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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!
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