Counterclockwise Perimeter Circuit of Manhattan Island

General Information
Way Points: Side Greenway/Hudson River bike path> Battery Park or State St> East Side Greenway> 1st Ave> East River Esplanade> 111th St overpass > 1st Ave> 119th St> Madison Ave> 135th St overpass> Harlem River Dr Greenway> 142nd St overpass> 142nd St> 141st St>St Nicholas Ave> St Nicholas Place> Harlem River Drive bike path> 10th Avenue> 218th St> Inwood Park> Dyckman Fields> West Side Greenway

Interest Tags: 
1 out of 5
Region Name(s): 
Vertical Gain: 
Hank Schiffman
Signature Route : 
Attached Files

This route has been updated to include another section of the Harlem River Esplanade

Unlimited entry/exit portal. Start at your closest point on the cue sheet.   

The cue sheets in Word have expanded tour features but the route has been updated since these were written.       

Paved surface, but sections will always be under construction. Our Greenways are a work in progress with no apparent finish line. The city has plans to build the missing section from the 30's to the East River Esplanade north of the 59th Street Bridge, whatever that means.

If you have time, take a sidetrip at the Battery to see the panorama that is New York Harbor.

The "squeeze-by" section around 14th Street on the East River by the Con Ed infrastructure remains a horrorshow. Keep in mind that safety is your first consideration. This constricton isn't long, but it might seem as if you are riding into a firehose of people going the other way on a nice weekend afternoon.

There are steps over the railroad tracks connecting Dyckman Fields and Inwood Park with a track to roll your bike down as you descend. Control your bike with by modulating its handbrakes. This is not a hardship.           

Subway bailouts, too numerous to name:

Melville's novel Moby Dick begins on Manhattan Island. In so far as this island is less than 2.25 miles at its widest, you are never more than a tad over a mile from water’s edge, making this ride so convenient; you can start or end this route anywhere along the way with no excuses getting to a starting point. A subway Metrocard in your pocket is insurance in the event that you need to bail out. This is Manhattan, you are never far from a bodega. In season, parks have water fountains. 

The essence of this route is infrastructure/architecture and natural beauty. I've attempted to keep the tour mostly along the water's edge. The sections along the East River [actually a tidal strait and estuary of the Hudson] are special from the Battery through 23rd Street. These views are tangential arcs divided by turns and bridges. As the view of midtown Manhattan emerges just north of the constriction by the power plant, the panorama includes Roosevelt Island's Four Freedom Park, with the 59th Street Bridge behind it to the new Long Island City skyline on the right.

Though you may start at your most convenient location, I began the route at the entry best for me; the West Side Greenway at Christopher Street, site of the aboriginal settlement of Sapokanican, the 1630s Wouter Van Twiller’s tobacco plantation, Peter Warren’s estate of 1731, Newgate Prison of 1797-1827, Fort Gansevoort 1811, Gansevoort Market 1880, now the Far West Village. We are going counterclockwise, so turn left, south.

One of the Word cue sheets has tour details, the other sticks mainly with directions. Print the one suitable for you but use the RWGPS cue sheet for actual directions or just use the RWGPS download to your device.

Here is a link to a 54 minute YouTube video of some highlights of this ride, done on magnificent May day:


June 15, 2020 HS

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