Monday, February 13, 2012

Move by bike

NYC Bike Move! from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

We're moving in two months and a bike move is an option I'm seriously considering.  Am I crazy, you might ask yourself?  Not really.  Getting around by car in Brooklyn is annoying, and the hassle of getting, parking, and returning a van might be equal to the effort of dragging our stuff by our own power.   Depending on the cost of renting the cargo trailers, a bike-move might be also be cheaper than hiring A Man with A Van.  I'll keep you posted...

Sunday, February 12, 2012


I'm not going to lie to you, Brooklyn in February is not an uplifting place to be.  It's been increasingly hard to convince myself that there is anything worth biking too or that biking is worth doing at all. It's bleak people, but not entirely surprising.  The middle-of-winter months are unkind.  I find they require plenty of soul strengthening and not a small amount of doughnut-eating too.  Which brings me to my love to coffee shops with sweets.  One of my favorites is Outpost, on Fulton near Classon.  They have a wide variety of food options, and even vegans can eat/drink there easily.
They have a large amount of outdoor seating, which is terraced to give you an increased sense of privacy.  This outdoor space makes all the difference when you have your kids with you but you hope to avoid the murderous gazes of people working on their laptops.  The child-free, laptop-endowed stay in the cozy, warm indoor spaces leaving the back totally available for kids to dig rocks, eat at any table they chose, or even raise their voices.  

After a refueling at Outpost you can head straight for the playground. Three doors down, at the corner of Fulton and Classon, is the under-utilized Crispus Attucks Playground.  It's big, secure (only one entrance and exit), and fun. I don't understand why it's not busier.  When the other playgrounds are noisy and full, this one is completely empty.  Curious.  
This grey city, with it's dead branches and freakishly warm weather is still getting me down.  But I can't argue with sweets and seeing my kids happy at the park.  And the warm drinks and cozy atmosphere of local coffeeshops go a long way to seeing me through this season.   What's helping you get through the winter? 

Friday, January 27, 2012


Perhaps ironically, I often feel that I'm not providing the kids with enough opportunities.  We live in NYC, and there is no end to the number of activities it's possible to engage in on any given day.  And yet, sometimes I'm flat-out exhausted and we need groceries again.  On those days our adventuring is pedestrian, in every sense of the word, and yet not without magic.  I'm finding that it's during these mundane trips that we have some of our most brilliant moments.  The kids find some piece of garbage and amuse themselves endlessly with it, reminding me how to enjoy my present situation a little more.  I calm down and my attitude softens while I walk.  Three cheers for gentle adventuring.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Winter Bike Lanes

I think last week gave us a glimpse of what winter riding will be like when the real wintery weather hits.  All and all, not to bad.  I'm not sure why they don't just go ahead and plow the bike lanes too, but I rode in the main lane until I needed to let a car pass and only pulled over into the bike lane to let them do so.  For kids riding on the sidewalk, it can be very slow going with some slips and falls to be expected.  I find a snow-suit gives the kids a feeling of invulnerability about falling, but maybe it's just my 6-year-old boy who feels this way.  The rides definitely take longer, and you may discover, as I did, that your gloves are just crap for sub-zero temperatures.  Equipment failures aside, it's definitely worth the trouble to get out in this weather.  It gives the everyone in the family a sense of equanimity to experience riding in different kinds of weather.  Winter riding gives the kids a real connection to the seasons as you travel the same pathways, passing familiar trees and landmarks.  Not least of all, riding on snow and ice improves balance and makes your kids better riders in all warmer weather and on poorer road conditions.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Silk Road Cycles

Yesterday we took the Bedford bike lane to Willoughby to Throop to Manhattan Ave.  We were Greenpoint bound.  After a quick stop at The Brooklyn Kitchen for Roberta's baguettes, we jetted up to meet other homeschoolers for, aguably, the most ridulously enjoyable "workday" ever.
We sat for hours, sharing valuable information about homeschooling in this city, comparing baguettes from Roberta's and Almondine, enjoying jam, cheese, salami, salt, and watching our young men run to and fro inventing games.  It was incredible. 

On the way home we needed to replace a petal on my son's bike. We checked out Silk Road Cycles, at the recommendation of our host.   I'm happy to say that Silk Road Cycles in Greenpoint is a lovely bike shop with great customer service.  They were friendly to the kids, and they are supporting local "makers" by offering pouches and backpacks produced in Brooklyn with locally sources materials.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Snowy Ride to Chinatown

We had a lovely family bike ride this weekend across the Manhattan Bridge over to Chinatown.  It was Wonder Boy's first snowy bike ride, so it was relatively slow going.  Since the sidewalk was full of crunchy snow he had a much harder ride than we did.   

I love a winter bike ride, when the wind isn't too strong. Yesterday's weather was just perfect and I'm so glad we got out into it.  I also can't wait to explore Chinatown more.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Glass Shop

One of our favorite neighborhood coffeeshops is Glass Shop, located at 766 Classon, between Sterling and St. Johns, in Crown Heights.  This cute little bike themed shop has a great seating area in the back and long communal tables for coloring, magazine reading, list making, and train car driving.  Personally, I can't maintain my sanity without a place like this, a cozy, communal meeting spot that makes me feel like I can be both a part of society and a parent, simultaneously.  I can easily come here with the kids.  I enjoy my coffee while they try a pastry.  This place sells a killer olive-oil cake I've tried to duplicate, with no success.  They also have a mean chocolate croissant.   When I get a chance, I come here alone in the evening. There is always a New York Times on the table and a selection of New Yorkers and bike magazines.   (Please forgive the mash-up of summer and winter pictures.)
(Photo taken by my six-year-old)