How to: Cross the Manhattan Bridge

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
By steven
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The most confusing part is getting off.

While thinking off-hand which bridge would be easier to cross: the Brooklyn Bridge with its row of wooden plank boards, confused tourists, and angry shouting bikers.. or the Manhattan Bridge whose only entrance seems to be a giant arch with a highway spilling out of it, I’ve always wondered… you want me to go in there??

The Manhattan Side
manhattanbridge

Luckily the entrance to this bridge is separate. Found at the corner of Bowery & Forsyth, it doesn’t involve racing alongside highway traffic as on the Williamsburg bridge.

manhattanbridge1
For more, try the Aerial Map View of the Manhattan entrance courtesy NY Dept of Transportation.

Biking into Brooklyn will be smooth and relatively effortless sailing (notice how as you’re about to hit the east river, you seem to be 6 stories above ground.. yet you haven’t biked 6 stories up?). The elevation level on the Manhattan side is a lot higher than the Brooklyn side.

Getting off on the Brooklyn side feels like a car getting off an interstate highway (..or a video game) because of the loopty-loop.

The Brooklyn Side

manhattanbridge2
For more explanation, try the Aerial Map View of the Brooklyn entrance courtesy NY Dept of Transportation.

Tip 1: It would’ve been great if somebody had told me the loopty-loop dumps you under the Flatbush Ave extension overpass heading West-bound.

Tip 2: Whether you’re coming or going, the street that gets you on the bridge is Sands St.. It’s a two-way street running east-west, and either way you go brings you to a bike path that heads south (Jay St. for the west side, Navy St for the east side.)

My mistake was thinking I could take Flatbush right off the bridge due to Google Maps walking directions. It appealingly cuts through the city to southbound destinations and is no frills if you catch it outside of traffic hour. The correct thing to do was to look up directions via RideTheCity or NYCBikemaps . You *can* take Flatbush, but not off the bat.

manhattanbridge3

Depending where you want to go, if say from the Manhattan Bridge to Prospect Park:

1. Right after you bike under the bridge to the first intersection, make a left turn and take the Jay St bike path heading south until you hit Fulton St (one way running south-east).
2. L onto Fulton St. Fulton comes to a large intersection with Flatbush.
3. R on Flatbush. You’ll hit a circular drive at Grand Army Plaza. The park entrance (West Dr) is directly in front of you.
4. To continue on Flatbush to mid-park area, avoid the expansive West Dr. Flatbush is a bit further on the left in your field-of-view. This stretch of the street has absolutely no traffic!

For some recommended destinations from this point in your bike journey, try:
[[COMING SOON]]

Images courtesy Google Maps Street View

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