Springtime is here, and now is the perfect time to dust off the rollerblades and go for a spin! I purchased my first pair of rollerblades back in 1994. I absolutely loved them, and they soon became my primary source of exercise. The problem became finding “blade friendly” places to go in the city.
I have never lived more than about 20 blocks from Central Park, and used to escape the city streets by heading to the park. Unfortunately, the park is also home to horses & carriages, crazy bikers (going 100mph training for the Tour De France or something,) and “newbie” rollerbladers who tend to grab onto anyone and anything passing by if they find themselves losing their balance or unable to stop.
Luckily…I discovered the bike path that runs alongside the West Side Highway. This path stretches from Battery Park and goes all the way up to Fort Washington Park in Washington Heights. Best of all, there are no horses, very few crazy bikers, and wonderful scenic views of the Hudson river.
I have always considered the path split into two sections, above and below 59th street. You can start out on the path heading south, passing the Intrepid, skating through Chelsea Piers and down through the west village into Battery Park City. There are wonderful scenic areas, but there are also places where you will have to cross a few traffic intersections, and areas that are heavily populated w/tourists and pedestrian traffic….especially near 42nd street and Chelsea Piers.
Above 59th Street, the path weaves around basketball courts, small parks along the promenade that take you past Riverside Park, and further uptown passing Fairway near 125th street (if you need to pick up a bottle of water.)
I love skating along this path because most of it is off the street, it’s smooth and paved, not as busy as Central park and very few hills!