NYC: Central Park and Harlem

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September 7th 2018
Published: September 8th 2018
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Started with an early breakfast, glad to see that the weather was different from yesterday which was about 93 degrees and poured at the end of the day.Left the hotel and walked to the bike shop, about 10 blocks, got organized, broken into 2 groups. Our group leader was Johanns, orginally from Austria and our sweep (followed at the back to pick up the pieces) Chris, originally from the Finger lakes area of NY, came here to college and never left.

Began riding 'in traffic' which was quite harrowing especially at first. Only a couple blocks to Central Park which was better because there were few cars but fast bikes, pedicabs, pedestrians, etc. Stopped frequently for Johanns to give us some background and history. First hour or so, it seemed we walked more than rode. There are numerous paths that bikes are not supposed to ride on so we walked them, and, of course, you have to stop at red lights so we stood and did a lot of stop and start. Part way through, we came upon the unveiling ceremony for a new stamp, part of the Musicians series, of John Lennon. Watched for a while, through the colors and Star Spangled Banner but had to head on.

Exited Central Park and headed into Harlem, down Malcolm X Blvd to lunch at a great soul food restaurant, owned by a Korean, with a Hispanic cook... Stopped to "visit" Langston Hughes' ash site and hear one of his poems at the Schomburg Center for Research of Black Culture, part of the NYPublic Library System, on our way to the National Jazz Museum in Harlem which was edifying, entertaining, and fun.

Stopped by Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Plaza and state building then the Apollo Theatre. Columbia University is on top of a 'heights' (anything with any elevation is called 'heights') called Morningside, where we saw the tallest waterfall in NYC. And it can be turned on and off! The lovely park/pond is built in a space that, in the 60s, Columbia had wanted to use for a rec center but, between the citizenry not wanting public land to be used by a private university and students not wanting a purposefully segregated building (the demonstrations were tagged "Gym Crow"), that was abandoned. Back to Central Park (passing more cool buildings) and Strawberry Fields, the 'memorial space' dedicated to John Lennon, near the entrance which is across from the Dakota Apts, where Lennon was murdered.

Made our way back through the Park, then back into traffic for 3+ blocks back to the bike rental shop. Mike and I headed over to MoMA where we (and hundreds of others) got free Friday evening tickets. Rode elevators up to the 5th floor and saw The Starry Night, then some other great art.

Beer at a local pub (Connelly's, the first place we saw as we exited the throngs in MoMA), followed by dinner at the 570 Lexington choice of local chefs finished us for the day!

Additional photos below
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The uncle and aunt of our sweep, Chris, had a bench dedicated to them which she had never found but did today!
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right hand building penthouse used to be Woody Allen's; Johanns was part of the gardening crew who installed the garden.
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Malcolm X Blvd

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