Pashek Associates staff member Mike Kotyk made his first journey to New York City for the 34th annual Five Boro Bike Tour. The ride took place on Sunday, May 1st with more than 30,000 cyclists participating. Featuring 42 miles of car-free streets through all five boroughs, the tour cruised by sites such as the Empire State Building, historic Harlem, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty.
Mike and his wife stayed on the Upper West Side throughout the trip, which afforded them the opportunity to utilize the Hudson River Greenway to travel to and from the tour. The Greenway is known as the most heavily used bikeway in the United States and is the longest trail in the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway system. The planning and design of the greenway is remarkable as it provides a completely car free multi-use trail for commuters as well as for recreation. The trail follows along the Hudson River for more than 13 miles providing great views and open air breezes off the water as it passes through several parks, playgrounds, and court complexes. The southern terminus of the trail is at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, which is where the tour began.
One of the things Mike was most looking forward to along the course of the tour was gaining a new perspective of the architecture throughout Manhattan. Though he tended to focus more on not crashing into the plethora of other closely packed cyclists, the experience of being on a bicycle along Avenue of the Americas was awe inspiring.
The sharp contrast of leaving the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan and entering the lush green of Central Park was fantastic. Taking in the beautiful scenery riding through the Park with 32,000 fellow cyclists was truly an experience Mike will never forget.
The first major rest area in Astoria Park was the most memorable. Located along the East River in Queens, Astoria Park is situated adjacent to the Robert F. Kennedy (Triborough) Bridge. The park contains New York City’s largest swimming pool and utilizes the space underneath the bridge deck for a skate park. The views of the Triborough and Hell’s Gate Bridges, as well as the Manhattan Skyline across the East River, were absolutely beautiful.
The ride finishes dramatically by taking cyclists across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. When opened in 1964, it was the world’s longest suspension span bridge. The entrances of the bridge are at historic Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn and Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. The Five Boro Bike Tour and the New York City Marathon are the only two events that allow people to cross the bridge without using a motor vehicle.
The tour culminated with a Festival at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. Finally, there was a short three mile ride to the Staten Island Ferry which was packed with bicycles as it floated by the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor on its way back to Battery Park in lower Manhattan. In all, the ride was a very rewarding experience and one of the most spectacular events Mike says he has ever participated in. Needless to say, he’ll be making the trek back to New York City for the 2012 Five Boro Bike Tour.