Summer is approaching

The most difficult part of Summer in New York is what to dress. It will get hot. That's not an issue but we have to take into account all the different AC moments. Yes, I'm talking Air Conditioning. An example. Outside it's 21°. T-shirt weather. In the Subway it's 28° and humid. Feels like a sauna but you can't undress. When you actually set foot in the subway car it drops to a cold 13°. The AC is usually on full blast so there is even a bit of wind chill. Sweater at least. Back on the street you wander what to do with the sweater. But finally when you are in the office the AC brings it to 18°. Not enough for a t-shirt but too much for a sweater. Luckily I have the next couple of weeks to determine what the people around me wear. I know the solution is out there. The question is which one fits me.

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It’s weird

I'm back in my home town. Was in Amsterdam for a couple of weeks (for work) and now I'm finally back in the town where I live. It's a whole different experience then April 1. Then I was at the start of my – second – adventure in the US. Everything was new again, special, nervousness. Now I'm returning home. To the apartment where I live. Back in the subway, Central Park, my supermarket. My Dreyers Vanilla ice-cream. Which I might say is much nicer then Breyers . This time it's my city. It's a breeze. Am curious to what the Yanks have done. Hoping they are doing better then .500. 

It was interesting to be in Amsterdam. In a hotel – my first time since I started living there 20 years ago. But I felt twisted. Needed to be there for my work but it was different. Part of me didn't belong there. An even bigger part of me missed NY. Didn't think that I would feel like a foreigner in AMsterdam so soon. Sure, sitting in the sun having a koffie verkeerd during lunch is nice. I'm guessing I missed the energy in New York. That's why I want to be there. That's why I moved. That's what I was missing in Amsterdam. That's why I'm happy I'm back. 

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Bread

Yes! Today I made my own first bread in my own Panasonic Bread Maker. It looks good. Now I only have to let it 'steam' out and I can try it. Got the machine yesterday and today I went searching for 'dry milk', active 'yeast' and bread flour. Wasn't eay to find that in the supermarket but with some help from th manager I got what I wanted. Then it was just a matter of mixing. Felt like Chemistry 101 & Home Economics 101 combined. The cups, teaspoons and table spoons were flying around. I only got confused once and had to throw away three cups of flour after adding two table spoons of salt where only 1.5 teaspoons were needed. Major faux pas. And now it's patience.

P.S. And I never knew that dried milk is yellow…

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Breukelen

Last saturday I met two cyclist in Manhattan and today (Saturday) we went for a ride. They suggested we go to Breukelen (Brooklyn for those of you who still believe New York is an English city) and I was happy to oblige. Having started at my place at 103rd we first went into Central Park all the way down to Columbus Circle on 59th and Central Park West. Then we dropped down to the Hudson. For a couple of years they now have a bikepath along the rive which takes you all the way down. We followed that for a couple of miles and eventually we hit City Hall and prepared ourselves to take the Breukelen brug (Brooklyn Bridge). Seen the documentary of the building of it. Movies of people walking, kissing and pracning on it. The more I'm here the more I realize I'm in memory lane. I've seen so many of all these places that actually being in one of those places brings back memories and newness at the same time. It's a real weird feeling being able to experience them. By bike. Coming from my appartment and just out there for a day riding. As if it's the most natural thing in the world. The view was stunning and not capturable with a camera. But it's in my mind.

But enough of that. We need to move on. Bikers don't stop they bike on. A stunning view is for tourists. Next was Prospekt park (a small Central Park. Then on to Coney Island (another famous name) using Ocean Drive. Straight road that went for miles and miles. The boardwalk on Coney Island. Not Under, on. Then up to Floyd Bennet Field  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floyd_Bennett_Field) an old military airfield used during WWII which is now being used for fancy cars driving a max of 55 mph (there is radar enforced speed control). On one corner we found a Concorde (my first) and in the other corner we stumbled upon a part of the airfield which was being used for radio controlled planes. Now these were not normal radio controlled planes. These have jet engines powered by jetfuel and can reach speeds of 500-600 km/hour (http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/rc_other/article/0,2033,DIY_14223_2273913,00.html). One even was 1.5 meters long and had two jet engines. Costs $35.000.

After that little adventure we raced back to town. Trying to be our own jets.

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Typical!

Tonight it happened again! There I am sitting in the subway minding my own business and suddenly I feel that someone is drawing me. It's a girl. But I've learned my lesson. I just keep reading my book and ignore her. I think I'm finding my new role in New York. I'm the guy you draw when in the subway. 

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Done the dog

Well I'vbe done it. Underneath the Empire State Building I bought my ever first hot dog from a real hot dog stand. Funny enough I always had the feeling that I could only get one from a hot dog stand when I would be living in New York. I must say it was a moment of pleasure. Wasn't the best hot dog ever. But then again the taste was completely unimportant. It was the whole process of ordering one, having it prepared, paying for it (for those who after interested in the cost it was $2.00), getting it and then taking that very first bite. After having seen it for years on TV and in cinema's, quite spontaneously I just did it. No planning. Just on the spur of the moment. Surprising myself during the act and totally unprepared for the emotions which would bubble up. 

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Fietsen in New York

Fietsen in New York is iets speciaals. Totaal anders dan in Nederland. Het belangrijkste aspect  zijn de auto's. Bijna de hele tijd rijden er auto's langs je heen. Je rijdt continu over drukke b-wegen. Landweggetjes zoals in Nederland heb je niet. De enige keer dat er geen verkeer was toen we door een miljonairsbuurt heen reden. We hebben het dan niet over de villa's zoals op het Kopje. Nee, het zijn hier echt kastelen. Erg groot, lelijk, net gebouwd maar vooral een manifestatie van het hebben van veel geld. (http://www.anateisenberg.com/content/listdetail.html/27457455). Maar al dat verkeer betekent dus ook dat je continu 'single file and keep right' rijdt. Allemaal achter elkaar en rechts houden.
Laat ik het proberen te illustreren door een beschrijving te geven van mijn tocht vandaag. Ik ben lid van de New York Cycling Club (http://www.nycc.org/). "We organize weekly rides, weekend trips, training programs and special events for novice and experienced cyclists." De tocht waar ik vandaag aan mee deed was de volgende:

B16 50-60 miles 09:00 AM
From: Eleanor Roosevelt statue, 72nd St and Riverside Drive
Specific destination will be determined by abilities and wishes of riders but will be in the general direction of quaint rivertowns of Piermont/Nyack. Routes may include Esplanade/Rio Vista, River Road, Clausland & Tallman Mountains, Bradley, Tweed, Christian Herald/Storms and/or the newly paved $multimillion Orangetown railtrail. Some hills, but we will patiently wait for slower riders. Stunning scenery and riv vus guaranteed. A brief stop at a mini bike/touring museum may be included.

De 'B' betekent 'moderate'. De 16 staat voor de 'cruising speed'. 16 mph betekent dus 25.7 km/h. Eigenlijk moet ik mee doe met de de A's (fast, with paceline skils required') maar ik ben nog volop aam het ontdekken hoe het hier allemaal werkt plus mijn rechterknie geeft mij op dit moment de nodige problemen. Maar goed. De tocht.

We hadden ongeveer een groep van 10-12 in allerlei leeftijden. Een paar vrouwen maar vooral mannen. Zo'n groep heeft een ride-leader. Iemand die de hele dag op kop rijdt, de route kent en het temp bepaalt (inderdaad 25km/uur). Daarnaast heb je dan nog een sweeper. Iemand die als laatste rijdt en zich bekommert om de achterblijvers. Je begint eerst met 12-13 km door Manhattan heen te rijden (inclusief George Washington Bridge) voordat je New York verlaat. Omdat je dus achter elkaar fietst wordt er dus niet gepraat. Er wordt wel geschreeuwd. Niet Voor, Tegen of Achter. Nee ze roepen hier Hole! (gat in de weg). Slowing = zachter rijden voor een rood licht of een Stop bord. Stopping = stoppen voor een rood licht of  Stop bord.  En natuurlijk Single file and keep right. En er wordt veel geschreeuwd want vaak is de weg slecht en er zijn veel stoplichten en anders wel Stop borden.  Maar wij  hadden wel een bijzondere  race-leader. In de miljonairs buurt reden wij plotseling bij iemand de rijlaan op. Vervolgens vraagt hij of er nog iemand naar de wc moest. Bleek zijn dochter daar te wonen in een joekel van een huis. Moest dus even pissen.

Vervolgens was er de lunch. We werden geinformeerd over drie Deli's waar we een broodje konden halen waarna de groep zich in drieen splitste om maar zo snel mogelijk een sandwich besteld. Nam zelf een Italian Combo waar weinig italiaans aan was. Maar we hadden haast want we we zouden naar het wieler museum. We hadden aanwijzingen gekregen waar het was en na het binnenrijden van een 'Privately owned Community' en we al dachten verdwalld te zijn werden zagen we de race-leader op de veranda zitten. Bleek het zijn woning te zijn. Na eerst zijn hele huis te hebben gezien – groot maar niet exorbitant – kwamen we in zijn kelder. Schrijn voor Lemond en in de andere hoek een schrijn voor Armstrong. Foto's van al zijn tochten (Vietnam, Cuba, All 50 states in America, Estonia, all over Europeetc. etc. Hij rijdt meer dan 10.000 km per jaar. Foto met daarop zijn vrouw en Lemond op een tandem. CD's met fietsmuziek (whatever that is). Fietsen als jewelry. Zijn artikelen over fietsen. Een gesigneerde Maillot Jaune van Armstrong. Fietskunst. Boeken over fietsen. Fiets speelgoed. Kinderboeken over fietsen. Armstrong poppen. Enz. enz .enz.

Tot slot heb ik nog een heerlijk biertje gedronken op een terras op Broadway en 112th (http://www.lemondenyc.com/). Daar betaal je dan wel $8.00 voor kon de hollander niet nalaten te vertellen.

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Doing the European thing

I needed some stuff for my room: a dresser and a stand. So I decided to do the European thing. Heard there was this shop where you could get good stuff for a good price. Think they call it IKAE. Anyway good some great stuff. Really cheap. Unfortunately I had to put it all together by myself. But can appreciate a shop where they let the consumers do their work. Funny thing was the name of the products. They do speak weird languages in that part of the world. They even mutilate some letters. But it was fun and I've got a nice simple dresser and stand! 

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And then there’s music

You all know me and my iPod. Where I go I iPod. Nowadays it contains 3040 'songs'. But what I'm finding out in New Yorkis how your surroundings change your preception of your the music. Now I'm not talking about conducting on the bike. One can still conduct while walking along 23rd street. I'm talking about something else. 


Yesterday I came out of the Subway while listening to Haydn's Shöpfung. It describes the first the sun rises in the morning. That beautiful music together with the real New York sun in between the skyscrapers  while you walk out of the dark noisy underworld really feels like the first day on earth.

Also noteworthy is the following. Just before I left I bought and got some dutch music from my 'school years'. Music to which I haven't listened for a long, long, long time. In shuffle mode I get hit by any of the 3040 songs. So when I get hit by 'Man van Steen' van Frank Boeijen I don't only get thrown back to my 'dutch' roots I also get thrown back to 20 years ago. I'm sure that's the closest I'll ever get to time travel. Never thought it would happen with a big smile on my face.

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