The Inaugural Tour de Queens : The Bryant Park Project From Hell Gate to Rust Street, pedaling through a New York borough.
NPR logo The Inaugural Tour de Queens

The Inaugural Tour de Queens

Yesterday, I biked the first-ever Tour de Queens.

It was a hot, humid tour of the northwestern corner of New York's biggest borough. A victory lap for city cycling and, on a personal note, a ride down memory lane.

When I was riding through Queens as a kid in the 1980s, there weren't bike paths. My favorite destination was the Unisphere, a 12-story sphere leftover from the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The pathways were cracked pavement strewn with broken glass. And it always seemed empty.

Yesterday, more than 500 cyclists pedaled past some of the monuments of my childhood — we started at the giant globe and headed for the waterfront. We went under the Hell Gate Bridge, beneath the Triborough Bridge and over the 100-year-old Borden Avenue Bridge. And I discovered new spots, like the aptly named Rust Street in the industrial neighborhood of Maspeth.

The ride ended back at Unisphere. And for a moment, with sweaty riders of every ethnic background collapsed on the grass, it felt like the center of the world.