Hello Spring: Our Favorite NYC Spring Runs

Hello Spring: Our Favorite NYC Spring Runs

Like most people living on the east coast, by April we are extremely eager to get outside and start enjoying the sun and rising temperatures.  For most athletes Spring also indicates that it’s time to get off the treadmill and back on to the pavement.  In honor of Spring’s welcomed arrival, we are going to highlight some great outdoor runs in New York City.


You cannot be a runner in New York and not acquaint yourself with Central Park.  An urban oasis, Central Park sees thousands of runners per day but with 843 acres, 12.5 miles of roads and trails and 58 miles of trails, it has numerous different options to keep everyone from piling on top of one another.  The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is many NYC runners’ favorite “track”.  Measuring approximately 1.5 miles, the Reservoir is the surest way to log your distance and, perhaps more importantly, not get lost.  The main entrance is at 90th Street and 5th Avenue.  If you’re looking for something with a bit more of an incline, Cat Hill is located at about 80th Street on the East Side and measures about a quarter-mile with a 49’ rise.  Named after the black cat statue perched on jutting rock adjacent to the street, Cat Hill is one of a couple infamous training hills in the park.  The other, Harlem Hill, is a little longer and quite a bit steeper (.32 miles with an ’84 rise) and is located in the beautiful North Woods.  Of course, the best part of Central Park is often finding your own route so please see the attached map for a general guide to the park and then go make it your own.


If you live somewhere like the West Village, getting to the park can be a bit of a challenge.  Fortunately, the West Side Highway has maintained a very nice bike lane that is accessible to both bikers and runners.  A roughly 13-mile stretch from Staten Island to the George Washington Bridge, the path affords runners a view of the Hudson and sea breezes – something welcomed by all during the dog days of summer.  If you’re feeling especially adventurous or just looking for a little change of scenery, you can even go over the GW Bridge into Fort Lee, NJ and then run down through Weehawken and Hoboken.


Speaking of exploring Manhattan’s environs, Roosevelt Island offers some of the best views of Manhattan around and has a 3.6-mile path that circumvents the entire Island; it is very flat and quite fast.  On summer nights the Island is very well lit, making it a good option for a evening run (if you’re trying to avoid the heat and Central Park’s midday tourist traffic).  On your way back from Roosevelt, swing up East End Avenue to 86th Street, where you will find Carl Schurz Park.  At the east end of the Park is a patio of sorts, which gives an amazing view of the East River.  It also connects to the footpath adjacent to the FDR Highway, which is a great running option for those Upper East Siders looking for a break from the Park (everyone needs a change of pace on occasion!).


New York is home to numerous bridges and it would be foolish not to utilize them.  The Brooklyn Bridge measures at about 1.16 miles and has a separate walkway for bikers and pedestrians.  A pretty spectacular experience, running while suspended 135 feet above the East River, you are not alone in wanted to take advantage of it so we would suggest going early in the morning or later in the evening, to avoid too much foot traffic.  This route is especially convenient if you happen to live on the Lower East Side or East Village.  If you’re looking for something a little further North, the Queensboro Bridge also measures just over a mile.  You can pick up the bridge at 59th Street and at the end will find yourself in Long Island City, which has an myriad of routes to tack on to your run.


Finally, one of our favorite runs is on the Upper West Side at Riverside Park.  With amazing views of the Hudson River, the park stretches 4 miles from 72nd Street to 158th Street.  With lush green trees, bushes, and grass blocking out the city bustle, this can be a nice break from the New York streets.


These are some of our favorites but in a labyrinth like Manhattan, it is impossible to know all the different ins and outs.  Please let us know what some of your favorite runs are - we are always searching for a new hidden gem.