I rarely make travel plans during the summer. As much as I dread the heat, the rancid smell of city streets and dodging tourists, I like summer in New York City a lot. It is an expensive city to live in, with high rent, fare hikes, and cost of food inflation. Though, if you’re a savvy New Yorker, there are many freebies hidden treasure or cheap finds all over, especially during the summer months.
My latest obsession is biking and it all began when I became a second hand -used Columbia bicycle owner where I bought on Craigslist.com last summer. When my former colleague had described “biking will change your life!” It certainly has. Summer is a lot more fun with a bicycle and you will see New York City in a whole new perspective. NYC Department of Transportation and Transportation Alternatives collaborate annually and for the 4th year organized NYC Summer Streets. From 7am – 1pm for three consecutive Saturday weekends (Aug 6, Aug 13 and Aug 20) the streets along Lafeyette from downtown Brooklyn Bridge / City Hall to Upper East Side 72nd Street and Park Ave are closed off to cars driving and parking; where joggers, strollers, pedestrians and bikers rule the streets! This year with food sponsors like: Wholefoods, Chipotle, illy espresso, Stonyfield Farm and Brooklyn Salsa Company. The highlight of Summer Streets is the midpoint of the route. Whether biking, walking or jogging through the closed ramps normally driven through by yellow taxi cabs is the Grand Central Terminal. There are many exquisite and breathtaking architecture in New York City and Grand Central Terminal is one of few that remains.
I recently visited the latest or the trendiest outdoor street food market across in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is the Smorgasburg. I went to visit to see what all the hype was and the result was an over indulgent and guilty but not pleasurable biscuit fried chicken sandwich with ranch dressing from Kings Crumb. Very hospitable and friendly service but I’m concern this dish will need to be accompany with a Pepto Bismol. And not to pigeon hole Kings Crumb, many dishes I was able to observed may need a Tums beforehand. A lot of food trending was sliders, tacos, grassfed beef hot dogs, lobster rolls, and fried food, well, it’s American street food, except here is in moderation unlike what we see on Man vs. Food. I recommend to share the biscuit, fried chicken sandwich and many other food with a friend but my greedy self ate it all in one sitting on the curb of a street sidewalk. Smorgasburg or Williamsburg is a place to check out. It’s not completely hipster-fy but many interesting and creative business are booming. Walk down on Bedford Ave., Berry Street or on North 3rd, and a few of my favorite shops where I can spend hour(s) at are: The Brooklyn Art Library, Blue Bottle Coffee, Mast Brothers Chocolate, Sprout Home and Bedford Cheese Shop. In many ways, Williamsburg is one of many parts of Brooklyn already gentrified but the feeling is still very industrial and creative. It’s definitely worth a visit and it was not until last fall after living in New York City for my entire life that I had first walked across the Williamsburg Bridge and ever since it’s been one of my favorite bridge to take a stroll across, well second to Brooklyn Bridge. One of many things I love other than eating, yes I have hobbies other than eating, is taking long distance walk and Williamsburg Bridge is safely divided from pedestrians and bicyclers, though what’s beautiful about Williamsburg Bridge is towards the center it merges, which is very unusual. I have yet to ride by bicycle across the Williamsburg Bridge and it’s on my list of things to do before the Winter chills return. Any takers on riding across the Billyburg Bridge for a burger at the Williamsburger?
For those who do not own a bicycle, take a free ferry ride for the free bicycle rentals on Friday at Governor’s Island. The ferry departs from Lower Manhattan from the Battery Maritime Building. To make your trip even more fulfilling, pack a banh mi sandwich from Chinatown for lunch.
Enjoy the remaining dog days of summer eating and biking.