MANHATTAN WATERFRONT GREENWAY:

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

-BIKE IT OR HIKE IT-

Last Updated:       Jan 11, 2022                            

Length:                 Manhattan Waterfront Greenway; 32.5 miles (when complete)

                               Battery Park north along Western Side of Manhattan via Hudson River Greenway to Northern End of Harlem River Greenway; 14.3 miles or 16.2 miles.

                               Northern End of Harlem River Greenway south along Eastern Side of Manhattan via Hudson River & East River Greenways & Battery Bikeway to Battery Park; 15.9 miles

Difficulty:             Easy. The finished off-road greenway is paved and mostly flat.

                                Moderate. The on-road sections that connect the unfinished greenway are recommended for cyclists experienced in city street riding.

Directions:

Starting from Battery Park [Southern End]: Take the NYC Subway's "Red Line" to South Ferry Station. Hop right onto the trail and head either northwest along the Hudson River or northeast along the East River.

Starting from lower Inwood Hill Park [Northern End]: Take the NYC Subway's "Blue Line" to Dyckman Station. Head west on Dyckman St.

Starting from the Harlem 125th St Station [East Side]; Take the Metro North train or the NYC Subway's "Green Line" to the Harlem 125th St Station. To connect to the Greenway, you'll need to ride on-road. Not recommended for kids on bikes. Head south to 120th St. Follow 120th St east via a BIKE LANE to a footbridge over FDR Drive and the Greenway along the Harlem River. This is about a 1 mile on-road detour

For more information visit; Metro North Railroad . If you click on the individual stations, they have available both directions and maps. For information concerning the NYC Subway visit; NYC SUBWAY .

The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is a planned 32-mile route that circumnavigates the island of Manhattan. Along the East Side of Manhattan it utilizes the Harlem River Greenway & East River Greenway. Along the West Side of Manhattan it utilizes the Hudson River Greenway. At the Southern End of Manhattan the Greenway travels through Battery Park via the Battery Bikeway. Wherever possible, it runs along the shoreline and thus reclaims the waterfront for pedestrians, cyclists, roller blades and other users of non-motorized transportation. Most portions of the greenway are off-street paths through parks or other recreational spaces. Greenway-connectors run on-street, where waterfront access is not currently possible. 

The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway is part of the Empire State Trail , which is a continuous 750-mile route spanning the state from New York City to Canada and Buffalo to Albany, creating the longest multi-use state trail in the nation. The Empire State Trail begins at Battery Park and utilizes the Western Side of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway as it travels north along the Hudson River Greenway to Inwood Hill Park at the top of Manhattan. Here it continues on-road into the Bronx where it connects to the Old Putnam Rail Trail .  

The Hudson River Greenway is part of the EAST COAST GREENWAY , a planned biking & hiking route stretching 3,000 miles from Maine to Florida. When complete it will traverse 15 states with a mostly off-road path.

Southern End:

Starting from Battery Park [Southern End]: This is also the start of the Empire State Trail . Starting from in front of the stone Pier A Harbor House off Battery Pl & Little West Street: 

Note; You have two options from here. 

A.          Cross Battery Pl to the start of the Hudson River Greenway and head north along the "Bikeway Express". That is what I call this part of the Hudson River Greenway that runs up along the Western Side of Manhattan, because it reminds me of an expressway. This straight trail has a white line separating the lanes, crosswalks for pedestrians and even red lights (shaped like bikes). Warning! Serious bikers tend to use this trail and cruise at a high speed. Not the best choice for little kids on bikes. 

B.          The second option and the route we chose takes you along the waterfront through meandering parks along the Hudson River Esplanade. You will eventually return to the Hudson River Greenway to continue north. 0.5 miles longer.

Utilizing Option B; Head west into Robert F Wagner Jr. Park via the paving stone Battery Park City Esplanade. There are a couple of routes through the park but we chose to immediately turn left and travel alongside the river. Great views of the Statue of Liberty. You'll pass by the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Pass by Oasis Park, South Cove Park & Rector Park before coming to Pumphouse Park after 0.8 miles. Good views of  One World Trade Center from here. 

Note; From here if you continued straight out to Liberty St it will take you over to the NATIONAL SEPTEMBER 11 MEMORIAL .

Continuing left alongside the Hudson River you travel through Rockefeller Park where the Battery Park City North Esplanade turns east. Come to an intersection at 1.5 miles

Note; Straight ahead is the Hudson River Greenway. If you chose Option A and only utilized the Hudson River Greenway your Mileage to here would be 1 mile.

Note; To continue along a more scenic route turn left and continue north along the Hudson River Park. HUDSON RIVER PARK MAP . This part of the waterfront had not yet been developed when I was last here, so I utilized the Hudson River Greenway

Continuing north along the paved Hudson River Greenway, which parallels Hudson River Park on its left and West St on its right, you can still access any of many piers as you travel north. You'll pass by Pier 25 (sports fields, playground), Pier 26 (green space) Pier 34 (Fishing pier), Pier 40 (sports fields, parking), Pier 45 (green space), Pier 46 (green space), Pier 51 (playground, Splash Park), Gansevoort Peninsula (green space, sports fields, kayak launch) and Little Island (innovative green space). Here the Hudson River Greenway now parallels Hudson River Park on its left and 11th Ave/12th Ave on its right at 3.2 miles. Pass by Pier 57 (music/dining inside/out), Piers 59-61 CHELSEA PIERS (sports & entertainment complex), Pier 62 (Skate Park), Pier 63 (green space), Pier 64 (green space), across 12th Ave Chelsea Waterside Park (sports fields, Dog Park), Pier 66a (Historic Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Float Transfer Bridge), Pier 66 (boating activities), Pier 76 (public space), Pier 79 (ferry), Pier 84 (fountain, Dog Park, green space), Pier 86 (USS INTREPID MUSEUM ), Cruise Terminals, Clinton Cove Park, Pier 97 (playground, Splash Park, green space) before coming to the end of  Hudson River Park where 12th Ave turns right underneath the Joe DiMaggio Hwy at W 59th St at 5.6 miles. On your left is the pedestrian only entrance to Riverside Park South. Here the trail travels underneath Joe DiMaggio Hwy. A slight hill is along your right and the park on your left. At 5.9 miles a spur on your right leads up to a promenade off Riverside Blvd & W 66th St. At 6.2 miles the trail now travels alongside the Hudson River with Riverside Park South along your right. Woods and a hill hide the Henry Hudson Pkwy up to the east. Pass by the 79th St Boat Basin before coming to an intersection at 6.8 miles. This next section is new since I last visited

Note; This is the route I used previous. Right takes you underneath the Henry Hudson Pkwy where a paved trail travels north through Riverside Park along the east side of the pkwy. The park is actually built over the rail line for Amtrak, which runs underneath you through a tunnel. Listen for the train whistles. This route takes you past the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, Grants Tomb and playgrounds but can be a bit tricky.

The Hudson River Greenway continues north between the river and west side of the Henry Hudson Pkwy, utilizing an elevated trail above the river for a bit. Pass by the 96th St Clay Tennis Courts at 7.6 miles where you'll find a parking lot. Come to St Clair Pl & West Harlem Piers Park at 9.1 miles. Back to a more urban setting. After passing by the park, bear right underneath the Henry Hudson Pkwy where the trail continues north underneath the Pkwy before bearing right alongside the railroad. You travel back underneath the Pkwy and enter Riverside Park at 10 miles. Some great views of the George Washington Bridge. There is parking available here. Soon the trail travels below the Pkwy and alongside the river before entering the park again. Next you'll travel between the river and RR tracks and you travel through Fort Washington Park. A highlight of this section comes as you travel underneath the GW Bridge at 11.7 miles. A stone-dust trail on your left leads to the "Little Red Lighthouse" that sits perched on the Hudson River directly below the bridge. It was built in 1921. Across the river in NJ are the cliffs of the Palisades. Picnic tables here. 

*Note; Currently, as of 2022, a 0.6 mile gap exists between the next waterfront trail section in Fort Washington Park North. The recommended alignment will connect the Greenway from the footing of the George Washington Bridge to the path at Fort Washington Park North. This will create a direct waterfront connection.

A steep hill takes you away from the bridge and river. Great views when you level out. Cross a bridge over the railroad tracks and travel through a tunnel and up another hill. This will bring you alongside the Henry Hudson Pkwy. Check out the retaining wall across the Pkwy. Looks like a castle wall. Pass by Inspiration Point at 12.6 miles. This white open pavilion with Greek columns was an old pullover for the Pkwy. Great views of the river far below. The trail heads downhill. To your right across the Pkwy is Fort Tyron Park. You'll come to a set of stairs on your left that lead down to Riverside Drive. Continue straight where a ramp takes you down to Dyckman St and head left underneath the Pkwy. This brings you to Dyckman Marina at 13.5 miles.  

Note; On your left is the partially completed paved Hudson River Greenway that travels south through Fort Washington Park North between the Hudson River and RR tracks before dead-ending after 1 mile. I have not yet checked out this section.  

*Note; Currently, as of 2022, a 0.6 mile gap exists between the next waterfront trail section in Fort Washington Park . The recommended alignment will connect the Greenway from here south to the footing of the George Washington Bridge. This will create a direct waterfront connection.

Note; You have 2 options from here:

A.          You can continue north along the Hudson River Greenway through Inwood Hill Park; [This route requires carrying your bike up a pedestrian overpass to access upper Inwood Hill Park and an on-road section] Head right ( north) into lower Inwood Hill Park. Follow the paved trail alongside the river past some ball fields and come to an intersection. Turning right will bring you to a pedestrian bridge at 13.9 miles. Straight the trail ends after 0.2 miles at an overlook of the Hudson and Harlem Rivers where they meet. The RR Bridge crosses the river here as well. You'll have to carry your bike up the stairs to the top of the pedestrian bridge in order to cross the RR tracks to upper Inwood Hill Park. I have not checked out this section. A trail (not sure if it's paved) travels north through the park. Pass by a spur trail on your right that leads up to the Henry Hudson Bridge which lets you cross over the Harlem River to the Bronx. The trail continues along the perimeter of the park bringing you to Indian Rd & W 218th St at 15 miles. From here the route is on-road. Continue straight (east) along W 218th St (BIKE SHARROWS) to 10th Ave & Broadway. Note; Quick Detour. Head left up Broadway to the BROADWAY BRIDGE . The Broadway Bridge crosses the Harlem River Ship Canal between Inwood and Marble Hill, includes a Subway Line over the top of the bridge and is a Lift-Stay type bridge. If you cross over the bridge you can connect to the Mosholu-Pelham Greenway and the Old Putnam Rail Trail located in Van Cortlandt Park via on-road routes.  From; 10th Ave & Broadway travel south along 10th Ave. Not recommended for novice bikers. Come to the intersection of Harlem River Dr & Dyckman St after 16.2 miles. The paved Harlem River Greenway [Northern End] starts on your left.

B.          You can Detour east on-road to connect to the Harlem River Greenway to begin your trek south along the Eastern Side of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway; This is the Option we chose. Head east along Dyckman St (BIKE LANE available for part of the route) and you'll come to the junction of 10th Ave & Harlem River Dr at 14.3 miles. The paved Harlem River Greenway [Northern End] starts across the street.

 

Northern End:

Starting from the Harlem River Greenway [Northern End]: From 10th Ave & Harlem River Dr the paved Harlem River Greenway begins on the east side of Broadway.

Note; You have 2 options from here: [Re-zeroing Mileage

A.            From here you may also access the paths through Highbridge Park where you can check out High Bridge. You can then re-join the Harlem River Greenway at the junction of W 155th St and Harlem River Driveway after about 2.8 miles (not counting taking a trip of 0.6 miles across the High Bridge to the Bronx and back). I havenít checked out this section yet, so Iím not 100% sure of the route. It should be more scenic and interesting then the Harlem River Greenway that you are bypassing, as that trail follows alongside Harlem River Drive. Follow the paved path along the west side of Harlem River Drive into Highbridge Park heading south. Highbridge Park is built on a hill between Harlem River Dr and Amsterdam Ave, so there will be some hills. Stay straight at any intersections until you travel underneath the Washington Bridge, travel past the Hamilton Bridge Skate Park and travel underneath the Alexander Hamilton Bridge. Come to an intersection and bear right uphill to Alexander Ave. Head left. Turn left back into Highbridge Park and travel around the Highbridge Play Center building and pool, passing by the stone Highbridge Water Tower (which I believe you can go up in). Come to an intersection behind the pool and turn left, then left again. This will bring you to THE HIGH BRIDGE after about 1.7 miles. It's about 0.3 miles across the bridge to the Bronx. The High Bridge was built as a conduit to bring the City water form the Croton Aqueduct. Originally, High Bridge featured massive stone arches (like Roman aqueducts had) for its entire length. The arches survive on the Bronx side, but the steel span was constructed in the 20s to allow navigation on the Harlem River. For more information visit; OLD CROTON AQUEDUCT TRAIL . Return to the first intersection, but this time head straight. Pass by two spurs on your right and continuing straight. At the third intersection I believe the path continues unpaved? Head right past the Adventure Playground to Edgecombe Ave and head left (wide sidewalk or BIKE SHARROWS). Travel down to W 155th St and turn left to Harlem River Drive & St Nickolas Pl where the Harlem River Greenway comes in from your left after about 2.8 miles

B.            Follow the Harlem River Greenway south. You'll come alongside the Harlem River at Sherman Creek Park. This section of the trail starts out tree lined and shaded but soon loses most of its greenery as it travels between the Harlem River and Harlem River Drive. You'll travel underneath the Washington Bridge, followed by the Alexander Hamilton Bridge and finally the High Bridge at 1.3 miles. High Bridge Park and High Bridge Water Tower are up to your right. The trail then leaves the river behind, crossing Harlem River Drive via a pedestrian bridge and traveling uphill alongside Harlem River Driveway. Use Caution at the end of the bridge as you must cross over an exit ramp to a sidewalk. The sidewalk quickly gives way to a SEPARATED BIKE LANE. This will bring you to W 155th St & St Nickolas Pl at 2.3 miles. Note; If you head right up W 155th St to Edgecombe Ave and head north you'll travel alongside High Bridge Park. After 0.5 miles youíll pick up a paved path on your right which leads to the THE HIGH BRIDGE.

Detour: This section of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway does not follow the waterfront. There are some finished sections of the Harlem River Greenway along the Harlem River, as of 2022, but they are fragmented and cut off by Harlem River Dr. A 1.1 mile Gap along the Harlem River is under design in 2022.

Note; You have 2 options from W 155th St & St Nickolas Pl: [Continuing Mileage via Option B above

A.            [2.3 miles] Cross over W 155th St to St Nickolas Pl where youíll find a BIKE LANE. Follow the BIKE LANE south along St Nickolas Pl. When you come to a "Do Not Enter" sign bear right to St Nickolas Ave where the BIKE LANE continues south. After 2.9 miles turn left down W 145th St, then right on Edgecombe Ave. Next turn left down W 142nd St (one-way) and follow on-road to 5th Ave. Cross to a pedestrian bridge over Harlem River Dr which will bring you down to the Harlem River Greenway at 3.7 miles.

B.            [2.3 miles] Cross over W 155th St to St Nickolas Pl and head left along Edgecombe Ave (one-way on-road/ wide sidewalk available). This route is much more scenic as it follows a ridgeline with views of the Bronx across the Harlem River. Below along your left is Jackie Robinson Park. After 3 miles turn left down W 142nd St (one-way) and follow on-road to 5th Ave. Cross to a pedestrian bridge over Harlem River Dr which will bring you down to the Harlem River Greenway at 3.7 miles.

Note; Left (North), the paved Harlem River Greenway quickly ends below the 145th Street Bridge, as of 2022. Future plans will continue the trail north between the Harlem River and Harlem River Dr where it will connect with the northern section of the Harlem River Greenway.

Heading South the trail travels between the Harlem River and Harlem River Dr along a narrow strip of land. After traveling underneath the Madison Ave Bridge the greenway widens. You travel underneath a RR Bridge and come to an intersection at 4.3 miles.

Note; The next 0.8 mile section south has not yet been completed. In design 2022.

Detour: Youíll need to take the pedestrian bridge on your right back over Harlem River Drive to Madison Ave. Head left, then left again down E 135th St to Park Ave and head right on-road (one-way). Follow Park Ave to E 120th St and turn left where you'll follow a BIKE LANE east to FDR Dr. Here a pedestrian bridge will take you over FDR Dr and back to the Harlem River Greenway (also called the Bobby Wagner Walk) at 6.3 miles

Note; Heading North the Harlem River Greenway ends after only 0.3 miles just below the RFK Bridge.

Note; The next 0.8 mile section north has not yet been completed. In design 2022.

Heading South the Harlem River Greenway (also called the Bobby Wagner Walk) consists of cement pavers and travels between the Harlem River and FDR Drive. After only 0.5 miles, a pedestrian bridge crosses over FDR Drive to Jefferson Park. At 7.3 miles, another pedestrian bridge crosses the river over to Randall's Island Park, where you can access more bike trails. 

Note; A 4.5 mile waterfront pathway circles the island. For more information visit; RANDALL'S ISLAND PARK . I haven't checked out these trails yet.

Just past Randall's Island, the Harlem River flows into the East River. The small island in the river is Mill Rock Park. Pass by the E 90th St Ferry at 8 miles. Here the East River Greenway (also called the John Finley Walk) continues south alongside the East River passing by through Carl Schurz Park. A nice reprieve from the traffic noise as FDR Drive is diverted underneath the park. A nice promenade overlooks the river, where you'll get a great view of the lighthouse on the northern tip of Roosevelt Island. At 8.5 miles a ramp will take you over FDR Dr and back down between the river and FDR Dr. Pass by a pedestrian bridge over FDR Dr to E 71st St, followed by a second pedestrian bridge over to E 63rd St, before traveling through Andrew Haswell Green Park. Travel underneath a red sculpture, just below the Queensboro Bridge and out to E 60th St & York Ave at 9.2 miles.

Note; A gap exists, as of 2022, between the next East River Greenway section South at E 53rd St. They are currently constructing an elevated trail over the East River to connect the 2 sections. Another gap exists between E 56th St South past the UN to E 41st St.

Detour: From E 60th St & York Ave.

Note; A 3.8 mile trail circles Roosevelt Island. You can access the island via the Roosevelt Island Bridge from Queens or from the ROOSEVELT ISLAND TRAM . Head west up E 60th St (BIKE LANE) to access both the Queensboro Bridge over to Queens or the Roosevelt Island Tram. See; ROOSEVELT ISLAND GREENWAY .

Hang a left along York St/Sutton Pl. There are green "greenway route" signs all along this detour. Turn right up E 55th St (BIKE LANE), then left along 2nd Ave (BIKE LANE). Take another left when you reach E 38th St and then a right alongside and underneath FDR Drive. A tunnel underneath FDR Dr at E 37th St will return you to the East River Greenway at 10.9 miles.

Note; The East River Greenway travels North for 0.2 miles before ending at E 41st St. A gap exists, as of 2022, between the next East River Greenway section North past the UN to E 56th St. This section under design in 2022.

Heading South the East River Greenway travels below FDR Dr alongside the East River. Soon your following a BIKE LANE as FDR Dr is at street level. You'll pass by Stuyvesant Cove Park and come back alongside the East River at 11.8 miles. Good view of the UN building. You travel alongside East River Park and pass by 3 pedestrian bridges over FDR Drive before traveling underneath the Williamsburg Bridge and Delancy St footbridge at 13.2 miles. Keep an eye out on your left for the quirky "harp seal" statues. After leaving behind the park, the Greenway turns west as you follow the Southern End of Manhattan. After passing by Pier 36 you pick up a BIKE LANE that  travels underneath FDR Drive. A separate pavers path to your left follows alongside the river. Travel underneath the Manhattan Bridge where the BIKE LANE turns towards the river. Travel underneath the Brooklyn Bridge at 14.6 miles. Next you'll pass by Piers, Ferry Terminals and Heliports before coming to the Governors Island Ferry and Staten Island Ferry at 15.5 miles.

Note; The GOVERNORS ISLAND TERMINAL and the STATEN ISLAND FERRY TERMINAL are located here. Bike paths are located on both Governors Island and Staten Island. I haven't checked out the trails on GOVERNORS ISLAND yet. See; STATEN ISLAND TRAILS for several trails. 

The Manhattan Waterfront Greenway now follows the Battery Bikeway. Travel around Whitehall Terminal past NYC Subways South Ferry Station and through Battery Park.

Note; The Battery Bikeway follows alongside State St and Battery Pl, however, the more scenic route is through the park alongside the river where you'll find the East Coast Memorial and the NPS's CASTLE CLINTON NM . You can buy tickets here for the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Ferry. Restrooms are also located here. You'll return to the stone Pier A Harbor House off Battery Pl & Little West Street after 15.9 miles at the Southern End.

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