Flashback Friday: 2002 Brooklyn Greenway Ride With Schumer and de Blasio

In the final installment of this summer’s “Flashback Friday” series, featuring musty digital footage from the Streetfilms vault, we present these clips from the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative’s 2002 bike tour of the waterfront near downtown Brooklyn. If you’re like me, you might find yourself rewatching this video artifact a few times over the long weekend.

A lot has changed since this ride, Clarence writes:

Almost every shot of this video features streetscapes and waterfronts that have changed dramatically. Pay attention, and you will see Kent Avenue before protected bike lanes. You’ll see garbage-strewn streets in places. And if you look behind the riders, you’ll see the places where IKEA, Fairway, and East River State Park now stand.

What was a vision in 2002 is now a cohesive bike route from Greenpoint to Red Hook, thanks to the efforts of volunteers, advocates, and the city over the last several years. The transformation will continue as the city undertakes a series of capital projects to build a complete greenway.

Even more entrancing than the weed-choked streets is the sight of Chuck Schumer and Bill de Blasio (who back then represented the 39th District in the City Council) talking about making NYC more bikeable. At the time, creating a network of bikeways that most New Yorkers would feel comfortable using was still kind of an abstract idea.

If you made the same video today, who would star in it?

Enjoy the long weekend. Streetsblog will be off Monday and publishing regularly on Tuesday.

  • Glad I put this up this summer. That was a great day. It’s quite amazing how much the Brooklyn Waterfront landscape has changed thanks to Milton, Brian, Meg and all the volunteers and politicians that have worked with them over the years. It’s mind blowing to see what has sprung up since this video was filmed.

  • I’ve been asked a few times about the screenshot above. That’s Red Hook and IKEA now stands where those row houses once did.

  • Daniel S Dunnam

    Wow! It’s fascinating to see how things have changed! Hard to even place certain stretches they’re so different.

  • KeNYC2030

    Schumer in 2002: More bike paths, as long as they don’t take out a car lane in front of my building.

  • Anonymous

    More like this please. It’s important to remember

  • Joe R.

    Schumer was actually a real cyclist at one time! I had to do a double take when he mentioned riding 30 or 40 miles. Too bad he morphed into an NBBL puppet. Maybe he needs to see this video.

    And is it just me, but isn’t the architecture of all those old, possibly abandoned, factories just fascinating? It’s just much more interesting than some of what replaced them, especially the sterile big box stores. To be sure, what we have now is an overall improvement, but some of the unique character of the area was lost in the process (the same is true in other parts of the city which have changed in the last decade).

  • Bluewndrpwrmlk96

    Yup, that was seen as a derelict industrial waterfront and now developers are taking advantage of these areas with their new residential developments. It’s pretty impressive how quickly a majority of the Bklyn Waterfront Greenway was developed. If the gap in Sunset Park and Red Hook were closed, one could truly cycle the coastline of Brooklyn.

  • Andres Dee

    Are those skywalks from the late Greenpoint Terminal?

  • Yup. I have footage of that place somewhere from not only this ride but other days as well. It was beautiful.

  • Andres Dee

    Sigh. I loved biking down that street.


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