Tuesday, March 2, 2010

City Island Bridge

City Island Bridge, March 2, 2010
Rob Hickman on a 26", Keith Nelson on a 26"

Today we ventured to city island. With temperatures reaching nearly fifty degrees the remnants of the East Coast Snowmagedon had all but vanished. Going to City Island is like leaving New York City (without ever getting out of the Bronx). It was our most bucolic ride to date. We began at the The Bronx Equestrian Center. Worried at first that these four legged transports would become frightened by our one wheeled vehicles, we quitely pushed the cycles to the road before mounting. The ride had a recurring western flavor. On the island, we would be meeting Angelo Iodice aka A.J. Silver Cowboy from the Boogie Down Bronx.

We started first over the Pelham Bridge toward the Bronx Victory Monument. There we gave a Bronx Cheer. The monument is located in the Pelham Bay Park, which is the largest park in New York City. The tree lined Mosholu-Pelham Greenway was peaceful and quite beautiful. It was a contrast from prior rides with the exception of the wild Canadian geese on the loose. After close observation we noticed that these foul were a bit heavy around the waist meaning that these geese were not migrating and had made NYC their permanent home. These are the type of geese that brought an airline jet down into the river. Once again proof of the porous borders of the U.S.A.

We encountered a mob of police, television trucks, and detectives. Apparently a car had been found, belonging to a a doctor from Scarsdale who had been missing since Sunday. We met up with Angelo right before the City Island Bridge. Angelo is a Wild West artist. He was raised as a trick rider and is one of the best rope spinners you will ever witness. He can go under the belly of a horse at full gallop, he can ride Roman on top of two steads, and he can spin a lasso in ways you never imagined. All of these skills he learned in the Bronx. Angelo was riding neither a trusty stead or one wheel, but was relying on the fossil burning four wheels. He rode ahead to meet us again on the island.

City island is a gem, and the small bridge connecting it to mainland Bronx is no exception. City Island is located in the Pelham Bay of Long Island sound it is a small slice of New England with all the quaintness beauty and charm. Seafood restaurants line the steets. Every house has a beach in the back yard. Marinas are on every other block. We met Angelo in front of a an amazing looking house with a rich circus history.

We peddled to the end of the island seeking clam strips and brewskies. Angelo had suggested Johnny's Fish House as a fine cultural hot spot. It's a destination for many drunks, revelers and fanciers of fried food. Sadly, Johnny's was closed. Off in the distance we could see the Throgs Neck bridge. The Throgs Neck is illegal to cross on a unicycle because it lacks the proper lanes. That doesn't necessarily mean we won't be able to one day cross it.

We ended up joining Angelo for lunch at the City Island Diner where we dined on clam strips and calamari washed down with cold beer. Before leaving the island we rode to the entrance of the High Island bridge. High Island is privately owed and hosts a number of television transmission towers. The gate to the bridge was locked, so we'll have to return, once we get permission to cross it.

More from Wikipedia:

The City Island Bridge is a bridge in the New York City borough of the Bronx, connecting City Island and Rodman's Neck on the mainland. It is of stone and steel construction, and spans 950 ft (290 m). Construction was begun in 1899 and completed in 1901, at a cost of $200,000. It consists of five fixed spans and a central swing section which was converted to fixed spans in 1963.

Planned replacement bridge
The city plans to demolish the bridge, due to its deteriorated condition, and replace it with a cable-stayed bridge. The current design calls for a 150 ft (46 m) high tower, 13 ft (4 m) wide at the top, with a base of 26 ft (8 m). Vertical clearance above high water would be 12 ft. The new bridge would be located in the same footprint as the existing bridge, although it would be 17 ft (5.2 m) wider to accommodate three standard-width traffic lanes, a bicycle lane and a pedestrian walkway. The original schedule was for the project to begin in 2007 with completion in 2010, but the project is now scheduled to start in 2011. As of 2005 the estimated cost of the project was $50 million. As of 2009 the estimate increased to $120 million due to redesigns and the addition of related projects.
Some residents oppose the design of the proposed bridge and feel that its tower would be out of character with the low-rise homes on City Island.

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