(NOTE: You can reduce the route to just 8 km by only running the Central Park section. Start at the 4-km mark, at the corner of 5th Ave. and 59th Street.)
New York Running Routes:
Best New York Running Routes: Overview
Midtown and Central Park
For other running routes, see Route List.
NYC photos by www.bigfoto.com, Chris Hauser, Google StreetView, and myself
New York, New York, so good they named it twice. Well, I like New York, anyway. As dirty, loud and ugly as it often is, it's still a fun place to be, even if it is fairly anti-runner. There are very few quiet corners in Manhattan, almost every street is busy, and the long NYC shorelines are mainly lined by freeways and are no place for normal humans.
NOTE: see the Destinations Tips page for tips about spending your free time in this great town!
But there IS Central Park, and that makes up for a lot. Central Park is a varied, beautiful oasis stretching for 50 (!!) blocks through the heart of the island. And nowadays you can run there without first strapping on a kevlar vest and clipping in the ammo-cartridge of your own AK-47. I've even jogged there in the evenings and felt safe enough.
|Along Broadway, photo by Chis Hauser|
Midtown is where most travelers stay and spend their evenings, with Times Square, Broadway, Rockefeller Center, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Tiffany's, Park Avenue, the Empire State Building, Madison Square Gardens, the United Nations: in short, most of the tourist stuff that everyone expects on a New York trip.
The Midtown NYC Running Route
We'll start out in Midtown's own small oasis, Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library. This is the place to sit and drink a coffee and enjoy the Manhattan mornings, so we can relax here when we're done. I confess that I have long been in love with this park, with its outdoor lending library (even a kids' one).
|In Bryant Park, photo by K. Hauser|
|Times Square in the evening, photo by Chris Hauser|
|In Hell's Kitchen (from Google StreetView)|
(NOTE: When you come to 55th Street, if you want to make a 1-block detour to the left, you can see the famous LOVE sculpture.)
|All you need is... photo by Chris Hauser|
NOTE: If you shorten the run to only do Central Park, this is the place to start!
You'll find some steps leading down onto the park's East Drive, where you can run northwards, with the Pond on the left. Central Park is a great mixture of rock outcroppings, park-like lawns, athletic fields, ponds, cafés and woods. We'll try to see a nice cross-section of it in this run. There are several cross-streets for cars that bisect the park from east to west, but the streets are set down in lowered channels, with stone bridges for the park visitors to move north/south above the cross-streets. The main walkways go up each side of the park, East Drive and West Drive.
Here on East Drive in the south end of the park, you will soon see the ice-skating rink on your left. Turn left there (this is the place to hang out in the winter) and run towards the baseball fields and playground. When you come to the ball-fields, just run right through them and check out any games going on. On the other side of the ball-fields, you will hit West Drive, where you turn right to head north again. Watch out for all the in-line skaters and bicyclists! I actually like to take one of the many smaller, less-used paths that run parallel to the larger drives.
|At the Lake in Central Park, photo by K. Hauser|
|View from Belvedere, photo by K. Hauser|
|Along the Central Park reservoir, photo by K. Hauser|
We'll take a different way back to Bryant Park, now, though. Turn left on 59th Street and run east the four blocks to Bloomingdale's, on Lexington Avenue. Turn right here and run down Lexington to 42nd Street, going through typical Midtown highrises, running directly towards one of New York's landmark buildings, the Chrysler Building.
|The Chrysler Building, as seen from Lexington|
Continue up 42nd Street for just 2 blocks, and you'll find yourself back at the library and Bryant Park, ready to finally order a cappuccino, put your feet up, and simply watch the morning go by.