A little teaser
Most people are familiar with Little Neck Bay from driving on the Cross Island Parkway. It’s much prettier when you have an opportunity to actually see the bay, rather than sideways glances stolen while navigating highway traffic. Fort Totten is a great, hidden park of the city. Riding Fort Totten Queens is a great trip. Besides the history and architecture, there are plenty of places to plop down and enjoy sitting in a green field with a great view of Long Island Sound.
Riding Fort Totten
We wish that fewer bike paths were placed on the side of highways. You’ll spend over three miles on this path alongside the Cross Island Parkway. This is one of the many times you’ll curse Robert Moses when riding around New York. But the good thing is that the city has been pretty good about squeezing in paths alongside parks and waterfront. Both Little Neck Bay and the Long Island Sound are better appreciated from the saddle of a bicycle than from the seat of a car.
The first two and a half miles of this ride are alongside the Cross Island Parkway. If you look left, you see speeding cars. If you look right, you’ll see the bay. It’s a powerful contrast and appropriate that you can ride in between, using a vehicle, but benefiting from the calming effect of a large body of water.
Fort Totten, while a city park, is also home to an army outpost, and training centers for both the city’s finest (NYPD) and bravest (FDNY). The riding is so peaceful, you’ll be inspired to explore every road on the island. We turned wrong at some point and got chewed out by a policeman for being in their training grounds. Even after that, we were inspired to do laps around the peninsula.
Leaving Totten, and heading north to the Throgs Neck Bridge, you get a great view of the bridge as well as a sighting of the SUNY Maritime College, the southeastern edge of the mainland, and part of The Maritime Loop (aka Br9) .
Once off the bike path, you encounter Utopia Parkway, a misnomer on both counts, but a great name and a pleasant on-street bike path. The traffic is light and slow.
After a mile on Utopia, you’re halfway through the suburban sojourn section of the ride. Just a few more roads and a few more turns, most of which are over on-street bike paths. Once you hit 28th Avenue, it’s smooth sailing back to the bike path and onto the finish of the ride, back where you started on the edge of Alley Pond Park.
You’ll pass through a commercial alley on Utopia Parkway that highlights the diversity of Queens. Greek, Chinese, pizza, bagels, and a deli are all available in a two-block length of road.
Go for the ride’s namesake. Fort Totten. It is a decommissioned fort that was an army installation from the mid-19th century to the 1970s. The old fort is still there, and you can join in the speculation as to whether or not there’s a tunnel leading to Fort Schuyler across the Sound. Even if there isn’t, there are cool tunnels under the fortifications that are worth checking out. www.nycgovparks.org/parks/forttotten/
Ride Deets (Riding Fort Totten Queens)
Distance: 8.7 miles
Ride Rating: @@
Notes: Easy jaunt to around and from a real decommissioned fort.
Q02, Q03, and Q04are also nearby.
Includes: A PDF with intelligence and a GPX file to upload to your bike computer or mobile device.