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!

Screenshot 2017-09-07 00.36.05

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.

Screenshot 2017-09-07 00.37.21

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.

Screenshot 2017-09-07 00.38.05

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.

Screenshot 2017-09-07 00.38.29

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!

Screenshot 2017-09-07 00.39.03

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.

Screenshot 2017-09-07 00.39.30

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.

screenshot-2017-09-08-22-31-55.png

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.

Screenshot 2017-09-07 00.41.07

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.

Screenshot 2017-09-07 00.44.46

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: 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.

Screenshot 2017-08-28 22.06.12

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.

Screenshot 2017-08-28 22.07.02

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

Screenshot 2017-08-28 22.08.14

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.

Screenshot 2017-08-28 22.07.27

 

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.

Screenshot 2017-08-28 22.08.39

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.

Screenshot 2017-08-19 16.31.56

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.

Screenshot 2017-08-19 17.20.15

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.

Screenshot 2017-08-19 16.33.19

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.

Screenshot 2017-08-19 16.33.39

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.

Screenshot 2017-08-19 17.23.55

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.

Screenshot 2017-08-19 16.34.21

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 – City Island for a Solid Long Run

If you are training for a marathon or just looking for a mostly low maintenance long run, you can’t beat the simplicity of an out-and-back, 8-miler from Einstein/Jacoby Medical Center to the City Island Bridge.

Screenshot 2017-08-09 00.14.13

Route Description:

(Run 8/3/17) 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 over the next half mile until you reach Pelham Bay Park.

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

At the other side of the bridge, follow the path to the right along City Island Road and follow it (past the traffic circle) until you reach the threshold of the City Island Bridge.

Then turn around and return along the way you came.

Mileage:

8 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:

0.50. The 8-mile course places you within a half mile of a major highway for the middle four miles of the course.

Safe after dark?

This route is pretty safe during daylight hours. Safe for buddies after dark with proper lighting especially for the portions along City Island Road.

Crowd Scene?

Very light foot traffic for the majority of the course. Most of the foot traffic you encounter will be in front of Jacoby Hospital along Pelham Parkway South.

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:

Good views of the Pelham Parkway, Pelham Bay Park, Pelham Bay, and City Island.

Good for Groups:

Great for group runs of up to 4. Most of the course is on a bike path so be sure to be mindful to leave room for the bikers to pass if you do travel in a group as this path is used enough that you should be aware that they are around.

Safe from Cars:

Once you get past the half mile stretch with the five highway transition roads, most of the course will allow you to forget your car troubles. Bikers are another issue, however. Again, be mindful of them and make room for them to pass.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

The major break points will take place between miles 1.5-2 and 6-6.5 as you cross the five highway transition roads. Depending on the time of day, they can be a non-issue but during rush hour, be extra vigilant as the drivers are usually not.

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 – Home Depot for peaceful short- to medium-runs

For many runners, maintaining momentum is important during their run. Finding a short route that provides the fewest running interruptions can be important to a runner. For this reason, I present you with the Jacoby – Home Depot route. It can be a peaceful 4-miler and, yet, it can be so much more! If you tack on the 1 mile loop around the Home Depot-Planet Fitness shopping center, you can make this anywhere from a 5-miler to a 12-miler and beyond!

Screenshot 2017-08-08 23.35.18

Route Description:

(Run 8/5/17) 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 until Eastchester Road.

At Eastchester Road, make a left and cross to bike path on the north side of Pelham Parkway (not Pelham Parkway North). Make a right on the bike path and follow it to Stillwell Ave.

Make a left on Stillwell Ave. and follow it to the right as it continues on to the east. Run on the long, continuous sidewalk in front of the United Cerebral Palsy/Hausman Campus.

Near the end of the campus, you will be forced to cross the street to continue to the end of Stillwell Ave. where you will curl left along E. Gun Hill Road around Kings Harbor Hospital.

Continue for two blocks to the stop sign right across the street from the Pelham Bay Diner. After you pass the stop sign, turn around and return the way you came for the four-mile route.

Bonus miles! If you want to continue adding miles to your run, you can loop around the Home Depot-Planet Fitness shopping center starting from this point across the street from Pelham Bay Diner.

For the additional 1-mile loop, continue running north along E. Gun Hill Road (be mindful crossing the two shopping center entrances) until you hit Allerton Ave (after the gas station).

Turn left on Allerton Ave. and follow two long blocks (Allerton Ave. becomes Gunther Ave. beginning with the second block).

When you reach Waring Ave., cross to the far side and make a left.

Follow Waring Ave. until you reach E. Gun Hill Road again (about 7 blocks) and make a left to the stop sign across from the Pelham Bay Diner to complete the 1-mile loop.

Return home from this point if you are finished with the loops or continue repeating the loop as desired.

Mileage:

4 miles to many.

Elevation: 

Basically flat. Varies from 26 to 62 feet.

Hill Ratio:

0 hills for a ratio of 0.00.

CPMR: 

0.00. No cigarette smokers encountered for the past five runs.

%RNPS:

0.50. The 4-mile course places you within a half mile of a major highway for the middle two miles of the course. The 1-mile loop is entirely within a half mile of a major highway.

Safe after dark?

This route is pretty safe until dark.

Crowd Scene?

Very light foot traffic for the majority of the course. Most of the foot traffic you encounter will be in front of Jacoby Hospital along Pelham Parkway South.

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:

Good views of the Pelham Parkway and the Hausman Campus.

Good for Groups:

Great for group runs of up to 4. Most of the course is along neighborhood sidewalks so you can run 2 across comfortably for most of the course.

Safe from Cars:

As long as you are mindful of the light neighborhood traffic and at the entrances for Jacoby Hospital and the shopping center, you should be fine on this low-volume set of roads.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

The major break point will be when you cross Pelham Parkway north to south or vice versa. With experience, you can time your crossings with minimal stoppage. Otherwise, most of the run can be done without a major break in momentum.

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 – Pelham Bay Park – Middletown

As a resident of the Einstein Medical School community, I have had the opportunity to run a number of interesting routes of varying distances around the Northeastern part of the Bronx. Today, I had the chance to run a relatively pleasant 10-mile out-and-back from the campus out toward Weir Creek.

Click on map to enlarge.

Route Description:

(Run 7/9/17) This route starts near the corner of Morris Park and Eastchester Road and heads west on Morris Park Ave. and right on Seminole Ave. Basically, you run around the western perimeter of the Jacoby Hospital campus back up to Pelham Parkway South. Then you proceed east on Pelham Parkway South and follow the bikepath that starts after Stillwell Ave. to Pelham Bay Park.

Once you enter Pelham Bay Park, turn right and follow the park perimeter all the way around until you reach Middletown Rd. where you will turn left. Follow Middletown Rd. until it ends and make a right on Stadium Ave.

Follow Stadium Ave. until it transforms into Shore Drive. Basically, you’ll follow the road closest to the water as it continues turning right and left to follow the contour of the shore.  Keep following the road closest to the water until you reach the cross street Schley Ave. This is your turnaround and should be close to 5 miles at this point.

Mileage:

10 miles

Elevation: 

Nothing too crazy. Varies from 2 to 68 feet.

Hill Ratio:

0 hills for a ratio of 0.00.

CPMR: 

0! Running through residential neighborhoods helps keep this low.

Safe after dark?

I’d reckon the entirety of this route is pretty safe until about 10pm.

Crowd Scene?

Running through quiet neighborhoods and on seldom-used bike paths allows you to really focus on your run and not on avoiding folks.

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:

Good views of the Pelham Parkway, Pelham Bay Park, and Pelham Bay.

Good for Groups:

Great for group runs of up to 8.

Safe from Cars:

While the route is mostly quiet, you still have to cross six freeway on-ramps/off-ramps each way. They are not heavily travelled but they are used enough that you should remain aware at all times.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

Not great, but sometimes you can hit all six on-ramps/off-ramps between traffic bursts. Please you still have one major road (Eastchester Road) and one secondary road (Stillwell Ave.) that usually require traffic stops. Good news: all these breaks happen in the first/last 2 miles of the run. The middle six miles are pretty break-free.

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/New Jersey: George Washington Bridge/Long Path Trail Run

In today’s post (which I originally started in April 2015), I share with you a pretty good, Manhattan-adjacent trail run. It’s “pretty good” for a number of reasons. It can be a long-, mid-, or short-run. It gets pretty technical (challenging) for a beginner. It is an 11-minute jog from Manhattan and you get great views of the Hudson and the city.

It is part of the Long Path which is a trail that runs from Fort Lee, NJ (where the George Washington Bridge is anchored on one side to in New Jersey) to Albany, NY. It is maintained by the New York New Jersey Trail Conference. Support them by buying trail maps. They are well worth the price. It only gets a “pretty good” rating because it doesn’t have much in the way of challenging elevations, but I highly recommend it as a starter trail.

You can use this trail to run distances of varying lengths which I’ll cover below. This particular run ended up being about 15 miles, round-trip.

For Those New to Trail Running

Before I delve into the specifics of the trail, let me describe for the new-to-trail-running runners a few things, in no particular order, that they should keep in mind before embarking on this really exciting journey. Speaking as a novice trail runner, take these points with a grain of salt.

  1. Trail running is not road running. I like to describe trail running as a continual exercise in trying not to trip and fall flat on your face. We’re not talking about the luxurious, crushed-gravel, 10-foot wide service roads that snake through beautiful hiking areas. We’re talking about paths that are carved out of the landscape by foot traffic which are littered with irregular-sized rocks, roots, branches, large puddles, or fallen trees. And these are obstacles you will encounter with every step.
  2. Trail running is usually slower than road running. Are you a long run 10-min/miler? Figure on a 12- to 13-minute mile pace when trail running. This is mainly because you are actively vetting every step you take if you are trying to avoid the falling-on-your-face part I mentioned above.
  3. Ticks. Not a big deal a few decades ago, but now everyone is talking about them and their ability to transmit Lyme Disease. Take precautions before you go on a run, cover as much of your legs as you can (high socks and/or long shorts) and do a post-run check of all your exposed skin areas and the non-exposed skin areas too! Then wash your clothes promptly in case they are hanging out there. Click here for a little more detail on how to deal with ticks.
  4. If in a group, run with at least 20 feet of space between runners. Make sure each runner has enough time to assess and react to the trail as it unfolds. Running too close to each other can cause an unexpected fall for trailing runners.
  5. Look out for one another. If you are in a group, it’s always a good idea to stop every few miles to make sure everyone is still alive and well.
  6. Running alone? Let someone know of your plans. Always a good idea to text someone if you plan to do some extensive trail running on your own. Just a quick note about your route and expected finish time should be enough. You never know.

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Click on the map above to get a better look at the route run for this blog posting.

Route Description:

(Run 4/19/15) This route starts at the corner of 177th St. and Ft. Washington Ave. near the 175th St Station of the A train in Washington Heights.

Head north to 178th St. and make a left. Just after Cabrini Blvd. you should see the spiraling, ramp entrance to the bike/pedestrian path across the bridge. On a clear and sunny weekend morning, you can just follow the packs of bikers to the entrance. If you are running in a group, make sure to run single file as it gets pretty congested with bikes, runners, and walkers.

20150524_103053_Henry Hudson Dr

Here’s an example of how crazy crowded it gets on the GW Bridge bike/pedestrian path. Those bikers are usually trying to go 14 MPH with tourists walking 2-3 abreast. If you run with a group, try and run single file across the bridge and watch out.

After you cross the bridge, make a right on the first cross street you encounter, Hudson Terrace, and cross under the overpass to the Long Path entrance.

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Here is what the entrance to the Long Path looks like. Ignore the arrow pointing you back they way you came. The entrance to the Long Path shares the entrance to the now closed GWB Northwalk. The Long Path is atop these steps and over the pedestrian bridge (not pictured). If the entrance to the Long Path ends up closed, you can always take the long way and head to the other side of Fort Lee Historic Park and take Henry Hudson Drive down to the water and then back up to the trail.

Once you get on the trail heading north, keep the cliff on your right and don’t take any of the branches that head down to the bottom of the cliff. Stay on the high side of the trail.

Follow the aqua trail blazes (markers) to stay on course on the Long Path trail.

Long_Path_blaze

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2820156
Here is an example of a Long Path trail blaze.

This particular run hit the turnaround at the far side of the Alpine Lookout, roughly 8 miles from our starting point. However, there are many variations you can take with this run. Here are a few examples, below.

Out-and-back Turnaround Points

5 mile – Head to the back of the Gas Station on the Palisades Parkway and turn around.

6 mile – Head to the far end of the St. Peter’s College campus boundary and turn around.

10 mile – Go about a quarter mile past the Rockerfeller Lookout and turn around.

16 mile – Alpine Lookout Rest Stop (far end) and turn around.

One-way Routes with Bus Return Options

Coach USA runs a bus up and down the Palisades Parkway.  Here is a link to a schedule for you to review.  Note some of the busses go back to the GW Bridge Bus Terminal and some go to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Make sure you pick the one you need on the way back.

The fare is somewhere between $7 and $10 depending on where you catch the bus and the driver takes cash (up to $20). You can also buy a ticket in advance from the GW and Port Authority bus terminals. Check out their site for exact fares if you prefer.

3.5 mile – Englewood Cliffs (Palisade Ave. and Rt. 9W) – In case you just wanted a quick taste of trail running or something goes horribly wrong, this stop is available around mile 3.5 along the Long Path. You’ll know this as the first road you encounter after passing St. Peter’s College. This road is further highlighted by a short set of stairs that you’ll have to descend to get to the cross-street. This should be Palisade Ave. and you should be able to take a left and walk to Sylvan Ave (Rt. 9W) to catch the bus back.

9 mile –  At around the 9-mile mark (assuming you are watching your GPS watch info), you will notice a tunnel on your left that leads under the Palisades Parkway. If you walk through this tunnel to the other side, you will end up on Route 9W. Make a left and head about 200 yards to the intersection with a traffic light and you should see the north- and south-bound bus shelters off Closter Dock Road.

15 mile – This run gets you to The Filling Station which serves great food and offers a clean bathroom to clean up in. There is a bus station about 1/4 mile south of The Filling Station which you pass on your way in which is referred to on the schedule as “Palisade” (Oak Tree Road and Rt 9W).

Also along the way, you will run into various bathroom options.

Bathroom Opportunities:

  • Mile 0 – The GW Bus Terminal Restrooms at 179th St. and Ft. Washington Ave. They seem to clean them around 8am on weekends so might be a good option around then.
  • Mile 2.5ish – Gas Station on the Palisades Parkway. You run past the back of the gas station that sits along the Palisades Parkway on the Long Trail which has a snack shop and a public bathroom.
  • Mile 10ish – Palisades Park Headquarters. There are administrative offices and the park police station here along with the public bathrooms.
  • Mile 13ish – State Line Lookout. This is a visitor’s area that also includes a restroom.
  • Mile 15ish – The Filling Station. A great way point/end point with great food and drink options.

Mileage:

15.88 miles (Alpine Lookout turnaround).

Elevation: 

The GPS elevation map indicates a very small variation in altitude. It varies from 292 ft to 400 ft so not too crazy elevation wise.

Hill Ratio:

For this particular run it is 10 hills for 16 miles or 0.625. Not too bad.

Cigarette Smokers Per Mile Run: 

Pretty healthy – no smokers on this run.

Safe after dark?

I recommend this run in the daytime only. No lights on-trail and the secluded nature of the run don’t lend itself to a safe running environment at night.

Crowd Scene?

No. It is a pretty nice, quiet run. I figure you run into another runner or group of hikers once a mile. On the other hand, I recommend a running buddy near dusk or dawn.

Running Surface:

Concrete sidewalk on the bridge and leading to the Long Path. The Long Path varies from gravel road to knotted root/rocky technical trail.

Changing Station?

Not really one here. You can maybe hit the bathroom at the GW Bridge Bus Station at 179th St. and Ft. Washington Ave., but I only recommend that space only if absolutely necessary.  The bathroom situation maybe better after the renovation is done…whenever that will be. If you make it all the way to The Filling Station, they have a pretty clean bathroom, but only one communal bathroom. So, try not to hog it as other bikers and runners need to use it too.

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The runner’s (and biker’s) oasis after 15 miles on the Long Path: The Filling Station.

Points of Interest:

In addition to experiencing the wonders of Washington Heights, you’ll be treated to great views of Manhattan and New Jersey from the Hudson River. Also, here is a nice tourist map to review and possibly print out to take with you.

  • George Washington Bridge
  • Allison Park
  • St. Peter’s College
  • Rockefeller Lookout
  • Alpine Lookout
  • Palisades Park Headquarters (with Public Bathrooms!)
  • Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
  • The Filling Station (in Palisades, not West Haverstraw)

Good for Groups:

Workable for 2 to 8, at the most. Be prepared to be spread out single-file with at least 20 feet between runners.

Safe from Cars:

Safe for the most part. The most dangerous part is getting over and back on the GW as mad bikers try to motor past you on the oh-so-narrow multi-modal bike/pedestrian path. They really need to open the other side for bikers-only. Maybe we’ll see that in 2024 once the GW Bridge renovation is complete (separate from the GW Bus Terminal renovation). On trail, you will cross a few, low-traffic-volume roads.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

Pretty good! Once you get on-trail you are free to move as fast and as far as you like. Well, break-free for at least 14 miles until you get to the Filling Station.

Friends Run Into During Run:

0. It is a pretty remote location after all. And it’s totally not because I don’t have lots of friends!

Final Notes:

  1. Budding Ultramarathoners – Run to Nyack via the Long Path for a training run and take the bus back. It’s a challenge and is good for a 22 miler.  Or run to Harriman State Park for a 30+ mile run via the Long Path.
  2. Don’t run after a heavy rain – Unless you really like mud and splashing in large puddles, be flexible with your running plans after a heavy rain. I suggest that for a more pleasant first-time trail run, wait until a few days after a heavy rain before venturing onto this trail.

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.