A Harlem River Greenway? Whoa!

A new greenway now in the planning stages will allow Manhattanites to cross the Harlem River on bicycle and connect with Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.

| 11 Mar 2024 | 04:39

New York City cyclists—including those on Manhattan’s East Side— received good news on Monday March 11, when Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez announced a new round of public workshops concerning the forthcoming Harlem River Greenway to the Bronx. The project will be built in partnership with the NYC Economic Development Corporation and the Parks Department, whose work on the Manhattan side, from the 125th Street to Inwood section is ongoing.

While Rodriguez’s announcement focused on the Bronx, most of whose residents have long been shut off from the Harlem River waterfront, the news has immense ramifications for Manhattanites as well. Once complete, the proposed seven-mile route will make it possible to go from Van Cortlandt Park (renowned for its cross-country running races) to the Port Morris section of the South Bronx and from there to Randall’s Island.

Reverse the direction, and Manhattanites will have an easily navigable path to the wonders of the north, including sites and areas now unreachable by bicycle, as the Bronx-side of the Harlem River has long been cut off by industry, railroads, and highways.

“Residents of the Bronx deserve safe cycling connections and pedestrian access to the Harlem River waterfront,” said Commissioner Rodriguez in a prepared statement. “All Bronxites and New Yorkers have a chance to have their voices heard about the future route of this greenway and we hope our neighbors will join us for these in inclusive, bilingual workshops.”

There are, of course, already many ways to ride to the Bronx. From south to north, these include: Randall’s Island, via the 103rd Street Footbridge and the Triboro Bridge walkway at 2nd Avenue and 125th Street in Harlem; Willis Avenue Bridge; Third Avenue Bridge; Madison Avenue Bridge; 145th Street Bridge; Macombs Dam Bridge; High Bridge; Washington Bridge; University Heights Bridge; and the Broadway Bridge.

Despite this seeming abundance of cycling options, these routes work best for experienced, and fairly aggressive (for their own safety), cyclists. Although fun, and sometimes thrilling, on both sides of the Harlem River, except for early weekend mornings, they are not for the timid, which is one reason that, for serious recreational and fitness cyclists, riding over the George Washington Bridge to New Jersey has always been much more popular than exploring the streets of the Bronx, compelling as they are.

This isn’t to scare people off from the borough. Cyclists, walkers, parks enthusiasts, foodies, historians, and everyone is always welcome to come to the “Boogie Down Bronx”—which has much more to offer than just Yankee Stadium and the popular zoo. Expanding the ways that New Yorkers can get there, and get around the western parts of the borough, will be a boon for everyone—something that can rarely be said for a borough which has long suffered more than its share of false promises.

Said New York State Senator José M. Serrano, “As the chair of the NYS Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, I welcome the expansion of the city’s greenway network to include the Harlem River waterfront.

“This greenway,” he continued, “will provide Bronxites with improved access to the Harlem River waterfront and local green spaces such as Van Cortlandt Park and Randall’s Island, as well as create an environmentally friendly transportation option that connects much of the 29th Senate District.”

Those wishing to give their input in the Greenway, can do so at the following events.

North Stretch: Van Cortlandt Park to High Bridge

In-Person: Wednesday, March 13, 6-8 p.m., Bronx Community College, Roscoe Brown Student Center, Room 211; Virtual: Wednesday, April 3, 6-8 p.m.

South Stretch: High Bridge to Randall’s Island Park

In-Person: Tuesday, March 19, 6-8 p.m., Bronx Brewery, 856 East 136th Street; Virtual: Monday, April 8, 6-8 p.m.

According to the DOT, “The workshops will provide an opportunity for public input, questions, and comments. Spanish language interpretation will be provided. Topics to be discussed include the tradeoffs and benefits of various greenway route proposals, ways to mitigate potential challenges, and steps the city can take in the near-term to realize the greenway.”

For more information and virtual registration links, see