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The Kissena Velodrome, A Place That Matters

kissena park velodrome bicycle racing queens

The Kissena Velodrome, nominated by John Campo, is a 400-meter outdoor track in Queens’ Kissena Park, gives bicycle riders a place to race and ride without cars. It is, in fact, the only velodrome in New York City.

Velodromes have sharply banked curves, and bikes ridden there cannot have brakes and cannot be able to coast. While, as a result, the bikers’ speed may seem intimidating, the Kissena Cycling Club, which manages the track, prides itself on welcoming — encouraging, even — anyone who wants to ride or just watch.

Built in 1963 by Robert Moses, the track deteriorated even as its users became as diverse as Queens itself. It was overhauled by the city in 2004, thanks in large part to the Kissena Cycling Club. It is a rare, but state-of-the-art, reminder of New York City’s long-standing connection to bicycle racing, a connection that draws on 19th century groups like the League of American Wheelmen and the Century Road Club.