If I had to choose the one thing that makes living in Manhattan the most radically different from my previous San Diego lifestyle, no doubt, it would be how I get to where I’m going. I used to drive a massive, gas-guzzling, shiny black BMW X5 most everywhere I went. I worked from home, but still managed to drive a lot – to the tune of as much as $300 month in fuel costs! I don’t even want to think about what my galavanting around in that beast of a car did to the environment.
Now I live in Manhattan and my main mode of transportation is still black and shiny, but this vehicle has only two wheels and uses completely renewable human power. My bike, with its attached folding panniers, is used for everything from grocery shopping to going to the Metropolitan Opera House to numerous photo shoots for “Roof Explorer’s Guide: 101 New York City Rooftops.”
Alongside Heather Shimmin, the fantastic photographer (and terrific athlete) who shot more than 40% of the book, we biked all over the Boroughs and across the East River’s famous bridges in pursuit of rooftops. When I worked with Ari Burling, the amazing architectural photographer who shot about 20% of the book, he took the subway (another very eco option) and I met him at rooftop locations on my bike. Invariably, when we would go to a second site on the same day, I’d get there on the bike before Ari who was using the subway.
This week, I’ve been attending “Rooftop Films” (various locations – see Roof #100 in Roof Explorer’s Guide) and another rooftop film series called “Czech That Film” on top of Bohemian National Hall in the Upper East Side (Roof #95 in Roof Explorer’s Guide) to promote the book – all via bicycle. Bob Aiese (one of my two super art directors) and I went to Eataly’s La Birreria (Roof #34 and the only rooftop brewery in NYC) and Riverpark Farm (Roof #78, a 3,200 cubic foot rooftop chef’s garden planted in milk crates) to make videos yesterday – I got there via bicycle, even in the 90 degree heat and monsoon-like humidity.
I walk a lot, which is one of the great pleasures of living in New York City, use subways occasionally (one of the lesser pleasures of living in New York City but a great convenience), and, once in a blue moon, usually when I need to wear a dress and high heels, I take a cab. But I can say with confidence that the vast majority of the roof exploring I’ve done across all five boroughs has been, and will continue to be, on two people-powered wheels.