Monday, August 18, 2008

Checking the calendar

The weather over the past weekend was so beautiful that I wondered if I'd slept through the rest of August and woken up sometime in late September. I'm used to the late summer months being filled with swelteringly hot days so the recent spate of low-80s temperatures, clear skies and cool breezes had me confused. I'm not complaining, and looking at the upcoming forecast it looks like warmer days are ahead, but I'm enjoying the weather while we have it.

I went for a long bike ride on Saturday afternoon to Floyd Bennett Field in southwest Brooklyn. Floyd Bennett Field was New York's first municipal airport, built in 1930 and used until the 1950s for commercial aviation and air freight. I'd been there several times before on NYC Century rides, but I'd only ridden through the parking lot and along one of the taxiways before heading out to the Rockaways on the ride route. This time FBF was my destination, and I took the time to explore the abandoned runways and see what I'd missed. Both main runways are intact, and cyclists (and motorists and motorcyclists) can ride the lengths and get the sense of what it would be like to ride along a busy runway at JFK. There's a section reserved for model airplane enthusiasts, and some windsurfers were taking advantage of another section of unused pavement to cruise in the breezes. I'd forgotten that one of the few remaining Concordes was parked out there, and I took a few photos with my cell phone camera. (A quick note about the phone's camera: I've had my Samsung SYNC for 18 months, so you'd think I'd know how to hold the camera to get wide shots. You'd be wrong. The camera takes photos lengthwise when it's held upright, and takes tall, narrow shots when you hold it sideways. In other words, what you're framing on the screen is not what you'll get when you take the shot. That's why all the photos from my FBF ride are "sideways.") I spent about 90 minutes exploring the old airfield, and I look forward to going back. Maybe I'll bring a kite next time, attach it to my bike, and see if it will pull me down the runway.

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