6 Insider NYC Runs

Your guide to the best runs in the Big Apple

New York City is a great place to be a runner. With organized races nearly every weekend and running groups galore, the Big Apple is home to a supportive community that will help you reach your running goals. But where are the best NYC runs?

The last thing you want to do is run along the crowded sidewalks in Midtown, dodging tourists, taxis, cars and buses. Sure, you could head to Central Park or Prospect Park, but you'll be pounding the pavement with hundreds of your running besties. So where do you go when you want to log some uninterrupted miles? Here are six options:

1. Hudson River Greenway

One of the best NYC runs is along the west side of Manhattan and the Hudson River. You can carve out just about any distance along this 11-mile out-and-back path from Battery Park to the George Washington Bridge, and the Little Red Lighthouse under the bridge makes a perfect stopping point. You'll enjoy gorgeous views of the Hudson while passing sites such as Chelsea Piers, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and Grant's Tomb.

2. East Side Path

If you're an East Sider, don't fret. You can totally escape the skyscrapers and city traffic. Enter the East River Promenade at 60th Street and York Avenue, and head north along the path. You'll be treated to views of Roosevelt Island and Queens and will pass the mayor's house, Gracie Mansion. Your turnaround point is 91st Street for a 3-mile out-and-back run, or continue on the path to 125th Street for six miles. Craving more distance? Head over to Randall's Island.

3. Randall's Island

Randall's Island is a hidden gem among NYC runners, and its parkland offers stunning views of Manhattan, Queens and the surrounding bridges. From the East River Promenade, cross the footbridge at 103rd Street or 125th Street. Once there, you can run a 2-mile, 2.9-mile or 4.9-mile loop before heading back home. If you want to extend your run, take the RFK Walkway from Hoyt Avenue into Queens.

4. Van Cortlandt Park

If cross-country is more your jam, head to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. It's New York City's third-largest park and home to a legendary cross-country course that has hosted key high school and college meets and was the site of the 2006 USA Cross Country Championships. You'll start in the Parade Ground flats. Run over Vault Hill and over the bridge, then loop through the hills before heading back to the Parade Ground.

5. Prospect Park to Coney Island

Want to go to the beach? Enter Prospect Park from Grand Army Plaza, and head right on West Drive. Stay on West Drive until you pass the lake on your left, then exit the park on the right at Park Circle. Run straight and turn left on Ocean Parkway, and run along that until you hit the sand. It's approximately 7.3 miles one way. Cool off in the ocean before catching the subway home.

6. Summer Streets

If you're visiting New York City in August, you're in for a special treat. During three consecutive Saturdays, approximately seven miles of city streets — from Park Avenue and 79th Street to the Brooklyn Bridge — are closed to traffic but open to runners, bikers and walkers. There are restrooms, activities and art installations all along the route. What better way to celebrate summer and squeeze in your long run than with Summer Streets?

With these NYC runs, you'll forget that you're running in the big city. Despite these routes' miles of uninterrupted running, remember: This is New York City, and the early bird gets the worm, so head out early to avoid crowds. And fit in your post-run stretch!


Christine Yu is a freelance writer, runner, yoga instructor and wannabe surfer. She blogs at Lovelifesurf.com.


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