22 mile advanced route
Starts and ends at the St. George ferry terminal
A- St. George Ferry terminal
B- Snug Harbor Cultural Center
C- New Springville Greenway
D- LaTourette Park Greenway
E - Nacho Mama
F- The Flagship Brewing Company
While sometimes Staten Island feels like a world removed from the other 4 boroughs, the fifth but not forgotten borough has a lot to offer in terms of culture and car-free biking infrastructure. My fondness for Staten Island started when I was interning in the wayfinding unit at the Department of Transportation and tasked with researching cultural landmarks to put on the maps. Through my research, I discovered that Staten Island has the largest Sri Lankan population outside of Sri Lanka, discussed in the North Shore route, a beautiful botanic garden and cultural center at Snug Habor, a museum of Tibetan art, multiple large parks and greenways throughout the borough, and so much more! In pre-pandemic days Transportation Alternatives would put on the "Tour de Staten Island" in April, an event I've had fun participating in for a few years. With bike tours on pause, I decided to craft my own Staten Island route to visit some Staten Island favorites, and to find some new ones! This route is rated advanced both because it is a longer route, but also because certain parts of the route are on streets without bike lanes with fast-moving car traffic. While I do love exploring Staten Island, it is a car-dominated place with limited street cycling infrastructure, which is it makes it difficult to access the beautiful parks and bike paths more central in the island. I recommend taking a buddy or two on this route, taking it slow on the bike-lane-free streets, and taking your time to explore the park paths and surrounding green space when you arrive. Hop onto that ferry for some Staten Island biking time!
For simplicity's sake, this route begins at the Staten Island ferry terminal at St. George. If you are coming to SI from one of the other 4 boroughs, you will need to take the ferry from Whitehall Station. The ferry runs from Whitehall to St. George terminal every 30 minutes, so if you miss one boat you don't have too long of a wait until the next one comes. To board the ferry, you have to take your bike to get sniffed by the drug dogs and then head to the bike waiting area. It always feels a bit odd to be separated out from all the other ferry passengers, and when my friend and I went to get our bikes sniffed the guard asked us "Are you going to Staten Island?" like he was surprised to see casual cyclists making the trip. Weirdness aside, the ferry ride is one of my favorite parts of going to Staten Island. Who doesn't love a free boat trip with amazing views of the Statue of Liberty? I've also been known to ride the ferry just for fun, I recommend it as a cheap date idea as well. A free 30 minute sunset boat ride where you can grab a beer? Gotta love NYC.
Once you exit the ferry terminal, head up the 2-way bike lane to Richmond Terrace. Richmond Terrace has a bike lane in the area immediately surrounding the terminal, but it quickly disappears and it turns into a bit of a rough patch of road. You won't be on Richmond Terrace long before you can turn off onto Harbor Road to enter the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden. If even just for a quick visit, Snug Harbor is worth a stop. It was my first time making it to the botanical gardens, and I was truly delighted by the expanse of green space, walkways lined with blooming trees, and the small gardens dotting the lawn. We didn't spend much time exploring here, but even just taking a quick walk around the lawn was a great way to spend some time.
Once you've had your fill of exploring the garden grounds, head back onto Richmond Terrace. This part of the route deserves some caution, as there is no bike lane on this portion of Richmond Terrace and there are a few turns that car drivers take quickly without much thought to the other road users. I would say to just make sure to take your space on the road, even if it means taking the full lane at some portions and incurring the wrath of the drivers (they can wait). From Richmond Terrace, turn onto Morningstar Road, which is mostly a slow residential 2- way street until it turns into a wide 3 lane street with no shoulder. This stretch was my least favorite part of the journey, and felt the most like I was biking in a suburban enclave that doesn't respect biking as a viable form of transportation! Thankfully the worst part is about a 2 block stretch, after which the street becomes more manageable with a wide shoulder to bike in. From Richmond Avenue, you will want to take a right onto Lander Avenue and a left onto Arlene Street. Once you're on Arlene Street you can breathe a little easier because there is a nice bike lane that will take you down to the entrance of the New Springville Greenway. The New Springville Greenway was completed in 2015 and runs along the eastern edge of Fresh Kills Park. It's a multi-use trail for biking, walking, and other activities that is completely separated from cars and runs through a portion of the William T Davis Wildlife Refuge. It is fully paved and well maintained, and makes for some excellent biking!
Once you have biked to the end of the New Springville Greenway, you can easily connect to the LaTourette Park bike path. This is a gravel path, so be warned if you have super thin tires! I have thin road bike tires and was able to handle the path fine, but something to be aware of. Enjoy the view on this beautiful tree-lined path that passes by a Model Airfield and a golf course. If you're in the mood for some food after covering all that distance by bike, I recommend turning onto Rockland Avenue to Richmond Avenue (where you might want to just walk your bike on the sidewalk) to get over to Nacho Mama's, a recently opened vegan restaurant with a cute outdoor seating area. The owner of the restaurant seemed very surprised to see bikers visiting her establishment, but was very attentive and kept coming out to check up on us and ask us where we were from and if we liked the food. My friend and I got some nachos and the buffalo cauliflower tater tots, which were so tasty! While getting over to Nacho Mama wasn't the easiest feat by bike, I would say it was well worth it. After you have fueled up, take Morningstar Road back to Richmond Terrace, where you can bike past the St. George Ferry terminal and over to the Flagship Brewing Co. to grab a quick drink before your ferry back to Manhattan. With ample outdoor seating and space for your bike, it's a great place to relax before heading back to the hustle of the city. I hope you enjoy this greenway tour of Staten Island!
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!