Stories and Reports

New York Harbor Circle

GWB - New Jersey - Staten Island - Ferry - Manhattan - GWB

Skating inline in the Hudson Valley

see also: Route Map | Description | Cue Sheet | Bicycling Reports | Bicycling Photos

November 2003, Ken[ Photos ]

Sharon and I did this loop on Thanksgiving Day -- Sharon on her bike and me on inline skates.

Skating Overview

I wasn't sure how it was going to be on skates.  I was surprised by how many miles of enjoyable smooth pavement there were on the streets of New Jersey.

Our strategy of doing the route on a quiet holiday and starting from the GWB worked pretty well for the New Jersey sections.  Every couple of minutes a bunch of cars would come by after some traffic light changed behind me, but in between I pretty much had one or two lanes free with nobody else wanting to use them.  But it was afternoon by the time we got to Staten Island, so there was more traffic -- but still lots of gaps with no cars going my way.  I think in the future I'd feel comfortable skating it early on a quiet Sunday morning.

Still, I was glad to be wearing my Third Eye eyeglass mirror for the sections with more vehicle traffic -- like Rt 505 thru Edgewater NJ and Richmond Terrace on Staten Island.  That let me see cars overtaking me from behind, so I could move over, skate narrow, and wave to the driver.

The toughest combination of road surface difficulties and vehicle traffic was Staten Island -- next time I'll take it easier on the Bayonne Bridge and save my strength for the four miles on Richmond Terrace.

The textured surface of Liberty Walk in Liberty State Park gets tiring -- the views are so beautiful, but it goes on for a long ways.  No problem on a bike because just shift to a lower gear, but on skates it would be nice to find a way to just be on Liberty Walk for shorter distances near some of the best viewpoints (like at each end), and skate on nice pavement the rest of the way through Liberty State Park.  More skating details below.  [ Photos ]

Variations

In Bayonne we added the side trip to Gregg Park.  In Staten Island we skipped the side trip to the Verrazano Bridge.  In Manhattan we skipped Riverside Drive and instead stayed on the Hudson River Greenway path the whole way.

see also: Route Map | Description | Cue Sheet | Bicycling Reports | Bicycling Photos

Skating Details

The hill going south down from the George Washington Bridge really is pretty steep.  Actually it's already plenty steep on Main St before getting to main hill on Rt 505 South.  I have heel brakes on both skates, and I've practiced braking on steep hills a lot, so I made it down OK.  But I was very glad it was a quiet early morning with almost no vehicle traffic on that section.  If there had been significant traffic, I think I would have taken off my skates and walked down the steep sections.

Undercliff Ave / Rd made a nice skating alternative to Rt 505 / River Rd.

The river road thru Edgewater and Weehawken often had two reasonable-width lanes in each direction.  Often no shoulder, sometimes no sidewalk either.  When there was a shoulder it was often well-paved, but many times there were loose rocks on it. 

Hoboken:  Sinatra Drive was newly paved, and the waterfront park was nice with great views across to Manhattan [ Photos ].  The Hoboken train station is not skate-friendly, including crossing big cobblestones just to get there -- Hudson St seemed like a better place to look for food.  Those into bakery breaks might want to wait for the Euro Cafe on the left side of Manila St going thru Jersey City.

Liberty State Park:  A short section on dirt to get from the south end of Jersey Ave into the northwest corner of the Park.  Easy for me that day, but would be messy on the day after some rain.  We turned Left onto the dirt path east as soon as we could, instead of climbing up this little hill to pavement.  I then got into a bit of mud, but enjoyed skating right next to the marina with boats.  [ Photos ]  But it would have been easier on my legs to get on good pavement sooner -- like the parking lots near the marina.

The textured surface of Liberty Walk in Liberty State Park is definitely skatable, though it gets tiring.  But the views are so beautiful  [ Photos ]  that I felt I just had to stay on it -- I found out that it goes on for a long ways.  No problem on a bike because just shift to a lower gear, but on skates it would be nice to find a way to just be on Liberty Walk for shorter distances near some of the best viewpoints (like at each end), and skate on nice pavement the rest of the way through the Park.

Bayonne: Our route thru Bayonne worked very nicely.  Long stretches of enjoyable pavement with little vehicle traffic on Caven Point Rd, A Street, B Street.  Garfield Ave was pretty rough, but not long.

Staten Island:  Richmond Terrace was the toughest combination of road surface difficulties and vehicle traffic on this tour -- next time I'll take it easier on the climb over the arch of Bayonne Bridge, and save my strength for the four miles on Richmond Terrace.

Ferry:  Getting into the Staten Island Ferry terminal required Sharon to carry her bike up a flight of stairs into the waiting room.  We did not see any way to just ride onto the vehicle level of the ferry.  Then when it was time to get on the ferry boat, she had to carry her bike back down a flight of stairs.

Manhattan:  Sidewalk construction next to the ferry terminal prevented us from getting to next to the water immediately.  Then the Hudson River Greenway had so few users on Thanksgiving Day, that it was wonderful to skate and ride on it.  So we just stayed on it the whole way north to the George Washington Bridge.  (The most non-wonderful part was on that detour up the hill around 85th St with care needed to avoid substantial ridges and stuff on the old pavement/concrete surface).  We didn't like the way the Greenway marker signs were directing us to turn East on the streets (too much cross traffic - entrance - exits) immediately at the end of Cherry Walk, so we kept going north to around the Fairway market, and turned East around 132nd St to get to 12th Ave. 

Very challenging climb from the Little Red Lighthouse underneath the George Washington Bridge up to Fort Washington Ave -- with one short very steep section where I was barely still skating and Sharon just got off her bike and walked. 

Easy crossing the GWB on its south sidewalk, and then we were finished.  A satisfying adventure.   [ Photos ]

bulletPhotos for this route
bullet reports for this area on Bike Hudson Valley website
bulletmore Adventures from the GWB -- Stories + Photos
bulletmore Skate Hudson Valley stories + photos

see also: Route Map | Description | Cue Sheet | Bicycling Reports | Bicycling Photos

Home | News | Main Map | Places List | Stories | Discuss | Resources | Site map

To send us questions or comments about this website, see this contact information.
  Copyright 2003 Kenneth S. Roberts - - Homepage is www.Roberts-1.com/sk8hv