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 As for the monument itself, it was originally made for the Polish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World Fair, but due to Germany invading Poland soon after, the Poles never had a chance to send the statue back to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!

Your New York Guide to 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 quickly 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: Hudson River Greenway

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 center, 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

Where the Stars Align: The Top Movie Spots to Bike To!

Katz’s Deli (When Harry Met Sally)

Starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, When Harry Met Sally is a quintessentially “New York” film. Following the relationship between the title characters over the space of twelve years, the film is the romantic comedy classic – which makes it the perfect film to start off this list!

Founded in 1888, it’s a popular spot for tourists and locals alike – so it hasn’t lost that homemade charm. Serving kosher-style Jewish meats (and monstrously big pastrami-on-rye sandwiches), this is a fantastic spot to soak up traditional New York vibes. It’s perfect for lunching between bike rides. You’ll have what she’s having, for sure!

Mulberry Street (The Godfather II)

Little Italy is an exceptionally historical part of New York City. Named for the large number of Italian immigrants who came to live there at the start of the 20th century, the neighborhood has seen more than its fair share of gangster films centering around the Italian mob.

The Godfather II stars Al Pacino as he rises in the ranks of his father Marlon Brando’s mafia gang. One scene in particular features a stunning and terrifying shootout on Mulberry Street during the colorful Feast of San Gennaro, setting the stage for the drama to follow.

Cycle up to Mulberry Street and walk your bike down its bustling avenues, and see if you can spot the Mediterranean-inspired facades and food stores.

The Literary Walk & Bethesda Fountain (Big Daddy, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Maid in Manhattan, Gossip Girl)

Central Park has played host to countless films and television productions over the past century – and why not? The park is the endlessly beautiful epicenter of the city, and one of the largest urban green spaces in the world. If there’s any spots to bike to as a film fan, it has to be The Mall. It’s been the spot of nearly too many films, from comedies like Big Daddy and Maid in Manhattan to hard hitting legal dramas like Kramer vs. Kramer.

For the glamorous socialites in all of us, the Mall is capped at the north end by the Bethesda fountain. Fans of Gossip Girl will know it as the popular meeting location for Serena Van Der Woodsen and her friends, and the spot for the wedding of Blair and Chuck at the series finale.

The MET (Ocean’s 8)

Continuing on Central Park, another fantastic spot is the MET Museum. Home to an extensive collection of art and historical works, the MET is a highlight enough in itself. Not least for the legendary Gala it plays host to each year, with a unique theme and extensive celebrity guest list.

To add an item to the ever-growing list of reasons to visit this exceptional landmark, the 2018 action sequel Ocean’s 8 takes place within these very walls.

Lock your bike outside and take a stroll up the very same steps that Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, and countless others have before.

FDNY Ladder 8 (Ghostbusters)

If Bill Murray ain’t afraid of no ghost, then YOU ain’t afraid of no ghost! The Fire Department of New York’s Firehouse Ladder 8 is the home base for history’s favorite: Ghostbusters. 

Cycle down Grand street and take a turn onto North Moore Street – you won’t be able to miss the sign!Pose outside with some of the best street art homages in the city, and enjoy stepping back to the 1980s.

 

The Staten Island Ferry (Spiderman: Homecoming)

A fresh addition to the list of best New York places to take your bike is for sure the Staten Island Ferry. Take your bike from the mainland and relax as the completely free Ferry takes you around the harbor to see all of Manhattan’s incredible skyline.

Recent fame as a movie hotspot comes from it featuring in Marvel’s Spiderman: Homecoming. In a jaw-dropping fight sequence, Peter Parker saves the ferry passengers from the efforts of The Vulture by holding the Ferry together with his web. This is definitely one for the comic book fans and superhero movie buffs riding around NYC!

Spot the hottest movie locations and more, only with Unlimited Biking.

Our Favorite Unique NYC Guide Books

So you’ve already been to the Top of the Rock, sailed to the Statue of Liberty, and moseyed around the Met. Wondering what’s left to do in New York? Instead of turning to the typical guide book that will recommend the same ol’ tourist traps, why not crack open a more unusual guide? Below, we’ve listed some of our favorite offbeat NYC guide books that will turn your trip from typical to unique.

Secret New York: An Unusual Guide by T.M. Rives

If you’re looking for unusual activities to do around the city, Secret New York may be the guide book for you. Odds are you haven’t yet deciphered ancient riddles off of tombstones or tried to visit some of New York’s forbidden islands. These are only two of the many quirky activities to choose from within Secret New York’s 400 pages. With this guide, you’ll never be bored.

Off the Beaten (Subway) Track by Suzanne Reisman

It’s hard to find a NYC guide book that isn’t Manhattan-centric. Often, if they do mention attractions in the outer boroughs, they always list the same one or two things to see. Although Off the Beaten (Subway) Track, does have a hefty section of less-visited Manhattan attractions, it also supplements it with a few decently stocked lists of cool sites to see in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and even Staten Island. We can bet that you haven’t yet been to the Poppenhusen Institute or the Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. See those sites and more with Off the Beaten (Subway) Track as your guide.

NYC Bouldering by Gaz Leah

New York City probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of extreme sports; however, reading NYC Bouldering by Gaz Leah will change your mind. Not only does this guide point out the city’s nearly hidden rock climbing boulders, it also explains the history tied to these sites. After rock climbing in Central Park, Fort Tryon, and Inwood Park, you’ll view New York City as more than a concrete jungle.

Quiet New York by Siobhan Wall

Keeping with the theme of breaking NYC stereotypes, Quiet New York will reveal a calmer side of NYC that you didn’t know existed. Discover a mix of gardens, cafes, museums, and cultural centers that will allow you to escape from the bustle of city life. The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum in Upper Manhattan, Dred Scott Bird Sanctuary in the Bronx, and Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn are among the places featured in this surprisingly dense book of quiet spots. Be sure to check it out if Times Square has got your head spinning.

Silver-Wheeled City: New York by Bicycle & Camera by Kevin Dann

Our list of unique NYC guide books would be incomplete without mentioning Silver-Wheeled City: New York by Bicycle & Camera. Written by our very own tour guide, Dr. Kevin Dann, Silver-Wheeled City leads readers through nine highly descriptive, guided explorations through New York that all can be done by bike. By the end of your trip, you’ll have a deeper appreciation of both New York City and your bicycle.

Experience all that New York City has to offer, and make it easier on yourself by stopping in to rent a bike with Unlimited Biking.

 

LGBTQ+ History Highlights

The Village may be the first area that comes to mind when you think of LGBTQ+ culture in NYC, but Central Park has also played a significant role in the city’s LGBTQ+’s history. In fact, in the 1970s, the first Gay Pride marches then called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, ended it’s annual celebration at the Park’s Sheep Meadow. But that’s not where Central Park’s connection with the gay community ends. Hop on a bike and venture further into Central Park with us as we explore the following notable LGBTQ+-related sites.

Bethesda Fountain

Bethesda Fountain, made iconic by the graceful sculpture of an angel that resides high above the water, is one of the Park’s most known sites. However, it isn’t as widely known that Emma Stebbins, the fountain’s sculptor, modeled the angel after her lover Charlotte Saunders Cushman. Cushman herself is noteworthy, not only for being an artist’s muse, but also for her career as a stage actress. During her time she was known for giving masterful performances in both men’s and women’s roles and she even gained the admiration of President Abraham Lincoln.

Hans Christian Andersen Monument

A further north into the Park, nestled in the shrubs next to a large pond where children sail model boats, you’ll find a bronze statue of the beloved Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. Andersen, the creator of so many popular, but tragic, fairy tales, had an equally tragic love life, with many of his infatuations with women and men going unrequited. Although Andersen’s letters and diaries suggest that he was bisexual, the author remained celibate throughout his life. Some sources like to point to Andersen’s tale of The Little Mermaid as a reflection of the disappointments in his love life. Like how the mermaid was unable to be with her land-bound prince in Andersen’s original tale, neither was Andersen able to be with the people he fell in love with.

Now venture further into the city with us to discover more NYC sites that have made LGBTQ+ history. Keep in mind that this isn’t your usual sightseeing list: While Stonewall Bar and the gay-friendly neighborhoods of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen are important to NYC LGBTQ+ history and culture, today we’re going to ride down a less explored path and discover a few surprising LGBTQ+ cultural sites in New York City.

Julius’ Bar

No LGBTQ+ landmark list would be complete without mentioning Stonewall Inn, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its famed uprising this year. But did you know that merely a block away from Stonewall sits the New York City’s oldest gay bar? Established in 1867, this bar is called Julius’, but it wasn’t always a LGBTQ+ friendly place. For decades gay patrons of Julius’ faced harassment and expulsion from the bar by the bartenders, who refused to let gay enjoy their drinks in peace. This changed in 1966 when three members of the Mattachine Society, one of the country’s oldest gay rights organizations, staged a ‘Sip-In’ at Julius’. The men sued the bar for denying them service on the grounds that they had the right to peaceably assemble in bars. Their victory in court led to the legalization of gay bars.

Christopher Street Pier

A quick bike ride away from Julius’ is a set of piers on the Hudson River waterfront collectively called the Christopher Street Pier. Since the 1940s, the Christopher Street Pier, also referred to as Gay Pier, has been an important part of the LGBTQ+ social scene, especially for young gay black and Latino men. Aside from still being a popular meetup spot, today the pier also features a memorial to the people who lost their lives in the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting.

Carnegie Hall’s Studio Towers

From 1897 until 2010, the Studio Towers apartments on top of Carnegie Hall were home to some of the most talented LGBTQ+ artists in the city. Over the years Studio Towers residents included actor Marlon Brando, photographer Bill Cunningham, dancer Isadora Duncan, and composers Leonard Bernstein and Don Shirley. According to the NYC LGBT Historic Site Project, Bernstein and Shirley were the only residents to perform solo concerts at Carnegie Hall during their careers. Unfortunately, the days of living above Carnegie Hall are no more, as the Studio Towers were converted into classroom and rehearsal space. But as you stop by Carnegie Hall, look up and make a guess at how much these artists must have paid in rent.

The Plaza Hotel

The Plaza Hotel may be the most surprising inclusion on this list of NYC LGBTQ+ cultural landmarks, but the famous upscale hotel has been a quiet friend to the gay community since the early twentieth century. The Plaza’s Oak Room served as a discreet meeting place for well-to-do gay businessmen who wanted to avoid the risk of being arrested during the raids that commonly occurred at other bars with gay patrons around the city. In addition to this, in 1966 the Plaza also was the venue of openly gay writer Truman Capote’s legendary Black and White Ball, which was described as the “pinnacle of New York’s social history.” The Plaza Hotel made recent history again when it hosted the first gay wedding in New York in 2013.

Want to visit these sites as well as the other LGBTQ+ NYC landmarks we’ve mentioned?

Rent out a bike for the day from any one of our Unlimited Biking store locations and enjoy a day of easy traveling.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for The Cyclist Dad

Finding a gift for Father’s Day can be tough, but finding a gift for a dad that loves cycling can be a whole other challenge. What’s left to get the dad who already has multiple pairs of bike shorts, his own custom bike seat, and even a silk bicycle tie (to show off his love of cycling while he’s at the office, of course)? If finding a gift for dad has your gears spinning in place, allow the team at Unlimited Biking to offer some suggestions. This Father’s Day, why not take dad on an Unlimited Biking tour?

1. Central Park Bike Tour

Nothing says family fun like biking Central Park. On a two-hour bike tour of the 800-acre park, you and dad will see all the attractions that have made Central Park the premier destination for families exploring New York City. You will see sights such as the movie-famous Bow Bridge, the ancient Egyptian Cleopatra’s Needle, and the aptly named Sheep’s Meadow. Dad will have a blast learning the stories behind all these famous landmarks while getting a quick workout pedaling through the park.

2. Brooklyn Bridge Bike Tour

It’s one thing taking a cab over the Brooklyn Bridge, but taking a two-hour tour of this New York City icon on a bike will give dad an experience he’ll never forget. Ride across the 135 year-old bridge with its limestone and granite towers and wooden planks while one of our expert tour guides shares the daring history behind this nineteenth century engineering feat. After this tour, neither you nor dad will view the Brooklyn Bridge in the same way.

3. Sensational Park and Soul Bike Tour

On this five-and-a-half-hour tour, you and dad will ride through Central Park’s +800 acres and then  experience a real live gospel church service and sample soul food in Harlem. As a bonus, your tour guide will show you a few hidden spots along the route that will be sure to impress dad.

4. The Surprising Bronx Tour

For the cyclist dad that likes to venture off the beaten path, we have the Surprising Bronx Bike Tour. During this seven-hour tour, you, dad, and our tour guide will visit Yankee Stadium, Edgar Allan Poe’s Bronx cottage, as well as the neighborhood of Belmont, NYC’s last true Little Italy. Dad will return to the office on Monday with newfound street cred and a unique experience he’ll be sure to brag about to his buddies.

And for those dads that like to do their own thing, join us for an All Day Bike Rental from any of our store locations for an adventure around New York that you both will remember!

(Re)introducing eBikes

Imagine it being your last day in New York, and you’ve saved one of the city’s best sites, Central Park, for last. But after spending most of your trip pounding the pavement with your two feet, the idea of walking 843 more acres seems a bit daunting. Cycling through the park seems like a better option but you aren’t entirely sure that once you make it to the top of the park you’ll have enough energy to make your way back down. Instead of hopping on a normal bike and hoping your legs don’t give out, opt for one of Unlimited Biking’s eBikes. An eBike will save your trip by saving you time and energy.

Unlimited Biking has a fleet of brand-new Cannondale NEO electric bikes, which are pedal assist bikes with a battery that allows riders to cycle at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. With the average cyclist on a traditional bike usually reaching up to 10 miles per hour, that’s quite a difference, and for someone with limited time to visit all sites in New York that difference can be huge.

To be clear, riding an eBike doesn’t mean that you won’t be exerting any energy at all. After all, the battery only works while you are pedaling. But this pedal-assistance can be a significant boost for someone who wants to get on a bike but doesn’t think they can keep up with the likes of Gino Bartali or Miguel Indurain, or, more relatably, for someone who wants to get on a bike but their knees and leg muscles do not work as well as they did 20 years ago. With an eBike, your options are no longer limited to either walking or full-out cycling; an eBike serves as the perfect in-between as you go between the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, or anywhere else in the city.
Curious how much of NYC you can cover in a few hours on an e-bike?

Step into any of Unlimited Biking’s locations today.