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 belong 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 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 each 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 barriered 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 uses 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, modelled 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!

 

We love bikes…AND FOOD!

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!

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  • $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)

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  • Corned Beef or Pastrami (Katz’s Delicatessen)
  • Dim Sum (Nom Wah Tea Parlor)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie (Levain’s Bakery)

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  • Pierogi (Veselka)
  • Babka (Breaks Bakery)
  • Ramen (Ivan Ramen)
  • Ice Cream (Morgenstern’s, Ample Hills Creamery)
  • Fresh Pasta (San Marzano)

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  • Korean BBQ (Jongro BBQ)
  • Donuts (Dough Doughnuts)
  • Falafel (Mamouns)
  • Dumplings (Vanessa’s Dumpling House)
  • Shaved Ice (Grace Street Cafe)

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

Best Places To See 4th Of July Fireworks!

Looking for to plan for this 4th of July?

This year Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks are coming back to the East River and it’s gonna be a blast! They will last between 25 and 30 minutes long and they are going to be set off along the Brooklyn Bridge and along Pier 17 in the Seaport District. The fireworks display, now in its 43rd year, will start at 9.20pm and millions of New Yorkers will take over the best spots and wait, with a picnic and a few beers, for this annual display. You better act quick with your viewing strategy now, as some spots require reservations, and tickets are going fast!

Traditionally, Macy’s has recommended different places where the views of the fireworks are supposed to be the best in the city, as Broad Street & Water Street or Montgomery Street & Cherry Street. But this year we want to make sure you don’t run out of options before the big day. 

Source:https://www.macys.com/social/fireworks/

 

While in Manhattan, the official spots are usually along the FDR or in Brooklyn, there are (thankfully) a bunch of areas where the views of the fireworks are more than great!

The prime points would be Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights Promenade, where local people love to watch the fireworks from. But in case you want to try out other places that might be less crowded this 4th of July these are our recommendations:

The William Vale, Williamsburg: Have you ever wanted to enjoy your evening with some friends and amazing views? Weeell, you can now kill two birds with one stone! Between 7pm and 11pm the William Vale welcomes its guests to their river-facing greenspace with direct views to the fireworks.

Various Cruises: In case you are the kind of person that wants to avoid the crowds, multiple cruise options are available at several prices. As the fireworks will be going off from the East River, you can be sure that watching them floating on the river nearby New York’s harbor will get you the best views. Although a lot of evening cruises are already booked, there is always a good option to be found.

One World Observatory: We all know that it wouldn’t be New York City, if there weren’t over-the-top ways of watching the fireworks. The prices are not that expensive and you will enjoy an unforgettable experience!

Freedom Fest: This will be the fifth year in a row that Pier 15 organizes this event. This party is held on South St Seaport, next to the Brooklyn Bridge, and offers (besides music, barbecue and free bar) direct views of the fireworks.

Have you planned your 4th of July this year? Or do you have a hidden spot already? Let us know in the comments!

Rider Recommendation

Today’s Rider Recommendation takes us to the  Hudson River Greenway!

The Greenway goes from the George Washington Bridge all the way down to the southern tip of Manhattan. Stretching over 11 miles, this car-free bike path is one of the best ways of exploring some of the most popular spots in the city:

The Highline

Times Square

The Intrepid Sea

One World Observatory

and Pier 40!

But you will also pass some of the lesser known highlights, like:

 

Hudson’s Piers

This quiet place allows you to enjoy the beautiful view of New Jersey across the water. The slightly cleaner air makes Hudson River Park always filled with locals practicing sports or simply hanging out.

 

Brookfield Place and Dock

Next to Harrison St, the bike path drifts away from the river and runs inland, along West St. If you decide to continue riding, you will be able to see the stunning view of the One World skyscraper just in front of you.

However, if you stick to the Hudson, you will discover one of the most amazing corners of this area of Manhattan: the Brookfield Place shopping centre, constructed within a spectacular glass housing, and its dock.

 

Battery Park

If you decide to keep riding south,  you will find beautiful and scenic Battery Park – the pinnacle of Manhattan, giving breathtaking waterfront views that you can’t leave without experiencing. 

If you think you are ready to bike the Greenway, come to one of our stores and rent a bike with Unlimited Biking!

 

Get Your Blades On!

Did you know that rollerblading is not only a fun way to get around the city, but also a way to improve your balance and coordination skills like no other activity? 

Let’s take a minute to evaluate all the health benefits rollerblading will have on your body:

  • Rollerblading is a full body exercise
  • It’s easy on your body, but strengthens your muscles and cardiovascular system
  • Rollerblading is a great calorie burner

 

Some smooth rollerblading hot spots of New York:

Central Park

Whether you do the full loop of 6.1 miles or the smaller loop of 1.7 miles, Central Park is always filled with rollerbladers! Join the dozens of neon-clad party-goers at the public Roller Disco on Saturdays by the bandshell!

Note: Central Park has a counter-clockwise one-way-system. So always skate with the flow and pay attention to the pedestrians.

 

Hudson River Greenway

Welcome to the longest greenway in Manhattan, stretching from the George Washington to Riverside Park all the way down to Battery Park.

At the most southern point you will find the South Ferry Station. The ferry usually leaves every 30 min – 1h depending on the time of day and goes to Staten Island and back with passing by the Statue of Liberty, should you want to blade by Lady Liberty.

 

East River Greenway

Towards the end of the above mentioned, the Hudson River greenway will connect to the East River greenway at the intersection of Wall Street and South Street.

This greenway will lead you along the East Side from Battery Park back up to 125th Street in Harlem.

Note: There are some very narrow parts on the route, so do slow down for your own safety.

 

With all the fun always remember: Safety First

  • Wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads
  • Eyes on the street even if you are skating on a quiet path
  • If you skate one of the busier streets, skate with the traffic, provide signals so others know where you are planning on skating next
  • Be prepared for the dark in case you lose track of time: lights and reflective closing