These days, New York City is becoming ever more a bike friendly city: bike lanes are popping up along all the major arteries of the city, and a glorious and spacious bike path trims either side of the island of Manhattan, spreading out into Brooklyn, Queens and beyond. Besides, taking a subway to or from a date can ruin the mood with its cornucopia of smells, awkward rose peddlers, horrible buskers and worse.
Enjoy the freedom and the closeness that bicycling can create with these great bike dates.
Get Wild with a Monday Night Out
On August 26th from 6-9 PM, Wild Style, a seminal film about the development of the hip hop scene and subway art in the Bronx will be celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a screening of the film and special guest performances. The fun will go down at the East River band shell located in the East River Park, which provides ample pathways for biking, plush green grass for a picnic blanket and many bars and restaurants within biking distance for dinner or a night cap.
Directions: Meet at Katja on Orchard Street for a pre-show beer in one of 3 sizes. From there, ride north on Orchard Street and then turn right, making your way east across Broome Street until you see the FDR highway. Ride across the small overpass bridge safely avoiding the highway (there are ramps on either side of the overpass bridge). Turn right and ride south until you see the band shell.
Dinner and a Movie
Sure, it’s easy enough to roll into a Regal Cinema or AMC Loews, grab a bucket of popcorn and some Skittles and call it a night, but let’s polish this date up by adding the Williamsburg Bridge, Nitehawk Cinema and bikes! Nitehawk Cinema is a fantastic theater where you can watch old movies or new movies with the combined bonus of booze and a full brunch and dinner menu with the added concession of actual concessions. “I Spit On Your Grave” is currently playing. Can anyone say, “romance”? There are tables situated at the cinema chairs so you don’t have to hold your food in your lap like a schmoe.
Directions: Meet at Essex Street Market to grab a bottle of water for the bridge. Hop on your wheels, turn left, cross Delancey (careful!) and take a left on Broome Street. Follow Broome to Clinton. Turn left on Clinton. Cross Delancey and turn right onto the Williamsburg Bridge. (This route prevents you from riding alongside cars on Delancey.) You might find the bridge a bit steep so ride to the middle level and take a Instagram moment / water break there. The sweeping views, stellar people watching and painless coast down the bridge make it well worth the incline. Once in Williamsburg, take a left and follow the path around to S. 4th Street. Take a right on Berry, follow that to Metropolitan. Take a left on Metropolitan and see it on your left.
Red Hook Ferry Fandango
This summer at Pier 11 (just past the South Street Seaport), you can catch a ferry to Red Hook, and you can even bring a bike! Huzzah! It’s $5 weekdays and free on the weekends. The ferry allows you to zip across the waterway, stopping at Ikea and Fairway. Count those spots as part of your adventure if you choose. The Good Fork, Home/Made or Red Hook Lobster Pound offer local fare for your fiesta.
Directions: Meet at Kaffe 1668 and grab an El Salvador if it’s on the menu, as they change it up regularly. After a shot of caffeine (or a decaf latte), hop on your wheels and pedal West until you hit the gorgeous West Side bike path. Take a left and follow it south, around the tip of Manhattan until you see pier 11. It’s just past the heliport. Grab a spot in line, bike in tow, and sit tight – they only take 60 people at a time, but no problem-o, that gives you and your date a bit of time to chat and get to know each other a little better.
Private Island Getaway
Just one door down from the Staten Island Ferry is a lesser-known water shuttle that will take you to Governor’s Island in 7 minutes. The gorgeous Governor’s Island appears to be trapped in time, like something straight out of the Twilight Zone. For nearly 200 years, the island served as a military base and then was sold to the city around 2003 to become a playground / place to take your beau, crush or squeeze. The buildings remain, some more intact than others, and the island is surrounded in its entirety by a bike path, strewn with trees and lush greenery and open to the public. Art events, picnics, festivals and more take place there all summer long. Bikes are allowed on the ferry.
Directions: Meet at the Watermark, a massive, awe inspiring floating bar and park at South Street Seaport’s Pier 15. Grab an iced tea to whet your whistle. Then, ride your bicycles south along the East River a short jaunt until you see the Staten Island Ferry Terminal. Stop at the building just before the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, and you’re there. The ferry is free. Don’t forget to bring a picnic and blanket, a small radio or cassette deck, a flask (shhhh) and a little sweater, as the ferry can get chilly. But of course, someone to hold you tight when the wind picks up is just as good.
Summer Street It Up with Someone Special
Once a year in the summertime, NYC opens up miles of city streets normally overwhelmed by car traffic so that we the people can walk, run, ride bikes, skateboard and otherwise make our way up and down the island of Manhattan. The event includes free entertainment, refreshments, fitness programming and more, as well as the surprising delight of being able to traverse the city via the center of a major fare way.
Directions: Prior to meeting, check out the Summer Street’s schedule to see all the events taking place. Meet at the top of the strip near Central Park East and E. 70th Street. Make your way down the Avenue, enjoying the many art, fitness and other free activities offered. The route stretches down to the bottom of the island. When you get to the end, don’t forget to ruin all your calories burned by sharing a warm waffle with spekuloos ice cream and hazelnut topping from Waffles and Dinges Pagadder Truck in City Hall Park. NOTE: Summer Streets has concluded for 2013. Check the website for next year’s event details.