August 28, 2016
Five stars for being accessible from the city. And pretty awesome besides.
See note about poison Ivy below.
As others have noted, this is a great little park with some fast and super fun singletrack. And a couple impressive dirt jump sections for the jumpers. You on your mountain bike will likely not do these;) In general, solid, fast XC with good technical attributes and maybe a couple of mild drops and more than a few places to catch (normal) air and test your abilities. I believe this park was designed from scratch by the volunteers who got this park going, and it really is an accomplishment.
It's also a perfect park for single speed rigid if you're into that. My 33t crank is just about perfect for this park, able to get up 99.9% of the short little grades. But you'll see most riders riding full squish trail-bikes here.
I cut my MTB teeth out west and Cunningham was my first ride out east. It didn't disappoint and after exploring some of the other local options within an hour or so, it still stands out and is a unique park. And this might sound insane, or a symptom of my lack of having experienced that many locations (despite riding for 20 years) but it actually resembles the speedy, low vertical-grade flow, in my humble opinion, of... Goosberry Mesa in Utah. Just because that's regarded as one of the sweetest spots on earth to ride (it is) doesn't invalidate the comparison. Mesa is like riding on a roller coaster with every track and rock face accommodating your zippiness. That's what Cunningham has in common, minus the tear inducing "epic" of place like Mesa of course;) with it's fancy pants slick rock desert god-scape overlooking Zion Nat'l Park.
Caution, there is POISON IVY in this park. It tagged me and blew up my knee a bit. It's common for first encounters to take between 10-20 days for it show believe it or not. This is what happened to me about 12 days out. I road in mid July, after some heavy rain storms, when the brush started to become overgrown a bit. Don't get me wrong, this is really well-maintained park. In fact in between five days of riding, I noticed a few side-brush sections had been cleared. But there are a lot of trails here and not everything can be groomed to a tee.
So ride with caution if this concerns you, or even better, with some skin protection if you can handle the heat in the summer when this is most likely to be a problem. This is what I'll be doing, sad (but not too sad) to say. And in no way should this put you off if you're new and eager to visit, since I have ridden here several times over the years and this was my first encounter. And for context, my riding partner encountered no poison ivy despite shadowing each other the whole ride.
Great park and a gift to NYC riders grateful for accessible quality riding.