Biking in Staten Island

Two weeks ago, I biked down the West Side Greenway and took the 8:00 am ferry to Staten Island. The weather started out rainy and miserable but then the sun came out about midday and the rest of the day was hot and sunny.

Below I include a slide show, my itinerary and links to the sites I visited. My favorite spots were Snug Harbor, the Alice Austen House and Historic Richmond Town. I also enjoyed biking on the boardwalk and seeing Battery Weed at Fort Wadsworth.

My biking experience on Staten Island was mixed. There are good on-street bike lanes that run from Snug Harbor past the ferry terminal to Fort Wadsworth (view my customized Google map with location markers). And biking on the boardwalk or the parallel bike lane is excellent. But after the bike path along the coast ends at New Drop Lane, there’s no continuous bike lane that you can take to the southern tip of the island. I was going to visit the Conference House but I didn’t like dealing with the traffic on Hylan Boulevard and I got tired of trying alternate routes that didn’t lead anywhere. So I ended up looping around and heading to Historic Richmond Town.

I’ve learned since that I could have taken my bike on the Staten Island Railway to the last stop at Tottenville and then biked the short distance to the Conference House. Also, the 2010 NYC Cycling Map indicates that there are many more planned bike paths for Staten Island — the opening of these lanes would make a huge difference.

Slide Show of My Adventures in Staten Island

Staten Island Trip Highlights

Staten Island Ferry offers a free, 25-minute ride between the Whitehall Terminal in Lower Manhattan and St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island. You can take your bike on the ferry, which operates 24 hours a day. The views of the Manhattan skyline, Statue Liberty, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and the entire Upper Bay are phenomenal.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden is a beautiful 83-acre park with gardens, museums and theater. I recommend visiting the Chinese Scholar’s Garden while you’re there.

Alice Austen House, a Victorian Gothic cottage and national historic landmark, is devoted to Austen’s pioneering documentary photography work of the late Nineteenth Century. She shot scenes of street life by biking to different locations in Staten Island and Manhattan while lugging around fifty pounds of photography equipment.

Fort Wadsworth, just north of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and protecting the Upper Bay, is one of the oldest military installations in the US. I shot this photo from Fort Tompkins looking down on to Battery Weed.

Battery Weed Seen From Fort Wadsworth

Battery Weed Seen From Fort Wadsworth

South Beach and the FDR boardwalk: From the two-mile long boardwalk, there are great views of Brooklyn and Coney Island as well as Sandy Hook looking south.

Historic Richmond Town, located in the geographic center of the Island, is a historic village that features twenty-eight buildings and sites from the Seventeen to Twentieth Centuries. The following photo is of the Voorlezer’s House, built in 1695 by a Dutch Reformed Congregation, which served as a church, school and residence.

Voorlezer's House

Voorlezer's House

If you take one of the tours of Historic Richmond Town, you can see the interiors of a few restored houses.

About Doug Fox

Doug Fox is a New York City tour guide, urban explorer and waterfront enthusiast. Email Doug at: nyctransported [at] gmail [.] com