Cycling Helped Our 52 Places Traveler Fall Back in Love with N.Y.

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Weather: Occasional showers in the first part of the day, then clearing, with a high in the mid-60s. The cooler temperature sticks around for the weekend, with mostly sunny skies.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until today. Suspended Saturday for Sukkot. Read about the amended regulations here.

Sebastian Modak had been back in his one-bedroom apartment in Harlem for less than three months, still recovering from a yearlong journey around the world as The Times’s 52 Places Traveler. Then the coronavirus swept through New York City.

As pastimes became limited and regular life was paralyzed, Mr. Modak, like many New Yorkers, took to cycling. He dusted off his three-year-old bike and began pedaling through neighborhoods across many of the five boroughs. But his trips from city streets to country paths soon gained much more meaning beyond a way to exercise and avoid subways.

“All these little things added up, and I just felt liberated,” he told me on Thursday.

[Read more about how Mr. Modak learned to love his hometown, at 13 miles per hour.]

Here are four things he appreciated about leaving behind plane flights and taking up cycling:

After a year of making friends on six continents and sharing meals with locals, Mr. Modak wrote that the “abrupt transition from perpetual movement to total stasis” was beyond anything he imagined.

But cycling gave him a way to feel part of a community, he said. Whether it was learning maintenance tips from cyclists at an open-air burger joint or briefly chatting with a young boy to warn him of an oncoming car, the rides allowed him to once again interact with strangers — and feel the same joy that came with doing so as he traveled the globe.

Before the pandemic, Mr. Modak said he knew certain areas of Queens and South Brooklyn well. But the rides — and the idle time the pandemic brought on — offered him a chance to “zero in on details” of neighborhoods.

He said he ended up appreciating small, sensory things about many of the places he rode through, but also came to realize how much the surrounding area had to offer.

“You hear people in California say, ‘I’ll go up into the mountains in the morning and the beach in the evening,’” he said. “I was really surprised by how much New York City could also be a launching pad to a lot of beauty that’s within biking distance.”

Over Labor Day weekend, Mr. Modak and his partner, Maggie, ventured to the Catskills’ southern reaches, a 220-mile round trip.

He had previously imagined the mountain range as a place he could go as an escape. But he said learning what the roads in between felt like — steadily traversing them on a bike, as opposed to rushing through in a car — made him love the journey there as much as the destination.

Through his trips, Mr. Modak said, he better learned how to navigate the city on two wheels. He was regularly armed with a number of apps to help plan his rides, choosing routes safest for riders on trails and less-trafficked roads. He also relied on local bike shops and cycling clubs for neighborhood-specific tips and gear recommendations.

The death of a Yorkshire terrier is fueling a legal battle over the dog’s handling at Kennedy International Airport and importation from Russia. [Associated Press]

The Cuomo administration is questioning whether the decision by “Saturday Night Live” to have a live audience for its season premiere complies with the state’s coronavirus rules. [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle]

What we’re watching: To mark the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, The Times published a book for middle school students about the battle for suffrage: “Finish the Fight!” Jennifer Harlan, who works on The Times’s archival storytelling team, discusses it on “The New York Times Close Up With Sam Roberts.” The show airs on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. [CUNY TV]

The Times’s Melissa Guerrero writes:

Although many performance spaces and community centers are closed, people are finding creative ways to connect through virtual events and programs. Here are suggestions for maintaining a New York social life this weekend while keeping a safe distance from other people.

On Friday at 6 p.m., join the Strand in celebrating the 70th anniversary edition of “Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts.” The book’s author, Chip Kidd, will be in conversation with Patrick McDonnell, a comic author and illustrator.

R.S.V.P. to this free, livestreamed event on the Strand’s website.

Join the producer and director Linda Goldstein Knowlton on Friday at 6 p.m. to discuss her documentary “We Are the Radical Monarchs.” Viewers will also get to watch an excerpt from the film.

Register for this free event, hosted by the National Arts Club, on the event page.

On Saturday at 10 a.m., welcome autumn with an all-day festival hosted by the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum. Learn how to make apple cider, attend a bilingual dance class and listen to stories.

Access the free livestream on Facebook.

It’s Friday — the golden child of the weekdays.

Dear Diary:

One night in the early 1980s, I had dinner at my parents’ apartment on the Upper West Side. It was late and I had to work in the morning, so I decided to splurge on a cab. I hailed one on Columbus Avenue, and gave the driver my address in the East Village.

After the cab turned onto my street, the driver pulled over half a block from my apartment. He turned to look at me.

“Is it OK if I let you out here?” he asked.

“Sure,” I said, reaching for my wallet. “But why?”

“This is where I live,” he said, pointing toward one of the buildings. “Since there is a parking space, I’d like to go up and eat supper with my wife before I finish my shift.”

— Al Vyssotsky

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