It had been a long time since Charlie was last in New York City; sensory issues from clanging commuter railway cars and the general tumult had grown evermore discomfiting. Then yesterday we decided to ride our bicycles over the George Washington Bridge, a feat I’d been hoping to achieve since early in the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.
Charlie raced across the bridge from Fort Lee sporting the same joyous look as on his earliest crossings of Barnegat Bay, but now he was self-propelling over the brilliant blue waters of the North River way down far below us. The plan was to turn right around for some improvised Jersey cycling, which plan quickly changed on spotting the Little Red Lighthouse just under the bridge’s Manhattan landing. Soon we were flying down the upper West Side at street level when to my amazement we discovered a public elevator in Riverbank State Park: with biking in the park itself strictly prohibited cyclists are whisked down to the Hudson River Greenway trail running right alongside the river.
It was an exhilarating ride from there in the W. 140s down past my “teaching pier” at the foot of W. 70th St. to 55th St. before turning back; for our return we hugged the riverside trail all the way under the great bridge past the Lighthouse, then arduously made our way up the mighty steep streets of Washington Heights to the GWB’s pedestrian entrance ramp.
Charlie was poised, rapt, attentive, game, and the image of a very delightfully grown-up young man throughout the long journey. The narrow ribbon of pathway was jammed with careening cyclists he deftly negotiated like a native and veteran, not a thirteen-year old weaving amid throngs of adult riders for the first time.
This perfect joy is a tribute to everyone who’s ever loved or worked with Charlie, or persons who share something of his needs and special gifts. We thank you not only in the dwindling hours of this Labor Day but every day. And special thanks to Charlie’s PoPo and Gong Gong and his entire California family for their love and support! Finally and on behalf of Charlie love and thanks to the hardest-working person in the Greek and Latin-teaching, daily chronicling and bicycle support-team vehicle-driving vocations.