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 [email protected]

See you on the Streets!

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.