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The New York City Waterfront, A World Class Bicycle Experience Part Two

By Nicole Mylonas

We are back with part two of my New York City Waterfront interview with co-founder of Bike and Roll, Darryll White.  In the second part of this interview, Darryll and I discuss the affects of Hurricane Sandy, how the waterfront is a destination with diverse experience options, and why biking is an important mode of transportation along the waterfront.

Q: Where is the Waterfront today?

The waterfront today has made incredible strides forward and is a fabulous place to visit, but I believe the current operative phrase could still be, “under construction”.  Hurricane Sandy hit the New York City waterfront very hard in October of 2012 and we are still trying to recover a year later.  Many beautiful waterfront parks such as The Battery, Riverside Park, East River Park along with Liberty State Park across the river, suffered damage that is still in the process of repair.

Liberty State Park

Liberty State Park

Additionally, South Street Seaport will undergo redevelopment beginning this fall, Governors Island is in the midst of new and significant construction, Staten Island is awaiting final approval of the New York Wheel*, Brooklyn Bridge Park continues towards completion and the Pier A project at Battery Park City is still underway.

Governors Island

Governors Island

The perception of the New York City waterfront as a destination is in a way “under construction” as well.  Even with its significant increase in visitors over the last decade, I think we’re just scratching the surface in terms of the waterfront’s potential as a destination.

Q: What is your overall vision for the New York City Waterfront as it relates to bicycle recreation and tourism?

I see the New York City waterfront as somewhat like an amusement park.  Once you’re there, you can pick and choose from a multitude of different things to do and can do so at your own pace.  The waterfront grants access and views to some of the top NYC icons.

There are also wonderful restaurants, museums and attractions located all along the waterfront such as Pier i Café, Chelsea Brewing Company, the Frying Pan, Boat Basin Café, Beekman Beer Garden, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the Irish Hunger Memorial, the National Museum of the American Indian, the NYC Police Museum and the Waterfront Museum.

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum

Happy and excited tour participants before the Hudson River Brooklyn Bridge tour!

Happy and excited tour participants before the Hudson River Brooklyn Bridge tour!

outside eating

Tour operators such as New York Water Taxi, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises, Manhattan By Sail, and Helicopter Flight Services, to name a few along with our company, offer terrific tours and services to choose from.

New York Water Taxi

New York Water Taxi

As for how bikes fit in, I see a dual role. First, using a rental bike or your own bike to explore, or engaging one of our guided tours is simply a great way to spend a day. Additionally, the bike can also serve as transportation to and from the various waterfront destinations while connecting to boat transit at your leisure. With the absence of north-south mass transit along the waterfront, bikes and boats are by far the best way to navigate.

Today, much of the visitation to the waterfront is driven by interest in the individual destinations that reside along the rivers. In the future I look to people thinking more broadly about the waterfront as a whole, like they would with Times Square or Greenwich Village.

Q: What role do you see for Bike and Roll relative to the New York City Waterfront?

We will continue to build our products and events in connection with the waterfront while promoting it as a destination.  For instance, our “Bike the Brooklyn Bridge” product slogan was designed to represent the great day on a bicycle exploring the NYC waterfront that I described earlier in Part One of the interview. We promote this as one of our marquee products.  Our value added My Way Pass is a terrific feature that will enhance any biking experience along the waterfront and encourages our guests to get off their bikes en route and connect to all the waterfront has to offer – including the use of water transit to expand access and broaden the experience.

We are also advocates of the waterfront locally and in the tourism market.  We look forward to collaborating with our waterfront partners and neighbors in continuing efforts to market the waterfront as a destination. Bike and Roll also aims to bring further awareness to bicycling as a viable and primary means of transportation throughout the waterfront, as well as promoting cycling as a healthy, economical and fun way to enjoy one of New York City’s greatest resources.

The waterfront truly is an extraordinary destination.  I personally love going downtown to Battery Park and soaking in the stunning views.  Now it’s your turn to take a bike out to the waterfront and experience the beauty and all the many things to do for yourself!

Please feel free to share any comments about your own NYC waterfront experience.

* This interview was conducted in the late fall of 2013.  Since then, the New York Wheel has been approved!

The New York City Waterfront, A World Class Bicycle Experience

By Nicole Mylonas

I sat down with Darryll White, co-founder of Bike and Roll, to discuss the New York City Waterfront.  In this two-part interview, you will learn about the incredible access that the waterfront grants to many New York City icons, what a great day along the waterfront looks like, why the waterfront is an important part of the NYC experience and how bicycling plays an important role.

Q: What motivated you to focus on the New York City Waterfront as a bicycling destination?

My first motivating factor was the NYC Greenway, which created the opportunity to offer a new, outstanding and safe bicycle experience in New York City.  Since the Greenway primarily resides along the waterfront it is natural for us to make the waterfront an area of focus.  A car free path goes a long way in terms of safety and the perception of safety.

While safety is foremost, our product experience is also very important. When I owned the Bike and Roll operation in San Francisco, our premiere and most successful product revolved around biking the scenic waterfront, across the Golden Gate Bridge and returning by ferryboat.  In New York City, the waterfront greenway allows for bicyclists to connect iconic sites such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the 9/11 Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, Governors Island, Staten Island Ferry, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and more, with proximate water-transit along the way .  Much like in San Francisco, people in NYC can bike the waterfront, ride on a famous bridge and return by boat.

bbridgeblog

A view of the Brooklyn Bridge

 

911 blog

The Freedom Tower/One World Trade

Mayor Bloomberg’s vision, PlaNYC30, also motivated me to focus on the New York City waterfront as a bicycling destination.  The plan articulated a vision to connect the five boroughs and specifically mentioned use of water transit and increased use of bicycles.  By aligning our plan with that of the administration we were able to work in sync with an existing city initiative.

Q: How has the waterfront greenway helped change the perception of biking in New York City?

In the early 1990’s there was no bike path to speak of outside of Central Park and New York City was perceived by many as a dangerous place to ride. The addition of the waterfront greenway created a safe and significant network of paths to ride and as they say, if you build it, they will come.

A beautiful day for a bike ride in Central Park

A beautiful day for a bicycle ride in Central Park

The bike path also runs though many beautiful waterfront parks, which serve as a great place for residents and visitors alike to relax and enjoy the greenery, open sky and waterfront views while connecting with many great waterfront destinations. Thus, the Greenway has been integral in creating access to the waterfront.

The importance of the Greenway for biking in New York City cannot be overstated!

Q: Describe a great day on the New York City Waterfront.

Imagine a bike ride along the Hudson River, on a car-free Greenway, providing access to diverse neighborhoods, awesome iconic attractions, waterfront dining and connections to water transit that allow bikes easy access to all 5 boroughs of NYC.  A great day for me would be to create my own combination adventure on the fly, stopping as I pleased and exploring new spots along the way.  When hungry or when feeling like a change of pace, getting off the bike to sit somewhere and watch the world go by is a great option as well. There are so many terrific pit stops along the way.

Some of my favorite destinations include the picnic areas and the Boat Basin in Riverside Park, the Frying Pan and the Intrepid Museum in Hudson River Park, the Ice Cream Factory and Grimaldis in DUMBO the various concessions and skyline vantage points in Brooklyn Bridge Park, the bike path loop and Governors Beach Club on Governors Island and of course, the wooden plank bike path that crosses above the cars on the Brooklyn Bridge.

frying pan

The Frying Pan

 

boat basin

Boat Basin Cafe

 

ice cream factory

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

 

concessions

Find great concessions at Brooklyn Bridge Park

 

Ferry connections can be made all along the bike path and I enjoy very much adding a boat trip, as it gets me off my saddle for a bit and also provides another vantage point, along with access to Governors Island and the NJ shoreline. NY Water Taxi and East River Ferry provide excellent and convenient service along both the Hudson and East Rivers.  For additional water tours I enjoy Manhattan by Sail and the Circle Line tours – both uptown and downtown.

 

east river ferry

The East River Ferry

After listening to that amazing description of a great day on the New York City Waterfront, I’m ready to hop on my bike right now!  The freedom of being able to hop on and hop off of the bike to enjoy museums, restaurants and parks sounds perfect.  I’m looking forward to more information as we continue this discussion in the near future.

Be on the lookout for part two coming soon!

 

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.

 

What 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!

 

What was your experience like as an intern?  Tell us in the comments below!

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.

 

I 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.

It’s Game Time for the New York City Metro Area

Grand Central Station

(by Andrea Doyle, Successful Meetings, February 25, 2013)

The spotlight is about to shine brighter than ever on the New York metropolitan area as it prepares to host Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014. The stakes are high as this is the first time the game is being held in the Northeast, in an open-air stadium, in a cold-weather city.
This Super Bowl will also be like no other as it going to be a trans-Hudson celebration. The game is being played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ but the events surrounding the game will be split between both New Jersey and New York. A “Super Bowl Boulevard” will transform a portion of Broadway in midtown Manhattan into a massive fan event. It will begin on 44th Street, in the middle of Times Square, and stretch down Broadway to 34th Street from January 29 to February 1.
“For the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl, we’ve embraced the opportunity to create plans that are as big, bold, and unique as New York City and the surrounding region itself,” says National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell. “While we can only fit 80,000 fans into MetLife Stadium for the game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, we look forward to hosting hundreds of thousands of people at different attractions and events during Super Bowl Week, throughout all parts of the area.” All the facets that make the New York area so special will be highlighted including culture, shopping, museums, restaurants, and theater. Plus, hotels have been renovated, roads widened, and airports upgraded in anticipation of America’s biggest sports tournament.
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Bike share raises the bar

Chris-Wogas

Chris Wogas of Bike and Roll is wheeling out new programs to retain market share. (Photo by Buck Ennis)

by Lisa Fickensher, Crain’s New York Business (June 24, 2012)

The city’s vast bike-share program, launching in July, will join an expanding sea of bike shops and rental businesses taking advantage of the Bloomberg administration’s desire to make New York the best biking city in the country.

Even apartment buildings and hotels are buying bikes to offer as amenities for guests and residents. But while the cycling community expects the bike-share program to be a boon for business by encouraging more people to ride, it is also girding for competition.

“There certainly is going to be some overlap between us and bike share,” said Chris Wogas, president of Bike and Roll New York, the largest rental outfit in the city, which derives most of its business from visitors. “We’ll get people to do the shorter rides, and they will get some tourists.”

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Tips to Store Bikes in a City Apartment

How NOT to store your bikes in your apartment!

How NOT to store your bikes in your apartment!

(By Marjorie Cohen, AM New York, January 16, 2013)

You’ve got a bike, maybe more than one, and can’t figure out where to put it in your city-sized apartment. You are not alone.

Although the city Department of Transportation’s 2012 figures on bike ridership aren’t out yet, Jill Guidera, campaign and organizing coordinator for Transportation Alternatives, predicts a “tremendous increase over last year. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, there was a 200% increase in riders and we think that a lot of those folks have decided to stick with it.”

There’s plenty of indoor bike parking for Transportation Alternatives employees, but when Guidera gets home, she parks her bike outside her building.

“My fourth floor walk-up apartment is the size of a pencil box, so this makes the most sense,” she explained. “I rely on the know-your-neighbors security plan.”

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Summer Streets 2012 — Saturday No. 1

Yes, I was one of those New Yorkers who was never around on Saturdays in August.  Then I started working at Bike and Roll and Summer Streets came into my life.

For those of you who don’t know, Summer Streets takes place every year during the first three Saturdays in August.  From 7am to 1pm on each of these days, the city shuts down Park Ave. and Lafayette St. creating a seven-mile car-free haven for pedestrians, bikes, roller skaters, and scooter-ers.  Plus, the southern two lanes of 72nd St. are roped off to create a bike lane into and out of Central Park.  For anyone north of the event and near the park, it’s the perfect car-free conduit to Summer Streets.

Summer Streets traffic – not a car in sight

Let me reiterate the virtues of doing anything in New York EARLY!  The cops have blocked off the streets by 6:30am and the world is your oyster!  There are some spandex jackrabbits in the park, but peeling off onto 72nd St. means you’ve left it all behind.

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Penalty for Rule-Breaking Cyclists: A Remedial Class on How to Ride

All we can add is: Be careful out there and ride safely!

New York Times July 24, 2012

By J. DAVID GOODMAN

The eight wrongdoers sat inside a windowless basement classroom, serving a court-ordered penance for their transgressions. For the next 90 minutes, they would learn about the proper rules of the road, how to use hand signals and when to change lanes safely — even if most did not believe they had done anything wrong.

“He said I wasn’t in the bike lane,” said Kenny McKissick, a 32-year-old messenger. “But I was on the line.”

This spring, the Midtown Community Court began sentencing cyclists who had been issued tickets for certain offenses in and around Midtown Manhattan to a class to learn about bicycles and traffic.

Think remedial driver’s education — for bike riders.

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A Summer Day on Governors Island

We were looking for something special to do.  My kids are leaving for camp on Sunday, so we want to do something special and memorable on Saturday.  Since several weeks of separation are looming, my children are being very nice to me and agree to get up early to go to Governors Island.

I am one of those New Yorkers who doesn’t like crowds.  There are lots of us on this island of more than eight million and we use tricks to feel like there are far fewer people than those who actually share our space.

The first trick is to go wherever you are going early!  Visit any location that tourists and locals like to visit and you’ll notice that they are empty until noon or so on weekends.  The kids and I are up, dressed, breakfasted, and out the door by 8am Saturday morning.  We catch the subway down to South Ferry and were at the GI ferry terminal by 8:40am.

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