A New York City Biking Guide
10 NYC Bike Routes 1
CEntRAL PARk + HARLEM/HAARLEM Central Park 6 miles / 10 km • Harlem 8 miles / 13 km
DOWntOWn WEst West Chelsea 9 miles / 14 km • Columbus Cirlcle 10.50 miles /17 km
DOWntOWn EAst union square 6 miles / 10 km • Columbus Circle 9 miles / 14.50 km
DUMBO tO BUsHWICk /BOsWyCk Williamsburg 6 miles / 9.50 km • Greenpoint 7.50 miles /12 km Bushwick 7 miles /11.50 km
RED HOOk /ROODE HOEk 8 miles /13 km
COnEy IsLAnD/kOnIjnEn EILAnD to the Boardwalk 11 miles /17.50 km • the long way back 26 miles /42 km
LOng IsLAnD CIty & AstORIA Astoria 9 miles /14.50 km • Water taxi Beach 12 miles /20 km
FLUsHIng/VLIssIngEn to Chinatown 11 miles /17 km • the long way back 27 miles /43.50 km
BROnx MUsEUM 8 miles /12.50 km
10 MOtt HAVEn & LIttLE ItALy 12 miles / 31.50 km
Mott Haven & Little Italy (10)
Bronx Museum (9)
Central Park + Harlem (1) Long Island City + Astoria (7)
Downtown West (2)
Downtown East (3) DUMBO to Bushwick (4)
Red Hook (5)
Coney Island (6)
New York is the best. Biking here is even better. You get to places far beyond the subway stops and are free to go wherever you want – it is exploration in its purest form. Though you are very much part of the city – you feel, see, hear, taste and smell New York – you are slightly apart. You glide through on a different level. The city is like a movie with the scenes acted out in front of you as you pass through them. Biking in New York is like meditation... a great exercise in focus, relaxation, and patience. In the last three years, New York authorities and advocacy groups like Transportation Alternatives have had their minds set on 200 miles of bike lanes in the city. Cycling as a means of transportation has increased by 35%. Biking is hot: The Zeitgeist is all about two wheels. And it’s fashionable. People express themselves via their bike. It is becoming a movement, a very positive one. I grew up in the Netherlands, so bikes have always been part of my consciousness. To me, biking in New York feels like home. I think it’s the greatest way to really experience the City and additionally, it’s fast, it’s green, it’s healthy, and it’s FUN. Through the pictures, drawings, stories and interviews in this book, I would like to give you an impression of what it feels like to ride through New York. With 10+ bike routes all over the city, with stops at local café’s, museums, and restaurants, and practical tips on how to bike in New York, you can experience it for yourself. So come on and ride with me. Fill this city with your own routes. This is my NYC bike story. I would love to hear yours. Enjoy! Roos Stallinga NYC Bike Princess
How to bike in New York City
One big difference between the US and the Netherlands is that America is primarily a car culture and Holland is much more bicycle-oriented. In fact, most motorists in Amsterdam are also cyclists. They know what it is like to be on a bicycle in traffic. And most cyclists know what it is like to drive over the canals and across the city center in Amsterdam and be surrounded by bikes. In New York, bike people and car people are still a world apart. Drivers generally find cyclists a nuisance and think they are insane. And cyclists are no sweethearts either, they shout and hit cars that get in their way and often ignore the rules and regulations of the road. Now with more cyclists and more information and advocacy on their behalf, this antagonism is definitely changing, but we still have a ways to go. Maybe everyone should try out the other side for a change? I am positive they would understand each other better and be able to coexist more pleasantly and productively. To the man who told me he did want to bike in New York but didnâ€™t want to die, here are some tips and tricks to biking the City, while staying happy and alive!
One-way or two-way streets
One-way and two-way streets are second nature to New Yorkers, but not to a Dutch person. Most avenues and streets are one-way. This affects your looking behavior. Going up an avenue, at one corner you look right for crossing cars, then on the next corner you look left. Of course it is always sensible to look both ways, since you never know when a ghost rider might cross your path. Potholes
Potholes in the asphalt are sometimes pretty scary and deep. If you are not used to them, potholes really add an extra dimension to your biking experience. In addition to paying attention to the traffic and your own bike, you have to actively watch the ground beneath your wheels. quick to cut you off while stopping to pick up a passenger. If you see a taxi stopped at the curb with people inside, leave some extra distance to the door, as the passengers rarely check the road before exiting. Other cyclists
Opening doors and turning cars
Perhaps the worst hazard to bikers in New York City. My advice: expect that no one sees you and that no one is looking for you. Your safety depends on you driving for yourself and everyone else on the road by anticipating as much as you can. If a car is about to turn left and you don’t want to wait behind it, it is sometimes better to move to the next car lane and simply pass by on the right. In general, there are times where it will work better for you to bike between the cars. For example, when there is a line of cars turning the same direction or you are near a popular parking location like Penn Station or Port Authority on Eighth Avenue. If you see someone hailing a cab, be extra careful, as cabdrivers are notoriously
This is becoming increasingly important. It used to be rare to see another biker on a NYC street, now you’ll find several waiting together in front of a traffic light. And hey, cyclists are not perfect. They sometimes ride against traffic (delivery guys are notorious for this) or make unexpected moves. The same as with every other element on the road, try to anticipate as much as you can. Be polite and try to be nice. Next time it might be you making a little mistake, and I am sure you would like it if a fellow biker said, ‘no problem’ and smiled. Pedestrians
Pedestrians are not perfect either. New Yorkers like to jaywalk. Again, try to be polite, ring your bell or gently demand your right of way. After all, it IS your right of way.
Taking your bike in the subway
In New York City, you are allowed to take your bike on the subway. But it is not advisable to do so in the morning or afternoon rush hour when the subway is packed. Otherwise it is not so hard, once you get the hang of it. Take your bike down the stairs or in the elevator. Let the person in the booth know you want to go through with your bike. They will tell you to swipe your card and rotate the turnstile with your hand, just to show you have paid to enter. Then roll your bike through the gate. In the train, look for a spot where you occupy as little space as possible, usually in a corner, and hold your bike steady. When you leave, go through the gate again. The alarm might sound but don’t worry, it is not the end of the world. Just walk through and the guard will turn it off. Parking your bike
Even though New York is putting up a lot of new bike racks, people still complain about the lack of bike parking space. Personally, I never really had a problem with it, but maybe that is because like any Dutch person, I secure my bike anywhere the locks will fit (this is also an option!) In addition, there is now a law enabling employees to take their bicycle inside the building.
Shopping with a bicycle
Of course you can do as the delivery guys do and hang plastic bags on your handlebar. It is not ideal but it works. As long as you make sure your bags don’t get stuck in the spokes. You can also use a backpack, which is very functional but not necessarily that stylish (maybe that is not be your focal point anyways.) The most convenient, is to have a basket on your bike to put stuff in…. Flowers, clothing, food, a baguette…
How to carry your locks
If you want to do it like the cool guys do, bike messengers and nowadays hipster types as well, wear your chain lock around your waist. However, it may not be the smartest thing to do. If you lose the key, you are stuck. Better is to simply wrap the chain around the stem of your saddle or to put it in your basket, if you have one. The U-lock fits into your back jeans pocket (this is also an ‘in’ thing to do in New York), but easier is to put it in a special holder fastened your bike. Click it in, click it out. How to bike in a dress and high heels
This seems much harder than it is. Actually it feels great, especially on a hot summer night. Just make sure your dress is not too tight, or you’ll end up biking around in your underwear. If the dress is too long and wide, it may not be a good idea either, since it can get stuck in the chain. A solution may be to tie it up. Apart from this, most dresses work fine. I’ve worn a dress many times on a racing bike and loved it. If you pace yourself slowly you won’t sweat and will arrive nicely energized. Plus, biking in heels is often actually easier than walking.
WAYS TO MAKE PEOPLE AWARE OF YOU • Ring your bell • Make eye contact • Signal with your hands • Be confident and present • Have a little attitude and don’t be afraid • In case of emergency: Shout it out!
Manhattan Upside Down and Sideways
City Garden, Uptown Cats
Central Park – what’s in a name – is like a lake where all the rivers of Manhattan come together. Around it are the Upper East and Upper West Side, Midtown with all its fancy stores, hotels and tourists, Fifth Avenue with its grand museums, and all the way uptown, there is Harlem. Every aspect of life abounds, music, musicians, lovers, art, thinkers, strollers, children playing, concerts, hotdog stands, people jogging, biking, rollerblading – you can easily spend a whole day just wandering around. Central Park is also the perfect place to start biking in New York. The traffic is relaxed, if there is any traffic at all, and it is easy to navigate. Once you feel comfortable and ready for some real city exploration, keep heading uptown for a taste of Harlem. Harlem was once a little town called Nieuw Haarlem founded by the Dutch in 1658. It is a magnet for jazz and the epicenter of black culture. Riding down its streets, you can see and feel the history and struggle. There is plenty of life and love, rhythm and blues. Visit the Studio Museum Harlem to learn about local artists. Swing by the Apollo Theater where stars like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson and Lauren Hill kicked off their careers. Absorb the hustle and bustle, the gritty parts and the pretty parts. Then take a break in the Harlem Society Lounge, a smooth café with a vibe and tempo entirely its own, laid back and yummy. A place to sit back and take life in “one sip at a time.”
Directions Central Park
Start at Columbus Circle and enter Central Park.
Continue south through Central Park to return
Turn right on West Drive through the park.
where you started at Columbus Circle.
Follow the road around the bend and head Uptown.
Continue on Seventh Avenue/Adam Clayton
You‘ll find the Boathouse Café (1) just after
Powell Jr. Boulevard until W 125th Street.
E 72nd Street exit on your left (between E 74th
Turn right and at your right hand side you
and E 75th Streets).
will see the Studio Museum Harlem (6) .
Continue following the road north. To go to Metropolitan Museum of Art (2) exit at E 84th Street. To visit Museum of the City of New York (3) exit at E 102nd Street. Continue Uptown on East Drive.
Continue west on W 125th Street until St. Nicholas Avenue, and pass by the apollo theater (7)
• To go back through Central Park keep
on your right.
following the road around the bend
Turn left and follow St. Nicholas down
continuing on West Drive.
for 4 blocks. Veer right onto Frederick Douglass
• To go to Harlem take the 2nd exit to Seventh
Avenue/Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and
Boulevard (see detail below).
follow directions Harlem. Ride on West Drive direction downtown, passing by the Jaqueline Onassis Reservoir (4) on your left around 90th Street. At W 72nd Street Exit and Central Park West is
Continue down Frederick Douglass Boulevard
Strawberry Fields (5) memorial to John Lennon.
until W 114th Street. At the south east corner is Harlem Society Café (8)
Continue south on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. At W 110th Street take the roundabout and enter the park (Follow directions Central Park).
Apollo theater (7)
1. The Boathouse E 72nd Street and Park Drive North 2. Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street 3. Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street
Studio Museum Harlem (6)
African Kine Restaurant
4. Jaqueline Onassis Reservoir between 86th and 96th Street
Harlem Society Lounge (8)
5. Strawberry Fields from W 71st to 74th Street 6. Studio Museum Harlem 144 W 125th Street 7. Apollo Theater 253 W 125th Street 8. Harlem Society Lounge 2104 Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 114th Street
Museum of the City of New York (3)
Jaqueline Onassis Reservoir (4)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2)
Strawberry Fields (5)
E8 4S t
The Boathouse (1)
sho r tcu t
1 The Boathouse E 72nd Street and Park Drive North This place has icon status. It has featured in When Harry Met Sally, Sex and the City and the romantic lives of many a New Yorker. It is very pretty indeed, and the more casual outdoor area is perfect for a relaxing break. You can even go on a boat and explore the lake. Outside Grill April-November 11am-11pm
2 Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street Monumental museum nicknamed The Met. Founded in 1870 to bring art to the people. And that is exactly what it does. With a huge collection ranging from Egyptian to modern art. Don’t miss the roof terrace with sculptures overlooking Central Park. Tuesday-Thursday 9:30am-5:30pm, Friday and Saturday 9:30am-9pm, Sunday 9:30am-5:30pm, closed on Monday
3 Museum of the City of New York 1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street A bit off the beaten track, it is a perfect bike stop. The museum gives a great overview of New York’s history including the Dutch chapter and has interesting exhibits and lectures.
4 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis reservoir between 86th and 96th Street About an eighth of Central Park, the reservoir was built around 1860 to manage water for New York and was recently named after Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who did so much for the city and loved to jog in this area. Run a loop to get that special New York feeling or simply enjoy the foliage and buildings surrounding it. Central Park, Monday-Sunday 6am-1am
5 Strawberry Fields W 71st to W 74th Street A special place to commemorate John Lennon, who was shot in front of his home at the famous Dakota Building on Central Park West and 72 nd Street on December 8, 1980. Many fans make a special effort to come and admire the mosaic that spells one powerful word, IMAGINE. Central Park, Monday-Sunday 6am-1am
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm, Monday closed
the metropolitan museum
6 Studio Museum Harlem 144 W 125th Street The museum gives real insight into locally and internationally known black artists and culture. It has a popular artist-in-residence program that fosters a constant flow of new and fresh work. Wednesday-Friday 12 noon-6 pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday noon-6pm, Monday closed
7 Apollo Theater 253 W 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard When Michael Jackson died, many of his fans gathered in front of the Apollo to sing and cry and dance together. This is the theater that helped launch his career as well as those of many others like Billie Holiday, James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald and Lauren Hill. Built in 1914, the theater was initially off limits for black people. This changed with the arrival of Amateur Nights, turning the Apollo Theater into the place where stars are born and legends are made. Bike by and bow or plan a longer visit. Amateur Night is still every Wednesday at 7:30pm
8 Harlem Society Lounge 2104 Frederick Douglass Boulevard at 114th Street When you come into this café it feels like you are entering another world. Quiet, grounded, laid- back and groovy, with people working on laptops, writing, composing, drawing or eating waffles with fruit and ice cream. There is great music, coffee, sandwiches, soup and salads. Owner Karl Franz Williams also has an upscale cocktail lounge just down the block called 67 Orange Street at 2082 Frederick Douglass Boulevard near 113th Street in case you are in the mood for something stronger. Monday noon-10 pm, Tuesday-Thursday 9am-10pm, Friday 9am-midnight, Saturday 9am-11 pm, Sunday 9am-9pm
Dinner tips African Kine Restaurant • 256 W116th Street between Frederick Douglas Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Avenue. Stop for some authentic and delicious West African food in the heart of Little Senegal in Harlem. Monday-Sunday: noon-2am
Amy Ruth’s • 113 W116th Street off Lenox Avenue. Harlem Soul Food. Amy Ruth is the southern grandmother you have never had. Monday 11:30am-11pm, Tuesday-Thursday 8:30am-11pm, Friday 8:30am-5:30am, Saturday 7:30am–5:30am, Sunday 7:30am-11pm
Senior Vice President at the Corcoran Group, lives on the Upper West Side and has been going to work by bike for over thirty years.
Robby and me in front of the old Plaza Hotel, 1993
As a student at Princeton, Robby used to be a tour guide for high school kids in Europe. In 1974 Robby met my mother at the Hans Brinker Hostel in Amsterdam. She was organizing bicycle trips for tourists. They became life-long friends and my mother started to do the Dutch part of his tours. I remember how Robby and the other tour guides would come to our house in Haarlem every year and play games with my sister and me. We would show them how to eat raw herring. On my first night in New York, Robby took me to a big fancy club. It had a roof terrace with a slide down to the dance floor. Everyone wore black. I was fifteen and wearing a red dress with white polka dots. I looked out over the city and saw all those lights and told myself I would come back. And I did. Robby has always remained a friend and an essential part of my New York. He is a fun,
warm and very bright person with a big heart. And a BIG biker! For this interview, I met with Robby at his terrace overlooking Central Park West. This is where I stood as a fifteen-year-old girl. It is still magic.
Robby’s biking tips When you first moved to New York, did you bike? I did, but I didn’t get the locking thing down. So I must have had let’s say three bikes that were stolen. It was frustrating and very discouraging. Whenever I bought a replacement bike, I felt I had to keep it in sight all the time or else … You don’t get to feel the freedom. For the past twenty years, I have had a Kryptonite lock and a chain and my bike has not been stolen again. (In fact, while I was researching this book, I biked around on Robby’s old TREK racing bike, which is still really great. I’d send him pictures of his bike at spots in the boroughs where he had never been).
“And there’s no excuse to be late for an appointment. I know how long it takes so if I am late it’s my fault.”
Bicycling in New York is the easiest thing in the world. It’s flat. You go slowly. And you assume that a car door is going to open. I never look when someone yells hello to me because the minute you look, you can have an accident. I’ve never had an accident (knocks on wood). Plus, if you go slowly you don’t get sweaty. I’ve never had a bike stolen with two locks, the Kryptonite lock and the chain. I’ve left it outside by mistake the whole weekend and it was still there. That’s important. A lot of people worry. You think about where you are going to put your bike when you get to wherever you are going. But if you get accustomed to knowing that you have two locks and it is not likely to get stolen, when you get there you just lock it. Robby’s favorite bike shop Master Bike at 225 W 77th Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway. Imbert
How do you use your bike? I bicycle more for business than pleasure. I go everywhere, to work, appointments, dinner. If I have theater tickets or reservations for a restaurant, I just go by bike, cause it’s much easier. That way I can always take the route I want, and there’s no excuse to be late for an appointment. I know how long it takes so if I am late it’s my fault. If you take a car or a cab or the subway, you never know. Since I bicycle through Central Park, basically I get to see everything happening in the Park, the flowers and the trees. I don’t think I could live in New York without biking. When my doctor asked what I was doing for exercise and I said nothing, he said, “But you bike!” I said, “Not really…” Then he said, “Well, more than most people.”
Jimenez is the owner, the phone number is 212-580-2355. He is THE VERY BEST!! Knowledgeable, efficient, perfect problemsolver and very reasonable…
I shouldn’t go on the bike, they will think I am weird or whatever. We looked at the apartment and when we came out I unlocked my bike. It becomes a topic of conversation. So it’s a very positive energy. Whatever you do, it breaks the ice. If anyone ever cuts me off in a motorized vehicle I think, “If I were a car, you wouldn’t cut me off.” Or I might think, “Don’t do that, what if I were your son or your brother or your father?” No, we exist and take up less space and are better for the environment.
What is your favorite route through town? I love going downtown. Like going down Seventh Avenue or Broadway, slowly, seeing what’s happening. It’s so much fun to go through Times Square and see all the people. At nighttime it’s dazzling. You want to stop and get off your bike for a minute and look at everything. There are two other bikers at Corcoran. Every time we lock our bikes, we smile at each other. Once I was meeting a big customer for a very expensive apartment and I thought maybe Robby and my mother Anja (1982)
Walking The High Line Ride downtown from Central Park down Seventh Avenue past Carnegie Hall towards the lights of Times Square. Absorb the energy and theater. Then bike west through the heart of Broadway into Hellâ€™s Kitchen. Stop at the Sullivan Street Bakery for a delicious slice of cold pizza or a pastry. When the weather is nice, in this part of town you can smell the sweet and refreshing air of the Hudson River. You are on the edge of Manhattan now surrounded by garages, limo drivers on a break, hidden horse stables, night clubs, art galleries and trendy restaurants. Cruise along the Hudson River with the wind in your hair and the city trembling at your side. A helicopter takes off. In the distance you see the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Battery Park City.
Manhattan Upside Down and Sideways
Take a break around 14th Street to walk The High Line, an old elevated railroad converted into a park that cuts across this exciting part of town. Then cross the West Village and Tribeca, the triangle below Canal Street, until you hit Ground Zero. Stop in at Trinity Church and take time to reflect, perhaps with a cup of tea at Kiva Café. Then head uptown again in the flow of Church Street and West Broadway until you see Washington Square Park, the green hippie heart of Greenwich Village and New York University’s turf. End the day in West Chelsea with some of the best art, food and drinks around. Or bike all the way uptown again along Eighth Avenue past Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, Port Authority, the new New York Times headquarters until you reach Columbus Circle. Fancy a pomegranate Margarita? Some fresh guacamole? Then Rosa Mexicano is the place to be …
Directions Downtown West Start at Columbus Circle and enter Central Park.
To continue downtown from W 14th Street, turn
Turn right and take the first exit at Seventh Avenue,
right at Hudson Street and follow the bike path
ride down towards Times Square (1) and turn
onto Bleecker Street.
right at W 47th Street.
Veer right onto Seventh Avenue and continue south as it becomes Varick and then West Broad-
On W 47th Street, on the right side between Tenth
way and finally ends at Ground Zero. You’ll find
and Eleventh Avenue, you’ll encounter Sullivan
Trinity Church (5) at Broadway and Wall Street.
Street Bakery (2).
At the end of the street go left onto the sidewalk,
To continue, ride Church Street north.
bike with caution or walk.
Stay on the left side and continue into Sixth Avenue. Veer right onto West Broadway and continue straight until you hit Washington Square Park (7).
Walk through the park or bike around (see Cross the Westside Highway (Twelfth Avenue)
detail below), turning right at W 4th Street,
at W 46th Street and turn left at the Hudson
then left on Washington Square Park East,
River bike path. Cruise down along the Hudson,
and continuing north onto University Place.
past the Chelsea Piers. Turn left at W 14th Street. The Chelsea Market (3) covers one block between Tenth and Ninth Avenue and15th and 16th Street (entrances at both Avenues). Walk the High Line (4) For entrances see below. Turn left at 13th Street and at the end veer right onto Greenwich Avenue, then right at Eighth Avenue (bike path on the left side of the road). •
To go back uptown continue north on Eighth Avenue. This will take you back to where you started at Columbus Circle. (Be extra careful at 34th and 42nd Street).
To end in West Chelsea turn left at W 21th Street. Park bike at Tenth Avenue around 22nd Street and walk around (see stops).
Entrances High Line
Sullivan Street Bakery (2)
hell’s kitchen Times Square (1)
192 Books (9)
The Cookshop chelsea
Chelsea Market (3) The High Line (4)
Washington Square Park (7)
W es t
Br oa dw ay
Mammoun’s Falafel SoHo
1. Times Square E 72nd Street and Park Drive North 2. Sullivan Street Bakery 533 W 47th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenue 3. Chelsea Market Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th Street 4. the High Line
Br oa dw ay
W es t
Kiva Café (6)
6. Kiva Café 139 Reade Street in TriBeCa 7. Washington Square Park Greenwich Village
Trinity Church (5)
5. Trinity Church 79 Broadway at Wall Street
8. 192 Books 192 Tenth Avenue at 21st Street
1 Times Square Bike down Seventh Avenue and see it coming, the bright lights, the neon, that buzzing city energy. Not as seedy as it used to be and not as much traffic (about half of Times Square is even car-free now) but still the heart of New York, or as it is sometimes referred to, the crossroads of the world. Standing here with your bicycle is at once humbling and exhilarating. 2 sullivan street bakery 533 W 47th Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenue This bakery arguably makes the best bread and real Italian pizza in town. The bread is a favorite of many New York restaurants. Sitting here with your bike parked outside, a house brew and some nice treats is a pretty worthy break. P.S. Owner Jim Lahey has a pizza restaurant in Chelsea called Company on West 24th Street and Ninth Avenue. Monday-Saturday 8am-7pm, Sunday 8am-4pm
3 Chelsea Market Ninth Avenue between 15th and 16th Street Once the home of Oreo cookies, now an eclectic array of boutiques and offices with original details turned into decorations. Sample your picnic for the High Line here, scrumptious pastry or sandwiches from Amy’s Bread, an apple from the Manhattan Fruit Exchange or a slice of raw fish from the Lobster Place. Oh, and Ninth Street Espresso is the best! Monday-Saturday 7am-10pm, Sunday 8am-8pm
4 theHigh Line (p. 35)
5 Trinity Church 79 Broadway at Wall Street The best place to stop at Ground Zero where the Twin Towers used to be and take a moment to remember. This is where New Yorkers came together in the days and weeks after 9/11 for shelter and support. Monday-Friday 7am-6pm, Saturday 8am-4pm, Sunday 7am-4pm
6 Kiva Café 139 Reade Street between Hudson Street and Greenwich Street If you need a break, stop in at this spiritual café in TriBeCa and absorb the local vibes. Everything is prepared with love and care. Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday closed
7 Washington Square Park Wow, layer upon layer, this park has so much history! Once Native American, then Dutch and African-American. Later in the 1800s a burial ground, even later in the 1960s a birthplace of ideas, political revolution and a cultural hub. Today the park still radiates an eclectic, intellectual and creative energy. It is also the playground of New York University (NYU). Grab a coffee or a falafel sandwich (see Dinner Tips) in the Village and lounge by the fountain. Daily from dawn to 1am
8 192 Books 192 Tenth Avenue at W 21st Street 192 Books is an intimate neighborhood shop with a grand collection of books. Feels a bit like being at a friend’s home browsing through their wonderful library. 192 Books also hosts great lectures and readings. Tuesday-Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday and Monday 12-7pm
Mammoun’s Falafel • 119 MacDougal Street near W3rd Street. Delicious and cheap. Experience the cozy (or cramped) interior seating or take-away to a nearby stoop or the park. Daily 11am - 5am Spotted Pig • 314 W11th Street at Greenwich Street in the West Village. Ok, so this is a Gastropub where pub culture meets fine dining. The über-lively Spotted Pig is always busy so expect to wait. Did I mention their Bloody Mary and over-the-top bar snacks? Monday-Friday noon-2am, Saturday and Sunday 11am-2am
Tia Pol • 205 Tenth Avenue between 23rd and 22nd Street. Tia Pol is my favorite tapas bar in New York. Everything including the sangria is fresh, original, pure and very tasty. This hole-in-the-wall find also has a little sister around the corner called El Quinto Pino at 401 W 24th Street near Ninth Avenue. Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11am-3pm; Lunch: Tuesday-Friday 12am3pm; Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5:30pm-11pm, Friday 5:30pm-12pm, Saturday 6 pm-12pm, Sunday 6pm-10:30pm
Empire Diner • 210 Tenth Avenue at 22nd Street. An institution to experience and enjoy. Classic diner food with an attitude. Stop in on a midnight bike tour or to plow through a hangover the morning after. Open 24/7 The Cookshop • 156 Tenth Avenue at 20th Street Highly sophisticated local food, atmosphere and service made this place an instant Chelsea classic. Breakfast: Monday-Friday 8am-11am; Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11am-3 pm, Lunch 11:30 am-3pm; Dinner: Monday-Saturday 5:30pm-11:30pm, Sunday 5:30 pm-10 pm
Rosa Mexicano • 61 Columbus Avenue/Ninth Avenue at 62nd Street. Perfect after a day of biking adventure. Dine on appetizers in the bar and enjoy the delicious made-at-the-table guacamole while sipping a kick-ass frozen Pomegranate Margarita. Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11:30am-2:30pm; Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30 pm-4pm; Dinner: Monday 4pm-10:30pm, Tuesday-Friday 4pm11:30pm, Saturday 4pm-11:30pm, Sunday 4pm-10:30pm
sullivan street bakery
Manager at A Bicycle Shop at 163 W 22nd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenue.
Edlin in front of A Bicycle Shop
I stumbled upon A Bicycle Shop my first year in New York (2002), probably because I got a flat tire near the shop, which was then still on West 14th Street near Ninth Avenue. Edlin was always there. His personality made the place what it was, a welcoming meeting point for all kinds of people from first-time bikers to crazy Dutch girls to hard-core racers. A Bicycle Shop became my favorite bike shop where I would also rent bikes for friends whenever they came to visit. When I started this book in October 2008, Edlin became my beacon. I’d walk into the store, park my bike and hang out, listening to conversations and occasionally asking questions about what was going on in the biking community. Like many other bike shops, A Bicycle Shop is a place where people like to hang out and talk about bikes, life and everything in between. And Edlin is a special guy – smart, creative, funny and modest.
He sees everything but keeps most of it to himself. If you look around the shop you notice little sculptures, post cards, pictures and newspaper clippings. Every item has a story. There is so much more than meets the eye and so much more than bikes. How did you get involved in New York bike life? I started working with bicycles as soon as I came to New York more than fifteen years ago. I am from Belize in Central America. Bicycling was very much part of my consciousness but it wasn’t a hobby or anything. I would ride my bike to school. Then I came to America and got a job at the shop just to get a job, plain and simple. It’s the classic case of the immigrant. Cycling is not my first love, it feeds me and I’ve learned to respect and appreciate it. And I respect what it does for lifestyle, for health, for saving money. I see what it has done for many people. It’s a great idea.
What do you think about the new bike lanes? The bike path is going to be a great thing. But since it hasn’t really started functioning, it’s scary. I feel the bike lane absolutely makes sense. People need to be safe from traffic. The thing about traffic is that New York is such a commerce-driven city. The bike lanes are about the width of a vehicle and that makes it possible for cars to drive on them. They might even be businesses doing a delivery. Sometimes you see a truck on the bike lane, which is kind of whacky. But you know, what are the options? Otherwise it really compromises the businesses. In New York there’s just not another option. It has to happen.
“Biking is a good way to get around. That’s only part of the story though. We all have beautiful other things.” There has been a big change in bicycle culture over the years… Yes, I feel that all the subcultures like triathlon, mountain bikers, downhill, cross country, fixed gear bicycles, ridiculously trendy crazy cool, all the little subcultures have grown. But I do want to take some credit for the girls with the baskets. I say that because back in 1994 when Stuyvesant (A Bicycle Shop’s predecessor) essentially crumbled and A Bicycle Shop opened, we basically went back to ground zero. We didn’t even have the money to buy bicycles to sell. So we were fixing up used bikes. I remember I gave one of my old girlfriends a bike with a basket. Back then, the number of people using a bike for lifestyle was a lot smaller. Most people who biked
“And it’s funny how practical became cool and sexy.” were messengers and a few racers. But since there was no other option, we started selling bikes. We encouraged people to use their bikes to get to work. Years later we started to see shops popping up and selling used bikes just because it is so practical. And it’s funny how practical became cool and sexy, not that they were ever mentioned in the same sentence. I also started riding
Edlin’s biking tips I would tell anyone who isn’t used to riding the streets of New York to get a helmet. If you are not used to using the full periphery of your eyes and to being fully aware, you are more vulnerable. So start with that. Then there is the matter of getting to know the bike lanes. Bike lanes are definitely a great way to get around. So get a bike map and familiarize yourself with the bike lanes. Last but not least, make sure your bike has a bell and reflectors. Just be smart about being safe.
my old-style bike then, a Schwinn. People were looking at me. But you know, it’s about being practical, and I think that is actually sexy. It shows that you are being real. Using the bike for its actual purpose. So now the whole thing has grown incredibly. As you say, the East Village is infested with girls with baskets. You guys (the Dutch) have had so much influence on America, you don’t know. New York has so many people from different places.And you know, New Yorkers are gregarious, they will travel. They go to the Netherlands and learn new things.
RI DEWI TH MESPECS •160pages •16x22cm/6. 3x8. 6i nch •Ful l col or •Engl i s h •10+Bi k eRout es , wi t hl ocal s t ops&s i ght s •10+I nt er v i ewswi t hNYCBi k er s •Wi t hper s onal ar t wor ks , phot ogr aphs , andi l l us t r at i ons •Of f i ci al NYCBi k eMapf orr ef er encei nt heback
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“i am biking. the wind in my hair. traffic like a flow. Focused. east, west, up and down i go. Over 7th Avenue, times Square, along the hudson River. All over manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. here’s to the wonderful NYC bikers i meet, who tell their story and give tips on where, how, and why to bike. here’s to coffee and bikes, art in bars, rivers and parks. here’s to ride with me, NYC!”