brooklyn to Central park

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Anonymous's picture

I just moved from manhattan's west side to Brooklyn Heights (just on the other side of the brookyn bridge).

Does anyone have a suggested route to get to Central Park Boat House. My thought for the safest/best to go: Brooklyn Bridge, to Chamnbers, to Westside bike path.

Any other thoughts: staying on the east side? Manhattan Bridge?

Anonymous's picture
A (not verified)
Fellow Brooklyn-Heighter

I've done East Side and West Side. West side takes a lot longer because you have to go crosstown to get there, and then cross over again in the UWS to get to the park. However, the ride is more pleasant because you deal with less traffic overall. The worst part is Chambers Street, which can be slow and clogged.

The East Side path is pretty unpopulated and easy to get to from the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. After you get off the bridge, just double back to the South Street Seaport area and you'll find the path. The East Side path is in worse condition than the West Side path but I don't find it too bad. The worst part is that it ends well before you reach the park. Can't remember exactly where, but perhaps in the 30's. Then you must cross over and take the avenues, and deal with the buses, pedestrians, cabs, frequent lights, etc. for at least a few dozen blocks.

My advice: If you're riding in the early morning, take the East Side because then the Avenues are pretty clear and the trip is painless. When you're riding back home later in the day, take the West Side.

I never rode over the Manhattan Bridge. It could make your trip slightly shorter (by a few minutes at most) because it drops you off further north in Manhattan. However, I would take it only if I were taking the East Side rather than the West Side up to the CP, because the crosstown interchange from the Brooklyn Bridge to the West Side along Chambers is much shorter. I can't speak to the quality of the bridge path, although I walked over it years ago and can testify that there is much less space than the Brooklyn Br, but probably much fewer people also.

Or, as an alternative, it is much simpler where you are to get to Prospect Park. You can get there on an almost unbroken chain of marked bike lanes. But even if you don't take the marked routes, you are still taking East-West streets no matter what, which are mostly residential and relatively empty of traffic in those areas of Brookyn.

Make sure to pick up a copy of the NYC bike map from any bike shop. Links below.

Anonymous's picture
J (not verified)

8 miles roughly to the boathouse.

You should take the BB (Manhattan Bridge is out of the way an a PITA, but a good alternative if the BB has a problem).

Take the BB to Chambers and turn right on Church, which becomes 6th Ave. of the Americas right into CP. This is good in the early AM on weekends.

Or, if you like, take the Hudson greenway. Right onto 54th and up passed the park there to 8th Ave. and be careful on Columbus Circle.

Later in the day, or weekdays, or on the way home, the Hudson greenway is best. Take it to Warren, 1 block south of Chambers for less traffic. Warren deadends at B'way and you hav to make a left against traffic to Chambers, but it is better than Chambers all the way.

Also, coming back, 5th to Broadway is OK.

Welcome to Brooklyn and ride safely!


Anonymous's picture
Matt (not verified)

"Once in Manhattan, stick to the bikepaths. Why deal with traffic on the avenues? The east side ""bikepath"" is fine if you are cruising at 12 mph. Any faster and you'll run into trouble where the path is rough and where there are no lane markings. The east side path will kick you onto the streets at 35th St., so you'll have to take avenues uptown.

So I recommend cutting across Chambers and getting on the west side bike path. It's a much nicer ride, especially now that the Intrepid is gone and the clueless tourists don't stand around on the bikepath at 42nd St.

At the garbage depot in the 50s make a right, go up the hill and wind your way through Lincoln Center to CP."

Anonymous's picture
L (not verified)

I usually stay on the West Side path until I hit 72nd street, climb up to the street level and ride across town on 74th Street until I hit the 72nd street entrance. It might not be the fastest way, but it is the most pleasant.

Anonymous's picture
Zac (not verified)

My usual route on Sunday mornings is the Manhattan Bridge, Chrystie (or with bikes on the ped side straight onto Bowery), Houston, and then Bowery/3rd Ave. At that time there is little traffic. I'm coming from a different direction though and my route to the Manny B is better than the Brooklyn bridge route.

My return trip is the more usual West Side/Chambers/BB route as I want to stay out of midday Sunday traffic and I usually bypass CP anyway.

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)
If I were recommending a route to a tourist...

...I'd say Brooklyn Bridge and West Side Path. But if you're more interested in getting someplace fast than sightseeing, I'd recommend the Manhattan Bridge and the streets.

The Manhattan Bridge has very little traffic, and you don't have to avoid gaping tourists. And I feel that of the three East River bridges it's the safest to ride across late at night, because there's no place for an ambush.

From Brooklyn, I'd take the Manhattan Bridge, then straight up the Bowery and 3rd Ave. As for returning from the GWB:

Riverside Dr
L 72nd St
R West End Ave / 11th Ave
L 24th St
R 9th Ave / Hudson St
L Bleecker St
R Bowery to Manhattan Bridge

Anonymous's picture
chris y (not verified)

Thanks much for the feedback.

My goals was to find a fast-not scary route to the park to meet up for rides... I am confident in traffic and generally can keep a lane and up to speed, to I'll try east side with 3rd ave for a bit...

cycling trips