Bohemia Blog by Agent Mike Boyman
As an avid #Uptown cyclist, I'm always looking for new bike routes to explore. This is in spite of the constant lectures from friends and family about the dangers of biking in NYC. From the crazy cabbies and giant pot holes, to the hyper-aggressive pedestrians and perpetually blocked bike lanes, NYC is no joke. Then this perception got no help from the movie Premium Rush, whose protagonist (Played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a daredevil bike messenger tempting fate with each pedal stroke - not to mention he removes his brakes because they quote "not needed".
What most people don't realize, however, is how far removed biking uptown is from the crazy rush through midtown. As uptown residents, we have access to routes which completely avoid cars and happen to be some of the most picturesque and well-maintained stretches of road in the five boroughs. Here are some of the highlights:
1.) Hudson River Greenway
After over a decade of work, there is now an uninterrupted, 11-mile bike path along the Hudson which goes from Battery Park all the way up to Dyckman Street in Inwood. The entire route
is gorgeous and each section has its own unique vibe. If I was being forced to choose the highlight, I would pick the section running parallel to Washington Heights leading up to the George Washington Bridge at 178th St. The bike traffic really thins out here and it’s easy to forget the hustle and bustle of the city while riding along this quiet stretch of river. It also offers amazing views of the downtown skyline.
2.) Harlem River Drive
Originally built as the Harlem River Speedway in the late 19th century, where wealthy uptown residents could show off and race their prized horses, this route was transformed in the 1960’s by Robert Moses to ease automobile congestion. The result is the current 6-lane highway. Most people don’t know about the bike trail running parallel between the highway and river, which makes it another great place to get away from it all. Running from 155th St. up to Dyckman, this path has also been the main beneficiary of the New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit planting trees and gardens around the five boroughs. Near the Dyckman St. entrance is a new park called Swindler’s Cove, a former dumping site which has been transformed into a true natural oasis, with woods, grasslands and even a small waterfall.
3.) The Highbridge
Many are calling it the uptown Highline, except the Highbridge has better views and none of the congestion. It’s the oldest standing bridge in Manhattan, originally part of the Croton aqueduct system which was then covered to form a pedestrian bridge. It was a popular weekend destination until the mid 20th century, when deterioration and lack of money forced its closure. After more than 40 years, it reopened just last year and is now by far the easiest way between Manhattan and the Bronx for cyclists and pedestrians. It has also been beautifully restored and is a must-see destination for anyone in the area.
So I challenge you not to just take my word for, but put your helmet up, kick up the bike stand and find out for yourself.