I only had one agenda item while in New York City: run in Central Park. I’ve been to New York several times for work or special events, but I never manage to run in Central Park which made be very sad. So when we planned this long weekend trip with a very loose itinerary, I made a run in the park the top of my to-do list.
When we arrived, we hopped in a taxi to meet up with friends for dinner. Our taxi had a little TV running local news and my ears perked up when I heard about something called NYC Summer Streets. For three consecutive Saturdays in August, more than seven miles of NYCs streets are closed for people to play, run, walk or bike. I was thrilled! What a wonderful coincidence!
During the event, a stretch of Park Avenue from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park was closed for the whole morning! It was like a road race where we picked the start time and the distance! August 2 was the first Saturday of this annual event and I couldn’t wait to hit the road! New York City’s streets are not the most runner friendly place so this was the perfect opportunity to run in the city AND hit up Central Park as planned.
My husband and I met up with our friend Mary around Grand Central Station and we ran along Park Avenue until we got to Central Park. The run along Park Avenue was great. There were people walking and roller blading, biking and running and there was lots to look at – including a trumpet player on every corner playing one single note. I kept expecting them to break into song but they remained steady on one single note. We asked a police officer if she knew what they were doing but she seemed just as perplexed as we were. It was a bit strange… but one comes to expect strange things in a city like New York.
We made it to Central Park around 1:00 pm. I can see why the park is so necessary in NYC. Amidst the traffic, congestion and general busyness, there is this beautiful oasis right in the middle of the city. With miles of perfect running paths, it is easy to understand why runners flock here. With a variety of terrain and beautiful scenery, it really is a runner’s dream. No wonder the final miles of the New York City marathon take place here. There’s also a lot to look at! If you like people watching, this is your ideal place to jog. There’s also plenty of perfect places to stop along the way for rest breaks, pit stops and water.
We capped off our run by watching some kids on a carousel – some joyous, some terrified, both amusing. Afterward, we cooled down and hit up Whole Foods for some healthy post-run snacks and ate them in the park near the row boats. As I nibbled my falafel, we placed bets on which couples might be getting engaged, but were disappointed not to witness someone’s big moment. We wandered around the Park for most of the afternoon and then headed back to our hotels to freshen up and continue eating and drinking our way through New York City.
If you’re planning a trip to New York in the coming weeks, I highly recommend you hit up Summer Streets and Central Park. Definitely a treat to run in this picturesque urban oasis.
Have you ever run in Central Park?