It was one of those days. You know the ones that have that perfect feel. Sunny without being too bright or too hot. The breeze is blowing just enough to remind you that spring is in the air, but not so much as to be windy. A perfect day for a bike ride. And so we did.
The west coast of Manhattan is surrounded by the Hudson River Park, a linear park with an esplanade for pedestrians and a 5-mile bikeway. For the most part the trail is flat with traffic signals to protect bikers from the working traffic that is entering the piers from Westside Highway 9A.
We entered the park at 51st street and rode 5 miles, past the cruise liner, past the Intrepid battleship, and past the Circle Line port of call that provides ferry boat tours around the island. We also passed the Chelsea Pier and noted that we need to return to explore this one. We passed skateparks, an amusement park, playgrounds, and paused as we rolled past the World Trade Center. The busy city seemed a world away, and I was reminded that this is the New York I was so anxious to experience.
We ended our ride at Battery Park, where we checked our bikes and set off on foot. Battery Park sits at the southern tip of Manhattan where Castle Clinton was built as an artillery post to protect New York. That was in 1811. Now it is a museum.
There are a lot of statues and memorials around the park, but mostly it is where New Yorkers and their guests come to enjoy the view looking out to Lady Liberty. Every time I see the statue, it stops me in my tracks to see her standing proudly atop Liberty Island.
All this exercise gave us an appetite. We found the Beer Gardens between Castle Clinton and Staten Island Ferry, across from the glass carousel. Tip ordered a burger, but I made the better choice selecting a Brat with brown mustard on a pretzel bun.
With our energy replenished, we wandered through the historical area where buildings on cobblestone streets date to the days of the Revolutionary War and the founding of the country. We stopped to admire Fraunces Tavern, a place that played a pivotal role in the founding of our country, and where George Washington bid farewell to his officers in 1783.
We continued, discovering other historical places such as St. Paul’s church which is 250 years old. Although it stands across from the World Trade Center, locals tell us how the church survived 9-11 unharmed. Windows were broken blocks away, but not one was damaged on St. Paul’s Chapel.
After walking 6 miles and biking 5 we were exhausted, so we caught the E to Bryant park and walked home.
What a wonderful day! I want to retrace these steps (or pedals).
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