The New York City Marathon is an iconic race across five boroughs that showcases our city as the greatest in the world. An actual test of endurance, this spectacular feat of running spans 26.2 miles.
NICK: Locate an ideal spot on the course to cheer and inform family/friends where to meet you, especially on Queensboro Bridge (mile 15). First Avenue in Manhattan can also make for a fantastic cheering area!
1. The Verrazano Bridge
The Verrazano Bridge spans New York Harbor between Brooklyn and Staten Island and opened on November 21, 1964, with a primary span of 4,260 feet (1,298 meters). Before the completion of the Humber Bridge in 1981, its double-decked six-lane roadway rose 228 feet above mean high water at its midpoint, supported by four cables suspended from towers 693 feet tall (211 meters).
This bridge honors the Narrows and 16th-century Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano, who became the first European to sail into New York Harbor in 1524. A statue commemorating him stands near the toll plaza.
As part of their New York City Marathon training, runners often cross the Verrazano Bridge at mile one; it is also popular among bike tour participants looking to visit Staten Island on a 5 Boro Bike Tour. Running across it may also be possible if organized through an authorized NYS running club; otherwise only motor vehicles are allowed onto it, and pedestrians must use its sidewalk on the Brooklyn side, which does not feature lighting.
Before its construction, ferries were the sole means of travel between Staten Island, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. A tunnel had been considered; however, urban planner Robert Moses decided that building a bridge was the most cost-effective for connecting Staten Island with its surroundings.
Although the bridge brought economic development to Staten Island, its construction caused significant disruption for Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. To build its approach, 800 homes had to be demolished, and 7,000 residents had to be relocated to create space for its approach.
The Verrazano Bridge is stunning to witness from above, making for a breathtaking aerial experience. To enjoy it at its full potential, sunrise is the best time for viewing before rush hour begins, although midday driving over it can also be enjoyable if possible; ensure to use the upper level and purchase an EZ pass if possible to avoid cash lines on the lower level at rush hours!
Brooklyn is the largest borough in New York City and coextensive with Kings County; as such, it is also the second most populous county in New York State. Brooklyn features many diverse communities and cultures, including Polish, Russian, Chinese, Indian, Jewish, and Hispanic populations. Brooklyn hosts popular tourist spots like its popular Coney Island amusement park.
Brooklyn Bridge connects it with Manhattan, while many Brooklyn neighborhoods enjoy waterfront access. Prospect Park – designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as a National Historic Landmark – stands out as particularly beautiful within Brooklyn compared to its counterpart in Manhattan and provides one of the best views of the New York skyline in all of NYC. Furthermore, Brooklyn features numerous upscale shopping districts, parks, public spaces, and two universities: Brooklyn College and the City University of New York.
Brooklyn became one of America’s major industrial centers during the 19th century, boasting busy ports and factories. Brooklyn was home to numerous ironworks (including the Civil War ironclad battleship Monitor), sugar refining operations, beer/cigar manufacturing plants, and slaughterhouses; all industries continued thriving until many factories relocated elsewhere due to rising costs in this thriving metropolis. Its vibrant industries continued until the 1950s, when many relocated their operations elsewhere in America.
Today, Brooklyn retains much of its urban character while experiencing significant economic activity changes. Beginning in the 1990s and 2000s, once-declining neighborhoods such as Fort Greene and Clinton Hill saw revitalization due to young professionals seeking its affordability. At this same time, Brooklyn’s economy began diversifying by diversifying away from manufacturing enterprises towards technology-based enterprises that replaced factories.
Brooklyn has quickly become an increasingly popular tourist destination and home for an expanding community of artists, transforming some neighborhoods into hip bohemian enclaves. Williamsburg, in particular, is well known for its restaurants and bars and is often called one of the hippest neighborhoods in America. Additionally, this borough hosts numerous cultural events including the Brooklyn Book Festival and the International Film and Video Festival of the Art Directors Guild of New York.
Queens is one of New York City’s largest and most diverse neighborhoods, home to JFK International Airport, the New York Stock Exchange, and various cultural institutions. Furthermore, the area also contains some of the wealthiest neighborhoods with economies including aviation manufacturing tourism.
Queens is home to diverse cultures and is a hotbed of jazz (Louis Armstrong resided here during the mid-20th century) and hip-hop music. You’ll also find delicious authentic fusion cuisine such as bibimbap or bulgogi at neighborhood restaurants or food carts here, not forgetting its lively art scene, with MoMA PS1 Contemporary Art Center hosting cutting-edge exhibitions that reach globally.
Queens has long been a popular tourist destination due to its affordable housing options and proximity to Manhattan, one of the City’s main tourist destinations. However, due to gentrification pressures, prices have increased in many areas. As early as 2023, Queens saw some of the highest asking rents across all five boroughs, with parts near Downtown Manhattan mainly affected.
Queens offers an abundance of nightlife venues in its bars, pubs, and coffee shops. If craft cocktails like Angel Eyes and Frozen Cosmo are what you seek, then Dutch Kills Bar may have just what you’re looking for, or take your pick of Lagers, Mortality Wanes, and Down the Line from Finback Brewery as a beer flight sampler! Alternatively, Leaf Bar and Lounge serves up small plates while you enjoy its view, while Astoria Park features dinosaur fossils!
Sports fans can watch a Mets game at Citi Field or attend the US Open Tennis Championship at Flushing Meadows Corona Park – home of the iconic Unisphere – before exploring Queens’ scenic parks and beaches, like Fort Tilden Beach’s beach or bike paths, Astoria Park with its massive pool or Queens Skatepark with its rails for rail grinding!
Manhattan, also referred to as New York City or The City, is the densely-populated borough of the U.S. state of New York that coincides with its original county. As the cultural and commercial heart of the New York metropolitan area and the birthplace of our nation, Manhattan Island serves as its base and lies between the Hudson River on its western edge, Upper New York Bay on its southern end, and Harlem River and Spuyten Duyvil Creek to its northeast and north respectively. Manhattan boasts world-renowned landmarks like the Empire State Building and Central Park while boasting world-renowned culinary offerings, Broadway shows, and art museums for its visitors.
New York City is home to one of the densest urban areas in America and a global financial center, but the Manhattan borough stands out as an incredibly vital center of LGBT culture, being home to significant events like the 1969 Stonewall Riots.
Recent decades have witnessed crime rates decline significantly across Manhattan due to revised police strategies, improved economic prospects, gentrification, and an influx of new residents – American transplants and those hailing from Asia and Latin America – all contributing to its reduction. This turnaround also coincided with an impressive real estate price revival and critical new sectors such as Silicon Alley.
School and university education is also an integral component of the city’s economy, and it stands as one of the premier higher educational hubs in America, boasting one of the highest percentages of college graduates among any borough and having some of the highest levels of educational attainment worldwide.
There are various running races to enjoy in New York City, from 10Ks around Yankee Stadium (complete with two laps around its warning track) to the NYC Marathon, where participants traverse all five boroughs (and can cheer along their route!) Furthermore, locals often complete an ambitious 9+1 or 9+$1k challenge in which they run nine qualifying races and either volunteer their services or donate $1000 directly to charity.