Frontier Psychiatrist

Frontier Cyclist, vol. 10: Top 10 NYC Bike Lanes

Posted on: July 6, 2010

The year is halfway gone and we have listamania, a desire to catalogue and rank our favorite things. Call it our version of the All Star Game. This week, we’re counting down our Top 25 songs of the year to date.  And in honor of our tenth Frontier Cyclist column, we present our Top 10 NYC Bike Lanes.

The list below runs the gamut: from utilitarian commuter routes to picturesque day trips. And granted, we hew to our own riding experience, with lots of love to Brooklyn, some to Manhattan and the Bronx, and none to Queens or Staten Island.  So if your borough was slighted, don’t be easily offended. Instead, send us some of your favorite QNS or SI routes and we’ll include them in a future edition. For now, our  Top 10:

10.  Bleecker Street

The Bleecker Street lane runs 1.1 miles from Eighth Avenue to the Bowery, connecting the West Village and the East Village, or if you must, Magnolia Bakery and the Bowery Poetry Club. Since Bleecker jags at Sixth Ave, the street doubles as a crosstown-downtown route.

9. Bergen Street and Dean Street

These two streets connect Boereum Hill, Prospect Heights, and Crown Heights and are gateways to many other Brooklyn neighborhoods. The Dean Street lane starts at Smith Street, runs 3.5 miles east and ends at Rochester Ave. From there, you can head north into Bed Stuy and Bushwick. Slightly shorter, the Bergen Street lane begins at Brooklyn Ave.   and runs west to Court Street, with easy access to Cobble Hill, Carrol Gardens, downtown Brooklyn, and Brooklyn Heights. Along either street, you can hop off to Prospect Park to the south, or Fort Greene to the north.

8.   Grand Concourse

As we learned last year on the Tour De Bronx, the Grand Councourse runs 4.5 miles from E 161 Street near Yankee Stadium to Mosholu Parkway. Warning: there are steep hills, at least by our urban single-gear standards. Along the way, you can hit the nearby Romantic Trifecta of the New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo, and Fordham University. Still want more BX? Read on…

7.  Pelham Parkway

From the east side of the Botanical Gardens, ride Pelham Parkway across the Bronx mainland, then over Pelham Bridge Road to Pelham Bay Park and then over the bridge to the throwback beach community of City Island, where there are plenty of spots for fried fish, frosty beverages and, balloons or something.

6.    Kent Avenue (Brooklyn)

Williamsburg. Waterfront. Beauty.

Not a bike lane, but not a bad sentiment.

5.    Dyckman Street

In the upper reaches of Manhattan, Dyckman Street is the way to cross town. On the West side, Dyckman separates Fort Tryon Park (The Cloisters) and Inwood Hill Park, both of which have their own bike loops. On the East side, Dyckman dead ends at the Harlem River Drive, where you can ride with views of the Bronx across the water.

4.    Bedford Ave

As we discussed in June, Bedford Avenue is the longest street in Brooklyn, with a bike lane that runs 10 miles from Sheepshead Bay to Greenpoint, through a swath of neighborhoods across the economic spectrum.

3.    Dekalb Avenue and Willioughby Avenue

These two streets connect Fort Greene and Bushwick via Clinton Hill and the Pratt Institute. The Willoughby lane runs two miles from Broadway to Fort Greene Park. Dekalb runs almost three miles from Broadway to Flatbush Avenue. (N.B. Both streets continue in Bushwick; Dekalb runs two-ways and Willoughby reverses directions.)

2.    Fifth Avenue (Brooklyn)

Fifth Avenue runs 5.5 miles from the Daddy-Buy-Me a-Boutique strip in Park Slope, past the Greenwood Cemetery and Sunset Park, all the way to Bay Ridge and the end of the subway line. Once there, try the Shore Parkway/Belt Parkway bike path along the waterfront, with views of the Verrazano Bridge, which is forbidden for bikes. For now.

1. The Williamsburg Bridge

When we rode the Williamsburg bridge on July 4, we didn’t even care that the fireworks were on the Hudson this year. Maybe it was the nighttime view of the river and the skyline? Maybe it was the fact that we ride faster than the J/M/Z? In any case, our favorite of the three East River bridges is now even better for cyclists. The north side is for bikes only. The south side is for pedestrians only. Still, some people have been slow to obey the new rules. So, um, if you see something, say something. Ride on!

Keith Meatto is co-editor of Frontier Psychiatrist

Bikes: Faster than the J Train?

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4 Responses to "Frontier Cyclist, vol. 10: Top 10 NYC Bike Lanes"

I love the new(ish) Sands Street lanes approaching the Manhattan Bridge, and the little bike traffic lights both there and on the other side of the bridge in Chinatown.

Solid list. I’d also add–forgive the obviousness–the west side river lane. Scenery and efficiency, that lane has it all.

[…] our top 25 songs of the year to date in semi-particular order, and our cyclist presented you with so many bike routes that you’ll need Floyd Landis’ doctor to make it through them all.  We conclude the […]

[…] and save yourself the time and aggravation of shifting. In most flat urban environments (e.g. New York, Chicago, any American city that is not San Francisco), a reasonably fit person can handle most […]

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L.V. Lopez, Publisher
Keith Meatto, Editor-In-Chief
Peter Lillis, Managing Editor
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Andrew Hertzberg
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