Intro Lesson: Our ride today was to the retired John J. Harvey fireboat along the Hudson River in Manhattan. The boat was originally designed in 1931 to be a powerful asset for fighting fires on boats and other structures accessed from the water. We learned that this particular fireboat actually has the capacity to pump 18,000 gallons of water per minute! Her strength has even enabled her to shoot water over the George Washington Bridge’s roadway in the past! Although the NYC Fire Department retired her in 1994, she played a particularly important role on September 11th, 2001. In the midst of chaos after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the fireboat was utilized to pump water from the Hudson River to the disaster site when many of the fire mains had been damaged by the destruction. The fireboat saved lives many lives that day by transporting people to safe locations, as well as by pumping water at the site for over 80 hours until the water mains were restored.
The lesson today included another brief recap on geography to re-orient our riders. We had the students label the 5 boroughs, as well as New Jersey, on a rough map of the New York City area.
Word of the Day: Intrepid
(from Latin in- not + trepidus alarmed = unshaken, undaunted)
After an awesome lesson from Cappy about the meaning of “intrepid,” the Speed Dusters headed downstairs to gear up for our ride. Unfortunately Talishia forgot her sneakers today so she couldn’t join us for our ride. So with one fewer rider we headed out.
Our day started out with a quick ride over to Lexington Ave to Maggie’s Garden, a local community garden and a fellow recipient of CCNYC funds! We stopped by and Cappy explained the importance of community gardens, and linked it back to our word of the day from last week’s Starlight Park ride—“community.”
Then we kept biking over by Mt. Sinai where Dan, Jenne, and Emma work with Cappy during the week, and entered Central Park to cross over to the West Side. First we saw a ginkgo tree, which has really smelly fruit. There’s no fruit this time of year, so we admired the fan-shaped leaves. We also learned that it is the oldest species of tree on the planet. Dan said that alumni of Boston College donated four ginkgo trees as a joke, so now their quad always smells terrible (well-played) We continued through the park, onto the west side and onto the Hudson River bike path.
Having such a nice path was a welcome change to the road riding that we’ve been doing. The ride was quick and easy, and the kids did a great job staying in a single file line, giving a lot of space to other people on the path. We passed by the U.S.S. Intrepid, a topic on which the Speed Dusters were already experts. For their post-fifth grade trip, they all slept over on the ship!
Once we arrived at the fireboat John J. Harvey, we had to walk over a gangway onto a floating pier to get to the boat! Although Priscilla and Kayelah were nervous initially, they rushed across without looking down into the water. After admiring the boat and taking some photos, we relaxed and enjoyed nectarines, granola bars, and water! Emma started whistling with a blade of grass, and pretty soon Priscilla joined in!
The Speed Dusters started a leisurely ride back to the Stanley Isaacs Center, and we stopped in the sculpture park to take some photos, and in the Hudson River we saw our mascot—A CORMORANT!
We continued on our way, and after pedaling up a big hill, Kayelah tried to switch her gears. Unfortunately, the gears became tangled, and the rear derailer became completely ‘derailed!’ Cappy came back and fixed it to the best of his ability—but that bike needed some professional help, so Emma and Kayelah walked the few miles back to the Stanley Isaacs center behind the rest of the Speed Dusters. Kayelah definitely deserves a lot of credit for keeping a great attitude during the whole ordeal.
Back at the Center, we uploaded our pictures and wrote out some comments! We also awarded red wristbands to our two newest 25-milers—Priscilla and Aaron! Awesome job! Next week, we’re super excited to take the Speed Dusters to Newtown Creek in Brooklyn to learn about “black mayonnaise.”
After this week’s ride, the Speed Dusters have 6595.5 points. Great work!
This trip was on August 6, 2013
Programming time: 5.5 hours
Ride time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Ride Distance: 12.5 miles
Walk Distance: 1.2 miles
Calories Burned: About 660 Calories
Leaders: Cappy Collins, Emma Bick, Dan Piening,Jenne Ingrassia, and Chrissy