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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.