The Many Sculptures of Central Park

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by Garrett McMahon

 

There are 29 sculptures in Central Park, and each one is unique, ranging from the proud and majestic to the weird and creepy. Here’s a brief survey, courtesy of the Central Park experts at Bike and Roll, to get sightseers started, helpfully divided into four taxonomic groups:

 

Historical Figures on Horses

 

It’s a well-known fact among sculptors that guys on horses look really cool. In Central Park, these equestrian tough guys include Latin American independence leader Simon Bolivar, Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, and even President Theodore Roosevelt. For my money, the coolest is the King Jagiello Monument, located on the walkway leading to the Belvedere castle.

 

The statue commemorates the Medieval Polish king, Wladyslaw II Jagiello, who in the Battle of Grunwald led his people to victory against the Teutonic Knights. It’s the biggest equestrian statue in the park and easily the most impressive. The king holds up two crossed swords in defiance, symbolizing Poland and Lithuania united for a common cause.

 

Historical Figures Not on Horses

 

Since we can’t be on horses all the time, the park has ample representation for the unhorsed as well. In the Mall you’ll encounter the “literary row,” with monuments to towering figures of the written word: William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott… Fitz-Greene Halleck… um, Christopher Columbus?

 

The statues in the park were donated by different wealthy individuals or organizations at different times, which makes for a charming lack of cohesion among them all. The best example here is Fitz-Greene Halleck, a popular author at the time, however, the official statistic of people aware of him today includes roughly 97% “people who saw his statue and googled ‘who is Fitz-Greene Halleck?’”

 

Animals
Many Central Park visitors are familiar with the Balto statue, commemorating the famous dog sled run in 1925 to deliver diptheria serum from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Those visitors might be less familiar with another animal-driven statue, Eagles and Prey. Arguably the park’s strangest sculpture, it depicts a goat caught between two rocks and attacked by the titular two eagles.

 

The sculptor, Christophe Fratin, was the son of a taxidermist, which may explain the subject matter. According to the Parks and Recreation website, early critic Clarence Cook “…felt that Fratin’s choice of subject and ‘wild, exotic depictions’ did not fit in with ‘the tranquil rural beauty of the park scenery.’ Eagles and Prey, however, outlasted such initially squeamish sentiments.” Located near the Naumburg Bandshell, it’s still there for you decide if you agree with Mr. Cook or the Parks site.

 

Fictional Characters

 

Kids will be familiar with the Alice in Wonderland statue, commissioned in 1959 by noted Central Park philanthropist George Delacorte. If there’s a single statue on your list of things to see, however, it should be Angel of the Waters. It commemorates the construction of the Croton Aqueduct, which gave the city drinking water that was actually safe to drink. This statue was sculpted by Emma Stebbins, the first woman to create a public art piece for the city. Located at the magnificent Bethesda Terrace, itself located in the exact middle of Manhattan, the statue is the literal centerpiece of the entire park.

 

All these statues and many more can be found on our Inside Central Park tour. Just ask one of our helpful guides. We’ll see you there!

A Cyclists Field Guide to Biking the Bridges

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by Garrett McMahon

The Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, though they share the same purpose of getting you over the East River, are as different as the two boroughs they’re named after. Being the first major suspension bridge in the city, the Brooklyn was built in an era with no heavy machinery and power tools, and after fourteen years of effort it shows, looking almost like an ancient Roman structure. The Manhattan, built around fifty years after, couldn’t look more different, with steel girders fastened together by rivets and sharp, angular shapes in its design.

Biking across these bridges is just as different an experience as their appearance. Let’s start with the Manhattan Bridge. Say you’re staying in a hotel in Manhattan but someone recommended you check out Williamsburg or DUMBO, and you want to get there with as little fuss as possible. In this case, you’ll want to take the Manhattan Bridge.

Starting out at the entrance on Canal Street, the first thing you’ll notice is how much room there is. The bridge has its own two-directional lane dedicated to biking. This where you’ll find native New Yorkers riding on, most likely people who live in Brooklyn and are either commuting to work or going back home. While there are some great views of the Brooklyn Naval Yard to take in, you’ll want to look both ways before stopping for some photos. Think of this bridge as a highway: it’s speedy and convenient to get to where you need to go, and fun as long as you’re aware that there are people behind you who think you’re going slow, no matter how fast you are!

Also, while the Manhattan Bridge is a major historical landmark in its own right, let’s just say it may not be as well-tended as its next-door neighbor the Brooklyn Bridge. You’ll find a lot of graffiti all around the bridge (some of it even in the subway tunnel right next to you!), and a lot of it quite impressive to see in its own right.

Now let’s head over to the Brooklyn Bridge. If the Manhattan is a fast and breezy highway, then biking across the Brooklyn is a quaint country road. With a lot of other people. If you plan on biking across an icon of New York City and a National Historic Landmark since 1964, let’s charitably say that you should expect to go at a leisurely pace. The fun to be had on this bridge is taking in the spectacular views of the Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines, and admiring the bridge itself, and the amount of manpower and effort that went into the construction of this Herculean structure—so it’s a good thing you’ll have plenty of time to do it.

The two towers holding up the suspension bridge provide walkways spacious enough to get off and take some snapshots of the skylines. If you bike to the middle of the bridge, you’ll find another nice place to stop, with some benches, some space to move around (since most of the people who start to walk across don’t usually follow through and turn around halfway.)

You can see both magnificent landmarks (and their bike lanes, with all the quirks that come with them) and much more on our Bike the Brooklyn Bridge tour, which leaves daily at 2:00 pm. We’ll see you there!

Biking in Lower Manhattan

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by: Nick Shannon

Lower Manhattan is the heart of NYC. It is where the city began, its financial powerhouse, and the home of many of the most iconic landmarks in the city. Truly a melting pot, Lower Manhattan brings people, ideas, buildings, and public space together in a dense and high energy experience that is easily accessible by bike. The entire neighborhood has been seriously revitalized, after years of slow moving post 9/11 development to accommodate for transportation and commercial spaces. East River Park is the perfect starting point for your next biking trip to see the most vibrant parts of the Big Apple.

 

INTERACTIVE MAP of Lower Manhattan

Explore this wonderful, interactive map provided by the Downtown Alliance. You can explore the restaurants, attractions, shopping, parks, parking, hotels, and nightlife of Lower Manhattan.

http://www.downtownny.com/map

 

East River Park

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Bike and Roll’s new location in East River Park is right next to the Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges, and the perfect location to begin your next Lower Manhattan exploration by bike! Pick up a bike rental and begin a relaxing ride with views of the East River and Brooklyn along the East River Promenade.

Chinatown

NYC is home to the second oldest Chinatown in the United States, a must-see if you are biking in Lower Manhattan. Make your way to Canal Street, the main street of Chinatown. Check out this self-guided tour of places you must see while you are there. It includes markets, historic buildings, tea shops, and restaurants that are top-rated. There are countless opportunities to bargain shop, eat, and enjoy the rich culture of the district.

Wall Street

Though it shouldn’t come as a surprise, there really was a wall on Wall Street! The Dutch settlers living in what was called New Amsterdam built it in 1652 to separate themselves from the threat of encroaching nature and the native people inhabiting Manhattan, the Lenapehoking. This is the term traditionally used to describe the tribes of Native Americans who inhabited the region now covered by Delaware, New Jersey and lower New York. In fact, the word Manhattan is a Dutch take on the Lenapeholking word for the island, Manna-Hata, meaning land of many hills. It worked until the British came and threw out the Dutch, renaming the city New York. It is now the epicenter of the city’s financial district.

The Dutch started by creating dirt paths to get from farm to farm, then the British paved the first roads that are now some of the oldest streets in America. You can now bike on these streets that have added bike lanes and experience one of the densest parts of the city.

Throughout most of lower Manhattan, you will feel the energy of New York City’s financial powerhouse in the financial district. Wall Street draws such a distinct crowd and it is fun to experience this quintessential NYC stereotype of people rushing around the street during lunch. Bike through the madness and see where NYC began.

Zuccotti Park

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Make your way Northwest to one of many Privately Owned Public Spaces in Lower Manhattan, Zuccotti Park- the center of the Occupy Wall Street movement. One of the more controversial public spaces, it is popular with local tourists and financial workers.

+ very shady from the trees and tall buildings, a great place to stop for a snack

 

Map of all NYC Bike Lanes 

Use this Bike Lane Map to plan your route. It shows all of the bike lanes in NYC.

 

Liberty Park

Elevated against the September 11 Memorial, Liberty Park is reminiscent of the High Line, the city’s first elevated park. Be sure to stop here on your way to the World Trade Center to enjoy the view of One World Trade and the complex of skyscrapers that define the area. It is also just nice to get above the ground to obtain a new perspective.

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World Trade Center – 9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial captures the void of the Twin Towers in a sobering way that honors the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. A grid of Swamp White Oak trees occupies Ground Zero to create a memorable landscape experience. Today, it is situated in the middle of extensive new construction, with One World Trade Center at the core, holding the record of the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The whole area was heavily affected by the attacks, and has bounced back to create a new, stronger landscape that remembers the past while looking to the future.

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Irish Hunger Memorial

Transport to a rural Irish landscape at this memorial that is a metaphor for the Irish Famine and reminder of the hunger issues we face today. Walk up the abandoned stone cottage to experience the stark contrast between the stone walls and plantings that are so different from the surrounding skyscrapers.

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Brookfield Place

Pick up some chic designer clothes at Brookfield Place, or just do some window shopping and check out the art installation of inflated birds on the ceiling. Air Pressure by Studio F Minus is a flock of floating, moving birds that move their wings in response to the air pressure in the building. From here, you can take the Battery Park City Esplanade up the West Side to Battery Park City and Teardrop Park.

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Battery Park City

Keep making your way Northwest to Battery Park City, a mainly residential neighborhood that is flooded with parks, art, restaurants, playgrounds, and recreational opportunities. Bike along the Battery Park City Esplanade that runs up the Hudson River to visit the attractions. This is a great place to bike at sunset. Ride on the protected bike lanes and enjoy the view of the Hudson river.

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Teardrop Park

Just north from Battery Park City, you will find the robust plantings, engaging topography, and irregular shapes that characterize Teardrop Park and maximize its location between apartment buildings. Walk next to the sweeping rock walls, take a ride down the huge slide, and relax on the lawns surrounded by wooded areas on your bike ride around Battery City. The perfect place to stop to get a glimpse of a designed natural environment.

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IMG_0281Battery Park

Hop back on the Hudson River Greenway and head South to Battery Park, which was rapidly transformed after being hit hard during Hurricane Sandy. There are a lot of new features that have made the park a stronger, more designed landscape. The newly opened Battery Oval is a 90,000 square foot grass expanse that is the perfect place to relax on one of the floral chairs to enjoy the scenery during your bike ride around the area.

Battery Park is also at the perfect location to get out on the water. You can take a ferry to Staten Island, Ellis Island, Governors Island. And when you’re on the water, you get the best view of the Lower Manhattan skyline.

+ Connections to: Hudson River Greenway, East River Bikeway, Battery Park City Esplanade

Take a break on the water and cool off with the invigorating breeze. Watch the boats pass by and appreciate the immense density and human alteration that went into this one-of-a-kind landscape.

+ Get tickets to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

+ Ride the Seaglass Carousel

+ Take the IKEA Water Taxi to Red Hook and get amazing views of the waterfront

[Pier 11 to IKEA. Free on the weekends, $5 Mon-Fri]

+ Ride the Staten Island Ferry for free

+ Sail on the Clipper City, a replica of a historic lumber hauling ship through Manhattan by Sail

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South Street Seaport

Close up your biking loop at the South Street Seaport, an exciting waterfront district that is home to a variety of unique events, like Good Beer 2016 on Thursday, July 28— a walk-around beer tasting and food pairing event from internationally acclaimed craft breweries, chefs and food artisans. Use the promo code, 643FIDIGUEST when purchasing your tickets to enjoy 30% off the price of general admission tickets.

[July 28 from 6-9 pm at 180 Maiden Lane]

After your day of exploring, drop your rental back off at East River Park and get a bite to eat with a discount from:

Get Low – Food Discounts

After biking all day, you will have worked up an appetite. Take advantage of the Get Low promotion through the Downtown Alliance to explore the delicious food offerings in the area. Sign up for GET LOW to get 20% off, a free appetizer or desert, or bogo drinks at participating restaurants in Lower Manhattan! This is the best way to try new food.

[after 4pm on Tuesdays between June 21-August 30, 2016]

+ eat delicious food with a discount

Why Bike Lower Manhattan?

Biking is a rapid, non-aggravating way to travel. You will often find yourself arriving at a destination faster than a car, or the subway, especially if it is a shorter distance. It is also enjoyable and one of the best ways to explore Lower Manhattan. In an area that is constantly changing with new construction, get here while you can to experience the excitement and bike your way through the vibrant street life.

Why You Need to Bike Across the Williamsburg Bridge

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By: Nick Shannon

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New York City is an amazing place to bike. Not only is it thrilling, but it gets you outside to enjoy the great views, parks, water, and array of recreational opportunities available (especially during the summer!). If you are biking in the city, you will want to go across its bridges to soak in as much of the culture of the outer boroughs as possible. Here are 6 reasons why you should add the Williamsburg Bridge to your next biking adventure.

6. Bike the bridge for a workout, or just enjoy a leisurely ride with a great view

It will only take you around 15 minutes, depending on your ability. Get in your workout and don’t let the incline stop you – you and your legs will thank you later! The gradual slope will give you cardio, build muscles, and increase your endurance all in one activity. You will also be flowing above the cars and past any traffic. Biking is the perfect way to avoid road congestion and unnecessary delays.

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5. Explore Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn for the day on a bike loop

It is the perfect bridge to bike as part of a loop. If you pick up a rental bike at Bike and Roll’s Battery Park location, you can go straight over the Brooklyn Bridge, explore Brooklyn Heights, then make your way north up the Kent Ave Greenway to Williamsburg. Enjoy an afternoon of delicious food and quirky shops, then cross the Williamsburg Bridge back to Manhattan to see more of the Lower East Side. The Williamsburg Bridge offers a utilitarian ride that is quick and enjoyable – something that New York commuters definitely appreciate. Pedestrians have a separate walk on the south side of the bridge and the path for bikes is on the north side

Link to map: https://goo.gl/maps/St5hQ791NAw

 

4. SMORGASBURG – the Brooklyn Flea Food Market

One of the coolest food events in the city on a Saturday is Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Over 100 local vendors sell their creative concoctions in what becomes a local food paradise. Try something you never thought you would, such as a ramen burger, truffle fries, a hibiscus doughnut, or mango on a stick with chili powder. You could go every weekend and still find something new.

TIMES: Every Saturdays from 11 am – 6 pm
East River State Park: 90 Kent Ave. (at N. 7th)

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3. ARTISTS AND FLEAS – Artist, Designer and Vintage Market

Just a block away from Smorgasburg, you will find the Artists and Fleas market where local artisans and designers sell their products. You will find one-of-a kind trinkets, jewelry, crafts, fashion and vintage- the perfect opportunity to get a gift for that special someone and it may be hard to not pick up something for yourself. You will feel good about supporting small business and makers, which is a great way to engage with the community. Enjoy just browsing the crafts, and get some time in with the dogs out front.

TIMES: Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am – 7 pm
70 North 7th Brooklyn
Williamsburg, NY

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2. YOGA ON THE FARM – evening yoga at North Brooklyn Farms

If you end up keeping a bike overnight and find yourself in Williamsburg in the evening, the perfect way to end your ride is with Yoga on the Farm. Stretch the muscles you just workout out on the bike and enjoy a little meditative practice to calm your mind in this big, bustling city. The view of the sun setting against the Manhattan skyline is the perfect excuse to stop and just breathe.

TIMES: Tuesdays from 6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
North Brooklyn Farms
320 Kent Avenue (@ S. 4th Street)
Brooklyn, NY

1. New York City is a great place to explore by bike. It is a great way to visit a lot of places, but still have the on-the-ground experience you miss from being in a car or on a train. There are so many bike lanes to take advantage of to get you from point A to B, or just to explore the boroughs. If you are just visiting, or don’t own a bike and want a weekend adventure, a bike rental is the perfect thing for you.

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The Williamsburg Bridge may just be the one thing that will spark your next NYC adventure. It is the perfect excuse to explore Brooklyn and lower Manhattan on your next day off. Its location and character make it an enjoyable place to bike, so go out there and start exploring!

 

 

 

 

 

Things to Do in New York

Rent a bike at New York City's Riverside Park

The question we hear most often is “What are some things to do in New York, and what is the best way to do them?” Visitors want to see and learn about Central Park and all the numerous sightseeing locations around NYC. Well, Bike and Roll NYC has the perfect solution … why not try one of our top-rated bike tours around the city? We offer tours of Central Park, Waterfront Greenway, Brooklyn Bridge, downtown, and we even have a combination bike and water taxi tour you can try. You’ll be accompanied by one of our expert tour guides, so not only will you get some great exercise, but you’ll experience the city in a whole new way, and you will learn something too. If you prefer to tour the city by yourself, we also have many bike rental locations scattered about Manhattan and New Jersey. You can choose from a wide assortment of bikes, including performance bikes, race bikes, tandem bikes and even quadcycles. We even cater to kids too, so you can be assured of getting the proper equipment for the entire family.

So, if you and your family or group are looking for things to do in New York, you can get more information on the bike tours and bike rentals offered by Bike and Roll NYC on our website at https://bikeandrollnyc.com.

Bicycle Tours, the best way to travel!

Guide stories

When you travel, consider bicycle tours as a way to maximize your experience! A bicycle tour is the single best means to explore a travel destination. More efficient and covering more ground and material than walking while providing a much more intimate experience than a mass transit solution like a bus or a boat tour. A bicycle tour also does not include the challenges faced by auto drivers such as parking issues; traffic and the constant need to pay attention to the road.

Read More »

Travel by Tandem

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A tandem bicycle rental is a terrific way for a couple to explore a travel destination. While bikes in general are more efficient than walking and much more fun than being confined in a motor vehicle, the tandem adds a special dynamic.

The tandem experience eliminates the worry of separating or losing your partner. Also, ongoing conversation is much easier than if attempting to travel together on separate bicycles. You can share the workload as well but beware, tandems are a little more challenging when navigating hills.

There has been some discussion about tandem bikes and relationships. According to Angela Hill of the Oakland Tribune, “They’ve been called everything from love machines to divorce accelerators”. As a rental operator, I recall the first tandem rental I ever facilitated was to a newlywed couple in San Francisco. Upon return from their ride I was apprised of some conflict along the way relating to the pecking order of operator management. The biggest issue seemed to be the lack of advance warning to the rider in back about forthcoming bumps. In the end, we all had a good laugh and the relationship did not seem any worse for the wear.

Tandems are a great product to rent as they tend to be more economical than renting two separate bikes. Additionally, most people do not own a tandem, so renting one is a means to try something new. They are not difficult to ride, but a few important rules apply. The rider in front always mounts the bike first and the first one on is always the last one off. The front rider always stabilizes the bike for the back rider when mounting and dismounting the bike. Communication is also very important. Advising when brakes will be applied or when shifting greatly improves riding efficiency. Advising on forthcoming points of interest also makes for a better experience for the rider in back. And yes, the front rider should alway advise when there are bumps in the road.

Bike and Roll NYC recommends a tandem bicycle rental experience for those who enjoy adventurous travel and sharing experiences with others. See bikeandrollnyc.com/rental/tandem-bike/ for more information on renting a tandem in New York City.

Credits

Byline: Darryll White

Photo by: kohlmann.sascha via flickr

Thanks To Bicycle Touring Customers

Bike Central Park

BICYCLE RENTAL AND TOUR OPERATIONS CLOSE FOR THE SEASON

With the forthcoming projected snow storm and some site construction to follow,  Bike and Roll NYC has recently closed all its New York City bicycle rental and tour locations for this winter season. Operations will resume in the early spring and Bike and Roll looks forward to the 2016 bicycle tourism season!

Bike and Roll thanks all it’s patrons for the ongoing support and recognizes it’s customers as the very best part of doing business.

Over the winter,  Bike and Roll will design a couple of new tours intended to add further variety and also align with NYC’s current focus on local culture.  “As the bicycle touring demographic continues to expand, the need to serve broadened interests will be met with new services. Staying 100% inline with customer demand is at times challenging in today’s fast paced and ever changing business environment,  but creating happy customers is the fun part and it is simply what we do”,  according to Bike and Roll co-owner, Darryll White.

Bike and Roll expects to re-open sometime in early March, depending on the weather conditions at that time. Management offices will remain open and bike-share operations in Hoboken, New Jersey will commence throughout the winter months.

If contacting Bike and Roll is necessary during the winter season, voicemail left at the main number will receive a return call. A message on the Bike and Roll Facebook page is also another way to contact one of the company managers. Reservations for next season and beyond can be made at anytime via the Bike and Roll NYC website.

TD Five Boro Bike Tour

Five Boro Bike Tour

 

Registration for the 2016 TD Five Boro Bike Tour opens January 12, 2016

If you need to rent a bicycle for the tour, please contact Bike and Roll New York City for reservation of rental packages. Rental package includes:

  • Bike pick-up at the start of the ride, tuned up and ready to go
  • Optional early bike pick-up the evening before the ride at no additional charge
  • Optional pedal installment (if you bring your own)
  • Rental helmet
  • Bike drop-off on Staten Island, so you don’t have to wait in the bike line for the ferry
  • An amazing ride without complications!

Sam Polcer

photo credit: Sam Polcer/Bike New York

For more information and to register:

http://www.bike.nyc/events/td-five-boro-bike-tour/ #TDFBBT

For bicycle rental packages:

https://bikeandrollnyc.com/five-boro-bike-tour/ #bikeandroll

Transportation Alternatives Members Receive 75% Discount at Bike and Roll NYC

NYC bike rentals and bike tours discount

Enjoy the perks of getting to know Bike and Roll!

Transportation Alternatives members can enjoy 75% off any bike rental or bicycle tour offered by Bike and Roll NYC. Just flash your TA membership card at any of Bike and Roll NYC’s 10 bike rental locations and get your VIP treatment! (Good for one tour or rental per visit.)

Please note: Discounts cannot be used for Bike and Roll Special Events. Feel free to call or email us with any questions.

Quite the incentive to become a Transportation Alternatives member, if we do say so ourselves!