A Beach Nearby:
As I dropped off people at 34th Street and 8th Avenue a team of 4 fun sun lovers came aboard. They put three or four folding beach chairs in the trunk and a rolling cooler. I glanced in all my mirrors and noticed a straw sunhat as wide as my rear-view.
They requested the Water Taxi Beach in Long Island City, Queens. They told me it was on Borden Avenue, and then started to recite Google directions. I located Borden Avenue very quickly since I assumed where it was and double checked on my map. I soon found the Water Taxi parking lot, and among these lonely sunny streets, we pulled through a winding road into this large empty parking lot with faded lines which once outlined bus parking and handicapped parking spaces. The Skyline of Midtown Manhattan was at its most spectacular from this secluded mass transit destination. I circled the parking lot searching for the beach. It was behind a gate and I told them they would have to find a path through the gate.
I circled the parking lot a few more times now that I was empty. To New Yorkers empty parking lots are like birthday parties, the fun can go on all day! I took some pictures, and to do so I had to delete previous ones, my memory card was full.
The parking lot seen here, and here
That was to be my last ride I thought. But then as I made my way to the garage two people named a place on the same street as the garage. It wasn't on the way, but I thought it was. I went up the street, but the city closed it right at my garage. The Five Borough Bicycle Tour (Bike New York), was going on, and all the bikes were in Long Island City at this time.
The cop told me the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) wouldn't take kindly to me having a fare and being off duty at the same time. This took me by surprise. I told him that taxi school specifically told me I could take fares so long as they were nearby the garage destination or on the way. Tell me NYC cabbies, is this true or am I misinformed?
I was still under the impression where they were headed to was nearby, and we discussed with the cop if it was walking distance. I told the cop we were basically at my garage as we spoke. It was literally behind him. He thought it was worth hoofing it, but my passengers weren't this kind of people, and so even though we discussed how much of a deviation a drive it would be, they preferred the drive. The cop told me that I should lead the way for the rest of the cars out of the hole we drove ourselves into. I agreed to lead the cavalry of confused New Yorkers, but I was under some time constraints and I hate putting passengers through triple the ride distance, it doesn't seem right. So I passed a few slow cars, I don't even know how, cause it was one lane in each direction, I was pretty frustrated, and I wanted to make up for all the lost distance and time. When I got to Borden Avenue I reset the meter, cause I didn’t want to charge triple the price. Then up Borden Avenue I found the entrance to the LIE, (Long Island Expressway) which exits again onto 21st Street, but there we waited for 3 minutes in stopped tunnel traffic. I eventually realized this as we inched, and so I scooted to the right lane, then I squeezed passed an SUV and found 21st Street totally empty. I floored the pedal in freedom, but only briefly as there were plenty of cops everywhere. We had to be careful of the triangle of traffic insanity; Jackson Avenue met Vernon Boulevard in bumper-to-bumper inbound Manhattan desperation. Turned out we had to go quite a ways to get where we wanted, and I never was sure they found the place.
I would have been early to return my car to the garage, but now because of the bike tour, I would be very pressed to return it on time. How was I going to return back through that crazy maze? I raced and raced wasting copious gas amounts. I was on a mission to find my way back through the puzzle while somehow avoiding the bumper-to-bumper traffic. So I head down 21st street till’ I get to the 59th Street Bridge. I go one bock more south, but I see the car parking lot that is bad traffic up ahead. So I hook the u-ey, I thought I saw a street actually open paralleling the bridge going west. I took it, but it was a mirage, it only lasted a block; it was a hang out spot for all the emergency vehicles. So I head up east on this street paralleling the bridge, hang a right after passing the infamous 21st street, and then I hook rights and lefts. The engine growl echoed through the empty caverns of warehouse-lined streets. Eventually I find traffic again and head west. It got worse, at one point I took a back street around the back of an artist residence through a parking lot and to another back street. I thought I was a genius, except it didn't do me any good. I was pushing myself into the triangle of intense traffic congestion. Jackson Avenue goes diagonally down to the midtown tunnel, and 21st Street right into it too, they make an exact 45-degree angle. I had to go way out of my way to get to Borden. I took Jackson east then I found Thompson, a street that connects to the exit of the upper roadway from the 59th Street Bridge. I was very familiar with this street for it's toll-free way to the airports. I hung a right on Skillman it was empty! I pushed the gas halfway down, that's far enough in the "06 vic", but to make it the inevitable ironic twist, it was headed right back to where the triangle of congestion was. I made another u-ey, knowing Borden was close. Miraculously a sign appeared, "Borden Avenue ->"
The rest was easy.
In the news –
There was a bicycle pile-up, that’s right, a bicycle pile-up on the 59th street bridge that day.