How to: Cross the Queensboro Bridge (for Brooklynites)

Saturday, August 22, 2009
By steven
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The quickest way to bike into uptown Manhattan (UES, UWS, upper midtown, Central Park) is via the Queensboro Bridge. It takes me 45 minutes from Williamsburg to any point in Central Park, which is the same as taking the subway yet *much more scenic*. It’s beautiful and brightly lit at night, and it’s fun to watch the Roosevelt Island Tram as you bike along. This route is faster than crossing the W’burg bridge over to west side hwy. Plus, the streets on nearly the entire route are spacious and well maintained.

You can mentally break this trip into 3 parts:
1. Passing through Greenpoint and the beautiful Pulaski Bridge into LIC [Long Island City] (15 minutes)
2. Getting from LIC to the Queensboro Bridge (10 minutes max)
3. Crossing the Queensboro Bridge (10 -15 minutes) into Manhattan

Greenpoint:
1. Take the Manhattan Ave bike route up to Eagle St. You’ll pass McCarren Park, Nassau Ave, and Greenpoint Ave where the road will widen a lot and you’ll roll downhill until you see Eagle Ave.
Grab a quick snack: Peter Pan Bakery (727 Manhattan Ave) is delicious, right after you pass Norman Ave on your left hand side.
2. R on Eagle St, bike a couple blocks and you’ll see the onramp (aka sidewalk) to the Pulaski Bridge
3. L onto Pulaski Bridge (McGuinness Blvd) pedestrian/bike path. It’s a small bridge and kinda narrow so pass others only if you must, and can manage tight squeezes.

Tip 1: There’s a 6 inch gap at the top of the Pulaski Bridge where it parts to let boats through. Shift your weight away from the front and onto the back wheel, and your tires should go over without a hitch.

Tip 2: If you don’t want to take Manhattan Ave, you can take McGuinness (there’s no bike lane though). This is faster than Manhattan Ave when coming back into Williamsburg. But, I wouldn’t recommend taking it up into LIC because you’ll need to cross the 4+ lane street to get to the pedestrian/bike path that’s only on the left-hand (west) side of the bridge. I’ve biked directly over in the car lane before.. not fun, don’t try it.

LIC:
1. When you come off the Pulaski Bridge you’ll turn right onto Jackson Ave (the big street in front of you), and a 100 feet ahead will be the intersection of three streets.
2. Diagonal L turn @ 11th St (or take Jackson a few streets up to 21st Ave. I take 21st St coming back to BK, but have gotten used to taking 11th St up). Take either to the base of the Queensboro Bridge (Queens Plaza South).
3. R on Queens Plaza South. Bike alongside bridge until 23rd St (there are also street signs that will guide you to the bike path entrance)
4. L on 23rd to go under bridge and make a right turn onto the sidewalk (the street traffic runs against you). Bike up sidewalk path (designated for bikes) to the bike path onramp.

Queensboro Bridge:
Tip: When coming off onto the Manhattan side, be wary of the switchback (a sharp sudden U-turn) which lets you onto the street finally at 1st Ave & 60th St.

To head north, take 1st Ave. To head south, bike down 60th St to 2nd Ave.

My path of choice to the UWS is to cut through the park at the 72nd St Transverse (aka Terrace Drive). It’s beautiful and very quick. (The 65th St Transverse is a bit more dangerous.. highway-like)

To upper midtown west, you’ll need to take 60th st to the southeast corner of the park where you’ll merge onto 59th St (previously a one-way street). You can take 5th or 7th Ave or Broadway (@ Columbus Circle) to head south. These are all heavily trafficked streets, though the streets on the west side (9th Ave until west side highway) are spacious and much less stressful to take.


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