Where to watch the NYC Marathon

Find the perfect spot to post up and cheer on the runners

ING New York City Marathon 2013

ING New York City Marathon 2013 Photograph: Filip Wolak

Lace up those running shoes (or not)—the first weekend in Novembermarks the annual NYC Marathon. So while you're not actually running the race (because let's be serious, only Olympic Gods can do that), we've compiled some of the best places around the city to catch a glimpse of the action. Plus, once the runners cross the finish line, these vantage points also come with plenty of activities to keep you busy and feel glad you're not running. If you're watching near Central Park, check out the latest exhibition at MoMA, or really make the runners envious by casually lounging and cheering from a grassy spot in McCarren Park.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the NYC Marathon

BAM Rose Cinemas

BAM Rose Cinemas

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Around mile eight, runners converge at BAM on their way north through Brooklyn.

Things to do here that don’t involve running:  Bring the family to BAM Rose Cinemas for a matinee showing of the 1954 flick Creature from the Black Lagoon 3D (general admission $10, children $7).


Enid's Photograph Courtesy of Brian Merriam

Greenpoint (Nassau Avenue)

About 12 miles into the race, runners will come through this neck of Brooklyn. Spectators can casually lounge along the edge of McCarren Park and watch as the sweating masses pass by. 

Things to do here that don’t involve running: After grabbing brunch at Enid’s (one of our picks of the best brunch places in NYC), you can nap in McCarren Park, drink beer out of a Styrofoam cup at the Turkey’s Nest or record-shop at the new Academy Records Annex on Oak Street—or all three. The world is your oyster.


Photograph: Jennifer Arnow

First Ave and 59th Street

No spectators are allowed on the Queensboro Bridge, but the area around First Avenue and 59th Street allows for good views of the runners as they descend the overpass.

Things to do here that don’t involve running: Someone needs to right the karmic balance these runners are throwing into disarray. Serendipity 3 has something called the Golden Opulence Sundae, which costs $1,000 and requires 48 hours' advance notice to order. Do the right thing.  

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Photo: Caroline Voagen Nelson

Marcus Garvey Park

Just before they hit Central Park, runners will be skirting the much smaller Marcus Garvey Park. Having already run about 22 miles, they’ll be in dire need of your vocal support.

Things to do here that don’t involve running: Once your job is done cheering-wise, head west a few blocks to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que for some ribs or beer-boiled shrimp. You might not be a runner yourself, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat like one. If you’re going to have a heart attack, death by meat is preferable to death by exercise. 

Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle Photograph: Jennifer Arnow

Columbus Circle

At this late point in the race, most runners have probably slipped into some kind of instinctive fugue state, robotically putting one foot in front of the other in what is no doubt a triumph of the human spirit.

Things to do here that don’t involve running: Museum of Modern Art isn’t far from the southern end of Central Park, and November 2 is the last day to check out MoMA’s exhibition, "Christopher Williams: The Production Line of Happiness," a retrospective on the 35-year career of the influential cinephilic artist. 

Map of the NYC Marathon