My newest fave place to bike ride is Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Prospect Park is to Central Park as Brooklyn is to Manhattan. (Well, was – before some parts of Brooklyn got almost too hip for themselves.) Same great Olmstead bones, just as beautiful but a little less polished and manicured, even a bit tousled in places, filled with real folks doing real things, all of it less like a movie set and more like real life.
The Park is flanked by Grand Army Plaza and Park Slope in the north, the Botanical Garden and Brooklyn Museum of Art to the east, and the south? well, between 3 and 8pm on Sundays, that’s the best part of all, as musicians gather in Drummers Grove to strike the beat of a Caribbean/African drum to drive you on your way as you bike the 3.35 mile loop just one more time…
As far as a work out, the Prospect Park Loop is a good one. Heading South from Grand Army Plaza (that’s counter clockwise on the loop) are some lovely downhills on the Western slope mixed with a few straight stretches and strategically placed water fountains.
The south loop is flat and skirts the lake and then heads north again at Drummers Grove. (Careful – there’s a short stretch at the bottom where cars are still allowed on weekends.) Then the road heads on a wonderful uphill – Wait- Did I just say wonderful uphill? – I did, and it is! A moderately long, nicely curving hill with a low mid section for relief before heading up the bit steeper upper section that plateaus out just as you are starting to think that your legs might be hurting but is never too steep to stop the conversation. Ending with a rolling north section that energizes you for just one more loop around….
Go ahead – Try it. You’ll want to do at least two, and maybe even three loops as we did – it’s that much fun. Maybe combine it with a trip to the Brooklyn Museum or Botanical Gardens, or with lunch in Park Slope, or if it’s Saturday, a visit to the Farmer’s Market at Grand Army Plaza. Better yet, if it’s Sunday, grab an early dinner from the Caribbean food carts at Drummer’s Grove and enjoy the music before heading home.
I can’t think of a better way to end a weekend.
- Interactive Prospect Park Map
- Current Car-Free Hours in Prospect Park
- More videos and pictures from Drummers Grove.
- Bike Ride the Prospect Park Loop by Moonlight
- A Year in the Park – Daily Photos of Prospect Park
- Transporation Alternatives Car-free Prospect Park Campaign