25 April 2011
Dana Johnston discovers the best way to navigate his new home town.
I like to experience any city as much ‘as a local’ as possible and it’s with this in mind that I ponder how best to really ‘be’ in New York City. Personally, it seems fairly obvious to me that any city is best explored by foot or bicycle. Wandering or cycling the streets, getting lost on purpose, discovering what may be around each new corner or down a lane…it lends itself to serendipitous discovery.
In saying this, it is New York city itself which also lends itself to foot and bike traffic. A cleverly thought out grid system which recently turned 200 years old is what allows for this seamless mode of activity. Certified by New York City Commissioners on Mach 1811 – ‘the 200 foot long block is short enough to provide continuous diversity for the pedestrian, and the tradition of framing out the grid by building to the street-wall makes New York streets walkable and vibrant’, according to Amanda M. burden, the director of city planning.
If you are fortunate enough to have a reasonable period in NYC, then purchasing a bicycle would be worth its weight in gold. Why not bike the streets like a local in your Alexander Wang boots or Gucci loafers, arriving at your destination in style and comfort. Whilst the subway and yellow cabs are both clearly corner stones of transport, the city is vastly more accessible on bike, visible at your own pace and above ground. Your knowledge of the city’s lesser known and more eclectic areas will also increase ten fold when you are responsible for directions.
Where to buy? I recommend online at www.greatusedbikes.com which specialise in ‘old school’ fixed up bikes.
Why old bikes? Well theft is obviously a consideration, as a bike will set you back about $250 USD, plus a decent chain and padlock. No small fare but an investment you will not regret, especially if you are planning on spending time during the summer months. For those in the city for a short time however, all is not lost. Plenty of hotels have their own bikes to rent, such as the Bowery Hotel.
Now on yer bike!