Our “Cities By Bike” Series explores some of our favorite places by bike through the eyes of a local.
Roll along with us as we follow them through their favorite neighborhoods, sharing the must-visit sites, restaurants, happy hours, and more.
Our guide in New York City is Jackson Isaacson. Jackson is a digital strategist at Endeavor, but more importantly a coffee and whiskey enthusiast and adventurer who is always looking for his next favorite thing. Follow along as he shows us some of his favorite places to ride to around the city. If you just can’t get enough Jack, or want to know more about him, check out his instagram @JackIsaac.
Pebble Beach across the Brooklyn Bridge
The best part of warmer months is the parks. One of my first apartments in NYC was in FiDi near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, and my go-to hangover cure became a large cold brew coffee and a crisp ride on the footpath of the bridge to Dumbo. Pier 1 and Pier 2 were the first parts of the park to open, right around the time I moved, and I feel like it’s a brand new part of New York that I’ve been a part of from the beginning.
Every year something new is added to the park, from sports and recreation fields to a pop-up public pool. My favorite spots are the cafe tables and tiered seating tucked away throughout that offer a perfect view of downtown Manhattan with an intimate vibe that’s increasingly difficult to find in the city. My ideal day in the park starts with a cold brew and reading on Pebble Beach in Dumbo, a brisk ride down the waterfront bike path to Ample Hills for a scoop of my favorite ice cream (Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, obviously), and a short ride to Pilot for a cocktail and some oysters aboard their schooner.
Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn
Not every brunch is going to be memorable. If you do it right, half of them won’t be (hello, bottomless bellinis). But Fort Defiance is worth going out of the way to visit. Tucked away in Red Hook, Brooklyn, it’s not a spot most will stumble upon accidentally. It may not look like anything special, and that’s part of the charm. Modestly decorated but thoroughly inviting, their menu is seasonal and seemingly inspired by the south and feels like comfort food in the best way. Rounding out a solid Brunch/Lunch/Dinner spot is a robust cocktail menu with perfect pairings for any time of day. My pick? The Bourbon Milk Punch. Head over on Thursdays for a special weekly celebration of all things Tiki for their Sunken Harbor Club.
Getting there is becoming increasingly difficult by public transit – the nearest subway is a solid 12+ blocks, and the Ikea ferry stopped running to Red Hook in 2017 – but it’s the perfect distance for working up an appetite on an easy bike ride from my apartment in Soho.
South Street Seaport in Manhattan
One of New York’s literal oldest neighborhoods, South Street Seaport initially drew me in with its overt charm and historic architecture. When I moved into an office-turned-apartment on the corner of William and Fulton in 2014, I immediately began exploring the neighborhood. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy was still very evident, and precious few restaurants, bars, and shops had reopened in the area. Since then, the city and countless groups have invested in the revitalization of the Seaport, and it’s finally poised to be the next destination neighborhood in the city. With a fresh crop of new spots to eat, drink, shop, and even see rooftop concerts from bands like Kings of Leon, there’s never a shortage of things to do in the area, and it helps that it’s just a breezy bike ride downtown, nestled at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. My picks: Jack’s Coffee for a cold brew, V Bar for Brunch, Fresh Salt for Happy Hour, and Cowgirl Seahorse for margaritas and anything in between!
El Luchador in Manhattan
If you know me, you know I’m always in the mood for a taco. And yes, Taco Tuesday is my favorite holiday. I think it’s half because of the ingredients and flavors and half because they’re inherently unpretentious. Name one person you’ve ever seen look poised whilst eating a taco, I’ll wait. Nothing? It’s because no one does. Tacos are a great equalizer, because everyone looks the same eating them (except the weirdos who eat them with a fork. Don’t sit next to those creeps). While New York has no shortage of great taco spots, and everyone will always have a differing opinion on whose are best, one of my personal favorites is El Luchador on South Street. Located on an unassuming corner that apparently used to be a horse stable, they’ve set up shop with a renovated Airstream trailer, bulb lights, and just enough tables and chairs to make it feel intimate while still somehow always having just *one* table left for you. No frills, no nonsense, they serve up slow-braised meats and fresh ingredients made from scratch every day, which is the only way to truly make good tacos. Pro-tip: crispy fish tacos and a lime Jarritos, every time.