Once we finally had the chance to regroup after returning from Iceland, we were juggling a few different options for where to go next. After not much contemplation, we made the bold decision to turnaround and follow our hearts all the way back to New York City. Turnaround?! Now generally we don’t tend to backtrack, but with the help of a few persuasive New Yorkers and the fact that I couldn’t think of a better place to celebrate my 27th birthday, we just couldn’t resist those bright lights and the LOVE that awaited!
So what did we do with our Sprinter? Where did we park? How did we make it through the mad traffic? Surprisingly, it was no problem at all, well sorta. 5 minutes on the island of Manhattan and bam! We found 1 giant parking spot conveniently located next to a beautiful park and some brick buildings. Actually everywhere we looked the brick buildings were the same, and there were kind of a lot of police cars, but it seemed normal enough…
Yep, we were in the projects. But you know what, it wasn’t so bad! We didn’t linger, we had no problems and we actually felt really quite safe – no one walks around the projects after dark so there was no one there to creep us out as we walked home that night… but yes, one night was enough. That next morning we set sail in search of new horizons on the other side of the river.
Street cleaning ended at 10am which was precisely when we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, and again, within 5 minutes we had scored a beautiful property, this time located right next to McCarren Park, within walking distance to Bedford and Berry Streets and within a stones throw of Yoga to the People. We were home.
We met our awesome guide and group in the designated location, which was super easy to find, and they had everything already set up for us. From the super light-weight, easy-to-manage Priority bikes, to the walkie talkie headsets, water bottles and helmets (which are not required in NY btw, but highly recommended), they had everything covered!
Our guide, Chandler, taught us the rules of the road and we gladly followed them. While Get Up and Ride does an awesome job planning an epic adventure, they also take safety very seriously and so our route actually had us riding in bike lanes most of the time and luckily avoided highly trafficked areas, like 5th Ave and Times Square, which we could later explore by foot on our own. We listened on our earpieces as Chandler filled us in on the history of the streets we were riding through.
Chelsea (Sex and the City), the East Village, Tribeca, SoHo, Chinatown, Battery Park, FiDi and more, what we loved most was the fact that we were given the chance to get off our bikes to admire the views and take photos whenever inspiration struck! The tour also included fun treats like THE BEST pizza in the city, which is frequented by a whole slew of A-listers, as well as coffee in the old South Street Seaport, along with a few other classic landmarks.
After more than 5 hours of riding and learning, we had a whole list of things we couldn’t wait to do! Walking The High Line, exploring the Chelsea and Gansevoort Markets, relaxing in Washington Square, visiting the WTC Memorial, eating at Eataly… this tour had us set for the rest of our trip! We couldn’t wait to see what our Brooklyn tour would bring.
For our Brooklyn tour we all met at Get Up and Ride‘s ,sweet plot of land with a trailer, picnic table, taco truck and baggo! We were stoked to be touring with Chandler again, who introduced us to our new biker gang for the day, and off we went for round 2!
This tour was filled with much more street art and hills, and much less traffic.
As Chandler took us through the neighborhoods of Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Brooklyn Heights, all the way down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, we fell in love with Brooklyn. And then we saw the views…
There is something special about those tall, lean building that reach as high to the heavens as their pointed tops allow. Another stunning spot was the Brooklyn Grange rooftop farm, described as a green oasis in a concrete jungle, which is exactly what it is. We have no idea how they found it, but it was our favorite part of the tour. They host events and even offer yoga classes up there!
While the Manhattan tour gave us a better feel for the city, the Brooklyn tour made us feel like insiders. Both tours offered fun routes, interesting tidbits, incredible views, yummy stops and a fantastic way to explore the city with great people we wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise meet! Another cool thing that Get Up and Ride offers is customizable tours! Want a Gossip Girls tour? How about a Hollywood-style movie location scout? Or maybe a tour on the rich history of fashion in NYC? Whatever you can imagine they can do!
After we got cleaned up, we headed back down to Brooklyn Bridge Park to relax and try a few delicious morsels at Smorgasburg – another Brooklyn must do!Can you believe they had a deep-fried lamb ragu and spaghetti sandwich?!
Drew’s favorite was the deep-fried egg and lamb ball topped with a smoked yogurt sauce, whaaaaat:
My roasted beet and caramelized onion burger with cashew cheddar cheese was divine.
The options, in true New York style, were unlike anything we had ever seen before.The top 2 crowd pleasers were the MofonGO mashed plantain bowls:
And the famous RAMEN BURGER:
Smorgasburg only runs on weekends so check the times and locations and be prepared to wait in line. The best things have at least a 20 minute wait… seek them out, it’s worth it. Until next time New York! We already can’t wait to return.