Where to run in New York: 5 less crowded routes in the parks

If you’re in the Big Apple and you want to run, you need to understand where to run in New York to take advantage of interesting and less crowded routes in the parks (but not only). It’s not just Central Park. On the contrary, it’s better to know the areas of the famous park to attend if you don’t want to be forced to avoid the tourists. But there are several areas of the city perfect for running, interesting to explore on foot and away from the circuits of mass tourism. Such as the High Line (but only at dawn), Roosevelt Island and a couple of places between Brooklyn and Williamsburg where only New Yorkers go. Here preparing for the New York Marathon or simply training in running is a pleasure. We’ve tried them and here we recommend the 5 best places to run in New York.

The 5 Best Running Routes in New York

Running on the High Line (Chelsea)

The High Line is one of the newest and most interesting areas of New York. It is a pedestrian path built on the old railway of the West Side Line, the area west of Manhattan, suspended and abandoned since 1980. Thanks to two architects and a committee of volunteers, the area has been restored and a park with a 2.33 km pedestrian walkway has been built, completed in 2015.

You start from the port area on Grosvenor Street and walk or run north through the old industrial buildings and brand new buildings, breathing the air of the Chelsea neighborhood and its art galleries, up to 30th West Street, where you will find The Vessel, the remarkable ‘beehive’, a sculpture-structure with Escher-style stairs that you can also climb to enjoy the view of the West Side.

If you want to run here, we recommend that you do it early in the morning, as it’s a quick crowding experience for locals and tourists alike. But it’s really worth it.

Running on Roosevelt Island (East Side)

One of the most popular areas among New Yorkers and less frequented by tourists is the elongated island of Roosevelt, which is located at the height of Central Park on the eastern side of the Hudson. You can get there by ferry boat that runs on either side of the river, or by funicular from Tramway Plaza, on 2nd Avenue. It’s worth trying the funicular itself, which runs over the endless avenues of the Big Apple and leaves you near Queensboro Bridge.

Once on the island you can run along the pedestrian ring that surrounds it, standing on Loop Street. You can choose the route: if you do it all it is about 7 km, to be done in the quietest of parks and gardens, with residential buildings in the north, the hypermodern structure of Cornell Tech University and the Freedom Park on the southern tip, with the monument dedicated to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Here you can also relax, stretch and lie in the sun.

The Cornell bar serves surprisingly healthy breakfasts and lunches.

Running in Brooklyn Bridge Park (Brooklyn)

The old port piers from Brooklyn overlooking the southeast corner of Manhattan have been transformed into a large sports park, the Brooklyn Bridge Park. An ideal place to run and stroll without colliding with tourists who flock to, for example, the nearby Brooklyn Bridge.

The promenade that descends from the bridge to the south is a green area with paved paths on which to run as, where and how much you want even with some ups and downs. In addition, each pier is dedicated to a sport: skating, basketball, football, volleyball. And in the surroundings there are bars for refreshment.

The area immediately north-east of the bridge (the emerging Dumbo) is also a park (Empire Fulton Park): it’s a bit crowded to really run, but you can start from there, admiring the ancient carousel Jane’s Carousel set in a structure and then reaching the most open areas to the south.

Where to run in Central Park

The most famous park in the world is actually almost always crowded with tourists. Except in the cold months or at the harshest times, running decently in the south (say between the Zoo and the Metropolitan Museum) is almost impossible. But going north, between 86 and 97 roads, there’s Lake Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir which seems to have been made especially for runners. The reserve is surrounded by a 2.5 km white dirt track that’s perfect for a morning or evening run.

You run strictly counterclockwise along the museums and palaces of Fifth Avenue, then face a few curves and pass on the other side of the park and continue between playgrounds, ducks and a view over the whole of Manhattan.

It is particularly recommended to run at dawn or dusk, when the colours of nature are reflected in the mirror of the skyscrapers and are indelibly imprinted on your memory.

Running through the parks of Greenway Terrace (Brooklyn)

The old port piers from Brooklyn overlooking the southeast corner of Manhattan have been transformed into a large sports park. An ideal place to run and walk without colliding with tourists who flock to the nearby Brooklyn Bridge, for example.

The promenade that descends from the bridge to the south is a green area with paved paths on which to run as, where and how much you want even with some ups and downs. In addition, each pier is dedicated to a sport: skating, basketball, football, volleyball. And in the surroundings there are bars for refreshment.

The area immediately north-east of the bridge (the emerging Dumbo) is also a park (Empire Fulton Park): it’s a bit crowded to really run, but you can start from there, admiring the ancient carousel Jane’s Carousel set in a structure and then reaching the most open areas to the south.

Running in and around Domino Park (Williamsburg)

Around the old Domino sugar refinery has been created the Domino Park, a green strip with a walk on board Hudson that is frequented almost exclusively by locals. You arrive by ferry boat (which costs as much as the subway)

You can run from Williamsburg Bridge up through the Jewish Quarter to Grand Ferry Park. But you can go even higher by moving through the quiet streets of Williamsburg full of clubs where you can stop for a break.

The more trained could go as far as another park further north, Bushwick.

As you run, take a look to the right, where the old port facilities that have been recolored stand out and give the area a very playful touch.

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