Last Updated: 11:18 PM, May 20, 2011
Posted: 10:57 PM, May 20, 2011
START: Before you go, map your route (and all these routes) on the NYC Cycling Map (nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikemaps.shtml). Then, get to the northwest corner of Central Park (at 110th Street). Continue north on Frederick Douglass Boulevard to St. Nicholas Avenue â€” St. Nicholas Park is on your left.
DETOURS: Turn left at 141st Street for the Alexander Hamilton Grange National Memorial. Built in 1802, the home of The Postâ€™s founder was moved there from a nearby block. The property is still a construc-tion zone, but it’s cool to see. Across the street is Hamilton Terrace. Cruise past its elegant single-family rowhouses, then turn right on Convent Avenue then right on 145th street to St. Nicholas Avenue, where you’ll turn left to go north. At the fork, continue on the path to St. Nicholas Place. At 155th Street, ride up Edgecombe Avenue to the Morris-Jamel Mansion, Manhattanâ€™s oldest house (1765!) and HQ to George Washington in 1776. Check out yellow clapboard houses of nearby Sylvan Terrace, built in 1882.
CONTINUE: Backtrack to 155th Street, then head north along Harlem River Drive, which parallels Highbridge Park. The first stretch is a sparsely used, gritty concrete path. But itâ€™ll be worth it when the breathtaking, 138-foot-tall High Bridge (built in 1848) comes into view.
PICNIC HERE: Soon youâ€™ll run into hidden gem Swindler Cove Park, an oasis thatâ€™s part of Bette Midlerâ€™s New York Restoration Project. Park by a bench for a picnic with views of the river and the Peter Jay Sharp Boathouse (which hosts an annual regatta).
CONTINUE: At the end of Harlem River Drive, take busy Dyckman Avenue toward Broadway (grab a slice here) and follow the signs south to Riverside Drive and the Henry Hudson Greenway. With sweeping views of the Hudson River, it goes under the George Washington Bridge to Battery Park.
WATER BREAK: Inspiration Point is a neoclassical Greek shelter built in 1925 for visitors wanting a panoramic view from 136 feet above the river (around 190th Street). At about 100th Street, find some somewhat clean public restrooms where you can refill your water bottle â€” the waterâ€™s super-cold!
DESTINATION: Continue south on the Greenway to West 79th Street Boat Basin Cafe (212-496-5542) to refuel with a burger and a beer â€” or coffee (if you have more biking to do) â€” while you people-watch and drink in the views of the Hudson. â€” Mary Huhn