I live in Queens and have gone over the triboro to randalls island many times this summer to ride around the island. Today I rode all the way across to harlem and took metro north up to westchester. Now, the triboro from queens to randall's doesn't concern me and riding through harlem doesn't concern me but I definetly thought as I was going along the path from randalls to harlem that I was going to be coming back to this desolate, dark, out of the way path at night (not to mention the number of times i've seen passed out winos and junkies on the triboro during the day). Luckily there was a concert at randalls tonight and there were people and cops everywhere but it did not inspire me to do that again at night. Do any new yorkers here regularly ride across the triboro at night? Is it safer than I imagine it to be or am I right to avoid it after sundown?
There is a homeless shelter and a mental institution on Randalls island. many of the wino's you see are people that are going to that homeless shelter. in my experience, they are more interested in drinking and smoking crack (literally, I've seen it) than anything else. Depending on what part of queens you live in you can take the QBORO bridge. if you live in astoria it probably adds about 6 miles onto your trip though.
Oh yeah, you can also go over to randalls island via the 103rd street bridge on the east side bike path. that path is usually free of weirdos then you just have to go over the triboro portion to queens. I find the section of triboro that comes into manhattan at 125th is the part that is always filled with crackheads. Be advised that the 103rd st bridge crossing closes down for the winter on Nov 1st and doesn't reopen until March.
Yes, it is the 125th street portion that concerned me. I'll try the 103rd street ramp next time. I do live in astoria and i'm well aware of the rehab center and mental institution and although I am very (extremely) liberaly oriented when it comes to poverty and drug use I also have common sense and night time around places like that does get my spidey senses tingling. Thanks for the suggestions.