I love the idea of exploring a new city by bike, and more hotels are offering their guests bicycles to get to know the neighborhood like a local. The Andaz Wall Street recently teamed up with Bowery Lane Bicycles. When they reached out and asked me to try out their new bike program for Hotel Chic, I jumped at the chance. While there are a handful of intrepid New Yorkers, like designer Lela Rose, fashion maven Cynthia Rowley, and the Editor of Self Lucy Danziger, who make biking around Manhattan seem so easy, relaxed, even chic–I have often wondered what the reality would be. Especially as a tourist. Terrifying? Exhilarating? Or just fun? Wall Street, especially on a sleepy summer Friday evening, seemed like the perfect neighborhood to try it out. It’s also not an area that I know very well even though I’m a native New Yorker. So on a rainy evening, my hubby and I headed down to the Andaz to be tourists in our own town.
Bowery Lane’s Bikes have a great vintage inspired look and are made right here in New York. For the hotel, they’ve added on these little wooden baskets in the back. The bikes feel really sturdy and the ride is totally smooth. They also have those little bells that make you feel like you are 10 years old again. It’s hard to resist ringing them. They really are perfect city bikes.
Here I am about to take off. While I’m smiling in this picture, I’m actually suddenly realizing that biking around NYC means biking in the street with traffic. Buses, trucks, bike delivery men, speeding cabs–it’s scary out there! I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me sooner. I think I was caught up in the romance of it all. But here I am with my lovely bike, noticing the dozens of buses, and thinking that I might prefer to check out the hotel’s Bar Seven Five. It didn’t help that I haven’t ridden a bike in years and I wasn’t sure where the bike lanes were. Thankfully my hubby knew the neighborhood well and quickly had us turn off of busy Wall Street onto quieter side streets.
Once we left Wall Street it was an entirely different experience. But the truth is I wimped out and rode on the sidewalk until I got comfortable. So many of the streets in that neighborhood are empty in the evenings. The sidewalks were wide open, pedestrian free, and I didn’t have to worry about falling into traffic. The only thing is riding your bike on the sidewalk is technically illegal…Shhh! However, once I felt confident and we found quieter streets, I was loving every minute. Wall Street on the weekend is so mellow. I loved being in such a vibrant daytime neighborhood when the volume was turned down. It is also so close to Tribeca and the West Village, both great neighborhoods for biking with plenty of bike lanes. Going from the Andaz to grab a bite in Tribeca, or head up the West Side Highway promenade with a picnic, would be perfect dates.
We biked to nearby Battery Park, just a few blocks from the Andaz. The Staten Island Ferry (totally free and one of my favorite things to do in NYC), and the Statue of Liberty ferries, all launch from the park. The views are beautiful.
Andaz is Hyatt’s boutique hotel brand. While Hyatt is a brand I associate with business travel, Andaz feels younger, more modern, and definitely more fun. They offer free wine to guests nightly from 6 to 8, and as a result, their lobby was buzzing with guests hanging out. There was a great vibe. Fun, without having that too-cool-for-school feel that some boutique hotels cultivate.