If you want to really see New York City, I highly recommend cycling in the annual Five Boro Bike Tour held in May. Traversing by bicycle on the roadways and bridges normally relegated to motor vehicles evokes a rebellious giddiness—at least until the nearly two-mile and almost four percent grade of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge beginning at mile thirty-five. This forty-plus miles adventure was a good training ride for the big ride in a few weeks [http://thealchemyofbalance.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-support-your-heart-ride.html], and introduced my new tires to the five boroughs of New York City and five interesting bridges. The residents and visitors must have been thrilled to have 30,000 bicyclists and road closures that day.
In New York state a borough is a municipal corporation created when a county merges with the cities, towns, and incorporated villages within its boundaries. The five boroughs of New York are: Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
The five bridges were exciting because they added some "hills" and history to the ride, in addition to the fact they were completely closed to car traffic. First, we ascended the Madison Avenue Bridge, a swing bridge, in order to get to the Bronx. As a side note, the Bronx is the only mainland parcel of the United States in New York City; the other boroughs are on islands! At mile nine we crossed the Third Avenue Bridge, which connects East 135th Street and Third Avenue in the Bronx to East 128th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.
We reached our fourth bridge at mile twenty-two: the Pulaski Bridge. This bridge connects Long Island City to Greenpoint in Brooklyn, crossing over Newtown Creek and the Long Island Expressway.