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).

Screenshot 2017-09-04 23.25.50

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.

Screenshot 2017-09-04 23.27.27

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.

Screenshot 2017-09-04 23.28.21

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.

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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.

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Route map in three pieces to provide street name detail.

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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.

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

Here is an engaging 6-mile out-and-back that starts at Einstein Medical School with a big loop in the middle at Pelham Bay Park before returning.

Screenshot 2017-07-20 21.55.59

Route Description:

(Run 7/20/17) 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 about 200 meters after passing Stillwell Ave. to Pelham Bay Park. Make sure to cross the on-ramp/off-ramp roads along the Pelham Parkway. DO NOT follow the branch of the bikepath that runs along the Hutchinson River Parkway.

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 left back into the park. Alternately, you can also run on the asphalt path that rings the inside perimeter of the park.

Once the service road ends, follow the asphalt paths along the northern perimeter of the park until you return to the point where you entered the park.

Then you follow the bikepath back toward Jacoby Medical Center and make a left on Wilson Ave./Seminole Ave. back to the start point.

Mileage:

6 miles

Elevation: 

Nothing too crazy. Varies from 2 to 68 feet.

Hill Ratio:

1 small hill for a ratio of 0.16.

CPMR: 

0! Running through residential neighborhoods helps keep this low.

%RNPS:

0.67. 4 of 6 miles are within a half mile of a major interstate/parkway. Not great but typical of many parts of the Bronx.

Safe after dark?

I’d reckon the entirety of this route is pretty safe during daylight hours.

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 (through the trees on the northern perimeter of Pelham Bay Park).

Good for Groups:

Great for group runs of up to 5-6.

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:You will run into these ramps during the 2nd and 5th miles. The middle two 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.

IMG_20160103_124040

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.

Manhattan: Downtown to the Upper East Side via Lafayette/Park Ave

Today’s post is sponsored by the letters “E” and “Z”. That is, today’s route prevents you from running any faster than an E-Z run pace. This is the most scenic north-south route in Manhattan in my opinion. Sure views of the river are great, but I think you see all kinds of Manhattan on this run. Including the people. Oh, the people. Originally, I wanted to run this route because I was feeling kinda tired and I knew there would be some traffic and ample opportunities for rest stops, but as they say, be careful what you wish for…

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Click on map to enlarge.

Route Description:

(Run 4/17/15) This route starts again at the World Trade PATH station and heads east to City Hall, then north (left) on Lafayette.

Lafayette heads north and merges into Park Ave around 9th St.

You’ll need to make a hitch around Grand Central Terminal, but you can rejoin Park Ave on 45th St via the pedestrian tunnel.

Continue up Park Ave to 86th for a 6 mile run or you can adjust to a 5 mile run by stopping at around 64th; stop around Grand Central Terminal (not “Station”) for a 4 miler.

The route is almost verbatim the same route used during the annual Summer Streets event held every August. Basically, the city closes down Park Ave/Lafayette to automobile traffic for three Saturday mornings every August so everyone can enjoy walking, running, biking, or skating up and down Park Ave. Street fairs are also added for good measure.

Mileage:

6.1 miles.

Elevation: 

The GPS elevation map indicates that there were 6 significant hills during this run, however, the run felt like one long pull uphill.

Hill Ratio:

6 hills for a ratio of 0.97.

Cigarette Smokers Per Mile Run: 

2.43.

Here’s the New York I know and love. However, this is probably not the healthiest of routes for the runner.

I’ve been thinking of a way to make this a more understandable stat. Think of it this way – if your high school coach asked you to run 6 miles and to inhale secondhand smoke 2.43 times per mile, would you question his training techniques? Right.

Safe after dark?

This route should be safe until late at night. I’d say 11pm to 12am is reasonable for most runners.

Crowd Scene?

Yes. You’ll head through three of the busiest areas in the City.

Running Surface:

Sidewalk for the most part.

Changing Station?

If you need to freshen up for an evening out with friends, you can always stop by JackRabbits on Lexington between 85th and 84th Sts.

Points of Interest:

This is my favorite part of this run. You see a pretty diverse swath of Manhattan via this route.

Starting at the World Trade Center PATH station, you’ll see roughly in this order:

  • The Freedom Tower
  • City Hall (and a quick peek of The Brooklyn Bridge)
  • One Police Plaza (or 1PP for you Law and Order fans)
  • The Federal Courthouse (also for you LAO fans)
  • The chaos that is Chinatown around Canal
  • Joe’s Public (the ones who run Shakespeare in the Park)
  • Union Square (with the 24-hour Best Buy and the digital hourglass clock just above)
  • The iconic insurance building they used in The Adjustment Bureau (around 24th St)
  • The section of Park Ave near Grand Central Terminal where Will Smith’s character in I Am Legend gets attacked by the smart monster
  • Grand Central Terminal itself
  • The Chrysler Building (the top of which is where Will Smith’s character in Men In Black 3 jumps from to travel back in time – I guess I watch a lot of Will Smith movies)
  • A section of Park Ave I am calling “Corporate Bank Headquarters Alley” which banks like Chase, Capital One, Bank of America and more call home (and they host interesting art shows on Park Ave from time to time also)
  • And finally the Upper East Side which, along Park Ave, is sort of like the suburbs for the 1%. Here you’ll see very wealthy people walking very pampered dogs and interacting with the doormen of their buildings.

Good for Groups:

Workable for 2-3 at the most. I had a few near misses as a single runner and moving at a pokey 10:30/mile pace.

Safe from Cars:

Not at all. Don’t fall asleep on this run and for goodness sake, don’t use headphones. Keep all those senses sharp.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

Like I said, lots of people and lots of intersections including major cross roads at Canal, Houston, Houston, 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, 59th, 72nd, and 79th.

Friends Run Into During Run:

0

© 2015 Danilo Torres. All rights reserved.

Manhattan: West Side Highway Below 68th

The West Side Highway is a great run for folks who run work downtown and want to get uptown while getting some exercise. An excellent run with great views, a vibrant running crowd, and mostly protected running lanes.

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Click on map to enlarge.

Route Description:

(Run 4/6/15) This route starts at the Winter Garden near the North Cove Marina works its way along the running path along the Hudson. From there, wend your way north along the walking/running path (not the biking path!) until you get to 68th St. and head up the stairs to Riverside Blvd. and head south to 62nd St.  You’ll then make your way by persistent zig zag to Columbus Circle and end in front of the Shops at Columbus Circle.

Mileage:

6 miles.

Elevation: 

Only two real hills. The first is the stairway at 68th (about 60 feet) and the second starts near the end from West End Ave. to Amsterdam Ave. (about 100 feet over a 1/4 mile).

Hill Ratio:

2 hills for a ratio of 0.34.

CPMR: 

0.  This is a pretty healthy stretch of land.  No smokers encountered during this run.

Safe after dark?

On a temperate day, the majority of this running path is full of people until at least 10pm.

Crowd Scene?

Lots of people on a nice day, but you can still get a great run in due to the wide promenades.

Running Surface:

Sidewalk and cinder block.

Changing Station?

The New York Running Company offers its changing rooms to weary runners until closing time.

Points of Interest:

Great views of the Hudson, Hoboken, The Battery, Chelsea Piers, Chelsea Waterside Park, The Highline, the Javits Center, the Intrepid, the Frying Pan, the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, the Hudson River Greenway, Columbus Circle, and Central Park. (Whew!)

Good for Groups:

Great for group runs.  Except for the little section near 59th St that is still under construction (as of April 2015), but once that opens up, groups should be clear from start to finish.

Safe from Cars:

Very safe until you pass West End Ave. on to Columbus Ave.  Even then, it’s not that bad.

Prospects for a Break-Free Run: 

Great! Maybe 2-3 intersections where you need to stop.

Friends Run Into During Run:

2 (MLL and JL)

© 2015 Danilo Torres. All rights reserved.