Thursday, October 19, 2006

Walking Down Memory Lane and Elsewhere...

So this morning I happened to be in the area of Pelham Manor and I decided to stop in to what was, at one time, my favorite coffee shop around. The Four Corners Cafe on US 1, about two miles north of the Bronx. I hadn't been there in about three years, if not more. I was once a regular of the shop when I lived in that part of the county. I'm not a big coffee drinker but they do have some very good and smooth tasting coffee, not to mention their chocolate croissants.

When I lived in New Rochelle, along the Pelham Manor border, I used to regularly start my day with their coffee, but most importantly their chocolate croissants. I have a real endless love affair with chocolate! I would get up pretty early, hit the cafe and also buy the New York Post and/or the Wall Street Journal. Generally, I would either sit in the store or sometimes I would go to Glen Island to relax before my day would start. I would look out at the Long Island Sound; watch the endless line of cars and trucks going over the two bridges leaving the Bronx, and I would also wonder about what would ever become of David's Island. Oh, will they ever do anything with this valuable property that was once a military operation?

So I would eat breakfast and read the papers and more or less try to solve the world's problems. Once I finished with that around 8 a.m...

Seriously, though, thinking back to the last year or so that I lived in the Queen City, I remember I would go running about three or four times a week. My route began at my house and take me down Shore Road past the neighboring public golf courses of Pelham and Split Rock; I would continue chugging along past the NYPD's Firing Range, Rodman's Neck; this would then take me to City Island. When I would reach the end of the island I would take a break for a few minutes. I always remember the water from the Long Island Sound being extremely choppy in this particular area. Some referred to it as a second Hell Gate.

The real Hell Gate of course is an area that is supposed to be an extremely difficult area to navigate where the East River meets the Long Island Sound. In fact, the waters were the site of New York City’s worst maritime disaster when the steamer General Slocum caught fire and about 1,021 of the 1,300 on board the ship burned to death or drowned in the East River on June 15, 1904. The ship was headed toward Long Island’s North Shore with the congregation of St. Mark’s German Lutheran Church on board.

The Hell Gate Bridge is considered to be the world's strongest, particularly after being reinforced following 9/11. It runs from Astoria and Randalls and Wards Islands over the section of the East River known as Hell Gate. You can see it when you are driving over the Triborough Bridge, it is to the east. The bridge is used for Amtrak and some freight trains and was a target for sabotage by the Nazis in World War II.

But I digress, a somewhat strange area being that Hart Island and Riker's Island sit just offshore. Hart is of course home to the infamous Potter's Field and Riker's, well, unless if you just landed from Mars, you have heard of Riker's, a place for some of the most hardened criminals.

So anyway I would usually jog the remainder of the way home but sometimes would walk, round trip it was about 11 miles and would usually take me up to two hours. I was very ambitious and would get up at around 5:45 or 6 a.m. and do this. But there wasn't a better way to start a day! Incidentally, besides having some very good seafood restaurants, City Island also offers one of the best views of New York City and Long Island. As far as food goes you really have to know where to go on the island. Tito Puente's is pretty good, but the Lobster Box is probably your best bet.

I haven't been able to jog that much in a long, long time. I would love to get back to where I was, as I once had aspirations to run the NYC Marathon.

To be continued....

No comments: