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Published: July 12th 2019
Despite my intentions to wake up early and have an AH/life discussion with Amanda and Noah, my exhausted body got the best of me and my intentions since its a "Build Day" today, which means we can sleep in a bit. Raffi handles making bacon and sausage and I handle making some pancakes for our team. Our host woman was very accommodating and helpful in her efforts to help us make pancakes and coffee. Our alum that is serving as our Affordable Housing tour guide arrives and we all stand in a circle and give him our name, where we are from, and our favorite K2C memory thus far. I believe I talked about watching my team ride into West PAlm, despite wanting to ride, and getting over myself and having a shift in perspective about looking out for the team and watching them have that experience.
We're confused as to what to wear--its a short ride but still on our tiny saddles--so I settle on my shams (my short pair thats not the best) and a causal tank top. I also embraced not having to wear my camelbak and opted for my fanny pack instead and a
water bottle in the cage. We set off and I'm with Nora Jane as we ride to a nearby park. ITs a strange mindset being on a bike casually in NYC on B&B. My tendency is to want to relax on the rules, but that's not an option. We arrive at the park where we sit in some shade and our guide begins telling us about the housing changes in Brooklyn--how its gentrified, the history of the borough over the last 100 years, and how the housing and job market has changed the neighborhood with Millennials entering the workforce.
We continue on throughout the day stopping in different neighborhoods as we learn about the "Poor Door" where the lower class enters a building for the "affordable housing" units, how affording housing in NYC is based on 30% of the median income (which is about $60k, which isn't representative of those who are actually in need of affordable housing, with high incomes setting off the income threshold), and about New York's Middle Finger--a building that was build in Manhattan advertised as "We're creating housing in Manhattan!" only for it to be too expensive for the average New Yorker
to afford--which makes it basically a dumping place for the rich/internationals (Russians) to dump their money to avoid being taxed on it. Many of these units go owned but unused and the building is the ugliest addition to the New York skyline--it looks like a boring perfectly square tall building--New York's Middle Finger. The middle finger of the rich basically dangling housing in the locals faces only for it to be unusable/unaffordable.
We grab lunch--ditching the crowds of a food truck park and opting for sidewalk pizza, soda, and shade. Amanda then meets up with us to say "see you later" and give tearful hugs. I'm surprisingly emotional and have a hard time getting back on my bike and riding through the tears. We pedal over to Manhattan and stop at one of the old squares where slaves used to be traded--NYC used to be the second largest slave trading cities after Charleston. We stop at Wall St where we learn about the trading market history and how it has changed and shaped this city and this country. We ride under the bridges and highway to await our team by the river steps, only to find an ice cream
truck across the street. Of course we jump at this opportunity since the afternoon heat is getting to us and its been a lot of stop and go short distances all day. I opt for soft serve in a cone with jimmies.
We have our last bit of education for our tour, take some time to hang out by Freedom Tower and the 9/11 Memorial fountains (humbling, sombering, moving), and then ride back over to Brooklyn via the Brooklyn bridge. We stop on the bridge for another photo shoot with some of the team before heading back to the host. We ride down the bridge onto the green bicycle lane, with much of this looking familiar from explorations with Carlee and Breezer in the past. We arrive at the host, a bit later than some of the other folks, with a B&B presentation happening and limited lunch meat for dinner. I then rally a team together of friends who have never been to Times Square to go see Glenny and some of the sights and sounds of NYC, The Big Apple, The Center of the World.
We're on a limited time frame so we
hustle over to the train, Carly pack starts leaking so we take turns downing her water (sharing a nip!), and take the subway up to Columbus Circle where we walk around Central Park for a bit. Not too long ago I was riding bikes through here with Sabrina! We then go to pick up Glenny at work at Rise Bar, where we nearly dont get in because we're 1) female 2) in flip flops. I assure the security guard that we won't be long and that we're just picking up my brother. We get in and its very clear that we don't belong, what with our frizzy hair, no make up, and camelbaks strapped on. We find Glenny, we exchange a big hug, I introduce him to Carly, Magpie, and Jess and get on our way. The security guard laughs and comments "oh wow that was fast! What do you have a curfew or something?!" to which I reply, "Actually, yes we do!" lol. Seems a bit elementary, esp in NYC, but it's our reality.
We walk and talk through Hell's Kitchen, aka trying to keep up with Glenn while he power walks with his heavy backpack
containing his whole life it appears lol, and we arrive in Midtown. We stand in the middle of Times Square, in awe that we rode our bikes here! We take pictures, do the "New York, New York" leg kick, and contemplate food. However, due to long lines, our time crunch, and the long subway ride back, we opt to not. Instead Glenny walks us back, ranting about Mom and how she didn't come see me while we were in Philly. Gosh. We hug outside a bank and descend down to the subway for our commute back. I text the leaders and let them know that we may arrive a bit after curfew. On the subway ride, I really have to pee and we're all dehydrated since Carly's pack leaked and I didn't think to bring water--mistake considering how hot today was. Though our ride was maybe only about 13 miles, the heat still got to us, esp after being outside practically all day.
We arrive back at the host at 11:15 and quickly get ready for bed. Most people are still up, with half the lights on, though definitely starting to turn in. We turn in for
the night, I thank Carly for allowing me to use her power strip since outlets are a hot item at this host, and we settle into "bed." And we all fall asleep in a New York minute...
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