You'll never forget your bike ride along the Hudson River greenway. They've built a safe bike path running all the way along the western shore of Manhattan. It's about 12 miles from Battery Park (24 round trip) or about 6 miles from the NY Waterway terminal in mid town (12 miles round trip).
We used to like to park our car in NJ and take the NY Waterway Ferry over, but with the Ferry now costing about $10 each way (including an extra $ for the bike), we've gotten used to taking the Staten Island Ferry instead. The pedestrian path is right there outside of the terminal building. For much of it, there's a walking lane and two bike lanes, one for each direction. It's a totally flat ride, and there are stoplights wherever traffic has to cross the path. So it's safe and fun. If you don't have a bike, there are ample places to pick up a ride.
From midtown, we usually ride north up past the Aircraft Carier and the huge ocean liners, and within a couple of miles you're out of the site of traffic on a secluded path that could almost be in the country. It's deep in the park with hardly a view of New York's skyline or traffic. Well, you and a bunch of other people. It does get crowded. But it's well worth it. We almost always continue all the way up to the George Washington Bridge to gawk at the tiny Little Red Lighthouse. Then we come back down and stop at the 79th Street Boat Basin Cafe. It's a great informal dining spot, and is sometimes listed as one of the top scenic places to eat in New York.
Then we head back down the path - back within view of the big city and larger crowds as well. The further south you go, the more people use this park.
You'll find restrooms at the Ferry Terminals and also way up at the north end of the park almost under the GW bridge. There are also portable commodes at various spots along the path.
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