Queens: Queensboro Bridge to Citi Field

It is long-run season for so many runners who are training for fall marathons and everyone knows that a long run can be a something of a chore. Well, here is a 15 mile adventure for you to explore if you are so inclined!

This challenging and rewarding run takes you from the foot of the Queensboro bridge on the Queens side, through Astoria, past La Guardia Airport (yes, the airport!), along the World’s Fair Marina and onwards to the Mets’ Citifield. And yet, it can be so much more as you will soon see!

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Here is a snapshot of the entire route – 15 miles long – with a few bonus miles if you want. 

Route Description:

(Run 9/2/17) This route begins on the corner of Crescent St. and Queens Plaza North on the Queens side of the Queensboro Bridge recreational path.

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Here is a closeup of the route from the start (marked by the green and white marker) heading north on Crescent Ave. The red line on the left was my return route from Astoria Park.

You’ll head northeast on Crescent St. until you reach the end at 20th Ave where you will turn right and head southeast on 20th Ave. for about a mile and a half then you will bear right and continue as 20th Ave. becomes 75th St.

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This is the route on 20th Ave. to the transition to 75th St. Its a little tricky when described, so hopefully this map makes things clearer.

In about a quarter mile, you’ll reach Astoria Blvd. where you will turn left.

In another quarter mile, you’ll make a right on Ditmars Blvd./82nd St.

Cross over the Grand Central Parkway and then make a left on the first street you encounter, 23rd Ave.

Follow 23rd Ave. until a traffic circle and bear right to Ditmars Blvd. Past the airport hotels, head left at 27th Ave. to the pedestrian bridge entrance that crosses over the Grand Central Parkway.

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The transition from Astoria to the area adjacent to LaGuardia Airport is featured above. Pay attention to the outbound, or lower, line which lines up with the directions in this post.

On the other side of the pedestrian bridge is a recreational path that runs along the World’s Fair Marina. Follow this around until you reach two concrete, tent-like structures and turn right to take the road under Northern Blvd. to the CitiField parking lot (you should be able to spot Citifield easily at this point).

Follow your nose to the southeast corner of the stadium. This is the corner closest to the 7 train’s Mets-Willets Point station and the Home Run Apple. Then you can celebrate reaching your halfway point!

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This is the detail of the run along the seldom-used World’s Fair Marina Promenade to Citi Field. I consider it a boon for runners looking for a waterside view during their outing. The little notch near the pedestrian bridge crossing is where we stopped to use the Dunkin Donuts bathroom.

Before turning back, I’d recommend having a bit of fun in the parking lot. This will be especially fun for baseball fans.

For those of you who don’t remember, Citi Field was completed in 2009 and replaces the old Shea Stadium on what used to be Shea’s parking lot. As a result, Shea used to stand where Citi Field’s parking lot is now. To commemorate this, the owners have placed bronze base plaques in the parking lot to mark where the original bases used to be. See my running path for the location of these bases as I pretended to hit a home run off of David Cone to win the NLCS for the Dodgers in 1988.

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Here is a somewhat helpful representation of where the Shea Stadium bronze bases are. As you can see, I ran from the Home Run Apple to home plate, hit my home run, trotted around the bases, then immediately went to the mound to pitch to my running partners who graciously played batter and catcher to complete the baseball fantasy portion of my long run.

Completing the run basically entails going back the way you came. However, if you wanted to mix it up or to add miles, you can also do one of the following:

1. Extend your run to the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Park (an extra 1.75 miles round trip for a total of just under 17 miles). From the Home Run Apple, you can continue running across the street or through the Mets-Willets Point Station up to the boardwalk that leads to Flushing Meadows Park. Once in the park, make a right, running along the US Tennis Center perimeter until you see the Unisphere (the big metallic model of the Earth) and do a loop around it.

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A sideways look at how to get to the Unisphere from the Home Run Apple at Citi Field.

2. Head back via Astoria Park (a paltry .75 miles tacked on so totally worth it). On the way back (around mile 13), head to Astoria Park and run along the East River instead of coming back down Crescent Ave. While on 20th Ave. keep going until the end when you hit water and a bike path. Turn left and run along the water until you reach Astoria Park South. Turn left on Astoria Park South and head back to Crescent Ave. where you will make a right and return to the start.

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A worthwhile detour that will keep things fresh during a long run. Instead of turning back down Crescent St. on the way back to the start, keep heading west on 20th Ave. to the shore and run south along the shore. Connect with Crescent St. via Astoria Park South. Bathrooms and fountains are available on the south side of the park near 18th St., if necessary.

3. Extend your run over the Queensboro Bridge (an extra 1.4 miles each way or just shy of an 18-miler round-trip). If you are starting in Manhattan, or are lust looking for a longer run that includes Citi Field, start and end on the Manhattan side of the Queensboro Bridge near 60th and 1st Ave.

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Running back over the Queensboro Bridge is a great add-on to your run, especially if you are training for the New York Marathon. This works best if you do the 15 mile version of this long run because the Queensboro Bridge is basically mile 16 of the actual marathon course.

Mileage:

This is a 15-mile route that can morph into a 17-(with the Unisphere), 18-(with the Unisphere and the Astoria Park add-ons), or 21-mile (with the Unisphere, Astoria Park, and Queensboro Bridge add-ons) outing.

Elevation: 

Slightly challenging with variation from 0 to 69 feet (yes, only 69 feet, even with the Queensboro Bridge!) with really no sharp inclines.

Hill Ratio:

0 hills for a ratio of 0.0 for the 15-mile variation. If you include the Queensboro Bridge, add one hill for a 0.05 ratio.

CPMR: 

0.30. There are quite a few smokers loitering out there on the streets of Astoria.

%RNPS:

60%. We spend a fair amount of time near Grand Central Parkway/I-278.

Safe after dark?

Yes and no. All parts of this run that occur in Astoria are probably safe in terms of traffic and crime during the day and up to 10pm at night. The sections along the World’s Fair Marina and in the Citi Field parking lot are probably questionable regarding personal safety because these locations are so secluded. Those sections should only be run with a buddy if you really need to run this route late at night.

Crowd Scene?

This course runs through residential and public recreational paths. Not much of a crowd problem unless you run along the East River near Astoria Park on a nice spring/summer night, in which case prepare to deal with crowds aplenty.

Running Surface:

Sidewalk and asphalt.

Changing Station?

There are a few nice bars on the Queens side of the Queensboro Bridge where you can duck into and probably use their bathrooms if you ask nicely.

On the Citi Field side, you can go to the public bathrooms near the US Tennis Center or use the Dunkin Donuts bathroom that backs onto the World’s Fair Marina boardwalk from Grand Central Parkway about a tenth of a mile south of the pedestrian bridge.

If you pass Astoria Park during normal business hours, there is a community center with bathrooms and a nice fountain near the intersection of Astoria Park South and 18th St.

Points of Interest:

When you run this route, here’s what you have in store for yourself:

  • the marathon-famous Queensboro Bridge
  • the massive ConEd Yard in Astoria
  • the road to soon-to-be-condos Rikers Island
  • New York’s other airport, La Guardia Airport
  • the unfairly neglected World’s Fair Marina Promenade
  • the home of the marvelous New York Mets, Citi Field
  • (if you do the add-ons) the recently renovated U.S. Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open
  • the Unisphere of Iron Man II fame
  • the greenest part of Astoria that doesn’t include gravestones, Astoria Park
  • the East River along the park

Good for Groups:

Narrow sidewalks make this ideal for 2 up to 4 runners.

Safe from Cars:

This route moves along low volume streets for the most part which are well-insulated from traffic. I’d be concerned for the most part at the crossings around the Triboro Bridge and when crossing over the Grand Central Parkway on the way to the airport.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

You’ll find about seven break points each way along this run. 39th Ave, 36th Ave, Broadway, 30th Ave., Hoyt Ave North, and Ditmars (twice). However, on a weekend morning, I found that only about three of these crossings were problematic.

Friends Run Into During Run:

2 (but I brought them with)

Is there a route you’ve always wanted to run, but wanted someone else to run it first in case of hidden axe murderers or marauding street cat gangs? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to cover it! Or is there any other route criteria you’d like me to cover? If so, drop me a comment below.

© 2017 Danilo Torres. All rights reserved.

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Bronx: Commute Run from 138th to Einstein/Jacoby via 3rd Ave./Boston Rd.

Commute runs are an efficient and fun way to get to where you want to go while getting a substantial workout in at the same time. If your job allows you to dress with a minimum of fuss (i.e. a dress shirt and nice pants), a run like this is completely feasible with a small pack or running vest with a large storage compartment (like this or this).

If you are trying to get to/from Harlem/Manhattan to the Einstein/Jacoby Medical Center, here is a route to consider. One end is anchored by the 138th Street Station of the 2/4/5 train and the other set by a large public space (Jacoby Medical Center).

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Here is a snapshot of the entire route – 6 miles long. 

Route Description:

(Run 3/17/17) This route begins on the corner 138th St. and Grand Concourse.

You’ll head east on 138th St. to 3rd Ave. and make a left, staying on the east side of the street.

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Here is a closeup of the route starting at the 138th Street Station then up through 3rd Ave.

Follow 3rd Ave. north until it winds past 163rd St., then fork to the east (right) onto Boston Rd.

 

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Then you can see how 3rd Ave. forks to the right to become Boston Road.

Follow Boston Road to 180th St. and head east again (right) to Morris Park Ave.

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This shows you the transition from Boston Road, across 180th St. to Morris Park.

Once you reach Morris Park Ave. head north (left) all the way to Eastchester Rd which is about 1.6 miles away at this point.

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And finally, your destination, Einstein/Jacoby Medical Center.

Of course, if you are running from Einstein/Jacoby Medical Center toward the South Bronx/Harlem/Manhattan, just run these steps in reverse!

Mileage:

This is a six-mile route.

Elevation: 

Slightly challenging with variation from 11 to 98 feet with one sharp incline. The rest of the elevation challenges are very gradual.

Hill Ratio:

1 hill for a ratio of 0.16 for the six-mile run.

CPMR: 

0.0. For some reason, I rarely run into smokers on this route despite running through several commercial and residential areas.

%RNPS:

67%. Surprisingly, only two-thirds of this route are roughly a half-mile away from one of the half-dozen freeways that criss-cross the Bronx. I would have expected this run to be at 100%.

Safe after dark?

Despite it’s potential as a good commute run, it does run through the South Bronx and there are sections along 3rd Ave that are still a little questionable despite the recent uptick in new development. The section of Boston Road between 170th St. and 180th St. is also a bit of question mark. Early evening (6-8pm) and mid-morning (7-9am) appear to be good times to run this route.

Crowd Scene?

This course runs through two major commercial areas where you’ll likely encounter crowds on the sidewalk: The Hub and Morris Park. Other than that, the course is pretty uncluttered.

Running Surface:

Sidewalk and asphalt.

Changing Station?

There is a Starbucks on the corner of Morris Park Ave. and Eastchester Road with serviceable bathrooms to change in. No changing stations that I can suggest on the South Bronx side.

Points of Interest:

This route takes you through the heart of the South Bronx. Going south to north, you will see the small section of the Bronx near 138th and the Grand Concourse (right outside the 138th Street Station for the 2/4/5 train) over which the New York Marathon runs. Further up, you’ll run past Patterson Houses, one of the largest public housing developments in the city, then through the commercial area known as The Hub – characterized as a miniature Times Square – on 3rd Ave above 149th St.,  then on through the neighborhoods of Morrisania, West Farms, and finally Morris Park.

Good for Groups:

Narrow sidewalks make this ideal for 2 up to 4 runners.

Safe from Cars:

The cross-streets along the majority of this route are low-volume and the path that you’ll run along is well-insulated from fast moving traffic by either wide sidewalks or street parking.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

By my count, you’ll see about ten possible major streets that may require a stop. On a typical day, figure that you will see stops on about half of them.

Friends Run Into During Run:

0

Is there a route you’ve always wanted to run, but wanted someone else to run it first in case of hidden axe murderers or marauding street cat gangs? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to cover it! Or is there any other route criteria you’d like me to cover? If so, drop me a comment below.

© 2017 Danilo Torres. All rights reserved.

Havana, Cuba: Malecon to the Plaza del Revolution

Travel running is something that I have really come to enjoy. It is a great way to cover a lot of ground on your vacation and become a part of the tapestry of life that you’re visiting. Also, if you are training for a big race, it helps keep you in shape for when you return to real life.

Late last year, I had the chance to visit Havana, Cuba and get a few runs in along some of the grand boulevards of the city. Hopefully, if you get a chance to visit this quaint and historic place, you get a few interesting runs in to see the local sights.

This particular run took me from our hotel near the water up to the Plaza de la Revolution. Our trip landed us in Cuba roughly a month after the death of Fidel Castro and his body laid in state here for several days as thousands of people lined up in this giant square to pay their respects to their beloved leader.

This is one of many runs that one can safely manage around Havana and I hope to hear from others about the routes they’ve run here in years to come.

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Havana, Cuba, ladies and gentlemen!

Route Description:

(Run 12/19/16) This route starts at the Melia Cohiba Hotel on the corner of Calle 1ra and Avenida Paseo. Very simply, you take Avenida Paseo southwest all the way to the Plaza de la Revolution which is about a mile and a half.

Run around the main plaza area but don’t try to head up to the Monument Tower of Jose Marti in running clothes. Apparently, you’ll only be admitted with special permission and dressed in a respectful fashion.

But once you are done sight seeing, you can head back down Avenida Paseo past the Melia Cohiba Hotel to the Malecon which is the main street that runs along the water in Havana. I’d recommend carefully crossing this busy street and making a left running along the water. BE CAREFUL! If you see any puddles on the sidewalk, there will likely be algae growing there which makes the sidewalk VERY slippery. Try to avoid those spots or walk carefully through them.

You can follow the Malecon for at least another mile before you reach a tunnel that goes under the bay (which you can run through) but this run has you going for only a half a mile before returning to the starting point.

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Here is a better look at the beginning and end of the course.

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Here is my wandering route through the Plaza de la Revolution as I paused to sightsee.

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This is a panorama picture of the Plaza de la Revolution that looks a lot better on my phone.

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Here is a closeup of the tribute to Che Guevara in the PdlR.

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Here is a closeup of the tribute to Camilo Cienfuegos in the PdlR.

Mileage:

This route worked out to 4.5 miles in total but it could definitely be extended in any direction for more sightseeing.

Elevation: 

A little challenging with a min elevation of 7 feet to a max of 132 feet.

Hill Ratio:

1 hill for a ratio of 0.22 for the 4.5 mile run.

CPMR: 

0.0. While I didn’t run into many smokers during my morning run, I have to say that the lack of catalytic converters in some of the older cars nearly caused me to create a new statistic for this blog. Technically, this number is 0.0 for this run, but you could theoretically count every old car as two smokers! In which case, I’d probably give this a nearly off-the-charts 3.0 CPMR. And this was early on a Sunday morning when there was little to no traffic on the roads. I don’t recommend running these streets during the day when more traffic is present.

%RNPS:

25%. This is another stat what will need to be adjusted. Though there was only one freeway near this route during mile 2, I’d argue that this number should be closer to 100%. 

I have to hand it to the EPA in the United States, they’ve done a great job reducing car-based air pollution. I run along the busy Westside Highway and the FDR all the time and one 1958 Plymouth Belvedere in Havana puts out more lung-choking exhaust than 100 catalytic converter-equipped cars zooming by the power plant on the running path near 14th St. 

Seriously, I had to hold my breath and wait for the exhaust to disapate every time one of these smart looking global warming machines went past.

Safe after dark?

Safety in Havana is interesting. Many of the neighborhoods I ran through looked run down which in the US usually indicates a sketchy neighborhood. However, the reason for the declining state of the housing in Cuba is due more to the embargo on building materials than due to neglectful residents. Based on my perception from my small sample of runs and walks through Havana (and Cuba in general), I’d say running through the neighborhoods in Cuba is very safe during the day and into the evening.

Crowd Scene?

A lot of people walk in Havana and the sidewalk widths vary widely. This particular route would likely be busier later during the day, especially during the middle of the day. I’d recommend running earlier to avoid running into large crowds.

Running Surface:

Sidewalk, asphalt, and carved coral (the most readily available building material in Cuba) on the Malecon.

Changing Station?

Tough to say. You can change in the hotel if you are a guest but I never got a chance to check out alternative arrangements.

Points of Interest:

There are so many things to see along this route!

In addition to starting at one of the original prestige hotels in the Melia Cohiba, you start across the street from the famous Riviera Hotel. 

Along the way on Avenida Paseo, you will pass a few embassies including the sizeable Embassy of China. Of course, you will also get a chance to see Plaza de la Revolution with the monument to Jose Marti, the Council of State (think “national government house of representatives”), the National Theater, the National Library, and the monuments to Che and Camilo.

Back along the water, you’ll run along the Malecon which is also known as the world’s largest couch because on a summer night, you’ll find thousands of people sitting or standing along the wall socializing.

If you choose to run further west along the Malecon through the tunnel, you’ll find Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Ave. This street featured the nicest houses in the city where the creme de la creme used to live before the revolution. 

Post-revolution, many of these estates were converted into embassies. With a central walking path down the middle of Quinta Avenida that extends for about two miles, it also makes for a nice run to consider.

Good for Groups:

Narrow sidewalks and bike paths along the course make this ideal for 2 up to 4 runners.

Safe from Cars:

If you stay along the sidewalks and obey the traffic signals, you should be in good shape. Most sidewalks have enough of a buffer from fast-moving traffic to maintain a good margin of safety.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

There are probably two major breaks to worry about in this scenario. Be very careful crossing Avenida Paseo and the Malecon. They are very wide streets and depending on the time of day, traffic moves pretty fast and frequently along these roads.

Friends Run Into During Run:

0

Is there a route in a foreign country you’ve always wanted to run, but wanted someone else to run it first in case of hidden axe murderers or marauding street cat gangs? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to cover it! Or is there any other route criteria you’d like me to cover? If so, drop me a comment below.

© 2017 Danilo Torres. All rights reserved.

Bronx: Einstein/Jacoby Medical Center – Pelham Parkway – Shore Road Long Run

Today’s route takes you down the other road in Pelham Bay Park to the northern edge of the Bronx. And if you aren’t familiar with Pelham Bay Park, it is the largest park in New York City – three times larger than Central Park in Manhattan. On the Saturday morning when I ran this route (what I consider prime weekend recreation time), I was surprised to see few people bike down this route and no one running along it!

In my opinion, it is a hidden gem of a long run for folks who want to get away from it all without really getting away from it all.

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Here is a snapshot of the entire route – 5 miles long. Out-and-back for a 10 miler.

Route Description:

(Run 8/28/17) This route starts at the driveway of 1935 Eastchester Road, near the intersection of Stillwell Ave. and Eastchester Road.

Head south to Morris Park Ave. and make a right.

About 400 meters later, make another right on Seminole Ave. and follow the street around the western side of the Jacoby/Einstein campus to Pelham Parkway South.

Make a right on Pelham Parkway South and continue past Stillwell Ave. until you pick up the bike path adjacent to Pelham Parkway South.

Follow this bike path across the five highway transition roads (be careful!) over the next half mile until you reach Pelham Bay Park.

Turn left and follow the bike path over the Pelham Bridge.

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Here is a closeup of the first/last two miles of the route.

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Here you’ll see the route from the left turn at the park, over the bridge, to the intersection of City Island Road and Pelham Bridge Road. Please exercise caution on the bridge as bikers, pedestrians, and runners can often bunch up on the narrow sidewalk while traffic moves quickly by without much of a safety buffer.

At the other side of the bridge, continue across City Island Road and then make a left immediately across Pelham Bridge Rd. then right to continue on the bike path.

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Here is a closeup emphasizing the crossover you need to make at the intersection of City Island Road and Pelham Bridge Road around mile 3/7.

Continue north on the bike path for about two miles. Except for the entrance to the golf course and the crossing at the Orchard Beach traffic circle, this will give you a total of 4 miles of car-free running space.

You’ll know you’ve reached the turnaround point once you’ve reached the end of the bike path (the border for Pelham Bay Park and the Bronx) and entered a very nice neighborhood in the Village of Pelham. Run about five housing lots into the neighborhood to get to five miles and turn around and go back the way you came.

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Mileage:

Ten miles round-trip or five miles each way. For those of you who would prefer to head straight to Pelham Parkway South from the starting point instead of going around the campus first, this makes the run 4.25 miles each way or a 8.5 mile round-trip.

Elevation: 

Pretty flat with a minimum elevation of 0 feet to a max of 69 feet.

Hill Ratio:

0 hills for a ratio of 0.00 for the 10 mile run.

CPMR: 

0.0. Running mostly along parks and parkways has its advantages in terms of avoiding smokers.

%RNPS:

0.8. The Hutchinson River Parkway and I-95 mixed with the unique tidal geography in this part of the Bronx make it hard to get too far away from major freeways. Only two miles of this route are outside of the half-mile range of a major freeway.

Safe after dark?

Safe during the day in terms of both traffic and crime. Night running is not recommended without a headlamp, rear-LED light, reflective vest, and a running buddy or two. Much of the route along Shore Road and the portion leading into the Village of Pelham are unlighted at night.

Crowd Scene?

The majority of this course is clear of foot traffic. The only area you’d be concerned with is in front of Jacoby Hospital along Pelham Parkway South. Of course, be on the lookout for bikers on this path as they tend to move quickly since it is so lightly used.

Running Surface:

Sidewalk and asphalt.

Changing Station?

There is a Starbucks on the corner of Morris Park Ave. and Eastchester Road with serviceable bathrooms.

Points of Interest:

This route takes you along Pelham Parkway to Pelham Bay Park, with views of the Hutchinson River and the Pelham Bay/Split Rock Golf Course. It’s also nice to check out how the other half lives in the Village of Pelham. The neighborhood looks like something straight out of a movie with perfectly manicured lawns and stately mansions on either side of the road.

The bike path that runs from mile 3 to 5 and back to 7, is also very peaceful and shady. For parts of the path, its like you’ve entered a forest.

Good for Groups:

Narrow sidewalks and bike paths along the course make this ideal for 2 up to 4 runners.

Safe from Cars:

Most of this course runs safely along low-volume sidewalks and recreational paths that are well-insulated from traffic, but you do have to cross some freeway transition roads and be wary of foot and bike traffic on the narrow Pelham Bridge path.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

In total, you’ll find seven roads that you’ll likely have to stop at during your run one-way, so 14 potential cross streets/on-ramps to contend with round-trip. Five on-/off-ramps will be concentrated between mile 1.5 and 2.25 (mile 7.75 and 8.5 on the way back). Then you also have the intersection of Pelham Parkway South and Eastchester Road and the Orchard Beach traffic circle.

Though it seems like a lot, the breaks are pretty concentrated and the rest of the run is peaceful enough to allow you to run without much stress from worrying about on-coming traffic.

Friends Run Into During Run:

0

Is there a route you’ve always wanted to run, but wanted someone else to run it first in case of hidden axe murderers or marauding street cat gangs? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to cover it! Or is there any other route criteria you’d like me to cover? If so, drop me a comment below.

© 2017 Danilo Torres. All rights reserved.

Bronx: Einstein/Jacoby Medical Center – Morris Park – Bronx Zoo – Mosholu Parkway – Van Cortlandt Park – Yonkers Long Run

Every now and then, we all need a nice, peaceful long run to clear our heads. Alternately, one may need to commute from one end of the Bronx to the other on a daily basis and have opted to spend their hour plus commute exercising instead of sitting (or standing) on a crowded, slow bus across the Bronx. If that person is you, then you are in luck! Today, I am happy to share with you one such route.

This east-west route will take you across the northern portion of the Bronx adjacent to parks and through runnable neighborhoods. Also, running across the Bronx is a healthier alternative to riding the bus from Van Cortlandt Park in the northwestern Bronx to Eastchester Road in the northeastern Bronx given that one can cover the distance on foot in an equivalent amount of time.

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Here is a snapshot of the entire route – 8 miles long. Out-and-back makes it a respectable long run at 16 miles.

 

 

Route Description:

(Run 1/4/15) This route starts adjacent to the corner of Morris Park Ave. and Eastchester Road.

Follow Morris Park Ave. west past Williambridge Road and continue straight.

In about a mile, you will reach 180th Street and the 180th Street Station. Make a right here.

Follow 180th St. along the southern edge of the Bronx Zoo until you reach Boston Road and make a right.

When you reach the Zoo’s southern entrance, make a left and continue along Bronx Park South.

When you reach Southern Blvd., make a right.

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Broken down for clarity, here are the first three miles of the route including Morris Park Ave., 180th St., the short segment on Boston Road, Bronx Park South, and Southern Blvd.

Run another three-quarters of a mile to East Fordham Road and make a left to cross to the west side of Southern Blvd. This is important to do since the sidewalk on the east side of Southern Blvd. mysteriously narrows and disappears along a perilous bend in the road making for a dangerous running situation.

On the west side of Southern Blvd. continue north past Fordham University, the Botanical Garden main entrance, and, later, the Botanical Garden train station.

When you reach Mosholu Parkway, make a left. This diagonally situated street leads you to Van Cortlandt Park via a wide, four-lane street with generally, quiet bike paths on either side. Ideally, you want to travel on the north side of this street to set you up for your next turn and to avoid additional intersection traffic.

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The route between mile 3 and 4 which is runs along Southern Blvd. and Mosholu Parkway.

Head up to West Gun Hill Road/Van Cortlandt Park South and make a left. You’ll know you are on the right path if you encounter a substantial set of stairs at the end of Van Cortlandt Park South. Head down these stairs and continue along 240th St.

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The route between mile 4 and 5 along Mosholu Parkway and the southnern part of Van Cortlandt Park.

Follow 240th St. to Broadway and make a right.

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The route between mile 5 and 6 along Van Cortlandt Park South and Broadway.

Follow Broadway along the western edge of Van Cortlandt Park for about 1.77 miles to Caryl Ave. (past 262nd St.). Stop, say hi to Yonkers and turn around and run back along the way you came.

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And finally, the road to Yonkers via Broadway.

Mileage:

16 miles round-trip or 8 miles each way. For those of you who would prefer to take Pelham Parkway between Southern Blvd and Eastchester Road instead of Morris Park Ave./180th/Bronx Park South, you’ll save yourself .75 miles each way for 14.5 mile round-trip or 7.25 miles one-way.

Elevation: 

Slightly challenging with variation from 49 to 176 feet with two sharp inclines.

Hill Ratio:

2 hills for a ratio of 0.125 for the 16 mile run.

CPMR: 

0.0. Running mostly along parks and parkways has its advantages in terms of avoiding smokers.

%RNPS:

0.875. Heading across the Bronx makes it hard to miss the major freeways in the area. Only two miles of this route are outside of the half-mile range of a major freeway.

Safe after dark?

Safe during the day in terms of both traffic and crime. Night running should be safe with the proper equipment and if you are not familiar with the area around 180th and western end of Morris Park Ave, you should consider bringing a buddy to run with.

Crowd Scene?

The majority of this course is clear of foot traffic. The only areas you’d be concerned with is the 180th St. Station, otherwise, its like your own private running course.

Running Surface:

Sidewalk and asphalt.

Changing Station?

There is a Starbucks on the corner of Morris Park Ave. and Eastchester Road with serviceable bathrooms. On the Van Cortlandt Park side, there are bathrooms at the Golf Course and restaurants along Broadway that you could duck into for a bite and to quickly use their washrooms to change in.

Points of Interest:

This route takes you along the periphery of many of the great institutions in the Bronx, from the Einstein/Jacoby Medical Campus, to the Bronx Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, Fordham University, Mosholu Parkway, and Van Cortlandt Park and Golf Course.

Good for Groups:

Narrow sidewalks make this ideal for 2 up to 4 runners.

Safe from Cars:

Most of this course runs safely along low-volume sidewalks and recreational paths that are well-insulated from traffic, but you do have to cross some well-travelled roads.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

In total, you’ll find eight roads that you’ll likely have to stop at during your run one-way, so 16 potential cross streets to contend with round-trip. Three of them will be along Morris Park Ave. (Williamsbridge, Bronxdale, and White Plains Road), then at Fordham Road, at Mosholu Parkway and West Gun Hill Road, and three as you work your way around Van Cortlandt Park at the entrance/exit of I-87, and the entrance/exit of the Henry Hudson Parkway.

Friends Run Into During Run:

0

Is there a route you’ve always wanted to run, but wanted someone else to run it first in case of hidden axe murderers or marauding street cat gangs? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to cover it! Or is there any other route criteria you’d like me to cover? If so, drop me a comment below.

© 2017 Danilo Torres. All rights reserved.

Bronx: Einstein/Jacoby Medical Center – Williamsbridge Road – Morris Park Zig-Zag for a Low Traffic, Well-lit Night Run

Here is another short run adjacent to the Einstein/Jacoby Medical Center. It is especially useful for those who have had a long day and are forced to run after dark. Basically, it is a zig-zag pattern in the neighborhood west of the Einstein/Jacoby campus that is bound to the north by Pelham Parkway South and to the south by Morris Park Ave. The western boundary is Williamsbridge Road and Eastchester Road is on the eastern side of the route.

This neighborhood is very safe and well-lit. To give you an idea of what to expect from the neighborhood, it is filled with single-family homes valued in the $500,000 to million dollar range. After rush hour, the streets are pretty quiet and your only real concern about running these streets is cross-traffic on the cross streets (Lydig, Neill, and Rheinlander Aves.).

While the streets on this route function almost like a private running route late at night, it is always advisable to run with night lights and reflectors. To give you an idea of what might be appropriate, we can look at what the Ragnar Relays always require for its night runners. They require at least three pieces of safety gear for night runs: headlamps, reflective vest/harness, and a tail light. (Great, inexpensive gear can be had from Amazon – especially for those of you who are Prime members see these links for options – headlamps | reflective vests/harness | tail light). Of course, all three of these items may be considered overkill for most, but I always like to run with at least a vest/harness and a tail light at night while running against traffic. But that’s just me. To each their own!

Screenshot 2017-08-22 23.56.24

Route Description:

(Run 8/14/17) This route starts outside the driveway of 1935 Eastchester Road near the intersection of Stillwell Ave. and Eastchester Road.

Head south to Morris Park Ave. and turn right. Follow Morris Park Ave. to Williambridge Road and make a right.

In about a half mile, you will reach Pelham Parkway South where you will turn right. At the end of the block you’ll make your first zig – a right on Yates Ave. What’s nice about this street and the one to the east of it is that there is a bike line painted into the road that you can run in or you can also opt to run on the sidewalk.

Head back down to Morris Park Ave. and zag to the left and left again on Hering Ave. On a side note, if you end up registering to vote in the Bronx, you’ll pass your polling station on the corner of Hering Ave. and Neill Ave. – P.S. 108. But for now, you’ll really want to continue up Hering until you hit Pelham Parkway South to zig to the right and come back down Tenbroeck Ave.

Take Tenbroeck Ave. back to Morris Park Ave. and zag to the left and left again onto Seminole Ave. Follow Seminole Ave. to Neill Ave., make a right and follow the road back to Pelham Parkway South.

Make a right on Pelham Parkway South and continue about a quarter mile to Eastchester Road and make a right. Follow Eastchester Road back to the starting point for a 3.65 mile run.

Make it a 5-miler! If you want to run further, tack on a full loop of the Einstein/Jacoby campus for another 1.35 miles.

From the starting point, continue south to Morris Park Ave. and make a right.

After about a quarter mile, make a right on Seminole Ave. and follow it around the campus to Pelham Parkway South and make another right.

Head to Eastchester Road and make a right and continue back to the starting point at the 1935 Eastchester Road driveway.

 

Mileage:

3.65 miles for the zig-zag route or 5 miles if you tack on the full Einstein/Jacoby Medical Center loop.

Elevation: 

Nothing too crazy. Varies from 22 to 89 feet with gradual inclines.

Hill Ratio:

0 hills for a ratio of 0.00.

CPMR: 

0.2. I had the one guy standing in front of his house this evening catching a smoke. Otherwise, I am sure future runs will bring this number down to zero.

%RNPS:

0.00. None of this course is within a half mile of a major freeway but it just barely qualifies on the Eastchester Road side.

Safe after dark?

Safe during the day and safe at night in terms of both traffic and crime.

Just don’t try to include Stillwell Ave. between Eastchester Road and Pelham Parkway South in this route to bring it to a full 4 miler. Curiously, the crime and traffic safety issues on this small pocket of street skyrocket compared to the rest of the neighborhood. Just ask the student who was propositioned by the man in the windowless van (160627_CampusAlert) or read up on the recent criminal activity on this street. Yes, that’s right, just a block from the 49th precinct!

Crowd Scene?

Not very crowded inside the neighborhood. A little bit of traffic on Williamsbridge Road as you run through the Williamsbridge business district.

Running Surface:

Sidewalk and asphalt.

Changing Station?

There is a Starbucks on the corner of Morris Park Ave. and Eastchester Road with serviceable bathrooms.

Points of Interest:

You’ll run past some interesting houses and through the length of the Williamsbridge business district where you might find you very next takeout meal experience.

Along with getting a round-trip view of the campus, you get a mini-tour of the fine establishments and institutions along Eastchester Road including the NYPD 49th Precinct, Apple Grocery, Dolphin Fitness, GiGi’s Pizza, Denigris Dominick (tombstones), Enterprise Rent-a-car, Good to Go, Tana Thai, Dunkin Donuts, and Starbucks.

Good for Groups:

Narrow sidewalks make this ideal for 2 up to 4 runners.

Safe from Cars:

Most of this route intersects with low traffic roads. You don’t cross any major roads but you do cross a few low-volume roads.

One caveat as you cross the four entrances to the Einstein/Jacoby Medical Center campus – watch out at the stop sign crossings around the Jacoby campus. Most drivers are not used to watching for runners crossing and will treat the stop signs as suggestions as they speed through their turns.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

Very good. You are crossing mostly lightly used intersections during this run and you will only probably need to stop sporadically.

Friends Run Into During Run:

0

Is there a route you’ve always wanted to run, but wanted someone else to run it first in case of hidden axe murderers or marauding street cat gangs? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to cover it! Or is there any other route criteria you’d like me to cover? If so, drop me a comment below.

© 2017 Danilo Torres. All rights reserved.

Manhattan: Summer Streets – Central Park down Park Ave. to the Brooklyn Bridge

Since 2008, New York City has created a great NYC opportunity to run/walk/bike/skate/mambo down a significant length of Park Ave/4th Ave/Lafayette Ave without any car or truck traffic to contend with.

It’s called Summer Streets and I hope the city has the foresight to make this one of the great annual traditions that will endure for many decades to come. This usually happens during the morning hours of the first three Saturdays in August (if you are reading this before 8/19/17, you still have time to join the last Summer Streets of the year!). If you are in NYC during this period, make it a point to take advantage of this awesome opportunity.

I make it a point to take advantage of this fun outing at least once per year. Organizing a group of friends to run the length of the course is a plus. And if you have time to spare, there are usually great attractions to get in line for along Summer Streets. In the past, there have been container swimming pools, art installations in the Park Ave. Tunnel, ziplines, water slides, and more. Also, nowadays, lots of fitness and wellness-related companies setup booths to share their latest wares with you.

The point of this is that if you don’t get out and experience this special event, you miss out on an opportunity to enjoy some of the best things that New York City has to offer: a car-less opportunity to travel down the skyscraper-lined streets, with the best parts of the New York City community all around you. And you will likely travel in a state of continual wonder and awe without having to worry about a two-ton truck bearing down on you unawares.

Screenshot 2017-08-13 16.27.38

Screenshot 2017-08-13 16.28.03

Screenshot 2017-08-13 16.29.09

Route map in three pieces to provide street name detail.

Screenshot 2017-08-13 16.52.26

Also, here is a better map from the Summer Streets site.

Route Description:

(Run 8/12/17) If you want to run the whole banana, start the route in Central Park on the 72nd Transverse overlooking the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain (made famous in numerous TV shows and films).

Head east on the 72nd St. Transverse until you reach the edge of the park at 5th Ave. Then, continue along 72nd St. until you reach Park Ave.

Make a right on Park Ave. and follow the signs all the way down to Brooklyn Bridge! Pretty simple, right?

Mileage:

5.2 (Central Park to Brooklyn Bridge entrance) to 6.5 (Central Park to Brooklyn via the Brooklyn Bridge) miles

Elevation: 

Basically flat. Varies from 0 to 64 feet.

Hill Ratio:

0 hills for a ratio of 0.00.

CPMR: 

0.00. No cigarette smokers encountered during this run.

%RNPS:

0.0. Amazingly, the entirety of this course from Central Park to the entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge does not bring you to within a half mile of either of Manhattan’s two freeways.

Safe after dark?

I’d say this route is very safe to run during the event hours and very safe during daylight hours and pretty safe up until midnight most other times just because it is in Manhattan.

Crowd Scene?

Serious runners will usually try to run the course starting at 7am when it opens. In past years, it becomes a runner’s nightmare after 9am when all the tourists, walkers, and recreational bikers make it out.

Running Surface:

Concrete and asphalt.

Changing Station?

There a whole host of options for changing all along this route. In Central Park there are bathrooms under the Bethesda Terrace on the south side, then you have a few hotels you can sneak into to use their typically clean bathrooms along the route like the Grand Millenium at Grand Central Terminal, the Whole Foods bathroom on 14th, the changing rooms at REI on Houston, or the Millenium Hilton Downtown bathrooms on the third floor.

Points of Interest:

Along the way, you’ll be treated to great views of Park Ave. from the Upper East Side through midtown and the MetLife Building (formerly the PanAm Building), the MetLife Tower, the Union Square Metronome, Chinatown, the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse (of Law and Order fame), City Hall, and the Brooklyn Bridge among many other historic sites.

Good for Groups:

Great for group runs of up to 8-15. Most of the course is on wide streets that are typically clear early in the morning. It becomes far less manageable for large groups starting at 9am to the 1pm closing.

Safe from Cars:

Yes, a million times yes! No cars on Park Ave. and the cross traffic is managed well by volunteers and cops who strive to keep you safe during your journey.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

The major break points will take place at the major intersections: 59th, 42nd, 34th, 23rd, 14th, Houston, Spring, Canal. But they will be enjoyable as they will give you a chance to pause and really drink in the experience.

Friends Run Into During Run:

Three! However, they were all running with me. But one of my running partners ran into at least two others that he knew.

Is there a route you’ve always wanted to run, but wanted someone else to run it first in case of hidden axe murderers or marauding street cat gangs? Let me know in the comments and I’ll try to cover it! Or is there any other route criteria you’d like me to cover? If so, drop me a comment below.

© 2017 Danilo Torres. All rights reserved.