It’s summertime which means it’s time to make maximum use of your bike or your Citibike membership. Here, we’ve put together four bike routes for cyclists who are looking to discover some history along with their ride. Included in this article are a leisurely ride from Prospect Park to Brighton Beach, jumping across the East River between Williamsburg, Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, a jam-packed historical route through downtown Manhattan, and a cultural jaunt through Upper Manhattan.
1. The Leisure Lover
Where to: Northern Prospect Park along the Ocean Parkway to Brighton Beach
If the horror of Frankenstorm has not spooked you enough, the Haunted Pumpkin Garden at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx has just what you need to awaken the fear and cheer of Halloween. This year, expert pumpkin carver, Ray Villafane, went wild on a series of giant pumpkins. Following a short walk through the garden’s tree-lined paths awaits creepy, crawly pumpkin spiders littering ivy, a whopping 1,872 pound pumpkin, and a gut-leaking creature ripping frightened pumpkins from their roots. These artful creations will be on view until Halloween day so act fast and get into the macabre spirit!
Although famed for European-inspired architecture and parrillas brimming with succulent steaks, if you’re looking to fully capture Buenos Aires like a porteà±o, or local, it is crucial to abandon one’s plans and wander towards the nearest park. With their late night lifestyle-even the nià±os can be spotted out and about in the wee-morning hours-it’s no surprise that porteà±os employ many a daytime hour in the name of relaxing. So follow suit, pack up your yerba mate, find a park or plaza and exalt in springtime. Here’s our breakdown of the city’s greatest parks.
Jardin Botánico Carlos Thays
The shady and lush Botanical Garden is nothing short of an oasis. With historic French, Roman and Oriental-inspired gardens and bright, airy greenhouses that date back to 1898, this sanctuary provides the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon. However, if cats aren’t your thing, be warned that you may see about as many felines as flowers. The majority of these furry creatures were disowned by prior owners and have no choice but to seek refuge here. Fortunately, an active volunteer committee works to find them homes and supplies them with food, vaccines and veterinary care in the interim.
One of the many cats in the Botanical Garden
Parque Natural y Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur
If you’re a more active type, take a long walk among the array of paths that loop around the 865 acres of the Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve. Watch the skyline through the lowland grass rotate around you as you head towards the Rà o de la Plata. Officially deemed a reserve in 1986, the river was host to a variety of bathers beginning in the early 1900s. These days, the coastline is littered with rocks and bricks and suits picnicking better than swimming but the breeze coming off the river and the abundant landscape is just as refreshing.
View of the Buenos Aires skyline through the grass.
Plaza de Mayo
This historically rich Montserrat plaza remains a must-see for any Buenos Aires visitor. The plaza’s outline dates as far back as 1580, and since then the elegant expanse has welcomed notable protests, celebrations, and speeches from dignitaries orating from the porches of Casa Rosada, the presidential palace that lies at the periphery of the square. The most famous is perhaps the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who have been coming since 1977 with signs and photos of the desaparecidos, their children who disappeared at the hands of the Argentine military during the Dirty War. The president does not reside in the monumental pink edifice, but as a significant municipal structure it remains at home among the many government buildings situated about the plaza, including City Hall, the City Legislature, and Cabildo, the central site of the once Spanish government. At certain angles around the square, you can spot the Obelisco.
Casa Rosada, the presidential palace (photograph by Shane McGill).