Central Park

Scenes from New York: On the Run

Central Park

Over the past several years, I’ve been amazed at how much of New York I’ve discovered during my daily runs. I found some fantastic restaurants, bars, and shops simply running around different areas of the city. But what I’ve come to appreciate most about my runs is uncovering the beauty of this small little island of Manhattan. I have my training runs to thank for some of my favorite mental (and photographic!) images.

Central Park (above) is by far the most well-known and well-populated running spot in the city.  From the six-mile loop that winds around the inner perimeter to the trails that weave through the middle, you’re bound to find a new route each time, spanning from just a mile or two to almost double digits.  Luscious trees, colorful flowers, rock-lined ponds and green grass show another side of this “concrete jungle” we’ve grown to love.  The gorgeous, old buildings that line the exterior of the park also make for great sight-seeing.

View of the East River from Manhattan

For a longer run, you may want to try running the perimeter of the city. Both the East Side and West Side provide great stomping grounds for runners. This route is perfect for early morning runs when the sun is rising above the city—the breeze coming off the water will keep you cool and motivated. Running a loop around lower Manhattan—starting on the east side around 58th Street, then heading west to the Hudson where you run down through Battery Park and back up along the East River will put you in at just under 14 miles—a great Half Marathon training route.

View from Queensboro Bridge, looking north (Roosevelt Island is to the right)

One of the best ways to get a spectacular view of Manhattan is to actually leave Manhattan. If you’re not afraid of bridges, bridge running in New York can provide great stamina training because of the long, steady inclines. The Queensboro Bridge is a great place to start. While the Brooklyn Bridge provides fantastic views of lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island, it is the most crowded pedestrian bridge in the city. The Queensboro Bridge, with expansive views of the city to the north and south, spans about 1.5 miles and will bring you into some other great running territories.

View of Upper Manhattan from Astoria Park

If you can stand the industrial two-mile run north along 21st Street in Queens, the views from Astoria Park provide spectacular scenes of the park, the city, and the historic RFK and Hell Gate Bridges. Though the perimeter is just under 1.5 miles, Astoria Park welcomes runners with wide sidewalks along the river, hilly trails, and a track for those who might want to work on their speed.

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