Ethnic Immersion Bike Tour
- 360 views on an aerial tram over the East River
- Begin on Roosevelt Island, go under Queensboro Bridge, stop at the United Nations and more
- Pedal through century old historic Hasidic Jew & vibrant Polish neighborhoods in route to hip & trendy spots before heading over the Williamsburg Bridge
- Learn about diverse cultures, soak in spectacular views of the city and get a little exercise
This tour combines both great urban vistas, not typically seen, and ethnic neighborhoods that are the essence of city's cultural mosaic.
Your tour begins with a ride on an aerial tram, with your bike on board, high over the East River. The ride is surely like none other in the world with its 360 degree views of the Big Apple.
Your first destination is Roosevelt Island, "a city in the city," which was once viewed as a "dumping ground for undesirables" - but no longer. With quiet streets, parks and wonderful river promenades, it is today very "in," although seldom visited except by its residents.
In Queens, you pedal under the imposing Queensboro Bridge to Gantry State Park. At this historic location you can see restored "gantries" and learn about their critical role in the city's commerce in the first part of the 20th century. The view across the East River, directly opposite the United Nations and the world's tallest apartment building, provides an unforgettable photo opportunity.
As you enter Brooklyn, you have a first hand opportunity to appreciate more of the fascinating nature of the city. Is it like a "melting pot," in which diverse immigrant groups meld together? Or is it more like a "salad bowl," in which different cultures mix together but still keep their own customs and traditions? Or, is it a bit of both?
The most dramatic example of our salad bowl analogy comes out bursting with flavor in Williamsburg, the Brooklyn neighborhood where Hassidic Jews continue a century's old culture begun by the most religious of Eastern European Jews.
As you pedal on its main street and side streets, you will find it hard to believe that you are in New York City in the 21st century! But we want you to do more than just stare, as we explain to you the traditional culture and how it has adapted, on its own terms, to the broader American society.
Just blocks away from Williamsburg is Greenpoint, a vibrant Polish neighborhood that keeps its roots with a sense of pride, food, and language. Here you see how New Yorkers live outside the frantic pace and congestion of Manhattan.
Then, a simple turn of the corner brings you to the very "hip" neighborhood of younger, trendy New Yorkers, who bring with them their transportation of choice - the bicycle!
Their ride, as well as yours, is across the Williamsburg Bridge, which provides more rarely seen views of the city and its skyline.
As you leave the bridge, the pace of the city takes over, for you are now in the heart of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Here early and recent arrivals from Europe, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and China are mixed together with assimilated New Yorkers.
All are seeking an "inexpensive" place to live in Manhattan. And all are seeking, like generations before them, "a bargain" place to shop.
As you complete this tour, you will pass directly in front of the United Nations. What better place than this to reflect on the unique urban mosaic that makes The Big Apple such a fascinating place to explore, especially by bike!
Bike and helmet included. You will be riding approximately 15 miles.
Lunch is not included, but the tour will stop for meals/snacks at local restaurants along the way.
Guides are Safety Certified with the American Red Cross for CPR & First Aid, and members of the League of American Bicyclists. The tours are provided by a member of the NYC & Company Tourism Bureau.
Gratuity for your tour guide is not included and is appreciated if you enjoyed your tour. Suggested gratuity is $10-$20 per rider.
Total group size varies, with a maximum of 15 riders.
This experience is weather dependent. Always contact the Experience provider with any questions regarding weather conditions.
What to Wear:
Wear comfortable clothing appropriate for weather conditions. No open toed shoes.
For this experience, it is recommended to request bookings at least 7 days in advance.
Once you have received a booking confirmation, cancellations and rebooking are allowed up to 14 days prior to the Experience. Failure to appear on your booked date or to cancel and rebook at least 14 days prior to your booked date will result in the loss of the value of your Experience.
Can I bring my own bike?
Yes, of course you can bring your own bike.
What happens if I have a problem on the ride?
The staff have the tools and knowledge to repair a flat or fix a minor mechanical problem. If you cannot complete the ride, transportation will be arranged for you and the bike back to the starting location.
Do you have to be an athlete to enjoy the tour?
Not at all! You need only to feel comfortable on a bicycle and be in reasonable physical shape. Even if you have not ridden in years, or decades, bicycle riding is a skill you don't lose. Since we stop frequently for insights, questions, photos, bathroom breaks as well as snacks, are standard tours are easy paced, averaging about 4 miles per hour!
What is the condition of the surfaces on which we ride?
Except in rare instances where it is noted, all the surfaces are paved. There are very few if any "potholes" on the streets.
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"I already sent an email. Basically, I was very unhappy that the itinerary had changed without notification, that the ride was extremely dangerous and that the areas in Queens lacked an ethnic focus and were primarily industrial and very unpleasant to ride around."
"This tour was billed as an Ethnic Immersion bike tour, and that it was! We toured public housing projects in Queens, had lunch at a cozy Polish restaurant in the GreenPoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, and experienced the Hacidic Jew community in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn as Passover started. Our tour guide and NYC native (Max) was fabulous. An easy going, good humored guy with great knowledge and perspective of the city. This included immigration patterns, current demographics, etc. This was an excellent way to spend the day."
"This excursion turned out to be much more than we expected. The tour guide was very well informed and made the trip interesting. Riding through the streets of New York on a beautiful fall day was a memorable experience."