The city's best running routes
Michael Gazaleh, president of City Running Tours, plans the best courses for all skill sets.
Tue Aug 18 2009
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Upper West Side
Gazaleh says: “There will always be others running, biking, Rollerblading or walking in the parks, but they’re locals and will allow you to flow through without slowing down.”
Distance: 5 miles
Level of difficulty: Very easy
Subway: Take the 1 to 79th St
Reward: Time this run around happy hour, and stop at the Boat Basin Caf (W 79th St at the Hudson River; 212-496-5542, boatbasincafe.com) for $2 off every drink from 4 to 7pm. It’s outdoors, so your sweaty scent will be swept out to sea.
Manhattan to Brooklyn
Gazaleh says: “The best time to attempt this run is early in the morning, when there won’t be too many tourists on the bridge.”
Distance: 8 miles
Level of difficulty: Hard
Subway: Take the 4, 5, 6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall
Reward: On your way home, stop in at Brooklyn butcher Marlow & Daughters (95 Broadway at Berry St, Williamsburg; 718-388-5700, marlowanddaughters.com) to pick up a slab of grass-fed, organic meat. A healthy run deserves a healthy meal, after all.
Gazaleh says: “On this run, you’ll see neighborhoods that look like they could be anywhere in the U.S.—smack in the middle of a metropolis.”Distance: 8 miles
Level of difficulty: Easy
Subway: Take the B, Q, S to Prospect Park
Reward: Make this an evening run and catch your breath at the Empire-Fulton Ferry Park (26 New Dock St at Water St, brooklynbridgepark.org), while you watch the sun set. Or try to catch one of 60 species of songbird that make the park the premier New York City local spot for bird-watchers.
Uptown to the Bronx
Gazaleh says: “New Yorkers are always surprised by this run and just how hilly Manhattan can be.”
Distance: 6.5 miles
Level of difficulty: Very hard
Subway: Take the A to 181st St
Reward: Think of this as a historical exercise and while running, note the four sites where the Yankees originally played ball—Hilltop Park (W 168th St at Broadway; drop a flower at the plaque, which marks where home plate once sat), the Polo Grounds (W 155th St at Eighth Ave), and finally the old and new Yankee Stadiums (River Ave at 161st St, Bronx; 718-293-4300, yankees.com).
Gazaleh says: “For this route, you’ll avoid tourists and locals. It’s a great run to do by yourself.”
Distance: 6 miles
Level of difficulty: Medium
Subway: Take the E, R, V to Queens Plaza
Reward: Call in an order for a pie pickup at Sac’s Place (2541 Broadway at 25th St, Astoria; 718-204-5002, sacsplace.com). The no-slice joint bakes their pizza at 800 degrees in a brick oven, and the need to make it home before the pie cools will be an incentive to run faster on the return trip.