Make the Most of NYC’s Fall Weather with These Outdoor Activities

The start of cooler weather doesn’t mean that it’s time to hibernate indoors just yet. There is still plenty of fun to be had outside in the crisp autumn air. If you’re looking for ideas for what to do, we’ve put together the perfect list of NYC’s best autumn outdoor activities

Go Apple Picking!

Autumn doesn’t just mark the comeback of pumpkin spice; it also means that it’s apple season! What better way to celebrate the return of fresh, juicy apples than to head to an orchard and pick some yourself. Unfortunately there are no apple orchards to be found within the city limits of NYC, but there are a few right outside the city: Harvest Moon Farm in North Salem, NY is just a 90-minute train ride from Grand Central Station, and in Warwick, NY, you’ll find Masker Orchards, a cute Hudson Valley farm that’ll let you eat the apples while you pick them. 

Visit a Rooftop Farm!

Everyone’s been to a rooftop bar by now, but we doubt that you’ve stepped foot onto a rooftop farm. And luckily for you, you don’t have to travel outside the city for this experience. Head over to Brooklyn to visit Brooklyn Grange and Eagle Street Farm. Between them, they produce over 50,000 pounds of produce each year, and perhaps, with your tour, you’ll get to sample some of what they’ve grown. If you want more of a dining experience, check out Bell Book & Candle, a restaurant that doubles as a rooftop vegetable garden. 

Take a Fall Foliage Ride up the Hudson River!

Taking a bike ride up the Hudson River Greenway is always fun no matter the time of year, but the fall foliage makes the ride during autumn particularly special. Experience the best plumage Manhattan has to offer, riding north from the garden haven of Battery Park City to Inwood Hill Park at the very top of the island. Along the way, make sure to stop at the Cloisters or Fort Tryon Park. From there, you’ll be treated to a view of New Jersey’s Palisades.

Get lost in a Maze!

Nothing says fall fun like wandering through a corn maze. You’ll find NYC’s only corn maze at the Queens County Farm in Floral Park, Queens. This year, the three-acre labyrinth is shaped like the iconic Universphere, which is reason enough to check it out. But if you need more reasons to head over to the farm, they also have pumpkin picking and a haunted farmhouse. 

Take a Walking Tour!

What’s better than taking a walk in the fall? How about adding a tour guide to make it a walk to remember? With the cool weather and the hints of fall foliage, this is the perfect season to take a walking tour. Luckily for you, this is something that your favorite bike rental company excels in, too! We offer walking tours of both Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge so you’ll get up-close and personal to your favorite NYC sites during the city’s favorite time of year.

Feast of San Gennaro

For the past two weeks, more than a million people have ventured over to the Lower Manhattan neighborhood of Little Italy for the Feast of San Gennaro, a food-and-fun-filled festival that takes place every September to honor the patron saint of Naples.

This 12-day festival is the ultimate Italian-American celebration: the tiny neighborhood shows off its Italian pride with its red, white, and green decorations as well as portraits of Saint Genarro. But it’s hard to focus on the decorations when you’re surrounded by every type of Italian food you can imagine and all the carnival rides of your childhood dreams. With so much to do, see, and eat crammed within a few streets, it’s nearly impossible to fathom that the 93-year-old Feast of San Gennaro used to take up thirty blocks!

Although the festival is much smaller than in previous years, the activities and the excitement around it have only grown. While the pizza and the cannoli eating contests have already passed, there’s still time to catch the closing events of San Genarro. On Saturday, September 21st, you can watch people participating in a glutton’s dream of the annual meatball eating competition followed by a singing competition in honor of the great Italian singers.

On Sunday, the festival concludes with music from Jimmy Russo & the Flowers and Jenna Esposito. And of course, all the while there will be zeppoles, torrone, and cannolis to snack on and Ferris wheels and tilt-a-whirls to ride on. So head down to Little Italy as soon as you can before the festivities are over!

Rider Recommendation: Prospect Park

While it’s often overshadowed by its more popular Manhattan counterpart, Prospect Park is one Brooklyn attraction that can’t be missed. Both parks were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux; however, these park masterminds actually considered Prospect Park to be their masterpiece, a chance to correct the mistakes they made when they designed Central Park a few years earlier. At first glance, these green oases are very similar but upon your visit, you’ll find that Prospect Park is more “natural” than Central Park and much quieter. Make sure not to overlook these things the next time you stop by “Brooklyn’s backyard”:

Grand Army Plaza

As the name suggests, Grand Army Plaza is the grandest entrance to Prospect Park (which has seventeen entrances total). It’s impossible to miss this massive arch with several bronze statues jutting out of it. Called the Soldiers and Sailors Arch, these statues give homage to the “Defenders of the Union” during the Civil War. The inner curve of the arch also features carvings of President Abraham Lincoln and Union General Ulysses S. Grant. If you’re brave enough to cross the busy intersection to get a closer look at the arch, you’ll also be treated to a small park separate from Prospect Park, decorated with other sculptures and a mermaid fountain.

Prospect Park Carousel

Just a quick walk from the Prospect Park Zoo is the wildly whimsical Prospect Park Carousel. This functional work of art has been a delight to both children and adults since the early 1900s. Like most other carousels, this one is equipped with a fleet of horses –53 in all– but quite unusually, it also features a deer, a giraffe, a lion, and two dragon chariots. Something else that makes the Prospect Park Carousel unique: it’s one of the few wheelchair-accessible carousels in the country. There’s no reason why anyone should miss out on the fun. 

The Ravine

There’s a reason why Prospect Park is considered a “natural” park. Unlike with Central Park where trees and bushes had to be imported, the designers of Prospect Park worked with Brooklyn’s native forests to create the woodsy Ravine. Step into the Ravine today and you’ll think that you’re in the Adirondack Mountains. Along with being a great place to escape the city without actually leaving, the Ravine is a prime spot for bird watching. While you’re there see what other wildlife you can spot. 

Need a bike for your adventure through Prospect Park? Stop by one of our Unlimited Biking locations and we’ll set you up with the perfect ride.

A Cyclist’s Guide to the Jamaica Bay Greenway

Out of all of NYC’s “greenways” the Jamaica Bay Greenway is probably the only one that actually lives up to its name. This 19-mile cyclist and pedestrian loop in southern Brooklyn and Queens runs along a wildlife refuge that’s the largest of its kind in the city. The area is teeming with all sorts of fauna and flora, as well as a few historical gems. There’s a lot to see and do on one of the longest bike rides in the city, so here are a few of our recommendations that will help you make the most of your ride.

Go birdwatching at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

Birdlovers rejoice! The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is paradise for both birds and birdwatchers. Over 70 species of bird regularly nest within the refuge’s 9,000 acres, but over 200 species have been sighted here. Spend some time among the calm of the refuge’s wetlands, salt marshes, and woods and you’ll see warblers, egrets, all kinds of waterfowl, and much more. With all the wildlife around you, you’ll forget that you’re in the city.

See antique planes at Floyd Bennett Field.

Floyd Bennett Field has had a lot of past lives. In 1928 it was a municipal airport, but during World War II the federal government decided it would be of better use as a naval air station. Today Floyd Bennett Field doesn’t see as much action, but it is dedicated to preserving the history of its glory days. Stop by the Field’s gorgeous art deco terminal, which has now become a museum of the airport’s history. Then check our Hangar B, where you can get up close to WWII -era planes. If you’re visiting on a Tuesday in the summer, don’t miss the 2.3-mile bike race around the field.

 

Venture through the abandoned ruins of Fort Tilden.

Unlike Floyd Bennett Field, this military base hasn’t been given a new 21st-century purpose. Ever since the base was decommissioned in 1972, the area is slowly being reclaimed by nature. If you’re a fan of venturing into abandoned buildings, Fort Tilden is the spot for you. Just beware of the poison ivy.

 

Take a swim at Jacob Riis Park.

Jacob Riis Park, like a lot of places around the Jamaica Bay Greenway, has a military backstory. This park was previously a naval air station but now it’s one of New York’s favorite public beaches. The relatively uncrowded beach and the art deco bathhouse are some of the main draws, but locals also take advantage of Jacob Riis’ opportunities for surfing and golfing, too. The 88-acre park is divided into 14 bays, but FYI, Bay 1 is considered the “adult” part of the beach, since it is frequented by nudists. 

Interested in biking the Jamaica Bay Greenway and seeing these sites?

Stop by one of our Unlimited Biking locations to pick up the perfect bike for your journey.

Biked the Brooklyn Bridge? Now Try These Brooklyn Bike Paths!

Most cyclists visiting New York are already aware of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway, the two mile ride from the Brooklyn end of the Brooklyn Bridge down to the neighborhood of Red Hook. But there is much more to cycling in Brooklyn than that. We’ve made a list of the best bike paths in Brooklyn that will help you explore this massive borough by bike.

Ocean Parkway Greenway

First on this list is the Ocean Parkway Greenway, which actually became the country’s first designated bike path in 1894. Like many of New York City’s beloved features, Ocean Parkway was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, who aimed for Ocean Parkway to resemble the grand boulevards of Europe. See if you get these European vibes as you ride the five-mile lane from Prospect Park down to Coney Island.

Coney Island Boardwalk

Take in the ocean air and marvel at the world-famous amusement park as you ride down the Coney Island Boardwalk. Spanning from Sea Gate to Brighton Beach, this 2.1-mile path is only open to cyclists from 5 am to 10 am, but you’ll find that a ride over the Coney Island Boardwalk is a great way to start your day.

 

Shore Parkway Greenway

This 5.5-mile bike path is the most picturesque one on our list. As you follow the path down the southwestern coast of Brooklyn you’ll have views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor, in addition to getting an up-close look at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and Fort Hamilton, NYC’s only active military base. Take this ride around sunset for an especially memorable experience.

Prospect Park

No Brooklyn biking list would be complete without mentioning Prospect Park. Another urban gem designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux, Prospect Park contains a 3.35-mile loop for cyclists that was recently declared car-free. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out Grand Army Plaza, the Prospect Park Zoo, and the Ravine.

In need of a bike that can withstand all your Brooklyn adventures? Head over to one of Unlimited Biking’s stores and we’ll get you sized for the perfect bike for your journey.

NYC Summer Streets 2019!

This August, Unlimited Biking is partnering with Summer Streets to provide

for individuals participating in the highly anticipate event of the summer!

Unlimited Biking will be present with 75 complimentary bikes at three rest stops along the seven miles of Summer Streets:

We will have a wide range of sizes available, including kids bikes! All rentals will include helmets, baskets/bike bags and a map! Bikes are available on a first come, first serve basis, and an active credit card must be on file in order to rent.

Should the complimentary bikes run out, guests can visit any of Unlimited Biking’s six store locations around Manhattan in the following neighborhoods for a FREE HOUR bike rental!

To get a head start on our Check-In Process, visit our website here!

Should you have any questions, please give us a call at 212-749-4444 or email us at sales@unlimitedbiking.com

See you on the Streets!

How to ride the NYC Subway like a local – A useful guide for tourists

While we know the best way to see New York, (by bike of course!), when coming to New York you will eventually

The subway system belongs to New York, and New York belongs to the subway system, and with these helpful tips, you’ll master it in no time!

Download An App

To get you started, there are a few transit apps for NYC that will tell you which lines to take or plan out routes for you.  We find that Google Maps is also very useful for visitors and locals alike, with real-time updates and information.

Local & Express Trains

Local Trains make ALL stops listed and Express Trains SKIP many stops. So check on the map – you can see the according to letter of trains below the station to make out if it stops at a station or not.

Keep in mind it can change late at night. Express trains may go local and local trains can go express. Usually, it is communicated by wallpapers, by conductors or through signage on platforms.

Rush Hour

For the full New York Subway Experience, brace yourselves and enter the stations during Rush Hour. Have your metro card out before getting to the turnstile and learn to swipe your card the right way.

Swiping the metro card is a challenge. Even for real New Yorkers. It is about the exact right pace, not too fast and not too slow. A tiny screen at the turnstile will let you know the issue, such as: ‘please swipe again’, ‘see agent’, ‘insufficient fare’.

Fare

$2.75 per single ride (2019) if you buy a refillable subway card for $1 in the beginning. Otherwise, you would pay $3 for every single ride. You can always refill your card with time or money. You do have the possibility of a 7-day unlimited purchase for $32 per person.

Directions

Trains in Manhattan go either uptown or downtown; this refers to Manhattan’s grid system. Therefore generally, going north: direction is uptown. Going south: direction is downtown.

Some trains do not only go uptown or downtown but eventually from Manhattan into another borough. So the direction could also be uptown & Queens/ Bronx or downtown & Brooklyn.

Thinking this is too complicated? Make it a little more simple by staying above ground with a bike. 

Already Biked the Brooklyn Bridge? Now Ride the Manhattan Bridge!

NYC has over 2,000 bridges but if you aren’t a commuter, then you’ve most likely only heard of one NYC bridge: the Brooklyn Bridge. To be fair, the Brooklyn Bridge is iconic; it was, arguably, the greatest feat of engineering of the nineteenth century. But if you only visit the Brooklyn Bridge during your trip to New York, you’re missing out. One other bridge definitely worth riding over is the Manhattan Bridge. Like the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge spans over the East River to connect the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan, but that is where the similarities end. Read on to discover what makes the Manhattan Bridge a unique ride.

What to expect on your ride:

Compared to the Brooklyn Bridge, your ride on the Manhattan Bridge will be a breeze. Since the bridge isn’t a go-to tourist attraction, you won’t be competing for space with a crushing crowd of people. In fact, bikes have their own designated lane on the bridge barrier from the pedestrians. A couple of quirks of the Manhattan Bridge might make your ride less-than-idyllic, however: the B/D/N/Q subway lines use the bridge to cross between Brooklyn and Manhattan, so be prepared for some rumblings from the trains every few minutes. Also, although the Manhattan Bridge gives you stellar views of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, that view is somewhat obscured by the bridge’s chicken wire fencing.

Photo opportunities:

A little known fact, a ride over the bridge provides a great photo-op of the NYC skyline, as well as the Brooklyn Bridge. 

To get this must-have shot, ride over to Washington Street between Water Street and Front Street. If you angle your camera just right, you’ll get the Empire State Building in the background, too!

Things to Do:

While you’re in the area, don’t forget to explore the neighborhoods of DUMBO, which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. You can take a boxing lesson at Gleason’s Gym, shop at Empire Stores, or spend some time at Jacques Torres’ chocolate paradise. In Brooklyn Heights, you’ll find even more cute boutiques, as well as kayaking and more outdoor fun at Brooklyn Bridge Park. 

On the Manhattan side of the bridge, you’ll find the ever-bustling neighborhood of Chinatown, where there’s great shopping and great food. Be sure to stop at the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for unique flavors you won’t find anywhere else; walk along Canal Street and browse the never-ending supply of gods; and visit the Museum of Chinese in America where you’ll get context on the neighborhood as well a s the diverse stories of Chinese immigrant communities across the US. 
Ready to take a ride over the Manhattan Bridge? Visit any of our Unlimited Biking locations and we’ll get you set up with the perfect set of wheels for your day of exploration. And if you want to know even more about the Manhattan Bridge and the NYC’s many other bridges, book our Bridge Delight bike tour, where you’ll get to know the city through four of its bridges.

Central Park’s Most Unique Statues

Interested in a bit of a challenge? Try to find 4 of Central Park’s Most Unique Statues spread across the park:

Still Hunt, a.k.a. The Panther

Still Hunt, the first statue on our list, is one we wouldn’t like to pass by on a dark and stormy night. Created by  Edward Kemeys, the lifelike bronze statue of a panther about to pounce has startled many unsuspecting visitors in Central Park since its placement in the park in 1883. To judge for yourself how realistic this big cat is, head over to the edge of the Ramble on the East Drive near East 76th Street.

Balto

Next on our list is another animal statue, but thankfully, this statue is inspiring rather than terrifying. The Balto statue, on the East Drive near East 67th Street, commemorates the brave sled dogs who trekked nearly a thousand miles through the Alaskan tundra to deliver diphtheria medicine to the children of Nome back in 1925. News of the dogs’ heroism spread through the country and the dogs became instant celebrities, so much so that New Yorkers decided to have a statue built in their honor. The Balto statue was completed within a year and has been a beloved feature of Central Park ever since.

 

King Jagiello Monument

Perhaps the most imposing statue in Central Park, the King Jagiello Monument looks as though it could be a scene from Game of Thrones. But in fact, the real King Jagiello was engaged in his own power struggle over the control of Poland back in the 15th century. If you’re in need of royal drama in your life, look into this King’s crazy feud with the Teutonic Order. As for the monument itself, it was originally made for the Polish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World Fair, but due to Germany invading Poland soon after, the Poles never had a chance to send the statue back to their country. In 1945, the Polish government-in-exile, with the support of NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGaurdia, agreed to have the statue remain in New York. Today you can find King Jagiello on the east side of Turtle Pond, just north of the 79th Street Transverse.

 

Bethesda Fountain

Bethesda Fountain is one of the most popular sites in Central Park, and there are good reasons for it. Not only are the fountain and the adjacent terrace absolutely gorgeous, the angel that sits on top of the fountain is the only statue in the park that was created by a woman. The sculptor, Emma Stebbins, modeled the angel after her lover Charlotte Cushman, a popular 19th-century actress. After Cushman died of cancer in 1869, Stebbins never made another sculpture again.

For an easy way to visit all of these statues and more, get a bike for the day from Unlimited Biking, or if you’d like to hear more stories about Central Park, join one of our guided tours!

New York’s Best Food Tour!

Interested in turning your All Day Bike Rental into a Self Guided Food Tour?

Here is our foodie bucket list with the ‘must eats’ and favorites from real New Yorkers!

  • $1 Slice Pizza (2 Bros Pizza)
  • Cannoli (Ferrara Bakery & Cafe)
  • Bagel & Schmear (Black Seed Bagels)
  • Chicken & Waffles (Sweet chick)
  • Hand Pulled Noodles (Xi’an Famous Foods)
  • Shack Burger (Shake Shack)
  • Corned Beef or Pastrami (Katz’s Delicatessen)
  • Dim Sum (Nom Wah Tea Parlor)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie (Levain’s Bakery)
  • Pierogi (Veselka)
  • Babka (Breaks Bakery)
  • Ramen (Ivan Ramen)
  • Ice Cream (Morgenstern’s, Ample Hills Creamery)
  • Fresh Pasta (San Marzano)
  • Korean BBQ (Jongro BBQ)
  • Donuts (Dough Doughnuts)
  • Falafel (Mamouns)
  • Dumplings (Vanessa’s Dumpling House)
  • Shaved Ice (Grace Street Cafe)

Now that you’ve got your list, get out there and eat! And we’ve got the bikes to get you there!