In July 2003, a guy with a mountain bike, a blue helmet, and a camera in a backpack (namely me LOL) enters Central Park from Columbus Circle. He takes one look back and notices the AOL Time Warner Twin Towers nearing completion, already topped out at 755 feet each. He takes a photo-op of the Towers and then rides on.
The Biker, as this one will call himself, travels along the route eastward along the big bikeway. Hes at home amongst the bikers, joggers, and roller blade skaters, all of whom are going eastward. He glances down now and then at the Pond, which at the time was undergoing renovations. At the southeastern edge of the park he catches sight of the white-striped GM Building (705 feet and 50 floors), and the shorter but more attractive Plaza Hotel (22 floors).
Central Park has a large ring road just within the park, and generally the road goes in a counter-clockwise direction, around the outer edges of the park, jutting out into the nearby streets in some places. The road is closed to private cars on weekends, enabling joggers, cyclists, and skaters to hit the ring road with impunity. In those days the road becomes a concrete trail.
The Biker goes on his way along the trail, taking care not to get too close to the horse carriages trotting along the road up north to 72nd Ave. There are quite a few cyclists and skaters in the park as well. He stops briefly along one of the pedestrian tracks along the main trail to take a picture of one of the white carriages, manned by a coachman with a top hat and sideburns.
He continues upward, with the white-marble Upper East Side apartments just behind the trees. Bypassing the skaters and joggers, he continues on till the Egyptian tomb at the MET is visible. By then hes lost count of the large number of cute girls jogging and skating along the path. He sees some more romancing, and even chatting, with their boyfriends on limestone rocks visible from the trail, and on benches.
He takes a breather at the nearby water fountain, which is made of bronze and has a faucet of sorts at its base, complete with a marble sink. After filling up the water bottle hes brought along, he continues on. Eventually he reaches the elevated hill holding the Central Park Reservoir. He parks the bike, locking it on a tree, before taking a look at it. The gravel trail around the reservoir is too rough and narrow for cyclists anyway. Looking east past the trees he spots the Guggenheim museum and its cylindrical pattern. Less impressed by the Reservoir than by the Egyptian MET collection, the Biker unlocks the bike and goes on his merry way.
The trail goes on normally until a steady turn exposes the brownstones of Harlem, followed by a view of the Harlem Meer, a medium-sized lake, and a nearby pool 30 feet below the trail with inner-city kids frolicking and enjoying themselves.
It is in the upper trail that the Biker faces his toughest challenge. To go through the southward trail one must climb over several hills that match the jagged rocks found in Upper Manhattan. The Biker puts his gear on the lowest possible number to avoid straining the back wheel, and continues on his way. In several places the rocks shoot up jaggedly in both sides, often as high as 30 feet. He is greeted along the trail by much fewer people; he especially shows concern at one hot girl jogging northward along the empty path, alone. Perhaps he remembers what happened that one afternoon in 1989, when one such little woman was attacked and raped. Five youths who served prison time for that attack were later exonerated when DNA tests were performed.
The Biker shakes off the concern and goes on his way, going uphill, then down again. The Upper West Side becomes ever more visible as he rides southward. The apartments look more ordinary and working-class like compared to the glitzy and more elegant Vienna-like Upper East Side.
At the top of a hill, he catches sight of the American Museum of Natural History, just across the street. The museum is huge, with its front stretching for the equivalent of over 1,500 feet along West End Avenue.
The apartments gradually grow taller as he continues southward, approaching the sight of the little garden called Strawberry Field, built to honor John Lennon who was killed in a nearby apartment.
As he passes the equivalent of 72nd Street, the Biker begins to go downhill. Tired from all the pedaling, he allows the Earths gravity to do the work for him. He ignores everyone else and focuses on getting to 59th Street. Its getting dark, and the Biker decides its not in his interest to remain in an area that could be hard to navigate at night. He leaves the park feeling refreshed, proud of the city that created this enormous masterpiece, and a bit physically stronger. As he exits the park to the SW, he takes another drink on a bronze-cast water fountain right next to Columbus Circle.
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