9 mile beginner route
Starts Williamsburg, Brooklyn ends in LES, Manhattan.
A- Continental Army Plaza
B- Ivan Ramen
C- Tompkins Square Park (And the Avenue B Open Street)
D- 169 Bar
E- Doyers Street
F- Little Italy
G- Meatpacking District
H- Washington Square Park
J- Sara D. Roosevelt Park
K- Orchard Street
Manhattan packs a punch! This short ride is suitable for bike riders of any ability, and could easily be done on a Citibike! There are a lot of stops on this route, but they are more on the bike by side, so overall the trip shouldn't take you too long (I'd wager over an hour or so). I did this route at night, and it was such a fun way to experience the Open Streets, Open Restaurant Streets, and Open Restaurants, especially since they were all lit up at night. There were a very limited number of cars on the road, and so many people out in the streets, it is hard to imagine Manhattan every going back to being dominated by cars! Let's get rolling!
Depending on where you are coming from, you can start at the Continental Army Plaza and haul yourself over the Williamsburg Bridge, or you can take the train to the LES (I would suggest getting off at the Delancey Street FMJZ stop). Since this is a night time ride, I'm assuming you are hungry for dinner! Stop at Ivan Ramen to enjoy their outdoor dining set up (or if you are lucky, or think to plan in advance and make a reservation, they also have what appears to be a lovely backyard) and fuel yourself up. There are also Open Restaurant Streets on Ludlow Street and Orchard Street is dining outdoors without the smell of car exhaust in your food is more your thing.
Once you finish up eating, the exploring can begin! I suggest biking over to Tompkins Square Park area and walking down Avenue B, which has been converted into an Open Street. It is also fun to walk through Tompkins Square Park, there were so many people sitting out on the green there that my friend and I thought there was some kind of event going on! Turns out, people are just desperate for gathering places these days, and it was kind of fun to see the amount of socially distanced picnics happening.
Once you've explored around Avenue B a little bit, hop back on your bike and down Essex Street for a colorful ride exploring Manhattan's Chinatown and Little Italy! I found this part of the ride to be so fun, because of all the light displays. By the time I got to riding around this part of the city, all the Open Restaurants were closed, but it was fun to bike around mostly car free street and see the lights. A stop at 169 Bar is a good way to start the rest of your ride, they had nice outdoor seating, and they have been open since 1916! You'll be enjoying a drink in a piece of NYC history.
From there, it's just some more fun urban exploring. This ride is great to do at a slow pace and to just enjoy the sites and sounds of all of the outdoor restaurant displays. Since the pandemic started I've only been in Manhattan a handful of times, so it felt so different to be biking around a totally transformed city. Take your time and check out all the beautiful outdoor dining arrangements, and maybe stumble upon an outdoor comedy set up like I did! From the Meatpacking District, you get to ride around to the West Village, through Greenwich Village, and through Washington Square Park. To get back to the Williamsburg Bridge, take the two-way protected cycling path on Chrystie Street, and I suggest riding down to Orchard Street, which is also an Open Street right now!
I felt like this whole ride was relatively low stress and felt extremely casual due to the lack of cars on the roads, at a lot of points I wasn't even riding in the bike lane because there weren't any cars! The open streets, the restaurants in the streets, and the lack of tourists definitely gave me a taste of Lower Manhattan that I had yet to experience. Enjoy!
Hi! I'm Rachel.
I'm creating curated bike routes in all 5 boroughs of NYC. Routes include downloadable route map, descriptions of the bicycle infrastructure, and suggestions on places to eat and things to see. Enjoy!