Biking to The Cloisters
August 16, 2010 8:05 PM   Subscribe

Can/Should I visit The Cloisters by bicycle?

I'm at 75th and Broadway at the moment. I've seen a couple of things on the net that suggest you can bicycle up there, but is it also convenient to visit the museum once there?

Have you done it? What route would you take? I've gone up the Hudson Greenway as far as the GW Bridge in the past, but I'm not sure if you could get to The Cloisters easily this way. Maybe surface streets all the way would be better?

Is there a place to chain your bike up while visiting?

Are there any reasons to definitely NOT do this?
posted by Right On Red to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I ride this all the time.

You can take the west side greenway (along the water) up to it. You'll have to go to the very end of it, turn right on the street, and then it'll be right there.

There's a tricky part in the greenway where you can stray off of it before you get up there, so make sure you follow the sings.

Also, it is PITCH BLACK DARKNESS up past the GWB on the greenway at night. Make sure you have real functioning bike lights and aren't afraid of the dark if you plan to head back at night.

There are plenty of places for you to lock your bike at the Cloisters.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:20 PM on August 16, 2010

I have never done it by bicycle, but I drove up the West Side Highway and Henry Hudson Parkway daily for years. It can be done two ways that I know of. One, you could take the Hudson greenway to Dyckman Street and go in from Broadway just south of Dyckman and I also see people on their bikes all the time come up from the Greenway just immediately north of the GWB and end up on an inside protected bike/walking lane that takes you to a pedestrian bridge that crosses the HH Parkway just south of the Cloisters. I am sure you can get there that way too. (Near where the wall collapsed 4 or 5 years ago.)

I have been to the cloisters by car/foot and there were definitely bike racks.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:22 PM on August 16, 2010

To be clear, you don't need to go to Broadway. You come out on Riverside drive, which is the north border of the park that it is in, just stay on that and the entrances will be on your right.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:29 PM on August 16, 2010

second Threeway Handshake's comment about the darkness -- this is NOT to be underestimated. It can be a real hazard up there at night. That said, they close pretty early, no?
posted by zvs at 11:09 PM on August 16, 2010

If you're worried about darkness above the GWB on your way out, just leave Fort Tryon Park by the Fort Washington Parkway/19xth St entrance. Then take Fort Washington Parkway down to 181st, make a right, then another right at the end of 181st. You'll be at the aforementioned pedestrian bridge shortly.

The Greenway is also pretty dark between 125th and 96th-ish? at night, but going south is not so bad because you're not facing traffic (ie headlights in the eyes).

Another good way (especially out, because it's a sweet downhill all the way) is to take Fort Washington to about 168th, then the St. Nicholas Ave bike line till 116th, then 7th Ave to the park, then the Central Park loop.

As Johnny Gunn says, you can also take the West Side Highway and Henry Hudson Parkway (lots of people bike that route). I personally don't find that to be the bike-friendliest route because of relatively fast traffic, but it still beats Broadway or Amsterdam.

AND FINALLY: Fort Tryon Park (home of the Cloisters) is absolutely lovely. Give yourself time to walk through the flower gardens and enjoy the river view.
posted by the_blizz at 3:57 AM on August 17, 2010

Here are some resources that will help you plan bike routes within the five boroughs of NYC, in general, anytime you're curious:

Ride the City - like google maps' bike directions, but with a choice of exactly how "safe" (i.e. bike infrastructure centric) you want to be.

NYC Bike Maps - a more basic site which has detailed and up-to-date bike maps of each borough, as well as several regional routes of interest.

You can always try the bike route feature of google maps - it's given me some pretty good results so far, though occasionally it'll throw me into a situation that is relatively un-bike-friendly (by Manhattan/Brooklyn/European standards, not as compared to the rest of the USA). It's probably better to go with Ride the City until you're a little more familiar with local bike infrastructure and your level of comfort with various situations.

Oh, and the Cloisters closes at like 5pm. So in terms of darkness you should be fine unless you want to do it in December or plan to hang around the gorgeous park until a time which would probably be unsafe for hanging out in parks anyway.
posted by Sara C. at 7:54 AM on August 17, 2010

Oh, and do not ride your bike on the west side highway unless you are fucking suicidal or something. Why on EARTH would you do that?!!!!

I'm fairly sure it's technically illegal, at least on the Henry Hudson, as well. You'd be in more danger of getting hurt/killed than ticketed, but still. Do not want.
posted by Sara C. at 8:45 AM on August 17, 2010

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