A large park, but intimate
Marine Park is Brooklyn’s largest city park. The oval rides around a tiny portion of it. While this little section seems like a peaceful suburban idyll, a green space similar to countless others in countless other places in the country, this one was part of a bulwark against creeping industrialization. There had been talk about turning nearby Jamaica Bay into a deep water port and that would have meant dredging the adjacent Rockaway Channel, but this plan was nixed and locals donated land to the city with the stipulation that it be turned into public parkland.
The Marine Park Oval is one of the quickest rides in this book and the shortest in Brooklyn. Like most of the other time-friendly rides, this one is entirely on parkland. Of the brief rides, this is probably the best of all for new cyclists and children. It’s flat, compact; there’s no chance of crossing car traffic, and somewhat protected from the wind. The other traffic you’ll encounter here will not be driving, riding, or running fast. At this distance, someone learning to ride a bike can pretty much get off whenever, wherever and can easily walk back to where they came. And there is little fear of cars, buses, even speeding cyclists coming too close.
Another nice feature of riding in a wide-open oval are the good sight lines. You can leave a kid, or parent, on a bench or playing somewhere and see them while still feeling entirely independent. With all the space, someone can be playing baseball, Frisbee, soccer, you name it, and still keep an eye out for the cyclist, or vice versa.
And there are lots of places to stop. Benches all the way around. And if you want to have the ride as part of an afternoon-athon, you can play cricket, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, bocce here, as well as taking the measure of the playground in the northwest corner.
Noshing and Gulping
Go a few blocks east of the park on Avenue S and you’ll find both food and coffee. Pizza Emporium gives you the time and atmosphere to savor the day and some slices.
Check out the Carmine Carro Community Center at the top of the park, which should be open by the time this book is published. The building is the first “green” Parks Department building, with solar panels on the roof for electricity, planted greenery on the roof for insulation and rainwater absorption, and geothermal wells for heating and cooling.
Deets (Marine Park Bike Ride)
Distance: 0.9 miles
How to get there: Take the B or Q train to Avenue U and ride along U until you get to the park.
Elevation gained: none
Ride Rating: @
Notes: Simple and unbroken oval loop. Great for learning how to ride and building up confidence and endurance.