Bike the District
July 24, 2020
As we begin to return to the Meatpacking District, our travel patterns and preferences have changed substantially. While the MTA is doing an exceptional job maintaining service and keeping subways and buses clean during this difficult time, many are rethinking their commute, and looking for alternative ways to get around the City. Traveling by bicycle has become an even more popular way to get around, and we encourage all who can to visit the neighborhood by bike.
The Meatpacking District is excitedly preparing for this increase in cyclists and looks forward to welcoming more and more two-wheeled vehicles into the neighborhood. While there are already a total of 247 Citi Bike docks at five stations around the district, our partners at the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) and Citi Bike, will soon be installing additional stations in the district as part of the program’s next expansion. New bike sleds will be added to the neighborhood, increasing the number of bike racks available for those arriving into the neighborhood on personal bikes. These improvements will make Meatpacking a more accommodating place for cycling.
A major part of increasing people’s comfort with cycling around the City is the network of protected bike lanes that now cross Manhattan. With many major protected lanes traversing the neighborhood the Meatpacking District is well-positioned as a destination for all New Yorkers to reach by bike.
From Chelsea/Uptown & the Bronx – The Ninth Avenue protected bike lane extends (with a few interruptions) from W.110th Street – Cathedral Parkway to Meatpacking. This route is protected, meaning there is physical separation between cyclists and automobiles but the route travels down a busy Avenue with cross-town traffic. For a smoother ride from points north, the Hudson River Greenway is the faster and more scenic way to get to the neighborhood. As an added bonus travelers along the Greenway pass some dramatic sites, including the aircraft carrier Intrepid, the Starrett-Lehigh building, Chelsea Piers, and the soon to open Little Island at W.13th Street.
From Downtown – The Greenway is your best bet for a convenient and car-free route to the neighborhood, however for a quaint ride, consider biking up Greenwich or Hudson Streets, which will bring you through Greenwich Village. While the Hudson Street bike lane is protected, Hudson can be busy. If you’re looking for a leisurely ride even though it’s not a protected lane I would suggest taking Greenwich which has fewer cars and more to look at. After visiting the Meatpacking District hop on the Hudson River Greenway and take it all the way to Castle Clinton, or ride on Washington Street to Tribeca.
From the east side of Manhattan – Getting to Meatpacking is quick and easy thanks to the 14th Street Busway and associated 12th Street and 13th Street bike lanes. Extending from First Avenue to Eighth Avenue, these lanes provide protected east/west crosstown travel for cyclists connecting with other major bike routes including the Second Avenue, Broadway, and 5th Avenue protected lanes. On quieter residential streets these routes are easy-going allowing all to feel comfortable traveling across town. The 13th Street bike lane will take you into Meatpacking, and the 12th Street bike lane back east. For more experienced cyclists, the restrictions on private vehicles along 14th Street have provided a new opportunity for cyclists to travel unencumbered by gridlock traffic. While cyclists still need to be wary of buses and larger trucks, at most times of the day 14th Street remains empty.
From Queens over the Queensboro Bridge & the Upper East Side – Travel south using the Second Avenue protected lane all the way down to 14th Street, where one can make the cross-town connection. Other routes from Queens include continuing west from the Queensboro Bridge to Ninth Avenue or Hudson River Greenway via the 55th Street protected bike lane for a calmer ride, or on 57th Street if you’re late for drinks. Heading home to Queens and the Upper East Side one can ride crosstown to the First Avenue protected lane, or north and then east on 54th Street, or along the southern edge of Central Park at 59th Street and back over the Queensboro Bridge.
From Brooklyn (and Eastern Queens) take the Williamsburg or Manhattan Bridge to Chrystie and Delancey. From there depending on your comfort and experience there are a number of routes that will take you to the Meatpacking District.
Newer riders – Go west on Delancey, which then becomes Kenmare Street, and turn right onto Cleveland Place at Lt Petrosino Square. Continue north and merge with Lafayette Street protected bike lane. Then this route north, crossing Houston Street, and passing Astor Place all the way to 13th Street or 14th Street. From here just head west on the bike lane of your choice to reach the neighborhood. For those with some experience, but who prefer riding on quieter streets, use the Prince Street bike lane cutting through SoHo to Hudson or Greenwich Streets. Continue north on either to reach Meatpacking.
More experienced riders – Take Chrystie Street at Delancy north to Houston Street. At Houston make a left and head west, crossing Broadway and Laguardia Place. When Houston meets Sixth Avenue, continue straight onto Bedford Street, which cuts through the heart of the West Village (passed the Friends Apartment) northwest to Christopher Street. Quickly hitch one block west on Christopher and then up Greenwich or Hudson streets to reach your final destination. To get back to Brooklyn, cut east along 14th or 12th Street and then down the Second Avenue protected lane, or take Hudson Street south continuing onto the Bleeker Street bike lane to Houston and the Bowery. From there head over your favorite bridge home. However you ride, do yourself a favor and don’t ride on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Cooling Down After Riding In
One of the biggest challenges to riding around the City, particularly in the summer is dealing with the heat. Luckily the Meatpacking District has a number of great restaurants with all types of hydrating drinks. Check out our full outdoor dining list here. One of my favorites post-ride is Feast on Us, located on Hudson Street between Gansevoort and Horatio Streets, which has a vibrant selection of flavorful iced teas, coffee, and lemonade. If the drinks don’t cool you down enough you can always hop across the street to Corporal John A. Seravalli Playground, where a run through the sprinklers will do the job!
Written by Evan Sweet.
Evan Sweet is the Meatpacking District BID’s Operations + Economic Development Manager. A born and raised New Yorker, Evan has been cycling in New York for 15 years and you may spot them riding into the neighborhood on their Fuji commuter bike, talking with business owners, and managing the neighborhood’s Open Streets program. Read more about Evan here.