It was over a year ago when we first heard that things were gonna get hellish for cyclists trying to get over the Manhattan Bridge, and today it begins: from this morning through January of next year (!), cyclists and pedestrians are trading paths on the popular East River span.
As Gothamist warned last week, this especially sucks for cyclists, who will have to carry their bikes up and down a flight of stairs at the Brooklyn end of the bridge. Why the HUGE inconvenience? Over the next five months some 100 iron workers are going to be replacing every last one of the bridge's suspenders, and repairing its cables above the path on the bridge's north side, necessitating a bridge-long construction shed that will reduce the width of the path to only three feet.
While pedestrians squeeze through that gauntlet, cyclists (all 3,000 of them who cross the Manhattan Bridge daily) will be strengthening their arms lugging bikes up these stairs on Jay Street between Sands and High streets on the bridge's south side—where there are convenient metal bike channels so you won't have to carry your ride so much as push it up a near-vertical incline.
Between this and the closure of the Williamsburg Bridge's south side (only through the end of July, thank goodness), your safest bet for biking into Manhattan for the next two weeks is probably the old Pulaski-to-Queensboro/Ed Koch bridges combo—seriously, this is a good option.