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)
Fireboat : After a lesson from Emma about the meaning of “intrepid,” the Ruff Ryders headed downstairs to gear up for our ride. We had a record breaking eight Ruff Ryders today, so we used all of our helmets and water bottles!
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, and the only tree in its family! As Ethan pointed out—it’s a lonely tree. 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. To get onto the path after leaving Central Park we had to do a little more cycling on the road—up and down a few hills, but the kids did great! Ontus and Darien deserve a special shoutout because it was their first ride with us, and biking on roads can be daunting! But they showed us the meaning of “intrepid.” The ride was quick and easy once we made it to the Hudson, 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 Ruff Ryders were already experts. For their post-fifth grade trip, some of them slept over on the ship! Justice arrived at the ride today already sporting a U.S.S. Intrepid tee-shirt!
Once we arrived at the fireboat John J. Harvey, we admired the water cannons and took some photos. Then we relaxed and enjoyed snacks and water! The boys discovered acorns on the tree and held a contest to see who could throw them farthest into the Hudson. Torin seemed to do the best, but, as the staff leader of the Ruff Ryders he was not eligible for competition. The riders also surrounded a lounging Dan and tried to throw him into the Hudson as well! Luckily they stopped short of launching him like an acorn.
The Ruff Ryders 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, Cappy told us that there were train tracks directly under our feet, and when we looked down, we saw that he was right! We even heard a train pass underneath as we continued on out way!
Back at the Center, we uploaded our pictures and wrote out some comments! We also awarded red wristbands to our three newest 25-milers—Justice, Ethan, and Steven! Awesome job! Next week, we’re super excited to take the Ruff Ryders to Newtown Creek in Brooklyn to learn about “black mayonnaise.”
After this week’s ride, the Ruff Ryders have a remarkable 7851 points. Great work!
This trip was on August 8, 2013
Programming time: 5.5 hours
Ride time: 3.5 hours
Ride Distance: 12.5 miles
Walk Distance: 1.2 miles
Calories Burned: About 708 Calories
Leaders: Cappy Collins, Emma Bick, Dan Piening,Jenne Ingrassia, and Torin Barnes
View RR Fireboat in a larger map