Word of the Day:
Marginalize (verb): to confine to a lower or outer limit or edge, as of social standing
Roosevelt Island, Randall and Ward Islands, Rikers Island, North Brother Island…you may have heard of one or all of these NYC islands, but do you know what they have in common? Today, co-leaders Georgia and Stella, taught the Looney Tunes that all these islands historically hosted (and in some cases, still host) marginalized populations. We asked the Looney Tunes what kind of people they think would be marginalized and Jewel gave us a few good examples to kick-start our discussion. As our co-leaders explained, a good way to think about what it means to be marginalized is to think of the MARGIN on a piece of paper, and how you avoid writing outside the margin !
We learned that Typhoid Mary was quarantined on North Brother Island, and that Rikers Island is still the city’s main jail complex. As interesting as all the islands are, our focus today was Roosevelt Island. Previously known as Hog Island, Blackwells Island, and Welfare Island, Roosevelt Island was known for hospitals, a prison, and an asylum.
Roosevelt Island: Once we learned all about how interesting the islands are, we used our map skills to label NYC: the boroughs, bridges, and of course, islands, that we would be visiting today. Angelika and Jeremiah were a big help in labeling the map. We then grabbed our bikes and headed to the East River. We were joined today by two returning Cyclopedia co-leaders: our fleet-master (also Cappy’s cousin!), Justin, and Elyse- and were happy to welcome them for their first ride of the 2015 Season! After reviewing our safety rules and gears, we split into smaller groups each with a co-leader head, and biked over the 103rd Street foot bridge and over to Wards Island. On the way over the footbridge, we moved aside for our friends in FDNY who were running across (more than once!), too. We were greeted by a “HELLO” sculpture made out of leaves as soon as we got onto Roosevelt Island and got a great group shot by it. We took a quick water break and then set up our science experiment for the ride: a solar oven! Cappy brought along an egg and some tin foil to line the oven. The oven definitely heated up the egg by the end of the ride, but we weren’t confident the sun was strong enough today to cook the egg. Though the sun couldn’t cook us up an omelet, we were happy to not have the sun beating down on us for the day!
We biked around the southern end of Wards Island, and headed to the Triboro Bridge. We shifted to our lowest gears, and embarked, slow but steady, up the ramp to the bike path across the bridge. Christian, Jerry, and Hector did a great job with managing their gears and kept pedaling up the Triboro bridge pedestrian tunnel without stopping until they reached the top. The tough uphill was definitely worth a spectacular view on top!
Once we got across the bridge, we were in Queens! You know what that means – everyone got their Queens Badges today !! In Queens, we rode to Socrates Sculpture Garden to have our lunch break before heading to the Roosevelt Island Bridge. We were pumped to finally be on Roosevelt Island! We rode south on the island to Four Freedoms Park, and stopped at the ruins of the Smallpox Hospital. The hospital, overgrown with ivy, is also known as Renwick Ruin after its designer, James Renwick Jr., who built the hospital in the 1850’s. We took a quick break by the old hospital to take pictures and collect some plant samples. Marquis, Estuardo, and Noor helped us remember and define our word of the day (marginalize) in the context of the Smallpox hospital. We then filled up our waters and prepared for the final push back to P.S. 38. We quickly made it back over the Roosevelt Island Bridge and into Queens, but still had one more bridge to conquer before our day was over: the Queensboro Bridge!!
The bridges were hard and tiring, but the Looney Tunes saw some beautiful views and everyone was a trooper! Looney Tuners Sheila and Gina powered up the Queensboro bridge without stopping once- great job! We headed up 1st Avenue and back to P.S. 38., where Cappy lead us in testing the water we sampled at Socrates Park from East River. We found that the water had a pH of 8 and no chlorine. The water was negative for Lead, but positive for Pesticides, and had a hardness of 425. Tired but rejuvenated after a long day, we now have ride #2 in the books ! Great job, Looney Tunes!
Miles biked: 12.9 miles
Miles walked: 1798 feet
Ride time: 4.5 hours
Calories burned*: 687 biking (road cycling, low intensity) + 15 walking = 702
Water Quality Monitoring Results
pH : 8
Nitrate : 0
Estimates based on 100lbs, 5′ 2″ ht, 12 yo, average between male and female.