill, three times in fact the size of The Exxon Valdez spill which dumped close to 750,000 barrels of oil in Prince William Sound in 1989. 
The creek separates the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. I’ve biked over it numerous times and explored some of the sections on its north side. I had heard that there was a Newtown Creek Nature Walk which had been built pretty recently. Today I decided to pay it a visit but not before getting lost first. 
What I thought were abandoned tracks were in fact part of the Montauk Branch line which runs from the city to Montauk at the end on Long Island (Montauk is my favorite part of New York but more about that another time).  I obviously did not know this as I stood on them taking pictures with my camera phone listening to my iPod.   
Wrong turn and abandoned tracks/active freight lines apparently.
Another wrong turn and more abandoned tracks/Montauk Branch lines.

I eventually found the entrance and noticed that it lined up perfectly with the Empire State building. The road was deserted except for three people and a car. This gem was well and truly tucked away.

Looking back from the entrance on Paidge Avenue.

The entrance is wheel chair assessable which meant I could cycle in like I owned the place.

Great for looking like you own the place or people in wheel chairs. 
There was a long interesting walkway to get to the water. I loved the exposed bright layered concrete walls and steel railings. The surrounding area is incredibly old and industrial so it was a welcome relief to be around something so new. 

Approaching the rotunda bend.
Looking back.
Looking forward

Newtown Creek and Queens beyond.

Steps to the water.

The creek and the BQE beyond.

My trusty steed/Trek Bicycle.

Information on local wildlife.

Good idea.

NYC beyond. Nice at night I’m sure. 

 Small triangles were cut from the concrete to let the local vegetation take seed and grow.

Seating area.

Willow Tree

The nature walk ran along the river and then turned right to follow Whale Creek, another section that branched off. This area was heavily populated with trees and shrubs. I was in heaven.

Willow Tree/Pre-evolved Human

Okay, so I like to take pictures of trees. I’m a little obsessed with them to be honest. Maybe it’s an Irish thing as they play such an important part of our culture. Did you know that Irish people used to believe that humans evolved from trees that uprooted themselves and learned to walk on land? Well you do now. Trees are awesome. Fact.

Another Willow Tree – don’t judge me!

Boat Dock.

Sewage treatment facility tanks.

Educational old school first aid.

The nature walk is a dead end as I found out. This gate was locked and seemed to lead to a building several feat above.

End of the line in whale creek.

Looking back from the end.

Barrel/Trash Can

The local area was famed for barrel making for years so when the nature walk was designed they incorporated that fact when designing their trash cans. A nice touch methinks.

Returning to the entrance I really began to appreciate the industrial architecture of the nature walk. It neither blended in nor stood out. It was simply it’s own thing amongst an ugly landscape.

Surrounding area.

Returning home over Newtown Creek

Newtown Creek & NYC

The one thing you could probably work out from the photographs was that there was no one at the nature walk, I was totally alone. A beautiful sunday afternoon and not a soul. It is a peaceful oasis in the heart of a pulsing city, especially in such an industrial area. It is a little out of the way but I’m surprised that being so close to Williamsburg, Greenpoint and LIC that more artists have not exploited this hidden gem. I plan to return, alone with my guitar and notebook or with friends and a bottle of wine or two. It’s not often that in such an overcrowded city you can find your own space like this. They are slowly turning an environmental disaster area into something very beautiful.

In Short:

  • Newtown Creek Nature Walk: Paidge Ave & Provost Street, Brooklyn, NY11222.
  • Open dusk till dawn.
  • Wheel Chair assessable.
  • No biking (*cough, cough)
  • No pets.
  • 1/4 mile long or 1/2 mile walk round trip.
  • Totally empty.
  • It’s in the heart of industrial NYC so strange smells and sounds may occasionally drift your way. 
  • It’s very educational. The area sings with information on everything from the original native tribes, old maps of the area, local history and the flora and fauna.
  • Walk to LIC or Greenpoint and grab a beer afterwards.  
  • It’s free.
  • Getting here: 7-Train to Hunters Point Ave, G-Train to Greenpoint Ave…or a bike.
  • Check out the Newtown Creek Alliance