Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Another Little Postcard from NYC

Well, we had another chance last week to ride around New York. A post we did earlier described some of the bike lanes they've been installing there in the last few years, concentrating on Brooklyn, and this time we had almost a full afternoon to ride up and down between Soho and into Central Park.

There are a couple of protected lanes that take up a full lane of traffic or more, including 1st Avenue going north and Broadway going south. These lanes are on the left of the road, next to the curb or pedestrian area, with a 2 foot space to the right, then parked cars. The space limits the chance of getting hit by a driver's door.

Broadway has an amazing bike lane/ pedestrian cafe zone that separates it from the traffic. We rode it at dusk from Central Park to 19th St. We had gelato at Grom just at Columbus Circle, then rode along until we walked through Times Square. The daylight disappeared and the advertising lights came up. It got late as we dawdled on our bikes and looked around. Near Madison Square Park after nine we came upon Eataly, a giant Italian food emporium that had more gelato and everything delicious you can imagine. Breads, cheeses, pastries, coffees, little cured fishes, charred crusty pizzas... It was emptyish on the Sunday night we were there and we had a heavenly time looking, munching delicious pastries and having a little evening coffee. As we crossed by Madison Square Park there were twinkly lights in the trees sparkling over friends visiting in chairs strewn around the park.

5th Ave lane isn't protected
It is really relaxing and fun on a Sunday evening riding on the protected lanes, especially in comparison with streets without any lanes, but also in comparison with unprotected lanes like the one on 5th Avenue. It's good that Chicago is beginning to add more protected lanes like these.
Looking back, the 5th Ave bike lane isn't for kids or safety addicts

Our kids could manage riding the protected lanes without any problems, I think. The crosstown streets in midtown, Soho and Greenwich Village that we took were pretty calm as well but I wouldn't take the kids on their own bikes on them since the traffic is too unpredictable. Broadway is great except for the several blocks around Times Square where it's like riding walking your bike through the food court in a huge mall.
Times Square slows you down but it's fun for a visit.
There's a great sounding event called Summer Streets three weekends in August where they close off a bunch of streets to traffic and open them to pedestrians and bikes, like Chicago's Bike the Drive but free. Don't miss it if you're nearby! We're hoping to get a chance to ride it this weekend on our way home to Chicago.

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