Best Things To Do In Central Park – Holiday Edition!

As the most-visited attraction in the most-visited city in the western hemisphere, it’s easy to forget that Central Park was originally created as a place of serenity, tranquility, and relaxation. The vast majority of New York’s 65 million annual visitors come during the warmer months, when the park overflows with excitement and activity. For that reason, the winter is when it truly lives up to its full potential as a natural oasis, 843 acres of majestic, pastoral earth, living in direct contrast to its surroundings: the around-the-clock whirlwind of steel, glass, and humanity known as Manhattan. 

This is not at all to say winters in Central Park are dull. Still at the core of the Big Apple, the city’s signature buzz doesn’t end at the park’s borders. The winters are simply when the landscape’s peaceful beauty fuse best with the inspirational hustle and bustle New York is so famous for. Many have seen the tranquil images of a fresh snowfall over cobblestone bridges, hills, and frozen ponds. But not everyone knows about how much fun the park can be during the colder months. Below is a list of our favorite things to do this winter in Central Park:

  • Visit the Central Park Zoo. The winter sees reduced fares, and is the liveliest time for the sea lions, seals, and snow leopards. You can feed a penguin or head to the children’s zoo to see the only cow in Manhattan. The nearby Delacorte Clock plays holiday carols and features bronze statues of animals playing instruments
  • Go rock climbing. While scaling the boulders in the North Woods or Rat Rock near the park’s southern entrance, you’ll forget you’re in the middle of a big city and feel like you’re in an arctic tundra
  • Visit the Arthur Ross Pinetum, a four-acre arboretum with 17 varieties of winter trees, designed for New Yorkers of the 1800s to feel like they entered the center of an evergreen forest
  • Go cross-country skiing with skyline views. The most popular areas are the bridal path, Great Lawn, and Sheep Meadow. Skiis can be rented nearby at sporting goods stores such as REI and Paragon
  • Sign up for an Amazing Race-style Scavenger Hunt Adventure. With two route options and smartphone assistance, the park can transform into a giant, fun-filled, educational board game

  • Recreate scenes from classic Central Park wintertime movies: Elf’s snowball fight at Pinebank Arch, Home Alone’s Pigeon Lady scenes at Gapstow Bridge, Sheep Meadow or Tavern on the Green for Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and for the skating scenes in Serendipity or Love Story, you can go…
  • Ice skating: Choose Lasker Rink in the north for a more relaxing experience with views of the Harlem Meer and North Woods, or Wollman Rink in the south for more convenient access to midtown and dramatic views of the city skyline
  • Enjoy the music of Central Park without the big crowds. Whether it’s choral performances below Bethesda Terrace, Beatles sing-a-longs at Strawberry Fields, or one of the many buskers stationed throughout the park (the saxophonist near the Balto statue is exceptional), there is no shortage of sweet sounds.
  • Go birdwatching. The ramble is home to 275 varieties of migratory birds and winter is the perfect time for spotting Downy Woodpeckers, Song Sparrows, American Robins, and the incredibly rare Eastern Screech Owl. December 15th is New York’s annual Christmas bird count, while birdwatching tours happen throughout the week
  • Build a snowman. Build a whole snow family. Make snow angels. New Yorkers, especially on Sheep Meadow and the Great Lawn tend to get creative with their snow creations

  • Go shopping. Columbus Circle Holiday Village, The Dairy Visitor Center, and the vendors along 59thstreet are all popular options. For $10,000, you can buy a small piece of NYC real estate in the form of a park bench with a personalized plaque inscription
  • Go to the Winter Jam Festival in January, a free annual sports festival featuring snowboarding lessons, curling, ice bowling, dodgeball, a Doggie Snow Zone, and a heated reading room. Equipment is provided at no cost
  • Check out the brand new Landforms exhibit at the Charles A. Dana discovery center to learn about the park’s geological foundations, archaeological history, and how its rocky terrain shaped the outcomes of The Revolutionary War and the War of 1812
  • Attend the 23rd annual Holiday Lighting Festival on December 5th. This joyous event combines cookies, cocoa, Christmas carols, a cameo from Santa Claus, and a flotilla of trees on the Harlem Meer
  • See the city from the highest point of the park, Belvedere Castle. The winter months offer the clearest, unobstructed views of the West Side’s iconic Art Deco and Renaissance Revival apartments, the East Side’s stunning museum mile, the uptown and midtown skylines, along with the official weathervane for the city of New York
  • Enjoy a plethora of options for chowing down. The winter months offer a significantly more relaxed dining experience at Central Park institutions The Boathouse, Tavern on the Green, and The Met’s Dining Room. Inside the park, you’ll find a multitude of food carts offering everything from Belgian Waffles to Colombian Coffee. There are also countless restaurants alongside the park with breathtaking views
  • Beat the cold by staying active. The tennis courts, basketball courts, and bike lanes are open year round. Winter is the perfect time for discovering one of the many spectacular jogging loops in the park. There’s a reason the largest marathon in the world happens to end here. The New Years Eve 4k run through the park is legendary

Like any public park during any season of the year, fun and relaxation are the main priorities for its visitors. Central Park is no different. What makes it different is that it’s in the middle of a city with over 800 languages spoken on any given day, a world capital for culture, media, commerce, entertainment, research, art, and technology, the home of the United Nations, the birthplace of Rockefeller, Roosevelt, Remy Ma, and the rollercoaster. The city so nice, they named it twice. 

The point is that something as simple as sitting on a park bench and watching people pass by has a high likelihood of becoming magical. Some would call it the most beautiful park in the world. Few would disagree that it’s the most different from its surrounding environments. This is especially true in the winter, when the large crowds are replaced by snow-covered countryside, and it becomes again what its designers intended on creating: A patch of nature for New Yorkers to escape to, for serenity, tranquility, and relaxation. Plus, it’s fun!

 

Five Best Locations to Bike in New York City

Even New Yorkers who were born and raised in the concrete jungle will admit that sometimes they, too, feel like tourists in their own city. Every corner turned reveals endless possibilities — broadway-worthy street performers, five-star quality meals compacted into tiny food trucks, unique characters that you wouldn’t believe existed unless you saw them for yourself. Walking through New York is an adventure in itself. Now imagine how the possibilities multiply when a bike is involved! Many neighborhoods in New York are extremely bike-friendly, even having their own designated lanes. We compiled a list of some of the best biking spots in New York City that both expert riders and beginners could enjoy.

1.) Hudson River Greenway

We want to start off this list with the one, the only, Hudson River. This 11-mile bike route is one of the most popular biking destinations in New York and with good reason. The scenic landscape over the glistening river waters creates a spectacular juxtaposition alongside the iconic city skyscrapers. This location is greatly enjoyed and preferred by beginner riders since the entire trail has a designated bike path, meaning you will not ride on the street or encounter any cars along the way. The bike trail includes a two-lane path, allowing cyclers to ride back and forth as they please. A must-see along the Hudson River Greenway is Riverside Park, one of New York City’s most notable waterfront parks. This park is great for instagram-worthy photoshoots, soaking in the sun and taking in the magnificent view from all angles. We also encourage our travelers to visit the Intrepid Museum located right on the water of the Hudson River. This fascinating museum holds some of the most historically substantial American military and maritime artifacts and exhibitions.

2.) Battery Park

The entire 11-mile Hudson River Greenway bike route may be overwhelming to beginner travelers. It is nearly impossible to take in all of the attractions at once so, we recommend our travelers to split up the route over a two-day span. Battery Park is located at the southern tip of the Hudson River Greenway and offers its own day’s worth of adventure. There are many stops along the bike route that we highly recommend seeing such as the Highline, Statue of Liberty and the Wall Street bull!

3.) Central Park

Central Park is a no-brainer destination in New York City, on bike or foot. With a 6-mile perimeter around the park, there is plenty to see and do. Lay in the green lawn of Sheeps Meadow while taking in the breathtaking landscape of the surrounding city. A short trip away leads you to the remarkable architecture of the Bethesda Terrace which lies parallel to the Bethesda Fountain, a popular location for wedding shoots, graduation pictures and various movie scenes! Joining one of our Central Park Guided Bike Tours is a great way to learn about all of the famous landmarks hidden away in the tremendous park. You will be able to see all of the major sightseeing points in the park as well as other hidden gems, all led by one of our beloved local guides. 

Rent bikes at our Central Park Location!

4.) Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular biking routes we offer at Unlimited Biking. The must-see scenery overlooks the East River and the city landscape, making it a highlight spot for photos. The bridge connects Manhattan and Brooklyn so you can explore both boroughs in just a few hours. With a distance of a little over one mile, the Brooklyn Bridge bike route is perfect for beginners. After riding the Brooklyn Bridge, make sure to explore the neighborhood of Dumbo full of unique art galleries, delicious NYC style pizza, and incredible architecture.

Book a Guided Tour with Unlimited Biking at the Brooklyn Bridge!

5.) South Street Seaport

Last, but certainly not least, is the South Street Seaport district along the East River of lower Manhattan. The Seaport district is a buzzing hub that highlights New York City’s vast culture but also commemorates the area’s significant and fascinating history. Enjoy the sight of some of the oldest architecture in downtown Manhattan, an astonishing view of the Brooklyn Bridge and a leisurely ride along the bike lane on the boardwalk. As a central point for entertainment, shopping, and cuisine, South Street Seaport is definitely not a destination you want to miss!

Our locations:

56 W 56th Street New York, NY 10019

346 W 57th Street New York, NY 10019

Pier 78 455 12th Avenue New York, NY 10019

111 W. 110th Street New York, NY 10026

38 Park Row New York, NY 10038

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 in 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, 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.

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 absolutely need and want to take a ride on our infamous subway!

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. 

Biking in the Winter!!

Now that fall has officially kicked it into high gear, it is time to start thinking about biker safety for the winter. Whether you are a guest to New York or seasoned veteran, it is vital to always stay safe and alert when cruising around the Big Apple. Unlimited Biking put together a list of important tips to keep in mind as the winter heads our way.

Ride Steady and Stay Nimble

For the slippery patches, it is best to just slow down and stay nimble. Use your brakes on the rear wheel to avoid spinouts. If your bike does start to tilt, always be prepared to just take your feet off the pedals. You will be more prepared to catch yourself if you lose control of the bike. 

Snow and Ice Considerations

Keep an eye out for areas of melted snow as it often melts in the sunlight, but refreezes in lower temperatures as the sunsets. These are the most likely areas for black ice. The key is to remain calm and ride slowly. 

Make Eye Contact

As you cruise through the city streets, always make eye contact with drivers. Drivers tend to be less aware of bikers in the winter, so ride defensively and make sure cars notice your presence.

Layers, Layers, Layers

Keeping warm and managing sweat in the cold will make your bike ride much more enjoyable! Layers will allow you to adjust with your body temperature as you warm-up and cool down from your bike ride. Always remember to throw on a hat and pair of mittens as well. You will be so happy when your fingers stay nice and toasty in the crisp winter air. 

Stay Hydrated

As much as you want to keep sipping on your warm hot cocoa, don’t forget to drink water and stay hydrated. It is so easy to forget to hydrate when the temperature drops. Winter clothing traps more heat which increases your body temperature, causing you to sweat more. Drink up! 

Don’t forget, even as mittens and hats make their way out of storage, Unlimited Biking hosts tours and experiences along with our bike rentals year-round. Give us a call to rent your next bike or schedule a tour, we would love to see you!

Lights, Cameras, Action! See your favorite movie spots in New York!

Welcome to the Big Apple (or at least some time soon in the near future)! As you plan your New York vacation, you will not want to miss out on seeing the iconic landmarks that appear in our favorite shows and movies. The best part, bikes are the BEST way to visit each of these famous spots across New York–and you would hate to miss even just one!

Here is a full list of all of the landmarks in New York that shine on the Big Screen.

HOME ALONE 2 (click here to watch the trailer)

Just in time for the Holidays, explore where Kevin McCallister gets lost in New York while his parents enjoyed the sunshine state.

SEX AND THE CITY (click here to watch the trailer)

Are you Miranda or a Carrie? We’ll let you decide as you experience the never-ending iconic spots around the city.

GOSSIP GIRL (click here to watch the trailer)

Gossip Girl here ready to give you the 411 on only the hottest spots in town.  We’ll be sure to see you on the steps of the Met. XOXO (Dan Humphry)

  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir
  • Bethesda Fountain
  • Palace Hotel: 455 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10022
  • Upper Eastside
  • MET Museum: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
  • Dumbo

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (click here to watch the trailer)

Grab your group of friends and experience New York like your favorite crew of “HIMYM” with these famous spots around New York:

FRIENDS (click here to watch the trailer)

Now talk about a group of Friends! With 236 episodes, you are bound to run into one landmark you’ve seen from the show. Grab a sandwich like Joey and let’s go get a cup of coffee with Rachel.

  • Solow Building: West 57th street
  • Plaza Hotel
  • Bloomingdale’s: 1000 Third Avenue 59th Street and, Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10022
  • Friends Apartment on 90 Bedford Street at the corner of Grove Street in Greenwich Village
  • The Pulitzer Fountain: 764 Central Park S, New York, NY 10019

STUART LITTLE (click here to watch the trailer)

We know you see lots of little critters roaming around New York, but there is none other like Stuart Little! Grab the family and head on over to see where your favorite mouse enjoyed his time in New York.

KING KONG (click here to watch the trailer)

He is a hard one to miss! This gigantic gorilla took over the city and our hearts. If you are a movie buff, the Empire State Building is just one you can’t miss out on.

  • Empire State Building

GHOSTBUSTERS (click here to watch the trailer)

Let’s get spooky! Ghostbusters is a classic with countless landmarks across New York. Will you keep us posted if you see any ghosts at these famous spots?

  • Ghostbusters Firehouse: 4, N Moore St, New York, NY 10013
  • Tavern on the green: Central Park West & 67th Street, New York, NY 10023
  • Columbus Circle
  • New York Public Library
  • Rockefeller Center: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (click here to watch the trailer)

We know, this could seem obvious–but it still needs to be called out! Make sure to stop by the American Natural History Museum where everything still comes to life no matter the time of fay.

AVENGERS (click here to watch the trailer)

The team is back together! Discover the iconic spots where Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, and Thor protect our precious Earth from Loki.

  • Central Park Reservoir
  • Bethesda Fountain
  • Grand Central: 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

CAPTAIN AMERICA FIRST AVENGER (click here to watch the trailer)

You won’t want to miss the rush of Time Square. Fair warning: Don’t be confused by the many Captain America’s you may see between the bright lights and Hulk costumes.

OCEAN 8  (click here to watch the trailer)

Directed by Gary Ross in 2018 the film is both a continuation and a spin-off of Steven Soderbergh’s trilogy Ocean. The film follows a group of women planning a robbery at MET GALA.

  • – Plaza Hotel
  • – MET Museum

SPIDER MAN (click here to watch the trailer)

An American superhero movie directed in 2002 by Sam Raimi, based on the character of Marvel Comics Spider-Man. Peter Parker is a high school student living in New York, leading a double life as a superhero. This super hero is world famous thanks to the city of New York which allows the hero to become the emblem of the city against criminals. Find all the locations and spots below:

  • – Columbia University
  • Staten Island Ferry: 4 South St, New York, NY 10004
  • Flatiron Building: 175 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010
  • Rockefeller Center
  • Time Square

Unlimited Biking

Book your bike rental now on our website: Click here!

56 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
(212) 749-4444

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Cheating OR Not Cheating, You Decide!

The debate it out! Is it cheating or not cheating to ride an e-bike for a bike event? Here is our stance on whether or not you should be able to ride an e-bike for your next bike event.

Here’s the deal, we are going to lay out all of the facts, and yes, some of them may end up being a little biased, but we are a bike rental company, we can’t help it! At the end of the day, all we care about is getting every person on two wheels to enjoy our great city!

We understand for a bike RACE, that electric bikes should not be permitted, but for a bike event that is simply to raise money and bring people together, why not open up the playing field to everyone.  E-bikes are an amazing way to enjoy biking at every age, they just had a little boost to your pedal, and let’s be honest, we all need a little boost sometimes.

Let us know what you think: is it cheating?

Head to our website and see our full inventory of e-bikes, hybrids and road bikes for your next event: Click here!

 

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.