Coffeeneuring in New York City with @nycbluegunnar
Submissions are steadily flowing in to Coffeeneuring World Headquarters, and the New England Regional Office and I are working together to keep updating all the exciting visuals that help illustrate the scope of coffeeneuring. Keep those entries coming!
In the meantime, I have another excellent guest post for you, this time from @nycbluegunnar out of New York City.
While one of the original coffeeneurs hails from the Hudson Valley in New York, this is the first time someone from New York City.
Come take a virtual coffeeneuring trip with @nycbluegunnar. You’ll be glad you did, although it might make you hungry for a treat and thirsty for a latte.
1. Cafe Grumpy
October 19, 2013; 14.46 miles; to Greenpoint, Brooklyn and back.
This choice was inspired, in part, by the MS Bike Ride in New York City on October 6th. Cafe Grumpy not only fielded an impressive number of riders for a small business, but they wore a very cool team bike jersey and I generally abhor team bike jerseys.
And, contrary to popular prejudice in NYC re Williamsburg/Greenpoint in Brooklyn, not everyone wearing the Cafe Grumpy bike jersey on the MS Bike Ride rode a fixie or looked like they had appeared as an extra in “Girls”.
The good news: in person, at the original location, the Cafe Grumpy vibe was fairly unpretentious and the food/coffee was great. And the location will make it very easy to vary the routes back home; a sure repeater.
2. 9W Market
October 20, 2013; 61.15 miles; to Nyack, NY and back.
I could not complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge without including the 9W Market as one of the stops. Route 9W in New Jersey is a popular bike “highway” with various types of cyclists streaming back and forth from the GW Bridge in Fort Lee to either Piermont or Nyack. And if you’re not riding a “racing” bike, the route can include dirt rail trails.
The 9W Market features bike racks for at least 30 bikes and depending on time of day and weather, the racks fill up and bikes start lining up along the curbs. The only problem is that you need to arrive early for the croissants and on this particular ride I had to ‘settle’ for a scone.
3. Steeplechase Coffee
October 26, 2013; 32.25 miles; to Coney Island and back.
My favorite ride in New York is a round trip to Coney Island, a truly scenic ride through various Brooklyn neighborhoods ends with the Atlantic Ocean.
In the summer, the people scene is vivid– though I do miss (weirdly) the ‘Shoot The Freak’ “attraction,” which lost its spot in the needed upgrading of the boardwalk businesses.
In the winter, with no one on the beach but the dog walkers and the occasional metal searcher, the ocean rules. On the way back, right before Prospect Park, I’ve regularly stopped for a sandwich to go at Brancaccio’s and regularly ignored Steeplechase Coffee. That was a mistake that I corrected on this ride.
4. Utopia Bagels
October 27, 2013; 35.08 miles; to Fresh Meadows/Bayside, Queens and back.
My second favorite ride out of Manhattan is a variation on a ride that crosses the Williamsburg Bridge and heads east to Forest Park in Queens, which is an under appreciated greenway in NYC.
From there, depending on how far you want to go, the ride can include: a bike trail that used to be a section of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway; the Douglaston peninsula, with views of Connecticut, Westchester, Great Neck and the Bronx; and the Unisphere from the 1964 World’s Fair.
Utopia Bagels on Utopia Parkway in Bayside lives up to the name. In the photo accompanying the tweet, I shamelessly hid the sugar-coated jelly donut.
5. Financier Patisserie.
November 2, 2013; 7.76 miles; the Hudson River Greenway to South Ferry and back.
On the day before a 200K randonneur ride, I thought this would be a good, “check the bike” ride. I knew that at this location, I could keep my parked/locked bike in view while enjoying a coffee. I saved the tiny, free financier in the photo for the rando ride the next day.
November 9, 2013; 16.32 miles; to Red Hook, Brooklyn and back.
For me, the most rewarding aspect of the Challenge has been “discovering” new places to stop on routes that I regularly ride. The places themselves have existed just fine without me. My usual route through Red Hook had me missing Baked by two blocks as I rode to Valentino Pier for a great view of the Harbor and then past the Ikea to the park next to Bay Street, where a number of great Latin food trucks park on the weekends. Especially with the colder weather approaching, I am going to be taking a slow survey of the goods that Baked (as well as Cafe Grumpy and Steeplechase) offer on weekend afternoons.
7. Goldberg’s Bagels
November 10, 2013; 43.10 miles; to Closter, NJ and back.
A shorter version of the ride to Nyack and back. There is a Starbucks in the same mini-strip mall in this suburban town but, feeling the indie spirit, I decided it would be better to end the Challenge at Goldberg’s, which I had not previously patronized.
Goldberg’s turned out to be primarily a take-out place, with only four seats at a counter by the window. The bagel was fine but it was no Utopia (or Murray’s, which didn’t qualify for the Challenge because it’s less than a mile from my apartment).
The preferred stop on the Closter route will remain the Starbucks and I no longer need to wonder whether I should be buying a bagel at Goldberg’s instead.
Sorry your last trip was not all you hoped, but good to take the wonder out of your coffeeneuring equation and your other trips look fantastic! Thank you again for your coffeeneuring guest-post, @nycgunnar. Great job!