Image of six bikes standing next to each other, all with the same logo on the wooden baskets

Grandlife guide

On Your Bike: Hudson River Greenway

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The pandemic brought us many things in 2020 and among them was NYC’s great bicycle boom. While most New Yorkers were justifiably nervous about biking our busy streets pre-pandemic, the urge to get out and about without getting on the subway meant lots of committed pedestrians suddenly found themselves strapping on a helmet and discovering a different version of their city.

As long as you stay in the bike lanes, watch for bike lights and always wear your helmet, biking in the city is much safer than one might think and, if you’re up for it, you’re in for a treat. Biking is environmentally friendly, time efficient and offers you a chance to explore pockets of the city you might not otherwise see, plus, you get a workout while you do it!

So, grab your bike (or if you don’t have one, get yourself a Citibike account) and make a day of it. There are several local routes with more than enough stops along the way to turn your ride into a proper day trip. And, while you’re at it, you just may discover some parts of NYC you might have not seen otherwise. 

Bike Path: Hudson River Greenway

Spanning from Inwood Hill Park to Battery Park, Hudson River Greenway is also a popular path for walking and running but, with its wide bike lanes, we think it’s best explored by bicycle. The 12.9-mile path runs along the west side of Manhattan, separated from traffic, with beautiful views of the water.

Start at Inwood:

We recommend starting your bike trip in Inwood. If you’re taking the train, the A will get you all the way up to 207 St Station, close to Inwood Hill Park. From there, find your way to the Hudson River Greenway and hop on! This initial leg of your journey will take you through several parks—Fort Washington, Fort Tryon and Riverside. Fort Tryon Park is worth a stop with its lush vegetation overlooking the Hudson River. Being that it’s also the home to the Cloisters—a gorgeous medieval museum associated with the Met, the park is doubly worth your time.

On Your Bike: Hudson River Greenway
The Met Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park

(38 Minutes to) Maman: 

After you’ve got your heart rate up a bit, you might be in the mood for a little snack to fuel your day. A beloved French cafe with locations all across the city, Maman, is your solution. Their Upper West Side location at 429 Amsterdam features South of France provincial decor, indoor trees and a floral ceiling. Beyond the beautiful setting, Maman had earned a reputation of being home to one of the city’s best cookies. And if you’re in a more health-conscious mood, their menu has plenty to offer from smashed avocado tartines to croissant sandwiches. Pretend you’re having coffee in the South of France and try the butterfly pea flower latte while you’re at it. 

On Your Bike: Hudson River Greenway

(20 Minutes to) Chelsea: 

By the time you get to Chelsea, you’ll have accumulated at least an hour of riding. Lucky for you, The High Line is the perfect place to stretch your legs. A 1.45-mile elevated linear park, you’ll find great views of NYC’s skyline and an unexpected abundance of wildflowers and greenery. Originally a rail track that went out of use in 1980, The High Line was transformed in 2009 and has become one of the most unique parks in our city.

Once you’ve stretched your legs and explored the park, you may want to stay off your bike to take a look at some nearby galleries. David Zwirner’s two Chelsea locations on 19th and 20th streets are reliably good places to see some of the best contemporary art. As are the two Gagosian Gallery locations nearby.

King Pleasure, the recently-opened Basquiat exhibit is an absolute must if you’re in the neighborhood. The 15,000-square-foot show gives attendees an immersive look into the life and work of NYC’s most iconic trailblazers. Be sure to find your way to the Starrett-Lehigh building on 26th Street to check this out.

And if your appetite is raging after all that biking, strolling and gallery-hopping, make your way to the Chelsea Market for a bite. You’ll find such a wide selection of options that it might be hard to decide but you can’t go wrong with some of the best tacos in the city at Los Tacos No. 1 or some direct-from-Maine lobster rolls at Lobster Place.

On Your Bike: Hudson River Greenway
Installation view, Richard Serra: Drawings, David Zwirner, New York, 2022
On Your Bike: Hudson River Greenway
Installation view of the exhibition. Photography by Ivane Katamashvili, Courtesy of Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure.

(11 Minutes to) Grand Banks: 

Located on Sherman Zwicker, a historic wooden schooner docked at Pier 25, Grand Banks is the perfect place for a glass of wine at sunset. Inspired by the floating oyster barges that used to line Manhattan’s waterfronts in the 18th and 19th centuries, Grand Banks has an impressively fresh selection of sustainably harvested oysters as well as small plates and nautical-inspired cocktails. Now that your biking for the day is done, have a couple and take in the sublime views.

On Your Bike: Hudson River Greenway
Grand Banks oyster bar aboard the historic wooden schooner, Sherman Zwicker.

WORDS Hillary Sproul

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