These Are A Few of My Favorite Things: Day-long Bike Rides

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things: <b>Day-long Bike Rides</b>

Happiness is a day on da bike. After a hearty breakfast of my bona fide best vegan pancakes in the world, my bike bud and I hopped from Kings to Queens, a grossly under-represented borough in my New York City repertoire. Bike bud, having acquired expansive knowledge of bike hot-spots, showed me a sunnier side of the highway-laden gateway to Manhattan and Long Island (or the addends to my sum). Like the most gorgeous street in Queens, above. The towering canopies of trees block the grime and grit from 45th Street in Sunnyside. The two-story all-brick homes add to the quaintness.

After almost biking on to the Grand Central Parkway, we saw many interesting sights near the airport. One of my favorites was a small park underneath LaGuardia airport’s flight path where folks gather to marvel at these steel beasts in the sky. Men stood atop benches to spy LGA’s runway, watching the scene like a movie. I wondered if they had loved ones on the planes arriving and departing. I thought of the end of Casablanca and then how airport security has nixed romantic airport hello’s and goodbye’s. Near LaGuardia was Vaughn Aeronautics College, which teaches folks “aviation maintenance” or flying. They had some sorry looking air crafts in their parking lot.

After biking around Flushing Bay and cutting through Citifield, dodging the U.S. Open traffic, we arrived in Flushing, home to one of the largest populations of Chinese-Americans in the country. Flushing is bustling and thriving and inundated with people, second only in swarms to Manhattan’s Times Square (says the old timer who gave us directions in Kew Gardens).
Our destination was Buddha Bodai for dim sum, which actually translates to “a bit of heart”. What, exactly, the cautionary sign hung on the bathroom translated to, I do not know. But my goodness, Buddha Bodai’s menu is extensive… all a few veg bike riders could ask for. Vegetarian lobster, jelly fish, lamb? Oh my! If you’re confused, check out some of the full-color pictures of some of their interesting mock meat dishes.
Although we weren’t very hungry, we ordered 6 plates of dim sum to share amongst the three of us, as biker bud’s girlfriend had joined in on the Queens gallivanting. Dim sum #1: BBQ Veg Meat: this was mostly wheat gluten but sliced, spiced and prepped just like regular ol’ bright red pork of Chinese restaurant allure. It was so delicious… and so drenched in Madison Square Garden, I’m sure.
#2: Pan-fried Turnip Cake: This was my fave. It reminded me of my days of chowing down in Thailand… congeal-y soft texture and super salty dipping sauce. Mmmm.
#3: Steamed vegetable Bun: A staple…
#4: Sweet sesame balls with hearts of red bean paste. Perfect texture and taste.
#5: Gingered Chinese broccoli (I think?) We thought to up the health factor by throwing in some greens to share but these scrumptious veggies were doused in oil and sauce. The ginger made all the different since this Buddhist vegetarian restaurant does not use garlic or onion.
#6: Sweet rice balls with coconut. These glutinous wonders were kind of like mochi yet with just a tiny center of red bean paste. This was my only choice, as I trusted my vegan chef friends’ word, but was also the dish I least enjoyed. Still quite good though! I can’t wait to return to Buddha Bodai for dim sum.
Right across from the restaurant was the Queens Botanical Garden! And since it was raining we had the place to ourselves. If it wasn’t for the landscape’s plant signage (and the wedding party), my illusion of stumbling upon this magical overgrowth happenstancely would be complete. We saw polka-dot flowers and persimmon trees. Erect pistils and soft, velvety algae. Striped leaves and rain-dropped web art. It is beautiful and free and connected to our final destination: Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park was home to the 1939 World’s Fair. Ah, the World’s Fair. I would have loved to attend such an event but have only to be stricken to the old program book my mother had from when she went in 1964. Below is the unisphere and the New York State Pavilion, so prominent in World’s Fair art… and from the side of the Long Island Expressway.

So many glorious sights! But, in the end, my bike’s pedals suffered mechanical failure. I had to be towed by bike bud to the 7 train so we could return home with the most ease. Goodbye, Queens!