Considering it’s been a while, I’m not really sure where to begin. I guess there is the obvious — moving from Jersey City, N.J. to Redondo Beach, Calif.
And then there is the mundane, like waiting around for over two weeks while our belongings were shipped to us, sitting in lawn chairs and watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” DVDs on a computer propped up atop a washer and dryer in the kitchen.
And, of course, the flat out absurd, like the time I walked into the restroom in the new building I work at and had to pee next to a guy attending to a conference call on his speakerphone.
Now that our things are here and I’m not washing disposable plastic ware, it’s beginning to calm down a bit. I even had somewhat of a typical day today, aside from riding to the Pacific Ocean in the morning, along the water to Palos Verdes, and back up past famed BMX spots that were immortalized on the pages of Freestylin’ Magazine in my childhood. I guess, for all intents and purposes, I’m going to either assume that the surrealism I’m experiencing daily is normal, or that I’ve kinda lost sight of what I once thought was normal.
Either way, everything at the moment feels kinda crazy, and I never ever thought I would find myself here. I guess I was more comfortable knowing I was a walk away from filming locations for “The Sopranos” than “Pacific Blue.”
But before I go any further into that, I should mention the above video. Many years ago, when my younger brother lived in Jersey City and I was still in Piscataway, my father and I drove up to North Jersey to visit him at work. After stopping into the bar he was working at, my father suggested we check out the old railway terminal at Liberty State Park. A hundred years ago, it the was the point of entry in the U.S. for European immigrants that had cleared Ellis Island, and the tracks led West to new lives throughout America for the English, Irish, Scottish, French, German, Russians, Poles, etc, etc.
I don’t remember much of what transpired between us on that February day, but I remember the enormity of the parking lot for buses next to the railway terminal, and I made a mental note that if the chance ever arose, it would be a good place to ride bikes.
Sometime in late August 2007, I revisited the park. The parking lot was still empty and the lights were on all along the water. Pretty soon afterwards, I started testing the waters, expecting to get kicked out by the park police. But that never happened. Instead, each officer I spoke to in the parking lot over the past four years was over the top friendly and curious about my riding, my bike and everything that had brought me to the park in the first place.
Quickly, it became the one spot I gravitated towards throughout my tenure in Jersey City. And when that city would push me towards insanity, I would retreat to that one place I knew to be quiet and peaceful, hinting at an ocean breeze from the nearby brackish Hudson River.
I knew everything about that place — each crack in the pavement, each half-cocked local, each groundskeeper, each light bulb that needed to be replaced. And when we found out we were moving earlier this summer, I knew that I wouldn’t necessarily miss our apartment, our street or the surrounding environment. But I knew that I would miss the one place I had to come to call my own in that desolate parking lot overlooking lower Manhattan.
I didn’t make any rushed plans to document my last months there or anything. I had gone back and forth with Dane Beardsley sometime before, about him coming to visit. I initially thought he was coming to visit New York City, and then, on a Saturday night in early November, he said he was down the street in a bar drinking by himself. So I rode down and met up with him. Over the next few days, we filmed the above clips with no real plans for them. They were just some random things I had been working on and Dane wanted me to have them filmed before I moved away.
On the night of Friday, November 25, I had my last session at the park. I didn’t say goodbye, I just rode for two hours and left with the intention of coming back the next day. Then packing turned into more packing, and before I knew it, our moving day (Nov. 28) had arrived. Now I’m 2800 miles away, looking for new places to ride and glad that Dane encouraged me to film the above video.