Saturday, March 19, 2011

Biking the Circumference of Manhattan

This weekend I biked the circumference of Manhattan. It was a beautiful, warm day and I was up for an adventure after a long winter (Spring is finally here this weekend!). Didn't do much prep work: just a little research on a bike route with Google maps, filled my air with tires, packed some water and a camera and was on my way. The whole thing took me 3 1/2 hours. Could've been faster if it wasn't for all the confusing detours (more on that later).

First thing I must say about biking the circumference of Manhattan is I DO NOT recommend it to anyone. The east side sucks. There's only a few sporadic bike paths along the river that are nice. Most of my eastern end of the trip was a series of dead ends, road blocks, congested avenues and crosswalks. I felt like my life was in danger sometimes; riding in the bus lane with gravel below my treads, swerving cars and breathing exhaust. Stick to the west side. A perfect ride would be from Inwood Park to the Battery, along the Hudson bike path. Beautiful views and virtually uninterrupted (not totally though, in the construction area around the World Trade Center you have to get off your bike and walk for a ways, losing your view of the river). I also DO NOT recommend eating a Tazmanian sandwich at the Franklin Corner right before your trip. I regretted it around 96th st on the west side. Below is a pictorial log of my ride.

Welcome to Manhattan! Let's do this!!!

The start of my long journey. Under the Williamsburg Bridge.

The view of my neighborhood from across the river.

Along the East River I go.

Doing a lot of renovation work at the United Nations building. Entire floors at a time. My grandfather on my father's side held posts here. He helped to found the World Health Organization.

My grandfather at the UN in the 1950's.

A sculpture outside of the UN. This is an artist's depiction of George Bush conquering Saddam Hussein.

I love this building built into the rock along FDR Drive.

One of the many road blocks I encountered on the east side of Manhattan.

"Up to Lexington, 1-2-5. Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive." Name that song.

I had to walk my bike up all these stairs only to bike back down the hill on the other side. Such is the madness of biking the upper east side. What's more is the stairs reeked of piss.

The High Bridge is the oldest surviving bridge in New York City. It was built for the Croton Aqueduct in 1848. The metal arch in the middle was added in the 1920's.

Water tower of the Croton aqueduct.

Cute little boat house in the Harlem River.

Look at this nice bike path! I wish there were more like these along the Harlem River.

The entrance to Fort Tryon Park, where the Cloisters are located. Go here if you haven't done so already.

I took a brief rest here and enjoyed the views. It felt good to finally reach the Hudson. Then I realized how much further I had yet to go.

My view from the look out point of the New Jersey Palisades.

The retaining wall that collapsed a few years ago. Do you remember when that happened??? Amazing no one was killed. You can see the replacement wall nestled into the old one.

George Washington Bridge from below. It was so beautiful here. Coasting down the wooded path from the heights above to the river below. I could touch the great coast of the Hudson.

George Washington Bridge is for lovers. That's a painting of the Jersey Palisades beyond. The real New Jersey crumbled into the sea years ago. Total government cover-up.

The 79th St boat basin.

The pier where the Titanic was scheduled to port. You can still read the text, "Cunard, White Star." White Star was the company the Titanic operated under.

The new World Trade Center tower going up.

Had to dismount my bike and walk through this madness, away from the river. All these people are walking from their jobs to the path terminal.

St. Paul's Chapel, built in 1766. George Washington used to worship here. Beautiful little structure in a field, yet surrounded by the towers of industry.

End of a long ride, having a drink with my friend Jarred. Mission accomplished!

Sorry for leaving out pictures of the Battery, South Street Seaport and Pier 17. I really had to go to the bathroom by then and was just in a hurry to get the ride over with!


norawoah said...

still looks like a good time all in all. And now you can say you did it.

Anonymous said...

Did you map the mileage?