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Old 05-01-12, 02:44 PM   #1
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Would you "tour" NYC for a day or so from Amtrak (Penn Station)?

Looking to add some big city stops on my Amtrak/Bicycle (folding) trip this summer and I wanted to know if NYC would be a good place to get off the train to spend an afternoon or day exploring? I can spend one night there as well. Mainly, I am interesting in sights to see (just being in the middle of such a high density area will be sight enough for me I'm sure!) and whether or not this would be a good trip with respect to facilities to ride on safely. I don't mind traffic, but if it is crazy then I might not consider it. In addition, I will have a 13 year old daughter with me and that might change your opinion.

If we need to bike a block or two and get a hotel so that we can explore by foot that would be fine as well. Just trying to get a feel for this option. I hate to ask this too for fear of offending anyone from that area, but what about personal safety in this area as well? Although it is not quite "city mouse' vs. "country mouse" I am concerned enough to not just drop in and see what its like without asking (if I was alone I might).
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Old 05-01-12, 02:54 PM   #2
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New York is about the last place I would want to visit on a bike. Don't get me wrong, I like NYC, but traffic is horrible and dangerous, especially for a child. Bike thieves abound. There are places to ride, parks, etc., but getting to them is the problem. Also, hotels are ridiculously expensive for what you get. The city is best seen on foot, and by cab or subway.
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Old 05-01-12, 03:05 PM   #3
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Get the FREE NYC Bike map and circumnavigate the city using the Hudson River Greenway and the paths along the East River. Just be very carful riding.
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Old 05-01-12, 03:08 PM   #4
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If you've never been in NYC, it's definitely worth a visit.
A lot of bike paths have been put into place, that makes
biking from place to place easier. No need to get a hotel
just to park your bikes. Bring a decent lock, another option
would be a staffed parking garage(around $10 a day). As
far as safety goes, if you look at crime statistics, NYC is
one of the safest place if you compare population and crimes
committed. I've lived in the area for over 25 years now
and I'm comfortable sending my friends and relatives on their
own to the "city".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXsWfHKmrTo
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Old 05-01-12, 04:42 PM   #5
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I would ABSOLUTELY tour NYC from penn station. planning on it one of these years.

a great idea. just keep your wits about you, and get a NYC bike map.
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Old 05-01-12, 04:57 PM   #6
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Here's a link to the NYC bike map: http://www.nycbikemaps.com/
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Old 05-01-12, 06:02 PM   #7
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The traffic here might take a little getting used to, but as long as you just stick to the side of the road and anticipate that vehicles will be overtaking you, possibly to turn down a street as you approach an intersection, you should be fine. Our drivers have been coexisting with cyclists for some time now and are generally very aware. I actually find that the cyclists pose a greater threat to themselves, other cyclists, and pedestrians than do cars and feel safer riding around in Manhattan than I did riding through some sections of rural Virginia. There are indeed plenty of bike lanes, but be weary of cars using them to double park as well as pedestrians wandering out in front of you. The west side of manhattan has a bicycle path that runs the length of manhattan and offers you sweet hudson river views.. Take it all the way down south through battery park city and you will hit the marina at the World Financial Center. Keep riding south and you will soon come across a sweet view of the statue of liberty. Also, cross either Brooklyn or Manhattan bridge for some great scenery.. Brooklyn has some nice spots for cycling as well.. as does the Bronx..

You can also head north along the Hudson river greenway and connect with the George Washington bridge, then hug the jersey riverbank south for some spectacular views of manhattan.. Will have to do some climbing to get back over, though..

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Old 05-01-12, 06:09 PM   #8
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I have taken Amtrak to Penn Station and biked all all over the city on my dahon Mu P8. I have found NYC to be very bike friendly. The Bikeway along the Hudson river is spectacular. You can take water taxies to many docks along the water front. I am partial to lower Manhattan on weekends. Cycling over any of the bridges GW or Brooklyn will give breathtaking views. You shouldn"t miss an oportunity to see the city by bicycle
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Old 05-01-12, 06:32 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the responses. I checked out the NYC map and it gives me lots of ideas and options. Bike lanes running right alongside Penn Station and an easy shot over to the Hudson River. I would really hate to miss the opportunity to visit so I will continue to research the idea.

alan s thank you for your opinion as well. i like to hear all sides of an issue so I can make a good decision.

I think it would provide a lasting impression on my daughter (good ones I hope). We ride some dicey stuff together here (not as tough as what I expect in NYC) so i think we can do it. Would the day we go make a difference? Weekday vs. Saturday or Sunday? We could shoot for an early Sunday morning if that was a must. However, if it is anything like Miami it doesn't matter - everyone seems to be on the road night or day, Sunday or Monday!

The video was helpful in seeing what the traffic was like. What was nice to see was how slow the traffic was. I do not like riding in cities that have high speed traffic. I really enjoy mixing it up with city movement.
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Old 05-01-12, 06:39 PM   #10
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Sunday would be ideal in terms of traffic.. During the weekdays you get a lot of commercial congestion.. Delivery vans, trucks.. driving around and double parking.. No rush hour to contend with..
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Old 05-03-12, 06:28 PM   #11
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Nonsense. There is a dedicated bike path around most of lower Manhattan that is spectacular. Sure, it's a crowded place - because there is so much to see and do. I just did a ride down the East side and Up the West side, passing the Bowery with a fantastic view of the Statue of Liberty and the newly rising Freedom Tower.

While the City is not for everyone - neither is Kansas
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Old 05-03-12, 07:49 PM   #12
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Spent three days riding my folder around NYC last year. Riding over Brooklyn Bridge and coming back via the Manhattan Bridge was one of many highlights. I steered clear of the traditional tourist spots and just rode. Traffic is there but heaps of bike lanes (on and off road) made it no more difficult than most cities. Fantastic experience!!!



Note the bike lane.
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Old 05-03-12, 08:47 PM   #13
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Don't worry about the cars, worry about pedestrians and food delivery guys on bikes. You should definitely ride in NYC, it's spectacular.
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Old 05-03-12, 10:48 PM   #14
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I also want to add that you don't have to stay there in a hotel. Take the subway to Brooklyn or Queens and prices for motel drop dramatically. Also, do the "Loop" in Central Park on a Sunday afternoon. The first time you do it, you'll remember it forever.
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Old 05-04-12, 06:47 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ridefreemc View Post
if NYC would be a good place to get off the train to spend an afternoon or day exploring?
Since we're from NJ we visit NYC by both train & bicycle. I think each offers its own unique benefits and given a few days to spend in NYC you could do both, but you don't seem to have that much time.

I'd stay the night in NYC, pick a hotel and drop off the bikes, with only a day to catch NYC you're better off on foot & subway. As mentioned the greenways along the rivers are fantastic and there are plenty of bike lanes in Manhattan, but there is traffic, pot holes and construction all of the time, plus there is really nowhere safe to secure bikes in NYC.

In my opinion having a bike to visit the "major" NYC sites would be a huge mistake, however for absorbing the flavor of the city away from the tourist sites a bike is great, but it sounds like you don't have the time for such touring. For example, Times square, World Trade Center site, Macy's, Statute of Liberty, Museums, Wall street, South Street Seaport, the list goes on and on... Are all easily (and quickly) accessed via subway/foot where a bicycle takes time and needs safe storage at each site, and places like Times square & the World Trade Center site are insanely packed, its difficult for two people to walk together in these places let alone navigate bicycles.

I'm not a big fan of the red double-decker tourist buses, but if you're short on time and want to maximize you and your daughters first NYC experience this is not a bad option.

Amtrak's New York Penn station is a major station and is smack in the center of the city, I'd suggest finding the closest hotel to the station and drop the necessary coin for the convenience, hey its only one night, splurge.

+1 for Sunday in Manhattan, in particular the morning is amazingly peaceful.

As for personal safety the area around Penn Station if fine, very busy, lots of people around, etc. As for the rest of Manhattan I've never felt unsafe in any tourist area, I find the city to be pretty safe, of course the standard disclaimer that crime can happen anywhere still applies. Stay on your toes, don't look like an easy target, all of the things that I apply to every city I ever visit.

Last edited by DCwom; 05-04-12 at 07:01 AM. Reason: Add comment about personal safety
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Old 05-06-12, 06:29 PM   #16
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Since we're from NJ we visit NYC by both train & bicycle. I think each offers its own unique benefits and given a few days to spend in NYC you could do both, but you don't seem to have that much time.

I'd stay the night in NYC, pick a hotel and drop off the bikes, with only a day to catch NYC you're better off on foot & subway. As mentioned the greenways along the rivers are fantastic and there are plenty of bike lanes in Manhattan, but there is traffic, pot holes and construction all of the time, plus there is really nowhere safe to secure bikes in NYC.

In my opinion having a bike to visit the "major" NYC sites would be a huge mistake, however for absorbing the flavor of the city away from the tourist sites a bike is great, but it sounds like you don't have the time for such touring. For example, Times square, World Trade Center site, Macy's, Statute of Liberty, Museums, Wall street, South Street Seaport, the list goes on and on... Are all easily (and quickly) accessed via subway/foot where a bicycle takes time and needs safe storage at each site, and places like Times square & the World Trade Center site are insanely packed, its difficult for two people to walk together in these places let alone navigate bicycles.

I'm not a big fan of the red double-decker tourist buses, but if you're short on time and want to maximize you and your daughters first NYC experience this is not a bad option.

Amtrak's New York Penn station is a major station and is smack in the center of the city, I'd suggest finding the closest hotel to the station and drop the necessary coin for the convenience, hey its only one night, splurge.

+1 for Sunday in Manhattan, in particular the morning is amazingly peaceful.

As for personal safety the area around Penn Station if fine, very busy, lots of people around, etc. As for the rest of Manhattan I've never felt unsafe in any tourist area, I find the city to be pretty safe, of course the standard disclaimer that crime can happen anywhere still applies. Stay on your toes, don't look like an easy target, all of the things that I apply to every city I ever visit.
Great reply (as are most prior to yours). I will surely plan to go. I think like you stated to go from the Station to a motel and then put on the walking shoes is the best idea for seeing the tourist sites. If we can ride Sunday morning we'll put in some miles, but I hadn't thought about proper securing of the bikes at these spots being a problem - simply hadn't thought that far, but you are right. Many places I go, bike or motorcycle I limit the time off each and base that on how secure the area is. Sometimes just ride up, look around, and head out without getting off.

To all, I'm keeping this thread for future planning. For example, I didn't think of the Seaport and would love to go there. If you have more suggestions please don't hesitate to post.

BTW - I thought we'd go down to Washington Square area for a hotel.
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Old 05-07-12, 06:51 AM   #17
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To all, I'm keeping this thread for future planning. For example, I didn't think of the Seaport and would love to go there. If you have more suggestions please don't hesitate to post.

BTW - I thought we'd go down to Washington Square area for a hotel.
For more suggestions with a young teenager I would add the Rose/ Center/Heyden Planetarium/Museum of natural history, this would take pretty much a whole day, so maybe keep this as a foul weather idea. Of course grabbing tickets to a 1/2 price Broadway show (from TKTS booth in Times square) is also a great memory for a teenager as well. For a girl, a horse-drawn carriage ride with daddy in central park would probably be a big hit too.

I'm not familiar with Washington Square, so I can't say much about the area or hotels, but if you stay north of Penn station, i.e. times square area, it's pretty impressive to walk around Times square at night with the lights and people, it is an experience of its own.
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Old 05-07-12, 09:28 AM   #18
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I am partial to lower Manhattan on weekends. Cycling over any of the bridges GW or Brooklyn will give breathtaking views. You shouldn"t miss an oportunity to see the city by bicycle
Never ridden over the GW, but +10 on lower Manhattan on the wekends and the Brooklyn Bridge. The bike/ped way on the bridge is above the car deck, so you not only get great views of the surrounding area, you are right among the some of the bridge's architectural features. One option is to head over the bridge to the promenade in Brooklyn Heights. It's elevated and faces lower Manhattan. While the view is sort of cooler at night, it's still nice during the day. You can even the Statue of Liberty off in the distance.

Another "must see" is the High Line park built on the old W. 30th St. elevated rail line. While you cannot ride your bike on it, it's worth a visit. Just bring good locks to secure your bikes while you walk it:

http://www.thehighline.org/

Taken on the Brooklyn Bridge during our annual club ride from New Hope, PA to Brooklyn Heights. The views in other directions are better:

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Old 05-07-12, 05:30 PM   #19
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For more suggestions with a young teenager I would add the Rose/ Center/Heyden Planetarium/Museum of natural history, this would take pretty much a whole day, so maybe keep this as a foul weather idea. Of course grabbing tickets to a 1/2 price Broadway show (from TKTS booth in Times square) is also a great memory for a teenager as well. For a girl, a horse-drawn carriage ride with daddy in central park would probably be a big hit too.

I'm not familiar with Washington Square, so I can't say much about the area or hotels, but if you stay north of Penn station, i.e. times square area, it's pretty impressive to walk around Times square at night with the lights and people, it is an experience of its own.
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Never ridden over the GW, but +10 on lower Manhattan on the wekends and the Brooklyn Bridge. The bike/ped way on the bridge is above the car deck, so you not only get great views of the surrounding area, you are right among the some of the bridge's architectural features. One option is to head over the bridge to the promenade in Brooklyn Heights. It's elevated and faces lower Manhattan. While the view is sort of cooler at night, it's still nice during the day. You can even the Statue of Liberty off in the distance.

Another "must see" is the High Line park built on the old W. 30th St. elevated rail line. While you cannot ride your bike on it, it's worth a visit. Just bring good locks to secure your bikes while you walk it:

http://www.thehighline.org/

Taken on the Brooklyn Bridge during our annual club ride from New Hope, PA to Brooklyn Heights. The views in other directions are better:

Looks like we could plan our 2 weeks in NYC alone - that would be a cool trip. Anyway, I think I will plan more than a day based on some of the input here. Nice to have some flexibility.
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Old 05-08-12, 08:28 AM   #20
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+10 on lower Manhattan on the weekends and the Brooklyn Bridge. The bike/ped way on the bridge is above the car deck, so you not only get great views of the surrounding area, you are right among the some of the bridge's architectural features. One option is to head over the bridge to the promenade in Brooklyn Heights. It's elevated and faces lower Manhattan. While the view is sort of cooler at night, it's still nice during the day. You can even the Statue of Liberty off in the distance.
For a good loop trip to the promenade from Manhattan, check out this old map/cue sheet , http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/download...kethefalls.pdf when the waterfalls art project was active in 2008. We followed the guide and it was safe & easy and almost all bike lanes, they even painted road markings to follow. While the waterfalls are long gone the views of the city and the rides across the bridges were the high point of the ride anyway. It might be worth saving the pdf of the guide while its still available online.
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Old 05-08-12, 10:08 AM   #21
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Thanks DCwom. Saved!
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Old 05-08-12, 10:34 AM   #22
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I say bring the bikes and try riding around the city. There are bike paths/shared lanes all throughout brooklyn/manhattan.

my suggestion, if you want to really see some of native NYC bike highlights is to ride over the Williamsburg Bridge:

- you'll have panoramic views of the East River, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.
- once you cross the bridge go to the east river park to have breathtaking views of Manhattan
- you'll be on one of the true "bike highways" of NYC because of its truly separate lane for bikers (manhattan bridge has one too) - commuters/recreational riders/skateboarders/delivery guys/ect use it to bike commute from brooklyn to manhattan 24/7
- its the gateway to williamsburg so you'll see tons of hipsters on singlespeed/fixed bikes - its something a teen would love to see (the hipster epicenter of the world).
-it has that NYC urban decay (subway travels right under you, people, graffiti, garish colors) but its safe and easy to use.





belive it or not... but this is the official bronze sign of williamsburg bridge! hahah its "face" changes daily.





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Old 05-08-12, 07:48 PM   #23
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I say bring the bikes and try riding around the city. There are bike paths/shared lanes all throughout brooklyn/manhattan.

my suggestion, if you want to really see some of native NYC bike highlights is to ride over the Williamsburg Bridge:

- you'll have panoramic views of the East River, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.
- once you cross the bridge go to the east river park to have breathtaking views of Manhattan
- you'll be on one of the true "bike highways" of NYC because of its truly separate lane for bikers (manhattan bridge has one too) - commuters/recreational riders/skateboarders/delivery guys/ect use it to bike commute from brooklyn to manhattan 24/7
- its the gateway to williamsburg so you'll see tons of hipsters on singlespeed/fixed bikes - its something a teen would love to see (the hipster epicenter of the world).
-it has that NYC urban decay (subway travels right under you, people, graffiti, garish colors) but its safe and easy to use.





belive it or not... but this is the official bronze sign of williamsburg bridge! hahah its "face" changes daily.





You are making me wish I could leave for NYC this weekend!

Thanks.
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Old 05-09-12, 03:46 PM   #24
runningDoc
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OK I just re-read your first post:

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Originally Posted by Ridefreemc View Post
Looking to add some big city stops on my Amtrak/Bicycle (folding) trip this summer and I wanted to know if NYC would be a good place to get off the train to spend an afternoon or day exploring? I can spend one night there as well.
if you're coming to NYC this Summer and are wondering about bringing your bikes - I say YES!

because you get to try out one of NYC gems for biking: Governors Island!

It has a free ferry (from either Brooklyn or Manhattan) on the weekend and is one of the more beautiful places to see manhattan (financial district)/ellis island/staten island ferry/statue of liberty/brooklyn bridge/ect ect..



and the best part is: there are no cars! its all bikes!

here are some of the actual views you can see while riding around the 2.5mile radius:










my wife and I would bike there bring a lunch there and picnic almost every weekend in 2010. We would actually take the brooklyn ferry there and sometimes the manhattan ferry back to be able to ride around manhattan then back home to brooklyn.

its one of those places that Manhattanites may never actually visit, but when they do they almost want to keep it secret because of how nice and easy it is (because the ferries are free).
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Old 05-09-12, 07:00 PM   #25
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Great idea Runningdoc - thanks.
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