I’m Nora Walsh, the founder of Patchwork Compass. My greatest passion in life is traveling to new destinations, experiencing foreign cultures and connecting with all walks of life.
I started Patchwork Compass to provide inspiring content and practical travel information to help others navigate their journeys.
If there was an award for New York’s biggest cupcake fan, I have no doubt in my mind that Mariana would be a frontrunner. She is highly critical and extremely loyal, willing to risk the possibility of not getting her rental bike back on time so she could pay a visit to one of her favorite bakers.
Here she is at Baked savoring her favorite flavor: red velvet cupcake with vanilla icing.
From Red Hook we had to book it back to Manhattan in 40-minutes max to return the bike to Chari & Co in the Lower East Side.
Graffiti near Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn
As we raced over the Williamsburg Bridge and were ripping through traffic at dangerous speeds, I realized my reckless behavior could be construed by some as tell-tale signs of a cupcake addict enabler. (I have, more than once, seen her scoop and savor the remnants of a smushed melted cupcake from the side of a plastic bag with more enthusiasm than a chain smoker puffing her first cigarette after a long intercontinental flight.)
When we pulled up to Chari & Co. they were rolling down the metal door to close the shop, which prompted us both to scream “Wait!”
I could not believe we made it.
With beading sweat and burning muscles I sat on the stoop and waited for Mariana to pay the $40.00 rental fee. Next door there were two women picking at a gourmet spread.
“That’s a nice picnic you got there,” I complimented.
“That is the idea. It was put together by the founder of PerfectPicnicNYC.com,” she responded.
That was a timely discovery to inspire our next summer outing.
This weekend I dusted off my bike for its first summer spin. My friend Mariana and I wanted to enjoy the summer weather splashing around in Red Hook’s public pool. We biked the four miles from the East Village to Red Hook in about 45-minutes.
Over the last four years, New York City has added more than 250 miles of bike lanes, including expanded lanes on First and Second Avenue that make bicycling downtown much quicker and safer. We used the Google Maps app on the iPhone to get us across Brooklyn to Red Hook.
Lower Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Smith Street, Brooklyn
Smith Street, Brooklyn
When we finally arrived to the Red Hook Rec Center, we learned that the pool was closed until the following weekend. I wasn’t too surprised because I had read that all public pools in New York City wouldn’t open until June 28, 2012, but I had also found another website for Red Hook Pool that provided contrary information. Since no one answered the phone when I called the numbers listed, we took our chances and rolled the dice.
We of course lost that bet, but as Ralph liked to quip, “life is a journey, not a destination,” so we cut our losses and plopped ourselves down under a shady tree in a quiet park across the street.
(To follow the Red Hook biking journey back to the Lower East Side, read Part II tomorrow.)