Running in New York City, an ever-growing city with its population just over 8 million and often chaotic and increasing traffic, can be challenging. Yet every year, more people are joining numerous NYC running clubs, or they discover their own favorite running routes by themselves. Each borough has its specific, signature run. Here we have a short list of the five best places to pound the pavement when in New York.
1. Staten Island: the Greenbelt
Staten Island, the greenest of boroughs, offers several great running opportunities. The Greenbelt Park is the second largest park in New York City, and still the most rural one, retains some of the old country flavors. A true labyrinth of hiking trails in which you could legitimately get lost, Greenbelt Park emits a unique magic. If you’re looking for a place to gain back the energy drained by the fast-paced life of the City; to feel something other than cement beneath your feet, look no further than the Greenbelt.
2. Brooklyn: Prospect Park
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is a home to a lot of serious runners. There are a number of paths and roads to choose from, allowing a runner almost 4 miles of continuous run through one of the quietest and cleanest areas in the city. The park is very runner-friendly, with its many fountains and benches. While it may get a bit crowded in the morning, it’s surely big enough to enable a comfortable run, without bumping into other runners.
3. Queens: Roosevelt Island
Roosevelt Island has an amazing view of midtown Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge. It’s ringed by a three-and- a-half-mile promenade path, ideal for running purists, who can run multiple loops around it. At the far end of the Island, lies Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park with its tree-lined view of the East River and the City. Worthy of note: much of the Island’s 147 acres are strictly pedestrian-only.
4. Bronx: Van Cortlandt Park
The northernmost borough holds the City’s fourth largest park. Van Cortland Park, stretching over 1.146 acres, offers its visitors an access to its valleys, forests, wetlands, and even a lake. Cross-country athletes often choose it when they are trying to build their endurance, for its hills are known to test a runner. This vast urban forest includes cross country courses, old aqueducts, and many trails.
5. Manhattan: Randall’s Island
Randall’s Island’s 500 acres are paved with 8 miles of car-free pathways for running. More than three-quarters of its perimeter is wrapped in a pedestrian route, from which a runner can enjoy the view of the City. In the middle of the park, there are restored wetlands. Numerous fountains and bathrooms scattered throughout Randall’s Island are there to make any runner feel welcome. The southern tip of the island casts a view of Manhattan, Queens, and Roosevelt Island over the East River.