Summer Streets 2012 — Saturday No. 1

Yes, I was one of those New Yorkers who was never around on Saturdays in August.  Then I started working at Bike and Roll and Summer Streets came into my life.

For those of you who don’t know, Summer Streets takes place every year during the first three Saturdays in August.  From 7am to 1pm on each of these days, the city shuts down Park Ave. and Lafayette St. creating a seven-mile car-free haven for pedestrians, bikes, roller skaters, and scooter-ers.  Plus, the southern two lanes of 72nd St. are roped off to create a bike lane into and out of Central Park.  For anyone north of the event and near the park, it’s the perfect car-free conduit to Summer Streets.

Let me reiterate the virtues of doing anything in New York EARLY!  The cops have blocked off the streets by 6:30am and the world is your oyster!  There are some spandex jackrabbits in the park, but peeling off onto 72nd St. means you’ve left it all behind.

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Penalty for Rule-Breaking Cyclists: A Remedial Class on How to Ride

All we can add is: Be careful out there and ride safely!New York Times July 24, 2012


The eight wrongdoers sat inside a windowless basement classroom, serving a court-ordered penance for their transgressions. For the next 90 minutes, they would learn about the proper rules of the road, how to use hand signals and when to change lanes safely — even if most did not believe they had done anything wrong.

“He said I wasn’t in the bike lane,” said Kenny McKissick, a 32-year-old messenger. “But I was on the line.”

This spring, the Midtown Community Court began sentencing cyclists who had been issued tickets for certain offenses in and around Midtown Manhattan to a class to learn about bicycles and traffic.

Think remedial driver’s education — for bike riders.

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A Summer Day on Governors Island

We were looking for something special to do.  My kids are leaving for camp on Sunday, so we want to do something special and memorable on Saturday.  Since several weeks of separation are looming, my children are being very nice to me and agree to get up early to go to Governors Island.

I am one of those New Yorkers who doesn’t like crowds.  There are lots of us on this island of more than eight million and we use tricks to feel like there are far fewer people than those who actually share our space.

The first trick is to go wherever you are going early!  Visit any location that tourists and locals like to visit and you’ll notice that they are empty until noon or so on weekends.  The kids and I are up, dressed, breakfasted, and out the door by 8am Saturday morning.  We catch the subway down to South Ferry and were at the GI ferry terminal by 8:40am.

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Bike and Roll – Central Park, New York –

Are you looking for something exciting, fun, and new to do this summer? Do you enjoy being outdoors and staying fit? Then get ready to experience one of the most popular attractions in New York! Bike and Roll offers a wide-variety of bicycle rentals and tours around Manhattan, Central Park, 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, Hudson River, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Miami, and much more. These tours won’t only give you a great workout, but they will also teach you historic facts that you’ll remember forever.

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Hudson River Park: Manhattan waterside destination

BETH J. HARPAZ | July 12, 2012 11:07 AM EST | AP

NEW YORK — In the last decade, the decrepit piers and industrial zones along five miles of the Hudson River on Manhattan’s West Side have been utterly transformed. Hudson River Park is now a destination that gets 17 million visits annually, with a bike path, green spaces, playgrounds and recreation ranging from mini-golf and skateboarding to kayaking and even stand-up paddleboarding.

Melissa Lopez rented a bike a few weeks ago from Bike and Roll at Pier 84, near 44th Street and 12th Avenue, and was amazed at what she saw as she rode downtown through the park.

“It was gorgeous, like a little nature haven, beautiful flowers, trees, and only when you looked over to your left (at the buildings), did you realize you were in between a concrete jungle and this beautiful river,” said Lopez, 29, who came in from her home in suburban Westchester for the day. “Everyone was doing something active – sunbathing, rollerblading, bike riding. There was one pier with a volleyball court with sand. I kept telling my boyfriend, `Are we really in New York City?'”

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You have to see it to believe it (Governors Island)

Picture this. A beautiful park, complete with lush grass and foliage as well as a historic buildings, completely surrounded by water, with a view of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Manhattan skyline.  If didn’t hate using clichés so much this would be where I started to call it one of New York’s “best kept secrets,” a real “diamond in the rough.”

In all reality though, I was shocked while biking around Governors Island. It is a tiny little island only 800 feet of the coast of Manhattan. Yet, somehow, there is almost no noise, no cars, and no people. Rather than weaving in and out of people and cars, overwhelmed by horns and chatter, I got to ride completely uninhibited by others.


Ever since the day I interviewed at Bike and Roll, I have been hearing about this amazing island. Even still, I must say, the promotional material certainly does not do it justice. You will have to experience the beautiful serenity of Governors Island first hand to truly understand that this rant isn’t even an exaggeration!

The New York Skyline

They New York skyline is, without a doubt, one of the most famed views of the city. Every street vendor has at least three framed versions of it in their collection. In “How I Met Your Mother,” the protagonist, an architect named Ted, dreams of adding a building to it. And in “500 Days of Summer,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt loves to sketch the skyline almost as much as he loves Zooey Deschanel. Up until yesterday, these images made up my mental picture of the New York City skyline.

So, what happened yesterday to completely alter my perception of the skyline, you may ask. Well, I viewed Manhattan from the Manhattan Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Promenade, all within a three-hour time span.

The best view of the tour was from the Promenade. As I stood at the fence with old mansions, surrounded by blossoming bushes and plants behind me, I could see the entire skyline, two different bridges (Brooklyn and Manhattan), the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Nature, impressive architecture and historic sights were all incorporated into this one picturesque moment. After this experience, I finally understand why Joseph Gordon-Levitt found such peace sitting, surrounded by the park’s nature and admiring the skyline.

Another breathtaking view of the skyline came when we stopped at the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. Without a car in sight I was able to stand above the river with a warm breeze cooling my sweaty body. While standing there, could see exactly why artists and movie directors are sure to incorporate the skyline into their projects. It truly is an experience that pictures can’t do justice.

One final success I have to attribute to this tour was the tour guides ability to assuage some of my fears of biking through the streets of New York. Not only did he fearlessly navigate through the traffic, but his knowledge of lower Manhattan was so impressive it made me realize how necessary biking through the cities various neighborhoods really is. Damien knew the ins and outs of Wall St., Federal Hall, China town, Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. I would never have been able to cover so much terrain by foot. Even if could though, I get so caught up in the masses of people hustling through the streets my view of the sights is always somewhat obscured.

From MetroFocus

Be a Better Tourist in NYC, Even If You’re a Local

Lindsay Armstrong, Menglin Huang, Christina Mullgan, Esha Ray | June 8, 2012 4:00 AM

On Wheels and Water

Claire Gorayeb

Director of Marketing for Bike and Roll. Bikes can be rented by the hour or for a half or full day at locations around the city including Battery Park, Central Park Columbus Circle, Tavern on the Green, Riverside Park, Battery Park,  Pier 84, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Other locations (Governors Island, East River Park, and West Harlem Piers) are open on the weekend only. They also offer guided bike tours and itineraries for self-guided tours. Bike and Roll rents bike to about  100,000 people each year.

What do you wish tourists knew?

They don’t realize how much traffic-free biking there is in New York City. Beyond Central Park, you have the Hudson River bike paths, the one on the East River, Brooklyn and Queens. They’re all traffic free. Once someone does it and realizes they can ride for miles and miles uninterrupted, they’re thrilled.

Many New Yorkers don’t know it either, because they don’t live all the way over on the rivers, they might not realize it’s there.

The thing about living in New York is that you always have visitors. People’s guests want to ride. That’s when many New Yorkers come to us.

Lots don’t know how easy it is to ride in the city, either traffic-free or how to ride in traffic safely. For example, our office is on 30th between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, right in the middle of Midtown with all of the tall buildings and traffic, but there’s a bike lane on 29th and one on 30th so it’s really no problem to bike here.

VH1 Meets Bike and Roll

There is a famous quote in my family, “if Lindsay can do it, how hard can it be?” When I was four years old, I used this logic while begging my dad to teach me how to ride a two-wheeler. He had recently taught Lindsay, my older sister, and thus, I was convinced I must learn to ride as well. The next morning, my dad placed one hand on my back and help the handlebars of my magenta bike with silver tassels on the handles and guided me down our driveway as I started to peddle and figure out how to balance.

This morning, sixteen years later, this memory came rushing back to me as I met Mara Wilson, the star of Matilda and little girl in Mrs. Doubtfire. With VH1 camera’s surrounding her for their new series called, “Miss You Much,” Mara endeavored to ride a bicycle for the very first time at Bike and Roll’s location in Central Park’s Tavern on the Green.

This whirlwind started when I spent the first 45 minutes trying to help one of the producers set up a bright pink Big Wheel that he had bought at Toys R Us a matter of hours ago. After completing this relatively demoralizing task, we finished setting up the real bikes, Catherine Reitman (host) and Mara Wilson (child star), came out of make-up and began filming. Take, after take, after take.

Now, I don’t want to give anything away, so you’re going to have to watch the show in early September for a couple reasons. Not only do I know you are curious what Mara has been up to but, see if she actually learned how to ride a bike!

City Biking Trumps Suburbia

As a girl who grew up in the suburbs of Boston, I was allotted a luxury that many New Yorkers might find hard to fathom: a backyard and a quiet neighborhood street where I could learn to ride my bike. Unsurprisingly, on my many trips to the city the idea of taking a bike ride never crossed my mind. However, when Bike and Roll hired me as a marketing intern this summer I needed to see what all the fuss was about.
Filled with doubt and a little scared for my life, I hopped on my bike at our Pier 84 location and rode uptown on the Hudson River Greenway. Immediately, I was shocked. There was not a car in sight. I was completely isolated from all NYC commotion. There were kids playing basketball, parents walking with their children and even students stealing a quiet moment looking out at the river or reading a book.
This experience was further enhanced by the plethora of tall ships, battle cruisers, and tugboats spraying water on the Hudson River signifying the start of Fleet Week. Boats filled with members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard sailed along beside me as I pedaled by the Intrepid Museum and up the Greenway.
Later I made my way over to world-renowned Central Park. This is one area of New York that I thought I knew relatively well. Every time I visited my grandparents in the city while I was growing up, we would go for a walk through the park, play in a playground or at least eat a giant pretzel. However, when I left Tavern on the Green my perception was forever changed. I whizzed by the soft pretzel stand and weaved through the traffic-free park streets (most of the park drives are closed to cars during the day) leaving every concern behind me.
At this point you are probably curious as to how an intern who is living in a dorm room in New York managed to attain her very own bike to ride around the city. Well, it all started when my boss said something along the lines of, “why don’t you walk over to the warehouse, I’ll meet you there in an hour.”
I fought the foot traffic uptown for a few blocks until I saw a garage entrance with our logo proudly adorning the doorway. I walked in to a large room filled with rows of hundreds of bikes with royal blue Bike and Roll bags strapped to the handlebars. Wide-eyed and slightly overwhelmed, I looked over at the eclectic gr

oup of five mechanics building and fixing bikes in the corner. To my relief, the lead mechanic, Kate, who I had previously met in the office, hopped up to greet me. She expertly navigated through the myriad bikes and within seconds was tuning and cleaning up a bike that was my size.

After Kate’s expert hands had checked the gears, cleaned the chain, and performed a few other tests my fear had nearly dissipated. When my boss arrived a few minutes later, we buckled our helmets and were off. Without waiting for the subway or sitting in traffic, we spent the afternoon traversing the city. Plus, as an added bonus, I have never fallen asleep faster or slept so soundly in my life.