Category Archives: Travel

The Long, Slow Road to Work

May is bike month in New York City.  Though I commute every fair weather day with my trusty Brompton SL-2  with a serious assist from New Jersey Transit, I have been wanting to ride all the way from home to work since moving out here just over four years ago.  With the help of John Feinberg’s excellent cue sheet,  my GPS-enabled smartphone and some tired legs, I made it from Glen Ridge to Cooper Square in about two hours and forty five minutes.  (This sounds more like a marathon personal record dream time to me, than a bike ride, but I digress.)  

The route primarily traverses residential,  industrial areas and the occasional patch of nature.  Highlights include the now-defunct New York and Greenwood Lake  Short Rail, and the New Jersey Naval Museum, which is home to the USS Ling, a World War II Submarine.  I was surprised to see a loon diving for food in Leonia, and to learn that the south side of the GWB is closed to pedestrian traffic.  The north side is open, but involves what seemed like an interminable number of stairs after the 2 mile climb through Fort Lee.  I don’t think I was ever so happy to see the Hudson.  I thought of hopping on the subway at 181 Street, but savored the decline all the way down the West Side, which was all dressed up for Fleet Week

For those contemplating the trip from Glen Ridge, here’s a link to the modified cue sheet

And the Google Map.

Happy riding! 

Innocents Do Good

Robert Strauss, a former Peace Corps Country Director recently opined in the New York Times that “For the Peace Corps, the number of volunteers has always trumped the quality of their work, perhaps because the agency fears that an objective assessment of its impact would reveal that while volunteers generate good will for the United States, they do little or nothing to actually aid development in poor countries. The agency has no comprehensive system for self-evaluation, but rather relies heavily on personal anecdote to demonstrate its worth.” He argued that the Peace Corps sends too many recent college grads who lack the skills to do their jobs. I disagree with Strauss and wrote the following response. Other letters both agreed and disagreed with his assessment. Perhaps it’s not fair to generalize from one’s own experience–which goes for Strauss and me.

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Questions about the Peace Corps

Recently, I received a questionnaire from Susquehanna University, my alma mater, asking about my Peace Corps service.  I thought my responses lent themselves to a blog post.  I elaborate on the "right" time to serve, my living conditions, work placement and  what I found most challenging as a volunteer.  Overall, I highly recommend Peace Corps.  It exceeded my expections and I treasure the experience.  I also posted some pictures.

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All Aboard the Trans-Siberian Railway

Photo of a Russian train in SiberiaBloggers Note:  Today’s blizzard got me thinking of Siberia, so I exiled myself to my computer and resized a few photos, which don’t quite do the terrain justice.  I wrote this piece in 1997 not too long after I got home and hoped to sell it to the Newark Star-Ledger or the NY Times.  No such luck, but here it is.  – Ted

Let’s play word association. I say Siberia. You say the first five words that pop into your head.

"Snow, Dr. Zhivago, Snow, Bears, Snow, and Exiles."

No points for repeats–I’ll give you one for bears, and allow Dr.
Zhivago, but you won’t find any snow in Siberia in the summertime, and
the exiles living in Siberia now are there of their own free will, so
are no longer exiles at all. So what does happen in Siberia these days?

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