Friday, January 3, 2014

Getting out of the Financial District

Getting out of the Financial District can be bewildering. If you're west of Broadway, once you've made your way to the West St. bike lanes, you're good for any uptown destination. But following the East River, if you're destination is inland, the river lane takes you way out of your way.

Take our advice and do not depend on the nice green lines that denote bike lanes around and through City Hall, the Brooklyn Bridge and the courts and jails quarter, aka Civic Center. It's all just too much of everything and a portage across the City Hall Plaza is guaranteed.

So here's how you escape Wall St for Union Square and the world beyond. And we even get you back downtown:

  • Make your way to Water St and head north (the river should be to your right). Water St. is relatively easy to navigate, although there is no bike lane. But the cabs and the double-parkers create a lot of open space.
  • Water St. turns into Pearl St. Pearl St. turns into St. James Pl (and you never made a turn). The toughest part of this stretch is going under the Brooklyn Bridge. There, beware of cars trying to make a right. They really don’t see you.
  • St. James ends at Worth St. As you make left, get in middle, not right turn lane. Cross intersection and after one block, turn right off Worth St. onto Mulberry St.
  • This is the fun part. Follow Mulberry through Chinatown, Little Italy, and Nolita, It’s one lane and your bike is often faster than their hunk of metal. Don’t ring your bell in frustration.
  • After crossing Houston, Mulberry ends at Bleeker St. Get totally illegal and make a left, then a quick right onto the Lafayette St. bike lane
  • Take Lafayette north through the East Village to E 9th St.
  • Take E 9th St. can take you anywhere you want.


  • From E 10th St. take 2nd Ave south. Careful after E 2nd St. You must cross traffic and get into right lane before crossing Houston St.
  • After Houston, you’re on Chrystie St. Cross Chrystie at Stanton (left) into the park.
  • Take Stanton (a bike lane) out of the park to the Allen St. bike lane.
  • Take Allen St. all the way to the East River bike lane and make a right. Allen St. even has red and green lights specific to the bike lane. Take heed. They protect you from traffic turning right.
  • And yes, you could take Allen St/1st Ave/9th st northbound. But then you wouldn’t have seen it on Mulberry St., would you?

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