NYC Greenway Ride Worthwhile?

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Anonymous's picture

I am travelling to NYC next week and am trying to identify a
50+ mile ride from midtown. I have looked at the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway Map. Any thoughts on if this route is worth it? Note: I am an experienced rural rider -- no history of riding in NYC. Thanks.

Anonymous's picture
chris o (not verified)
Where else but Nyack!

The NYC greenway is great, but on weekends and certain other times it is really crowded. It might be nice for a leisurely ride, but at busy times it can be frustating.

The most popular route for 50+ miles would be to Nyack, NY, or the closer town of Piermont. These towns are west of the Hudson River and we access them via the George Washington Bridge. You can even take the West Side Greenway from midtown north to the GW. There is some really nice riding out there and that is what I recommend.

Of course you need some more detailed directions, but this is a start.

Anonymous's picture
Alfredo Garcia (not verified)
promoting manhattan, staten island, piermont & john j. harvey

"The ride around the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is the cycling perimeter equilivalent of taking a Circle Line boat cruise, which also goes around the island.

Check the web for more details on the greenway.

If you do ride, it will be like an orchestral symphony with various movements, mostly less moderate speed or slow pace with some fast runs. There's a lot to see along the Manhattan waterfront (Hudson River, a trapeze school, Carl Schurz Park, Gracie Mansion, South St. Seaport, going under the Brooklyn, Manhattan & Williamsburg bridge, the old Harlem River Speedway, Inwood, etc.)

Of of all the 5 NYC boroughs, Staten Island is best for a perimeter run. The roads can be bumpy, but you can go as fast as you like. Just make sure the body of water is on your right (Kill Van Kull, Raritan Bay, Atlantic Ocean and New York Bay). After 35 miles (assuming you start riding from the North Shore of Staten Island) You can go to Ft. Wadsworth for a sandwich at Carriage House and climb a hill to see the ""Narrows"" and Verrazano Bridge, with views of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

If you're willing to wake up real early, the Staten Island Bicycling Association has perimeter rides every Saturday, 8:30am, Miller Field. Details on

And the Staten Island Ferry is free, although cyclists seemingly get 2nd class treatment boarding lower street level and staying in a restricted area.

A 50 mile ride you can do from Midtown is an elementary ride to the town of Piermont or an additional 10 miles to Nyack, both in the Rockland County, NY. Terrain is flat and then hilly.

Speaking of Piermont, too bad the vintage fireboat John J. Harvey isn't cruising. Last year, I went on a one-way Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance ride to Piermont and took the the Harvey, which was docked at the ""Pier."" After 3pm, we took a breathtaking cruise down the Hudson River to 23rd St.

The Harvey is a fireboat. Before arriving, it worked it's powerful water cannons. Both cyclists and bikes got wet, but it's worth it. Weblink:

Space prohibits me from talking about going to Sandy Hook, NJ a great bike-boat-bike ride...


Anonymous's picture
rbj (not verified)

If you are looking for a training ride, no (above mentioned Nyack ride is better). If you are looking for a nice way to see the waterfront and parts of the city, it's great - as long as you don't mind the crowds of bladers, walkers, etc., having to ride slow, and frequent slowing down (because of bottlenecks)

Anonymous's picture
Matt P. (not verified)

"it is difficult to judge your skill level from this post, but judging by your request for a 50+ miler, i'll assume you are a ""serious"" cyclist, not someone who just wants to see the sights.

stay off the greenway between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. unless you want to dodge skaters, joggers, kids with training wheels, lost tourists, dogs, vehicles, etc. on weekends, your safe maximum speed is about 12 mph.

*carefully* use the westside greenway to get to northbound riverside drive to to reach the george washington bridge, then head to piermont. if you can find your way to the western side of the bridge, you are bound to find riders heading to piermont. just ask for directions. or join the appropriate club ride."

Anonymous's picture
bill (not verified)

It's an awful lot of fun to just ride around central park. But it gets a little boring after 4 loops and at 6.2 mi per lap is not as long as you'd like. But some gentle hills and friendly competition from the loads of other riders might make up for that. you can rent bikes nearby as well.

Anonymous's picture
Alan (not verified)
West Side is best

The Greenway is fine on the west side in the off (early) hours; on weekends especially in the afternoon it is very crowded. I ride it frquently becasue I live near it in Greenwich Village. From my house to Battery Park and then back up the Greenway to the end on the West Side (the stairs at Dyckman Street) and back to my house is 27 miles. The East Side is not worth the hassle;there is a lot on the streets (although intersting if you just wnat to see the city) and the pathway is often blocked or small.

Anonymous's picture
esass (not verified)
Skip the East Side part

Do the west side from GWB to the Battery. You can continue around up to 23rd st or so on the East side. From there, the path is fragmented taking you on the streets. This is not a bad thing necessarily, but someone not from the city and unfamiliar with city riding may be intimidated.

Head up the West side to the GWB and ride into NJ up River road, then take 9w up to Nyack. Beautiful riding.

Anonymous's picture
Chris T. (not verified)
The east side Greenway in Manhattan has little green...

..except in the real estate that you pass along the way. For traversing Manhattan north and south (uptown or downtown), the greenway is not the way to go. First, there's not a lot of green, except on the park on the lower east side & Grace Mansion. Second, you have to detour quite a bit, even dismounting to climb stairs around E 80th Street. Finally, the problem with the east side of Manhattan is that the Harlem river moves it westward as you go uptown. This is why so many will advise you to take the west side up and down Manhattan -- there's a lot less wiggling.

But if you want to be on the eastside, then take to the streets thusly:

to go downtown, Second avenue, then detour around the Manhattan Bridge

From downtown, 3 routes uptown
1. From the east side of City hall, take Centre Street north, till it merges with Lafayette, >> becoming 4th Avenue, becomes union Square East, becomes Park Avenue South, becomes park Avenue. Go around Grand Central Terminal. either continue north on Park, or take a left on 60th into Central Park

2. From the east side of City hall, take Centre Street north, till it merges with Lafayette, >> becoming 4th Avenue, becomes union Square East, becomes Park Avenue South. Take a right onto 24th Street, take a left onto 3rd avenue, then take that north as far as 127th Street.

3. From the east side of City hall, take Centre Street north, till it merges with Lafayette, At Astor Place, make a right onto St. Marks, then take a left onto 1st Avenue, take that North to 125th Street.

Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)
I recommend the route to Nyack too...

Check out the website below... There is a great description of the route with a cue sheet (plus, there is tons of info on riding in NYC and around NY State):

General website:

Route Description of the Manhattan to Nyack (and beyond, if that's not enough, all the way to Bear Mountain ;)):

Regards, Rich

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