Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sketches from Brompton Bike/Amtrak Train Trip to New York City

A week ago, Roberta and I woke up early and rode our Brompton folding bikes to the Amtrak Midway station to catch the Empire Builder (Amtrak allows passengers to bring folding bikes on as luggage). It would have been easier to catch the train at the Union Depot, but Amtrak won't be stopping at the Depot until at least December of this year.

Our train left the station in a deluge so we were unable to see the spectacular scenery along the Mississippi and Lake Pepin. We did see a fisherman in La Crosse mooning the train as it rolled by (click on sketches to make them bigger):

Mooned in La Crosse (Ken Avidor)
We got off the Empire Builder in Chicago to connect with the Lakeshore Limited to Penn Station in New York City. We had four hours to kill so we unfolded our Bromptons and biked to Millennium Park. We both sketched "The Bean" (Cloud Gate, by Anish Kapoor):



I was hoping to sketch some of the scenery along the Hudson River from the train, but low clouds and rain obscured the view. After we arrived in Penn Station,  Roberta and I biked to Chelsea and stayed with our friends Katie and Eric. The next day we had breakfast at Le Grainnne Cafe, where I did a very caffeinated sketch of Eric:

Caffeinated in Chelsea (Ken Avidor).
We  pedaled the Bromptons down the Westside bike path from Chelsea to the beautiful parks in Battery Park City. Roberta and I sketched the Irish Hunger Memorial:

The Irish Hunger Memorial (Ken Avidor).
The Irish Hunger Memorial (Roberta Avidor).

We biked over the Brooklyn Bridge and Roberta sketched the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn Heights:


Manhattan Skyline (Roberta Avidor).
We biked over the Manhattan Bridge and up through Chinatown and the East Village. Photographer and fellow Brompton rider  Dmitry Gudkov.  See Dmity's wonderful photo of us in Stuyvesant Park on his website.




The next day we biked down the wonderful bikeway along Bleeker Street to the Bowery and stopped to sketch the transformation from its legendary down-and-out days:


The new Bowery (Roberta Avidor)

The New Bowery (Ken Avidor).

We biked to the Brooklyn Museum to see the big show of John Singer Sargent watercolors. A real bonus for Roberta and I was discovering in the Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden the statue of "Night" that once flanked the big clock at  the destroyed Penn Station. Roberta and I both sketched it. We biked up to Williamsburg for margaritas and dinner at Cafe De La Esquina . On our way back, Roberta got a call about her aunt being rushed to the hospital for a food-related illness (she made a quick recovery). While waiting outside the hospital I sketched an ambulance. Roberta sketched a nurse.


Brooklyn Museum, Williamsburg and an ambulance (Ken Avidor).
Brooklyn Museum (Roberta Avidor).
Nurse (Roberta Avidor)

The weather was getting awful - we had just enough time to bike up the westside bike path and sketch a big, rusty relic on the Hudson River. Danny Gregory suggested we sketch the old thing (see Danny Gregory's video about us at his blog):



The wet weather continued, but I was able to sketch this corner with the High Line from inside a restaurant on 23rd Street and 10th Avenue and the skyline from our hosts' apartment:


23rd Street and 10th Avenue (Ken Avidor).
Manhattan skyline and One World Trade Center (Ken Avidor).
Rainy Day Sketches (Ken Avidor)

Meanwhile, Roberta took a subway ride to Brooklyn to visit our daughter. Roberta and Alice shopped for a bottle of wine at a "bullet-proof liquor store":


A liquor store in Brooklyn (Roberta Avidor).

I got together with John Holmstrom of Punk Magazine fame and did this drunken sketch of him at Manitoba's bar in the East Village:

John Holmstrom (Ken Avidor)
Sadly, my trip to NYC came to end. Roberta stayed on (we'll have another post with more of Roberta's sketches of NYC in a couple of weeks). I left NYC on Amtrak's Cardinal train that follows the scenic New River (Kanawha river) through West Virginia:

The New River from Amtrak's "Cardinal" train. (Ken Avidor)

While waiting for the Empire Builder in Chicago, I sketched the wonderful allegorical statues of Night and Day. While I sketched the statues, I was sketched by the talented Armond Gafeney who captured me yakking while sketching:

Union Station statues (Ken Avidor).


A sketch of me sketching in Union Station (Armond Gafeney)
As the train rolled through La Crosse, Wisconsin, we were mooned once again:

Mooned again in La Crosse (Ken Avidor)
Our first Brompton/Amtrak sketching safari was a success thanks in part to all our NYC friends, particularly Paul Steely White of Transportation Alternatives who outfitted us with bike maps and tips on the best routes for sketching. Here's a photo of us at the TA office:


1 comment:

  1. I inferred that biking in New York was by a wide margin the best (and least expensive) approach to get around. One can make a considerable measure of progress in moderately little time. What's more, you create nerves of steel managing the movement. My name is Nagaraj i'm working kochi taxi cabs I could investigate territories of Brooklyn that I'd never tried going to in my years of living in Manhattan. Click on the portrayals to make them greater. I was planning to portray a percentage of the landscape along the Hudson River from the train, yet low mists and rain darkened the perspective.

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