Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seen-it-all veteran, summer in the city is about getting out, staying active and finding the hidden gems that make New York City special. One of the best ways to accomplish those goals is by bike: it’s faster than traversing the city on foot, more adventurous than taking the subway, and more reasonably priced than taxi– and best of all, you might get a little lost and find yourself on a riverside greenway, a tree-shaded street, or a quiet and cozy block. And now, due to the city’s efforts since 2007 to add more protected bike lanes, biking in NYC is now safer than ever.
The New York Palace is encouraging guests to take to the streets by supplying a collection of bright red bicycles from Martone Cycling. Available on a first-come, first-served basis, the chic cruisers come with a helmet and lock. This new avenue of exploration is open to all guests – to get rolling, speak to our front desk staff. We’ll help you pack a picnic from Pomme Palais, plot a course around the island, and answer any questions about cycling in the city.
We’ve outlined below a few of our favorite NYC bike routes, including some under-the-radar hot spots worth visiting.
Although Gramercy Park is open only to residents of surrounding buildings, the adjacent Second Avenue bike lane provides a calm, placid aura worth riding. . Park and lock your bike near Gramercy Park and stroll south on Irving Place, where the towering buildings along Park Avenue give way to ornate brownstones and bustling sidewalks empty out a bit.
• Hidden Gem: Lodged somewhere between the expensive conceits of New York’s high-end sushi scene and the more casual Japanese joints that make up the bulk of the city’s sushi market is Yama. Tucked away on a quiet corner at East 17th Street and Irving Place, this subterranean sushi bar keeps things simple and delicious. Descend a few stairs, snag a seat at the bar, and order by the piece, the roll, or the plate. On your way back to your bike, stop by Irving Farm Coffee Roasters for an espresso.
• Distance from The Palace: 14 minutes / 2.4 miles by bike
Central Park Circle
It’s New York City’s most essential bike route: the 6.1-mile loop around Central Park on the main Park drives. Reach the park by taking the 51st Street bike path west to Broadway and turning right. That will take you to the park’s southwest entrance at Columbus Circle. Pedal onto the main road and head counter-clockwise with traffic, sticking to the right side of the street. The park’s terrain and scenery keeps things interesting, as you’ll get a few downhill and uphill sections, along with stunning skyline and reservoir views. You won’t have to contend with very many cars on this route, but stay safe by cycling slowly and yielding to pedestrians at marked intersections.
• Hidden Gem: Bear east off of the main drive when you reach the 102nd Street Transverse. Follow signs to the Conservatory Garden to find yourself in one of the city’s most unexpected outposts of serenity and calm. This six-acre garden features a lush lawn, collections of perennial shrubs, plants, and flowers, and several classically designed fountains.
• Distance from The Palace: 18 minutes / 3.0 miles by bike
When you’re riding one of The Palace’s chic bikes from Martone Cycling, it’s only natural to head to SoHo, one of the world’s preeminent fashion districts. The ride downtown along Broadway and Lafayette Street takes you past some of the city’s most iconic locations, including the Flatiron Building and Union Square, and once you reach SoHo (south of Houston Street), you can hop off and hit the shops that line cobblestone streets like Crosby and Howard.
• Hidden Gem: Recharge with a coffee and a sweet or savory treat at Maman. This beautifully designed French café and bakery on Centre Street provides pick-me-ups in the form of granola and Greek yogurt, colorful taboulé salads, and inventive white chocolate and pretzel cookies. Sit up front and watch the city pass by on the sidewalk, or tuck into a cozy corner in the café’s spacious back room.
• Distance from The Palace: 23 minutes / 3.6 miles by bike
Hudson River Greenway
One of the best ways to spend a hot summer afternoon in the city is to bike along the breezy Hudson River. It’s a good thing the city’s extensive network of waterfront parks makes the Hudson easily accessible and eminently explorable via bike. Head crosstown to the west on 51st Street before carefully crossing the West Side Highway and riding south on the Hudson River Greenway. Besides abutting the highway, the route is well-manicured and shaded, providing a pleasant ride from Midtown to Battery Park City.
• Hidden Gem: Bypass the ever-popular Battery Park dining hub at Brookfield Place and double back to head north to find a classic New York bagel at Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish. Zucker’s is a staple in its Tribeca neighborhood, delighting locals and visitors alike with its no nonsense style, fresh smoked fish and airy, boiled bagels.
• Distance from The Palace: 30 minutes / 5.2 miles by bike
Lower Manhattan Loop
Circumnavigating the southern end of Manhattan via bike allows you to take in some of the city’s signature sights without standing in line or stepping foot on a tour bus. Take the 48th Street bike lane east to First Avenue and head downtown to 37th Street, where you can make a left and hop onto the East River Greenway for a few uninterrupted miles of breezy and scenic riding. Keep your eye out for what’s above and you might notice the iconic trio of the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges passing by overhead. When you hit the tip of Lower Manhattan, you’ll bike past the Staten Island Ferry building and through Battery Park, offering beautiful vistas of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and the skyline of Jersey City across the Hudson.
• Hidden Gem: Lower Manhattan’s tourist attractions are myriad: the 9/11 Museum, the Wall Street Bull, Trinity Church, and 1 World Trade Center are all among New York’s most iconic sights. Bypass those busier options in favor of The Skyscraper Museum, a small-but-interesting collection of exhibits on the past, present and future of high-rise buildings.
• Distance from The Palace: 36 minutes / 6.4 miles by bike
To plan your path in advance, contact The New York Palace Concierge or consult the city’s official NYC bike map (PDF).
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Loved the red bikes. We were the first ones to take them out for a spin on our stay at the Palace. These bikes made my stay at New York just that much more special. Thank You.
Hi Sarab – thank you for the positive feedback. We are thrilled to hear you enjoyed our new Martone bicycles (and were the first to use them!) We hope you enjoyed your stay with us at The Palace and would be happy to have you back again.