Around the Corner: A 4th of July Bike Trip Around Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, which was made famous by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, happens to be the ideal destination for a bicycle sight seeing trip that re-imagines the Summer of 1776. We begin directly under the Verrazano Bridge where 4th Avenue intersects with the Belt Parkway. From here you have a brilliant view of the bridge, home to peregrine falcons you can sometimes see soaring above the Narrows.

As you turn right and ride along the generous bike path next to the Belt Parkway, you can envision Admiral Howe's fleet of 130 ships that filled up the Narrows between Brooklyn and Staten Island preparing to put an end to the ambitions of the Continentals.

The British Fleet as imagined by Harper's Magazine in 187

The British Fleet as imagined by Harper's Magazine in 187

Continue along the path towards Manhattan and enjoy the view. Watch the Staten Island ferry cross back and forth while passing the Statue of Liberty, France's gift to America as a universal symbol of freedom. Take in the Jersey City and Manhattan Skyline when you reach the 69th Street Pier. Take a break here and watch the local anglers. On weekends you can often find an ice cream truck parked by the pier.



After your break, head up to Shore Road and turn left on the bike path. Follow the path to enter Owls Head Park, a piece of land with a varied past as a farm, the estate of Brooklyn's mayor Henry C. Murphy, the site of horse stables, and finally in 1928 a city park. Follow the bike path to the left and pass the dog run. Stop at the skateboard park and watch the amazing feats of the skating scene.

Alright, so no one was skating on a school day at 9:00 a.m., but you get the idea

Continue to follow the path and either cool off by running through the sprinklers at the Owls Head playground, or bike up the hill to get a fantastic view of your surroundings.

As you continue down the path down the hill, head back to Shore Road and turn left. The entrance to the Narrows Botanical Garden is just a few yards to the right. Get off your bike and stop to smell the roses at this gem of a garden created by local community members. If you come here on October 14th for the Harvest Festival, you can usually encounter some artisans of the Etsy NY Team who are selling their designs.

Exit the Botanic Garden at the 72nd Street end where you entered and return to the 4th of July theme of the tour by crossing the street and riding up Mackay Place. At the corner of Narrows Avenue and Mackay, you will find the smallest cemetery in Brooklyn, the “Revolutionary Cemetery.” It was founded in 1725 by Dutch immigrant William Harmans Barkaloo. Several Revolutionary War veterans were allegedly buried here. It is said that Lord Cornwallis occupied the homestead of Simon Cortelyou (tombstone to the left) during the Summer of 1776.

Barkaloo Cemetery

Barkaloo Cemetery

Head back to Shore Road and continue to follow the bike path. If you are here on 4th of July, you can stop by the 4th of July picnic at 82nd Street and listen to the local bands who will be playing that day. Either continue on Shore Road and get a feel for the local neighborhood, including Fort Hamilton High School, or cross back over to the Belt Parkway path by going through the park at the 79th Street entrance and crossing over the foot bridge. This whole loop is about 5 miles long, but you can extend it even further if you keep going along the Belt Parkway to Caesar's Bay, where you can end the day with a slice at Pizza D'Amore.

Enjoy the ride!

Around The Corner

In 2010, Virginia Kraljevic started a series on our blog called "Around The Corner". Hoping that they may inspire an outing, here is a listing of the destinations Virginia and other writers of the blog have suggested:

Morningside Heights

General Grant National Memorial

If you happen to be in this neighborhood, visit Grant's Tomb, Columbia's Campus, Tom's Restaurant and the Cathedral of St. John.

The Cloisters

The Cloisters Courtyard

The closest thing to a castle in New York City.

The Battle of Brooklyn

The Old Stone House, Brooklyn

Visit this 1699 Dutch farmhouse and become inspired by the spirits of the Battle of Brooklyn, August 27, 1776.

The Museum of Natural History

An amazing place to bring out your inner Rousseau. Take your sketchbook and become inspired.

What are some of your favorite places in New York?


Around the Corner: Free Summer in the City

I just spent the morning looking for fun and free things to do in the City this month and here are my picks:

Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell
Throughout the summer, this venerable concert series offers a wide variety of different musical and theatrical events such as, Sweet Honey and the Rock, The Muppet Movie Sing-A-Long, and Lyle Lovett. Most importantly, you can hang out with our Etsy New York Team Members at our fabulous gift shop at the bandshell.
Telekinetic Alien vs. Cupcake by LiPeony
E.T.: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier One Harbor View Lawn, July 5th
SyFy Movies with a View is sponsoring a free movie series on Thursday evenings in Brooklyn Bridge Park. E.T. kicks off this summer program. In my quest to introduce my child to now classic movies (and yes Back to the Future is on that list), we will definitely attend this event.

Roller Derby T-Shirt by SkateLove
Xanadu: Piper Theater at the Old Stone House in Park Slope
Olympian muses, roller skates, disco what's not to love! This outdoor production runs from July 5th to the 20th at 8 p.m. Also, the Old Stone House is the site of the Battle of Brooklyn, the battle that almost put an end to George Washington. I find it fascinating that one of the most important battle grounds of the Revolutionary War is right next to Staples.

NYC Music and Drama Pendant by Citybitz

12th Night: New York Classical Theatre, Battery Park in front of Castle Clinton through July 22th
I love the fact that this is a walkabout production of the play. Hopefully it will make for an exciting introduction to the Bard for the 10-year old video game addict who will have to come along to this event.

So what are recommendations for free summer events?

Around the Corner: Chicago, Ferris Bueller Style

Okay, so Chicago isn't exactly around the corner, but it's someplace I visited for the first time last weekend on an impromptu road trip, and it was much closer than I thought.  Time on the road including breaks from NYC: 11 hours.  Albeit, the mister was driving the entire time, which may explain why it took a couple hours less than what was estimated on the navigation system.

As some of you know, Chicago is where the classic John Hughes' movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off took place.  I had the pleasure of behaving like an absolute tourist and visited some of the locations featured in the film.

Exhibit B: Atop the Skydeck at Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower

And Exhibit C: Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs

Overall, I enjoyed Chicago very much.  The Windy City has so many things to do -- shopping galore on magnificent mile, historical speakeasies, blues clubs, eating deep dish pizzas, and more.

And thank you for joining me this week -- next time I promise to take it back closer to home. ;)

Until next time, 

Around the Corner: New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo

After Yankee Stadium, two other Bronx claim-to-fames include the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo. On any given day, in any type of weather, you will find New Yorkers enjoying a bit of peace from the city. Both attractions are located within walking distance from each other, so the energetic and adventurous can even make a day out of it!

The New York Botanical Garden hosts many amazing exhibitions every year, including an annual orchid show. Two exhibitions going on right now are "Emily Dickinson's Garden: The Poetry of Flowers" and "The Edible Garden." Admission is free all day on Wednesday and from 10am - 12pm on Saturdays. You can find directions here.

The Bronx Zoo is the largest zoo in New York City! It features a variety of amazing animals and exhibits, including a Madagascar house with two enormous cave crocodiles, the Congo Forest with a dozen beautiful gorillas, and a children's petting zoo. Wednesday is pay-what-you-wish day. You can find directions here.

If you've yet to visit these amazing NYC destinations, be sure to put it on your list this summer! Until next time...


Around the Corner: The Cloisters

Hey all, Happy Summer to you!  Hope everyone's getting out to the beach or have some nifty plans this season.  Yesterday I was driving by the Cloisters and thought, "by golly! that's as good a place as any for my next around the corner feature".  And so here you have it.

Have you been to the Cloisters yet?  Did you know that it's a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art?  Did you also know that this amazing castle-like setting is right here in Manhattan?  Neat-o.  It's free to walk around the grounds (that's connected to Fort Tryon Park) and admission inside is whatever you can donate.  This branch of the Met is dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe and is seriously breathtaking.
Overlooking the Palisades -- right off Riverside Drive
Are you staying local these next few weeks?  What places will you be visiting either on-the-cheap or *free*?  Please let me know a place you recommend in the comment section below.   Thanks so much!  Ta Ta and happy travels.

Brought to you by:
Virginia Kraljevic