I brought my rollerskis into New York City on a sunny afternoon. I ended up skiing the whole length of Manhattan island, down its West side right next to Hudson river, and then I skied across the Brooklyn bridge.
I saw lots of trees and grass, skied long flat stretches looking out across the Hudson river, interesting paths around buildings. And lots of people . . . walking, lying, sitting, inline skating, running, bicycling. Sometimes those people made unexpected moves, and then I was glad that I was on special rollerskis that have an active brake, the Jenex Nordix.
I started by taking the IRT number 1 subway up to 215th Street near the northern tip of Manhattan island. The train was pretty empty, so carrying my rollerskis and poles was no problem. Then I put my skis on, standing on the sidewalk on Broadway.
I started off north to see if I could make a quick visit to the Bronx.
And crossing the Broadway bridge over the Harlem River turned out to be easy.
I turned around, crossed back, and started my journey south down the length of
Manhattan. The sidewalks on Broadway and Nagle St were in good condition,
and I immediately developed a whole new appreciation for those little
Broadway climbed gradually, and I turned West on 181st St and climbed some more on the sidewalk to Fort Washington Ave -- the highest elevation of this tour. Now 181st St continued down a steep hill toward the Hudson river. I set the adjustable resistance on my rollerskis to the max, and with a little snowplow and a little active braking, I was able to get down it on skis. Took a footbridge across the Henry Hudson parkway, but then the ramp on the other side was closed, so I had to sidestep down the stairway. Some rough sidewalk, two or three more steep (but shorter) downhills, past some workers re-paving the path.
Now I was underneath the great George Washington Bridge and alongside the Hudson River, with almost no one in sight and lots of trees and grass. So I started south on the flat path, and switched to double-poling. After a couple of miles, the path ended at a building, but there was a sign to the left that said "Temporary Access" near an opening in a fence. So I turned onto a street with no cars and kept going. This also ended, and again I found an alternate on the street to the left, then under the elevated highway, through a parking lot, and I was at the beginning of the next section of the path. But then a section on dirt, and I was glad for my big-diameter wheels. After that it was pavement all the way. I ended up double-poling for about an hour -- much longer than any previous DP session (and I've got the blisters to prove it).
Around SoHo I switched back to classic diagonal stride. And then happened
what some might think could happen in New York City: A dark van stopped on
the parallel street alongside and ahead of me. A man got out and stepped
into my path. Of course I stopped. Then the man spoke to me:
"It's great to see somebody else using the same kind of rollerskis as mine".
Except that I couldn't resist exploring a little further. I continued East
on some sidewalks, until I thought I was blocked by construction. I asked a
guy if there was any more, and he said Yes, but I better be careful with
fast-moving cars getting past the blockage. (This was typical of the
helpful directions and friendly comments I received from all the New Yorkers
I encountered that afternoon). So I waited for an opening and had some
special motivation for some fast kick-double-pole work. Then I was on a
When I saw a sign for the Brooklyn bridge, I turned off. I asked directions several times to get to the walkway for the bridge. Soon I was skiing up the slope of the center of the Brooklyn Bridge, first on concrete, then on the old wood planks . . . bump-bump-bump. And I was looking out high over the East River. I rolled down into the borough of Brooklyn, still in the center between the two traffic directions. Then I found a way off to the side and asked for some directions to the subway.
In the afternoon shade next to a fountain, I took my rollerskis off for the first time that day. Walked down the stairway into Borough Hall station, and headed home on the number 2.