September - October 2005
Selected Web Resources and Reading
by Alfredo Garcia
One of my very first 5BBC rides, in 1992, was a
Beach Bum trip. The route then involved going on
the Bay Shore Parkway recreation area. Although I
didn’t realize it at the time, it was also my first ride
on a greenway. The blue sky and sunshine views
made for great and breathtaking views, particularly
of the “Narrows” and Verrazano Bridge, and gave
me tranquility. One of the trippers on the ride was
aptly named Gail Green.
Greenways have opened up a whole new world for NYC cyclists (photo: Alfredo Garcia.)
So, what is a greenway, really? According to a
gardenvisit.com web page, greenways are defined as a
linear open space, which is green in the environmental
sense and serves as a route. The latter
definition could be expanded to a passage used by
pedestrians and cyclists. In Charles E. Little’s book,
“Greenways for America,” there are five different
types of greenways: a) urban riverside; b) recreational;
c) ecological; d) scenic and historical; and
Nowadays, every New York City borough has greenways
to bike, run, walk, and roller blade, as well as
a place to pause. Although greenways are closed to
motor traffic, you still have to be alert while riding
them. Greenways are recreational places, which means
you’re not only exercising to reach a destination, but
also taking the time to appreciate your surroundings.
Some intersections are connected to roads, so you
have to watch out for moving cars. On the path
itself, it helps to be patient. Vary your riding pace,
because you will encounter pedestrians with young
children, rollerbladers and cyclists of different
speeds, in every direction. When greenways are busy
– usually during weekends and good weather days
– you may as well forget about riding fast.
To find out more about greenways, the Internet
has several useful resources:
- Brooklyn Greenway Initiative. This organization is
devoted to planning and creating greenways in the
Borough of Churches, especially along its waterfront
and the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway. They publish
a greenway planning primer and are always looking
for people to lead bike rides.
- East Coast Greenway. Devoted to the bigger picture
of greenway planning, the organization looks at
everything going on from Maine to the Florida
- Forgotten New York. Phil Goldberg introduced me
to this, and what a discovery it is! Created by Kevin
Welsh, this website uses words and photographs to
document places you may not be aware of, and
some of it are on greenways. www.forgotten-ny.com/.
- Friends of Hudson River Park. This is an organization
that supports development of the park on the
west side of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway,
from 59th St. to Chambers St. www.fohrp.org.
- GORP Biking the Big Apple. GORP is an
information network of outdoor activities throughout
the United States. gorp.away.com/gorp/location/ny/bik_gree.htm.
- Gantry State Park. The “Gantry” is a serene area in
Queens that faces the United Nations on the East
River. Hopefully, a greenway will soon reach it.
The “Gantry” refers to an inactive rail bridge that
once linked freight cars from disembarking ships
to the area’s railroad track. Besides leisure, the Park
hosts jazz music festivals. www.queenswest.com/gantrypark/pictures/.
- Great Saunter. This annual walking event happens
every May. It challenges hikers to walk the 32-mile
Manhattan perimeter, which includes the Manhattan
Waterfront Greenway, in one day. www.shorewalkers.org.
- Harlem River Speedway. On the site, you’ll see past
historic postcard photographs that show how it has
segued to this now present part of the Manhattan
Waterfront Greenway. www.coffeedrome.com/bobspeed.html.
- Manhattan Waterfront Greenway. This is the New
York City government’s official website on for the
greenway, covering its past, present and future.
- Manhattan Waterfront Greenway – Reports on
Trips and Conditions. Ken Roberts has a great
website on cycling the Hudson Valley; some of his
travels also cover Manhattan’s Greenways. www.roberts-1.com/bikehudson/v/nyc/mwg/reports/index.htm.
- NYC.bicycles. This is an online discussion newsgroup
that focuses on cycling in the Big Apple,
with very frequent talk about greenways. Go to
- New York City Department of City Planning
(Bicycle Development Network). On this site,
City Planning details what it has researched and
implemented for cycling. www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/bike/home.html.
- New York City Department of City Planning
(Bike Maps). This is the online version of the
ubiquitous maps. You can get a print copy at just
about any local bike shop or cycling event.
- New York City Department of Parks and
Recreation. A good number of our city parks are
connected to greenways. See the” Bicycling and
Greenways” section. www.nycgovparks.org/sub_things_to_do/facilities/af_bike_paths.html.
- Staten Island North Shore Greenway / Kill van
Kull Waterfront. Created by the Waterfront Park
Coalition and developed through the League of
Conservation Voters, this site covers multi-use,
green plans for developing the north side of Staten
- Tour de Bronx. This free annual bike event is
scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005. The
comprehensive borough ride includes miles of
Bronx greenways, and is not to be missed.
- Transportation Alternatives. TA is the leading bike
and pedestrian advocacy organization. They have
extensively written related articles on greenways
(e.g. “NYC’s Greenways Fuel Surge in Cycling.”).
TA’s annual NYC Century Tour, scheduled for
September 11, 2005, utilizes various greenways
(except Staten Island), is recommended for strong
and curious riders with guts. www.transalt.org.
In addition to the above websites, my recommended
reading includes “Greenways for America,” by
Charles E. Little (John Hopkins Press: 1990).
From Brooklyn to Big Sur, Little covers what
greenways are all about: their origins, histories, and
If you want to ask me more about greenways or
find out more about upcoming rides, feel free to
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.