BY GABE HERMAN | Cycling in the city has been a hot topic of late, from installing more bike lanes to the tragic growing rate of cyclist deaths.
What’s clear is that the number of city riders has been growing in recent years. In the wake of the booming local bicycle culture, a cycle shop will be opening in August in the ever-growing Essex Crossing development on the Lower East Side.
Hilltop Bicycles will be rolling into 175 Delancey St., at Clinton St., with a 2,000-square-foot shop on the ground floor. Based in Summit, New Jersey, the company was founded in 2012 and now boasts four locations in the Garden State. It is Jersey’s largest bicycle retailer.
For its new L.E.S. location, Hilltop will partner with Specialized Bicycle Components, a top manufacturer from California, to sell commuter, fitness and racing bikes. A line of Specialized Turbo e-bikes will also be sold.
“When the opportunity to open a store in the Lower East Side just steps from the Williamsburg Bridge and its bike traffic was presented to us, we felt this was an obvious step in our growth plans,” said Thomas Dunn, Hilltop co-founder. “Plus, the neighborhood itself has that unique combination of gritty, real history coupled with a revitalized hope. We just love what that stands for.”
“Bringing a top bicycle shop to the Lower East Side was a goal as soon as we began planning Essex Crossing’s retail,” said S. Andrew Katz, principal at the Prusik Group, a developer of Essex Crossing. “With the Williamsburg Bridge’s significant bicycle traffic and proximity to the store’s location, we have a unique opportunity to serve New York City’s growing cycling community.”
With the ongoing rollout of the Essex Crossing development, including a large movie theater, Essex Market and the largest Trader Joe’s on the East Coast, it may come as no surprise that recent data show an upswing in foot traffic to the area.
According to Placer.ai, a company that analyzes foot traffic data, the area got 3.2 million visits in 2017 yet was on a steady decline over the course of that year. Visits began to increase in mid-2018, which largely coincided with more retail and other openings at Essex Crossing.
And increased foot traffic has continued into 2019, with Essex Crossing getting 1.8 million visits in the first five months of the year from 648,000 unique visitors, putting it on pace to surpass each of the previous two years.
The area is also getting more visits from locals who live nearby, and a much more diverse group of visitors than Hudson Yards, that other recently opened Manhattan megadevelopment. Visitors to Essex Crossing are 45 percent more likely to be Hispanic and 87 percent more likely to be African American than visitors to Hudson Yards, according to the data.
The entire Essex Crossing development project, which includes nine sites across six acres, is scheduled to be completed by 2024.