Manhattan Waterfront Greenway

About once a month, I get the chance to do one of my favorite bike rides. We ride around the edge of Manhattan. There’s a bike path that’s been set up to do this. It’s a 32 mile route.

Here’s some information on the ride. And here’s a map you can print out if you want to do the ride yourself.

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I started out on the west side highway in the Village and rode up to the boat basin to meet my friend Jimmy.

From there, we did our normal ride to the GW Bridge, but instead of stopping there, we kept going up to the Dykman Street exit on the Henry Hudson Parkway. Hpim0495
You have to get off your bike and walk down some stairs at this spot. I was tempted to do the stairs on my mountain bike, but decided not to this time

Then we headed across Dykman through Washington Heights. Hpim0496My favorite parts of this ride are the parts where you get to ride through neighborhoods I don’t normally get to visit.

We turned south once we’d crossed the upper tip of Manhattan and past the old Harlem River Speedway where they used to race carriages at the turn of the 19th Century.

Then we rode up this big hill into upper Harlem. Hpim0499
At the top of the hill, you get a great view of Yankee Stadium.

The next half hour is a great tour of Harlem. First we rode down St. Nicholas from 155th Street to 120th Street. Hpim0503
We passed 125th Street which is becoming a major commercial center

Then we rode across 120th Street from the west side of Manhattan to the east river. This street is really getting gentrified. There’s a high end Italian bakery at the corner of 120th and either Adam Clayton Powell or Malcom X Blvd. I can’t recall which. Hpim0504The next couple blocks east of there are beautiful streets lined with brownstones that look like they are all being redone. You get a real sense of the Harlem renassaince on this part of the ride.

Then we crossed the east side drive and headed south to Carl Schurz Park. Hpim0511 This is where Gracie Mansion is, where the mayor is supposed to live, but he doesn’t because he’s got an even nicer place. Carl Schurz Park is a great spot.

At the end of Carl Schurz Park, we crossed the highway again and headed south to the 59th Street Bridge. At this point, you have to head into the city, up to Sutton Place, and then across to Second Avenue and down past 42nd Street. Hpim0515
The irony of getting from upper Harlem to Sutton Place in about 20 minutes wasn’t lost on me this morning.

Then we crossed the east side highway again right before the midtown tunnel and headed south to South Street Seaport. Hpim0517It was quiet at 9am in the morning. The only people who were out were the fishermen.

Then it was around the battery, which is beautiful sight, and back uptown.Hpim0522

The entire ride takes us about 2 1/2 hours. I am sure there are plenty of people who could do it faster than we do it, but we stop and enjoy the scenery along the way.

As we were riding today, Jimmy and I compared this ride to the ones we take out on the east end of Long Island. The natural beauty out there is fantastic, but for some reason, we love this ride a lot more. It’s like a tour of all the neighborhoods of Manhattan in less than 3 hours. You can’t beat that.