Williamsburg and Greenpoint Like a Local
City Tour, 5 Miles
We see bikes as a means to connect people with their communities--and we'd like to start by introducing you to ours. These days, everybody throws around the Brooklyn brand, but Brooklyn is genuinely so much a part of who we are that our bikes are named for its streets, streets we traverse daily. On this ride, you'll see the diversity of our city (and you'll only be going a few miles!) and get a sense of our culture by eating what we eat, shopping where we shop, and taking in the sites and sounds that surround us. (And this ride isn't just for visitors! If you live in another part of Brooklyn, this is an easy and fun way to get to know Williamsburg/Greenpoint while avoiding the seriously trendy spots.)
Map & Logistics
RIDE WITH GPS
- Citi Bike various locations (map) - $9.95+ daily for sturdy city bike with generator lights and a front rack for your bag
- Bike & Roll - $40+ daily for hybrid, road, tandem, kids, trailer bike, trailer, child seat
- Blazing Saddles - $44+ daily for cruiser, hybrid, tandem, kids, trailer bike, trailer, child seat
- Landmark Bicycles - call (347) 799-2116) for availability and pricing
- Rolling Orange - $38+ daily for dutch bike includes lights, chain lock, basket and map
- Start & end of tour - JMZ lines, Marcy Avenue
East River Ferry (map) - "The East River Ferry welcomes bikes. We've equipped all our vessels with custom designed bike racks, however rack space is limited and is first-come, first-served. A $1.00 surcharge applies to bikes brought on board.
For riders who bring a suitcase-sized folding bike on the boat and can keep the bike on their persons while traveling, there will be no additional surcharge," EastRiverFerry.com.
- Start of Tour - Schaefer Landing / S. Williamsburg, 440 Kent Ave
- Middle of Tour - India St. / Greenpoint, Foot of India Street
What to Bring?
Empty stomach and cash to fill it.
A. Domino Sugar Factory
Google says "Dominos Sugar Factory," but it's actually the erstwhile Domino Sugar Factory, now being converted and built out into yet more waterfront condos. As you ride through Williamsburg/Greenpoint, you'll see this is a common theme: once-industrial buildings are quickly being converted to residences for the affluent. We encourage everyone to appreciate these buildings while they last, as they're vestiges of a bygone era in Williamsburg / Greenpoint history. (Note: This isn't a building you can enter, as it's private property and partially hidden behind scaffolding, but it is a great sight to take in as you pass.)
B. Grand Ferry Park
It's not the park, but the views from it that are impressive. Remember, you're right on the East River, so you'll be able to see huge swaths of Manhattan from here, and there's likely to be very few others around, something you can't say that about too many places in Williamsburg these days, so enjoy the quietude for a bit.
C. Odd Fellows Ice Cream 175 Kent Ave | www.oddfellowsnyc.com | 347-599-0556
The name says it all: The concoctions you'll find here aren't your typical ice cream. Specials and flavors vary from day to day, but some of our favorites include: OddPockets (toasted brioche ice cream sandwiches!), MatchaBar Matcha Crunch flavor (Brooklynites = Matcha fiends), Black Pepper Fig flavor, Eggnog ice cream sandwich, cotton candy cones (literally any flavor ice cream cone wrapped in cotton candy), and of course their Hot Fudge Sundae. Just keep reminding yourself you're going to bike off at least some of these calories...M-Th 1-11pm / F 1pm-12am / Sa 12pm-12am / Su 12-11pm
D. Junk Brooklyn 567 Driggs Ave | www.junk11211.com
You don't get much more Brooklyn than thrifting, and Junk is the mother of all thrift stores. A huge warehouse full of other people's discarded wares--hence the name--you can find pretty much anything your heart desires here, from dishware, to wall hangings, to clothes, to furniture, to records...and the list goes on. Even if you don't want to buy an old card catalogue, you can spend hours marveling at all the goodies people once treasured--and wondering why they gave some of them up! 7 days 9am-9pm
E. McCarren Park 776 Lorimer St | www.nycgovparks.org | 718-218-2380
McCarren Park is kind of the heart of Williamsburg. There's a public pool open from Memorial Day to Labor Day (and we know what you're thinking, but we promise it's not gross), and year-round people playing sports and picnicking. This park, too, offers outdoor movies in the summer--and the crowds are enormous. Pool open 7 days 11am-7pm
F. Transmitter Park www.nycgovparks.org
This park has both park space for lying out in the sun and a great pier for photo ops and romantic evening walks. The park hosts outdoor movies in the summer and you'll be able to find the schedule on the Parks & Rec website, so if you want to time your ride to correspond with one of their movies, go for it!
1. Continental Army Plaza S 4th St
Start at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge. There's a CitiBike station here, in case you don't have your own bike, and you can take in the sounds of the borough--cars on the bridge & BQE, plus the passing J/M/Z trains--before beginning your ride.
2. Pies 'n' Thighs 166 S 4th St | piesnthighs.com | 347-529-6090
In case you haven't had enough to eat, Pies'n'Thighs is waiting for you at the end of your ride with down-home cooking, like fried chicken and biscuits. Mmmmm. M-F9AM–4PM, 5PM–12AM / Sa-Su 10AM–4PM, 5PM–12AM
3. The Bagel Store 349 Bedford Avenue | www.shop.thebagelstoreonline.com | 718-218-7220
Search this location on instagram, and you'll be bombarded with pictures of rainbow bagels. As Brooklynites, we're bound to say these bagels aren't the best tasting we've ever had, but they're certainly an experience. You can get them with all manner of spreads--notably confetti cake icing. M-Th 6am-6pm / F-Su 6am-7pm
4. Catbird 219 Bedford Ave | www.catbirdnyc.com | 718-599-3457
Hop off your bike at North 5th and Bedford and check out local jewelry atelier Catbird. Their selection is always on trend and, surprisingly, offers something for pretty much every budget. M-Sa 12-8pm / Su 12-6pm
5. Handsome Dan's Snocone & Candy Stand 218 Bedford Ave | handsomedansstand.com | 347-889-6683
Across from Catbird is, believe it or not, a mini-mall with everything from Handsome's Dan's candy store, where you can fill a bag or jar with candy of your choosing--1950s style--to Spoonbill & Sugartown Books with a great selection not only of books, but also of underground mags. There's also a bazaar at the back of the mall with everything from novelties to jewelry to leather goods from local designers. M-Th 11:30am-8:30pm / F-Su 11:30am-9pm
6. Crif Dogs 555 Driggs Ave | crifdogs-hub.com | 718-302-3200
Test the claim that these guys make the best hot dogs in New York. Important note: They offer a hotdog with bacon. BACON. Su-Th 12-2am / F-Sa 12-4am
7. Brooklyn Industries 162 Bedford Ave | www.brooklynindustries.com | 718-486-6464
Co-founded by Lexy Funk, Ernst & Young's 2010 Metro New York Entrepreneur of the Year, Brooklyn Industries has awesome gear for men and women alike, from graphic tees and hoodies to cute dresses to messenger bags. M-Sa 10am-9pm / Su 12-8pm
8. Five Leaves 18 Bedford Ave | www.fiveleavesny.com | 718-383-5345
No matter what time it is, we recommend you hit up Five Leaves. They've got serious dinners (steak, oysters, duck), casual lunches (burgers, fish and chips), and hot and cold breakfast options (eggs, chia pudding). Best of all? All of it is good! 7 days 8-1am
9. Peter Pan Donuts 727 Manhattan Ave | peterpan-donuts.com | 718-389-3676
And now, your reward for biking down Manhattan Avenue: The most amazing doughnuts in Brooklyn. Some of our favorites include the sour cream cake doughnut, the blueberry cake doughnut, the jelly doughnuts, and the eclairs. Note: If you're arriving in the morning, be prepared to wait in line! M-F 4:30am-8pm / Sa 5am-8pm / Su 5:30am-7pm
10. Polka Dot Grocery 726 Manhattan Ave | 718-349-2884
Greenpoint is still a very Polish neighborhood, and if you like Polish food, you'll have passed at least a dozen places by now. We love Polka Dot specifically because they have a window you can roll right up and to and get a coffee or polish pastry to go, but if you're wanting something more substantial, you can pop in and get some polish deli meats and cheeses to take home and enjoy later.
11. Silk Road Cycles 76 Franklin St / www.silkroadcycles.net / 718-389-2222
It's always important, on a ride, to know the location of a local bike shop in case you run into trouble--like a flat tire. The folks at Silk Road are super helpful (and they have a friendly shop dog named Jackie!), so they'll be able to help you with whatever you need. M-F 12-8pm (closed Wed) / Sa-Su 11am-7pm
12. WORD 126 Franklin St | www.wordbookstores.com | 718-383-0096
This fabulous local bookstore has everything from non-fiction to children's classics--plus a great selection of cards, coloring books for grownups, and local goodies, like a burger map of the city (always a winner). To top it all off, their prices are affordable and they host all sorts of free literary events. Be sure to stop in! 7 days 10am-9pm
13. Early 967 Manhattan Ave | www.earlybk.com | 718-383-6963
You may have noticed that your environment changed dramatically between your last stop at Achilles Heel and this one. Manhattan Avenue is the main commercial thoroughfare of Greenpoint, so it can be a little more daunting for newer riders, but it's important to tackle difficulties, sometimes, and it's only for a few blocks. You may want to stop at Early before you go any further. They've got breakfast sandwiches to die for and, if you're not hungry, delish coffee. M-F 7am-5pm / Sa 8am-5pm / Su 9am-5pm
14. Achilles Heel 180 West St | achillesheelnyc.com | 347-987-3666
Back when Greenpoint was an important port in the shipping industry, it used to be full of bars patronized in large part by stevedores. This bar, from the same group that owns Diner, Marlow & Sons, and Reynard, is a nod to those days of yore. M-F 2pm-2am / Sa-Su 12pm-2am