Seems only appropriate to start a new series of stories with the type of adventures I’ve been having lately. Freelance photo work here in New York has picked up a lot lately, and leaving me mentally fried, worn out, and as always, waaaaaaaiting to get paid. Seems like I’ve been in a position where the time I have to get out isn’t as much exploring beyond my means as it used to be. More riding with a goal in mind, through routes I know, yet with people I haven’t necessarily had the time to ride with, or am finally able to meet up with on days off. Through getting bogged down in New York, long work days, and the daily hustle here, it’s with great honor I start the stories series ‘Escape From New York’. This does NOT mean that our ‘Finding It‘ series is going away. That’s just a different breed of story and adventure altogether. A breed of adventure that takes us into the unknown, and into a way of playing freeform jazz and just having to figure it out along the way. The ‘Finding It’ series is really the adventure I live for, and I can’t wait until I’m back in a place where I can mentally and economically afford to pursue these adventures again. Maybe in a couple weeks or so, or maybe when work slows down a bit again.
Shout out to Snake Plissken for the inspiration behind this story series!!
As I fought a head cold, I woke up late and headed out towards Brooklyn Roasting Co next to the Brooklyn Navy Yards, to meet an unknown amount of people through my one friend Roman. I knew we would be heading up to the Croton Dam through some route’s I haven’t explored in years. I knew the crowd would be a good group so I trudged through my head cold, waking up way past my alarm, and rushing out to meet up with a group of guys that were waiting on ME. Sorry guys. We meet up and roll over the Manhattan Bridge, and zig-zag up lower manhattan to get over to the Rapha store where we’re meeting one more person. I hadn’t even had coffee yet. Luckily, Isaac, a friendly face over at Rapha made me a killer americano, and it felt like my day had finally started. I pull out one of my four halves of peanut butter and jelly. Breakfast. Finish my coffee, and we roll up to the UWS via West Side. I knew Brad from Roadrunner Bags was coming along on this ride, and we had been playing phone tag since he got into town. We met Brad way up town, and then headed further up to cross over out of Manhattan via Broadway. We cross over the tiny bridge that connects Manhattan to Kingsbridge, and cruise under the elevated train towards Van Cortlandt park.
Get into the park, find the gravel/dirt trailhead of reclaimed train line, and hammer on north. Luckily for our joints, a lot of the original railroad ties were still buried and hidden along certain parts of this route.
We end up being spit out onto a proper, paved, and beautifully fall covered path that would take us all the way up to the Croton Dam. Of course, with a lot of photo opps along the way, me finally dragging ass as my head cold caught up with me, and a stop by Blue Hill Farms in Pocantino Hills, NY for coffee and some of the best organic apples you’ve ever had in your life.
The final stretch of road that leads up to the Croton Dam is a beautiful, wide, tree lined gravel road that goes under a bridge, and spits you out right at the top of the dam. Holy hell is this road a treat. We stop to take some photos, I goof around doing some long foot down skids, and bend my derailleur hanger into oblivion. Now I have one gear, maybe. Luckily, everyone’s pretty on board with getting some beers and taking the Metro-North train back into the city. Which happened to be a couple miles away from the dam.
We drink and bullshit on the train the whole way back. Some of us fall asleep, and some of us get lost in phone-land.
Nothing’s better than coming back from a long(ish) one-way ride, getting off the train, and BOMBING down 5th Ave with your friends on the way back to Brooklyn.
Let’s do this again soon!!
This story was shot on an Olympus MJU, with Kodak Portra, and Fuji color film. For more answers on shooting with film, or to open a dialogue, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line!