Category Archives: General

The Many Sculptures of Central Park

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by Garrett McMahon

 

There are 29 sculptures in Central Park, and each one is unique, ranging from the proud and majestic to the weird and creepy. Here’s a brief survey, courtesy of the Central Park experts at Bike and Roll, to get sightseers started, helpfully divided into four taxonomic groups:

 

Historical Figures on Horses

 

It’s a well-known fact among sculptors that guys on horses look really cool. In Central Park, these equestrian tough guys include Latin American independence leader Simon Bolivar, Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, and even President Theodore Roosevelt. For my money, the coolest is the King Jagiello Monument, located on the walkway leading to the Belvedere castle.

 

The statue commemorates the Medieval Polish king, Wladyslaw II Jagiello, who in the Battle of Grunwald led his people to victory against the Teutonic Knights. It’s the biggest equestrian statue in the park and easily the most impressive. The king holds up two crossed swords in defiance, symbolizing Poland and Lithuania united for a common cause.

 

Historical Figures Not on Horses

 

Since we can’t be on horses all the time, the park has ample representation for the unhorsed as well. In the Mall you’ll encounter the “literary row,” with monuments to towering figures of the written word: William Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott… Fitz-Greene Halleck… um, Christopher Columbus?

 

The statues in the park were donated by different wealthy individuals or organizations at different times, which makes for a charming lack of cohesion among them all. The best example here is Fitz-Greene Halleck, a popular author at the time, however, the official statistic of people aware of him today includes roughly 97% “people who saw his statue and googled ‘who is Fitz-Greene Halleck?’”

 

Animals
Many Central Park visitors are familiar with the Balto statue, commemorating the famous dog sled run in 1925 to deliver diptheria serum from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Those visitors might be less familiar with another animal-driven statue, Eagles and Prey. Arguably the park’s strangest sculpture, it depicts a goat caught between two rocks and attacked by the titular two eagles.

 

The sculptor, Christophe Fratin, was the son of a taxidermist, which may explain the subject matter. According to the Parks and Recreation website, early critic Clarence Cook “…felt that Fratin’s choice of subject and ‘wild, exotic depictions’ did not fit in with ‘the tranquil rural beauty of the park scenery.’ Eagles and Prey, however, outlasted such initially squeamish sentiments.” Located near the Naumburg Bandshell, it’s still there for you decide if you agree with Mr. Cook or the Parks site.

 

Fictional Characters

 

Kids will be familiar with the Alice in Wonderland statue, commissioned in 1959 by noted Central Park philanthropist George Delacorte. If there’s a single statue on your list of things to see, however, it should be Angel of the Waters. It commemorates the construction of the Croton Aqueduct, which gave the city drinking water that was actually safe to drink. This statue was sculpted by Emma Stebbins, the first woman to create a public art piece for the city. Located at the magnificent Bethesda Terrace, itself located in the exact middle of Manhattan, the statue is the literal centerpiece of the entire park.

 

All these statues and many more can be found on our Inside Central Park tour. Just ask one of our helpful guides. We’ll see you there!

Why You Need to Bike Across the Williamsburg Bridge

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By: Nick Shannon

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New York City is an amazing place to bike. Not only is it thrilling, but it gets you outside to enjoy the great views, parks, water, and array of recreational opportunities available (especially during the summer!). If you are biking in the city, you will want to go across its bridges to soak in as much of the culture of the outer boroughs as possible. Here are 6 reasons why you should add the Williamsburg Bridge to your next biking adventure.

6. Bike the bridge for a workout, or just enjoy a leisurely ride with a great view

It will only take you around 15 minutes, depending on your ability. Get in your workout and don’t let the incline stop you – you and your legs will thank you later! The gradual slope will give you cardio, build muscles, and increase your endurance all in one activity. You will also be flowing above the cars and past any traffic. Biking is the perfect way to avoid road congestion and unnecessary delays.

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5. Explore Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn for the day on a bike loop

It is the perfect bridge to bike as part of a loop. If you pick up a rental bike at Bike and Roll’s Battery Park location, you can go straight over the Brooklyn Bridge, explore Brooklyn Heights, then make your way north up the Kent Ave Greenway to Williamsburg. Enjoy an afternoon of delicious food and quirky shops, then cross the Williamsburg Bridge back to Manhattan to see more of the Lower East Side. The Williamsburg Bridge offers a utilitarian ride that is quick and enjoyable – something that New York commuters definitely appreciate. Pedestrians have a separate walk on the south side of the bridge and the path for bikes is on the north side

Link to map: https://goo.gl/maps/St5hQ791NAw

 

4. SMORGASBURG – the Brooklyn Flea Food Market

One of the coolest food events in the city on a Saturday is Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Over 100 local vendors sell their creative concoctions in what becomes a local food paradise. Try something you never thought you would, such as a ramen burger, truffle fries, a hibiscus doughnut, or mango on a stick with chili powder. You could go every weekend and still find something new.

TIMES: Every Saturdays from 11 am – 6 pm
East River State Park: 90 Kent Ave. (at N. 7th)

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3. ARTISTS AND FLEAS – Artist, Designer and Vintage Market

Just a block away from Smorgasburg, you will find the Artists and Fleas market where local artisans and designers sell their products. You will find one-of-a kind trinkets, jewelry, crafts, fashion and vintage- the perfect opportunity to get a gift for that special someone and it may be hard to not pick up something for yourself. You will feel good about supporting small business and makers, which is a great way to engage with the community. Enjoy just browsing the crafts, and get some time in with the dogs out front.

TIMES: Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am – 7 pm
70 North 7th Brooklyn
Williamsburg, NY

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2. YOGA ON THE FARM – evening yoga at North Brooklyn Farms

If you end up keeping a bike overnight and find yourself in Williamsburg in the evening, the perfect way to end your ride is with Yoga on the Farm. Stretch the muscles you just workout out on the bike and enjoy a little meditative practice to calm your mind in this big, bustling city. The view of the sun setting against the Manhattan skyline is the perfect excuse to stop and just breathe.

TIMES: Tuesdays from 6:45 pm – 7:45 pm
North Brooklyn Farms
320 Kent Avenue (@ S. 4th Street)
Brooklyn, NY

1. New York City is a great place to explore by bike. It is a great way to visit a lot of places, but still have the on-the-ground experience you miss from being in a car or on a train. There are so many bike lanes to take advantage of to get you from point A to B, or just to explore the boroughs. If you are just visiting, or don’t own a bike and want a weekend adventure, a bike rental is the perfect thing for you.

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The Williamsburg Bridge may just be the one thing that will spark your next NYC adventure. It is the perfect excuse to explore Brooklyn and lower Manhattan on your next day off. Its location and character make it an enjoyable place to bike, so go out there and start exploring!

 

 

 

 

 

Tis the Season to Give Back

Tis the Season to Give Back

The Bike and Roll NYC staff took a day off from the business of bicycle rentals and tours and began their winter holiday season by assisting at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen on 9th Avenue in New York City.

This past Monday, Bike and Roll staffers engaged in food and clothing distribution, greeting visitors, making service referrals and cleaning at the soup kitchen. The food serving and clothing distribution lasted from 10:30am and ended at 12:45pm, while serving over 1,000 people. Bike and Roll’s entire full time winter staff participated in the event.

 

Bike and Roll – Central Park, New York – www.Kloudya.com

Are you looking for something exciting, fun, and new to do this summer? Do you enjoy being outdoors and staying fit? Then get ready to experience one of the most popular attractions in New York! Bike and Roll offers a wide-variety of bicycle rentals and tours around Manhattan, Central Park, 9/11 Memorial, Brooklyn Bridge, Hudson River, San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Miami, and much more. These tours won’t only give you a great workout, but they will also teach you historic facts that you’ll remember forever.

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The New York Skyline

They New York skyline is, without a doubt, one of the most famed views of the city. Every street vendor has at least three framed versions of it in their collection. In “How I Met Your Mother,” the protagonist, an architect named Ted, dreams of adding a building to it. And in “500 Days of Summer,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt loves to sketch the skyline almost as much as he loves Zooey Deschanel. Up until yesterday, these images made up my mental picture of the New York City skyline.

So, what happened yesterday to completely alter my perception of the skyline, you may ask. Well, I viewed Manhattan from the Manhattan Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Promenade, all within a three-hour time span.

The best view of the tour was from the Promenade. As I stood at the fence with old mansions, surrounded by blossoming bushes and plants behind me, I could see the entire skyline, two different bridges (Brooklyn and Manhattan), the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Nature, impressive architecture and historic sights were all incorporated into this one picturesque moment. After this experience, I finally understand why Joseph Gordon-Levitt found such peace sitting, surrounded by the park’s nature and admiring the skyline.

Another breathtaking view of the skyline came when we stopped at the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. Without a car in sight I was able to stand above the river with a warm breeze cooling my sweaty body. While standing there, could see exactly why artists and movie directors are sure to incorporate the skyline into their projects. It truly is an experience that pictures can’t do justice.

One final success I have to attribute to this tour was the tour guides ability to assuage some of my fears of biking through the streets of New York. Not only did he fearlessly navigate through the traffic, but his knowledge of lower Manhattan was so impressive it made me realize how necessary biking through the cities various neighborhoods really is. Damien knew the ins and outs of Wall St., Federal Hall, China town, Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. I would never have been able to cover so much terrain by foot. Even if could though, I get so caught up in the masses of people hustling through the streets my view of the sights is always somewhat obscured.

From MetroFocus

Be a Better Tourist in NYC, Even If You’re a Local

Lindsay Armstrong, Menglin Huang, Christina Mullgan, Esha Ray | June 8, 2012 4:00 AM

On Wheels and Water

Claire Gorayeb

Director of Marketing for Bike and Roll. Bikes can be rented by the hour or for a half or full day at locations around the city including Battery Park, Central Park Columbus Circle, Tavern on the Green, Riverside Park, Battery Park,  Pier 84, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Other locations (Governors Island, East River Park, and West Harlem Piers) are open on the weekend only. They also offer guided bike tours and itineraries for self-guided tours. Bike and Roll rents bike to about  100,000 people each year.

What do you wish tourists knew?

They don’t realize how much traffic-free biking there is in New York City. Beyond Central Park, you have the Hudson River bike paths, the one on the East River, Brooklyn and Queens. They’re all traffic free. Once someone does it and realizes they can ride for miles and miles uninterrupted, they’re thrilled.

Many New Yorkers don’t know it either, because they don’t live all the way over on the rivers, they might not realize it’s there.

The thing about living in New York is that you always have visitors. People’s guests want to ride. That’s when many New Yorkers come to us.

Lots don’t know how easy it is to ride in the city, either traffic-free or how to ride in traffic safely. For example, our office is on 30th between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, right in the middle of Midtown with all of the tall buildings and traffic, but there’s a bike lane on 29th and one on 30th so it’s really no problem to bike here.

VH1 Meets Bike and Roll

There is a famous quote in my family, “if Lindsay can do it, how hard can it be?” When I was four years old, I used this logic while begging my dad to teach me how to ride a two-wheeler. He had recently taught Lindsay, my older sister, and thus, I was convinced I must learn to ride as well. The next morning, my dad placed one hand on my back and help the handlebars of my magenta bike with silver tassels on the handles and guided me down our driveway as I started to peddle and figure out how to balance.

This morning, sixteen years later, this memory came rushing back to me as I met Mara Wilson, the star of Matilda and little girl in Mrs. Doubtfire. With VH1 camera’s surrounding her for their new series called, “Miss You Much,” Mara endeavored to ride a bicycle for the very first time at Bike and Roll’s location in Central Park’s Tavern on the Green.

This whirlwind started when I spent the first 45 minutes trying to help one of the producers set up a bright pink Big Wheel that he had bought at Toys R Us a matter of hours ago. After completing this relatively demoralizing task, we finished setting up the real bikes, Catherine Reitman (host) and Mara Wilson (child star), came out of make-up and began filming. Take, after take, after take.

Now, I don’t want to give anything away, so you’re going to have to watch the show in early September for a couple reasons. Not only do I know you are curious what Mara has been up to but, see if she actually learned how to ride a bike!

Let’s go . . . bikes!

from Streetsblog . . .

 

U.S. PIRG Report: Young Americans Dump Cars for Bikes, BusesPosted: 05 Apr 2012 11:58 AM PDT

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has been crunching the numbers on travel preferences among young Americans — and the news is not good for auto makers.

Public transit use increased 100 percent among 16-34-year-olds with household incomes above $70,000, according to a new report from PIRG. Photo: U.S. PIRG

The report — Transportation and the New Generation — is chock-full of nuggets like this:

Driving is down: “From 2001 to 2009, the annual number of vehicle miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) decreased from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles per capita—a drop of 23 percent.”

Biking is up: “In 2009, 16- to 34-year-olds as a whole took 24 percent more bike trips than they took in 2001, despite the age group actually shrinking in size by 2 percent.”

Young people even reported consciously driving less to save the environment. “Sixteen percent of 18- to 34-year-olds polled said they strongly agreed with the statement, ‘I want to protect the environment, so I drive less.’ This is compared to approximately nine percent of older generations.”

The trend toward non-automobile transportation options was even more pronounced among higher-income Americans, notable because this group is less likely to be motivated by economic concerns. “From 2001 to 2009, young people (16- to 34-year-olds) who lived in households with annual incomes of over $70,000 increased their use of public transit by 100 percent, biking by 122 percent, and walking by 37 percent.”

A number of factors are thought to be contributing to the trend. Some states now require “graduated” driver’s licensing, making young people pass multiple driving tests and hold learner’s permits longer before they earn full privileges. Higher gas prices, obviously, help put owning a car out of reach for many younger Americans, especially as the age group struggles in a less-favorable job market. Finally, technology, specifically smartphones, and their incompatibility with (safe) driving, help make alternatives that much more inviting.

The pervasiveness of the data suggests a larger cultural shift away from automobile use and sprawling communities among younger generations, the report concludes.

Of course, the American political system has yet to catch up to, or even fully comprehend, this sea change.

“Policy-makers and the public need to be aware that America’s current transportation policy—dominated by road building—is fundamentally out-of-step with the transportation patterns and expressed preferences of growing numbers of Americans,” the authors write. ”Federal and local governments have historically made massive investments in new highway capacity on the assumption that driving will continue to increase at a rapid and steady pace. The changing transportation preferences of young people — and Americans overall — throw those assumptions into doubt.”

Data was obtained from the National Household Travel Survey and surveys by Zipcar and the National Association for Realtors.

My Experience as a Bike and Roll NYC Language Liaison/Marketing Assistant Intern

By Courtney Laird

With a degree in Spanish from Colby College, I hoped to find a summer job or internship that allowed me to utilize my Spanish language skills daily. With the help of Colby’s Career Center, I stumbled upon the Language Liaison/Marketing Assistant Intern position at Bike and Roll New York City and became immediately interested upon seeing that the main responsibilities of the job focused around language skills and international business.

courtney-lairdI knew from the first week that I would enjoy myself during this internship—from taking two tours to acclimate myself to the product, I realized that the culture of Bike and Roll is one steeped in fun and innovation and that their products are something you should definitely try!

The internship is comprised of three main segments: marketing with ALON Marketing Group, public relations with Nicholas and Lence and translating Bike and Roll’s brand literature and promotional material. All three segments work in harmony to increase Bike and Roll’s presence in international markets relative to your language focus—since I speak Spanish, I translated the promotional material into Spanish and contacted Spanish-speaking countries that provide the most tourism in America.

Using an online database full of travel agencies and Tour Operators, I located and contacted (in Spanish!) companies that spanned 10 countries in order to introduce them to the rentals and tours Bike and Roll offers here in NYC. Creating direct dialogue with international companies in their native language helped Bike and Roll enter a whole new business market—many of the companies I contacted responded that they would promote our services on their websites. I liked this process best—it was a great way to hone my Spanish skills in professional correspondences, to learn more about how sales and marketing function when pitching products and to create connections with people in various countries like Spain, Argentina, Guatemala and Peru.

I also really enjoyed translating the promotional documents. It was a great way to keep my brain alert, to learn new words and phrases and to practice the sometimes complicated process of translating. It was really rewarding to know that my work would be published for customers to use! It was also fulfilling to be able to incorporate and improve upon my existing writing skills in both English and Spanish—drafting emails, crafting a research project and writing blog entries allowed for ample opportunities to enhance valuable communication skills.

The interactive and direct experience of marketing and public relations (two fields in which I had limited experience) definitely enabled me to learn a whole new set of skills that prepare me well for a career in these interrelated fields. The opportunity to learn more about sales and marketing, coupled with the opportunity to use and improve my Spanish skills, made this internship invaluable. From working with a small company of friendly and knowledgeable people to expanding my professional network into Latin America, my internship at Bike and Roll NYC helped me locate my career interests and provided me the necessary skills sets for jumpstarting my career.

My Experience as an Intern for Bike and Roll NYC This Summer

By Henry Nalle

I heard about Bike and Roll NYC’s Marketing Assistant/Language Liaison internship through the career center at my college. The internship was advertised as a great way to put foreign language proficiency to work while gaining experience in marketing, public relations, and international business—and that is exactly what it was! As a French major interested all of these fields, this internship seemed like the perfect intersection of my academic interests and professional pursuits.

henry-nalleWhat made this internship so unique was the fact that it was truly a learning experience. I was also able to work and interact with so many different people over the course of the summer. It’s as if this experience was three internships in one. In addition to working directly with Bike and Roll NYC, I also worked in conjunction with Alon Marketing Group and Nicholas and Lence Communications to make Bike and Roll’s products more accessible to foreign markets.

The work I did directly for Bike and Roll NYC consisted of translating all of Bike and Roll’s promotional material (websites, brochures, tour documents, etc) into French. Translating this material early in the program really helped me to familiarize myself with Bike and Roll NYC’s products and mission. What’s more, during my first week I was given the opportunity to go on two of Bike and Roll’s tours: the Inside Central Park tour and the Bike and Boat tour. I thoroughly enjoyed both these tours and they really got me excited about working for a company with first-rate products and superior customer service. I was always encouraged to give constant feedback on my experiences over the course of the summer. I even had the opportunity to collaborate with my fellow intern, Courtney, to draft part a manual that will serve as a training guide for future Bike and Roll interns.

One of the key components of my internship was my work in conjunction with Alon Marketing Group. Alon puts Bike and Roll into contact with hundreds of tour operators who put together tour packages and sell them to travel agents, who then sell them to tourists. As a French-speaking intern, I researched Francophone tour operators that offer tours to New York City. I also did substantial research on the French biking culture and how it would translate to an interest in biking in New York City. After completing this research, I drafted an email (in French) selling Bike and Roll NYC’s tour and rental offerings. I reached out to tour operators by tailoring this email to each operator’s interests as expressed on their website. Reaching out in French helped to break down the language barrier that may have previously prevented contact with these buyers. I also felt that I was actually doing something to help Bike and Roll while learning a great deal about the travel and tourism industry.

I also had the opportunity to work with Nicholas and Lence Communications, the firm that manages Bike and Roll’s PR. During my days at NLC, I made press lists of Francophone journalists and posted Bike and Roll tours to NYC event websites to help advertise and sell our product. I also drafted sales pitches and translated press releases in an effort to reach out to French-speaking tourists in NYC. My work with NLC exposed me to the world of Public Relations and served as an amazing opportunity to work with some real experts in the field.

Interning for Bike and Roll NYC was an amazing learning experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone with foreign language proficiency interested in marketing, PR, and international business!

Do you have an internship experience you’d like to share with us?