Welcome to New York City!
We know you're here to run the world-famous Marathon in New York City, but with so much to see and do in this one-of-a-kind city, we're sure you'll also be busy seeing as much of it as possible during your stay.
Besides joining 50,000 of your newest best friends on a 26.2 mile tour of New York's five boroughs on race day, there are a ton of things to do and see while you're here. If you haven't been here before, sites high on everyone's list include the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center and its One World Observatory, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Broadway Theater District (take in a show!), Lincoln Center (Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic Orchestra), Carnegie Hall, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Fifth Avenue, Grand Central Terminal, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, Greenwich Village and Washington Square Park, and we could go on and on.
To help you experience the best that the Big Apple has to offer—with the least amount of stress and strain—we've called upon our Racertrips™ New York City Ambassadors to answer your marathon FAQs and to recommend their favorite sites, their top restaurants and their go-to hotel accommodations.
This is your custom-tailored Marathon Travel Guide for New York City. Your Racecation™ Starts Here.
And come race day, best of luck to you! We'll be out there racing with you or rooting for you!
New York City Marathon FAQs
LaGuardia Airport is the closest airport to Times Square in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. How long it takes to get there will be affected by many issues, most notably weather, time of day, day of week, and mode of transportation. You absolutely do not—if you can help it—want to arrive on a weekday before 9 a.m. or from 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. Avoiding rush hour will shorten your trip into the city. While this may not be possible, try to schedule accordingly if you can.
With the race on Sunday, almost everyone will be in town before the weekend. The driving distance from LGA to Times Square is just 9 miles, and many hotels are located a mile or two closer than this while still being in Manhattan. Traveling to your Manhattan hotel by car/bus will take an average of 25-45 minutes.
If you have chosen to stay in Long Island City, Queens, where there are several good hotels just across the Queensboro/59th St. Bridge from Manhattan, your car/bus trip will be just 4 or 5 miles and take 10-15 minutes.
Taking mass transit into Manhattan is very affordable and reasonably easy if you are a seasoned traveler. The LaGuardia Link Q70 bus service stops at all three passenger terminals, and then travels non-stop from the airport to the Roosevelt Avenue subway station in the Queens neighborhood of Jackson Heights. This is less than 5 miles from LGA, and the bus drops you right in front of the New York City Subway entrance.
From the Roosevelt Avenue subway, the E-F-M-R and #7 (elevated train at Roosevelt Avenue) lines run into Manhattan, with stops throughout the island, as well as at Queens Plaza or Queensboro Plaza for the Long Island City hotels.
Follow the signs at each terminal for the Q70 bus stop and buy your MetroCard fare in advance at the kiosk at each location. The current fare is just $2.75 for the full ride into Manhattan, with a free transfer provided between the bus and subway. Payment can also be made by exact change: $2.75 in coins only. There is an elevator and escalator available to get downstairs, but not all stations will be as accessible on the other end.
If you don't mind lugging your belongings a bit farther, there is another way to go. The Q70 continues on to the Woodside, Queens station for the Long Island Rail Road, where you can ride directly into Penn Station in Midtown West.
By Express Bus
NYC Express Bus is another good option for transportation between LaGuardia and Manhattan. Operating from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on a regular schedule from each terminal, their full-size motor coaches can be reserved in advance online (a good idea), and they offer a "buy three, get one free" option, which can work out well for families or friends traveling together.
Round-trip fare is $30, which is going to be less than taxi/Lyft/Uber. But the drawback is that you must be dropped off either at Grand Central Terminal (Midtown East) or the Port Authority Bus Terminal (Midtown West). If your hotel isn't too far from one of these spots, this bus service can serve you well. But keep in mind that if it's rainy or cold (or both), you'll have to brave the elements to get to your hotel.
By Lyft or Uber
Lyft and Uber service LaGuardia Airport, and both have a designated location close to the north end of the main terminal where they can pick up passengers, which you will see once you begin to request a ride in the app. You'll need to take a short bus ride from your arrival terminal to connect with your ride, but the operation is quite slick and easy to navigate. The estimated fare is $40-55 for Midtown or Lower Manhattan, more for cars carrying 5+ people and less if you have chosen a shared ride for just one or two people. The fare is a few dollars lower for rides to the Columbus Circle area by the southwest corner of Central Park.
If you prefer to take a cab, you'll find them directly outside of baggage claim on the lower level of each terminal. If your Manhattan destination isn't in Midtown—e.g., you're going to Lower Manhattan, Chelsea, Tribeca or the Upper West Side—you'll want your driver to take the Queensborough/59th St. Bridge into the city. While the taxi driver will often try to convince you that there is so much traffic that taking the Triboro (RFK) Bridge or Queens-Midtown Tunnel is faster, it usually isn't and these other routes will cost you more. Use your smartphone maps app to see the best way to go for the time of day you're traveling.
Lower Manhattan/Tribeca/SoHo/Chelsea may be best reached via the tunnel, and the Upper West Side and Columbus Circle area possibly best via the Triboro (Queens-Manhattan-Bronx) Bridge, but the fare will get more expensive with the added distance. Lyft and Uber aren't affected by this as they quote point-to-point fares. If your taxi driver refuses to take the route that you dictate, take down their license number, which is prominently posted in every NYC taxi and report them via the phone number/website provided inside the car. Just mention this, and it'll scare them enough to take the route that you are specifying.
Racertrips Tip: Do not accept a ride from anyone who approaches you at the airport offering transportation. These "gypsy" drivers are illegal and not sanctioned by the airport.
John F. Kennedy International Airport is located 18 miles from Midtown Manhattan. During rush hour, the drive can easily take an hour, but traffic in New York is unpredictable and driving times are often longer, especially during inclement weather. While this is not the closest of the airports, it is the most common arrival point for those traveling from international destinations, as well as for all JetBlue passengers.
By JFK AirTrain
If you're looking for an affordable way into the city, JFK AirTrain is the way to go. It's free if you are using it to move between terminals or to go to the rental car facility, and it's $5 (payable only by MetroCard) for the 8-mile/15-minute ride from JFK to the Sutphin Boulevard subway station. Inbound travelers will pay the $5 fee at the end of the ride, where there are uniformed staff to direct you to the subway.
At Sutphin, it's an easy connection for a standard $2.75 subway fare into Manhattan or to the Queens Plaza subway station in Long Island City. (Many hotels have opened here in recent years just across the Queensboro/59th St. Bridge from Manhattan.) AirTrain and the New York City subway operate 24/7, so you'll never have to worry about its availability. However, during late evening and overnight hours, we'd suggest grabbing Lyft/Uber or a taxi to your hotel.
Racertrips Ambassador Marc has taken the AirTrain many times, and he says the average ride time from your airline terminal into Midtown Manhattan is about an hour. You really can't beat it for $7.75.
By Express Bus
NYC Express Bus is another good option for transportation between Kennedy Airport and Manhattan. Operating from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on a regular schedule from each terminal, these full-size motor coaches can be reserved in advance online (a good idea). They also offer a "buy three, get one free" option, which can work out well for families or friends traveling together.
Round-trip fare is $36, so cheaper than Lyft/Uber/taxi. The drawback is that you will be dropped off either at Grand Central Terminal (Midtown East) or the Port Authority Bus Terminal (Midtown West). If your hotel isn't too far from one of these spots, this bus service can serve you well. But do keep in mind that if it's rainy or cold, or both, you'll have to brave the elements to get to your hotel.
By Lyft or Uber
Lyft and Uber both service Kennedy Airport, and both have designated locations in the arrivals area of Terminals 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8, where they can pick up passengers. You will see this location once you begin to request a ride in the app. The fare is preset by the city at $52 to Manhattan. Upon return to JFK, your Lyft/Uber driver will be able to drop you off in front of your chosen airline.
If you prefer to take a cab, you'll find them right outside of baggage claim on the lower level of each terminal. As with Lyft and Uber above, the fare is preset by the city at $52 to Manhattan. If you're not going into Manhattan, but instead are booked at a hotel in Brooklyn or on the Queens side of the Queensboro/59th St. Bridge, the fare may actually be higher because you'll pay based on a running meter. This can range anywhere from $42-$75, depending on the time and distance it takes to get to your destination.
Racertrips Tip: Do not accept a ride from anyone who approaches you at the airport offering transportation. These "gypsy" drivers are illegal and not sanctioned by the airport.
While Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) lies 15 miles to the southwest of Times Square, it is one of three major New York City airports with excellent options for getting into Manhattan. EWR is a major hub for United Airlines and has a large number of international airlines that provide service from Europe and other international points.
There are two primary auto routes into the city from Newark and both involve taking a tunnel under the Hudson River. The Lincoln and Holland tunnels are both known for extensive backups that can stretch for miles, so if you're coming in by Lyft, Uber or taxi, be prepared for a drive anywhere from 30 minutes during off-peak times to an hour or longer Monday through Friday during the business day. AirTrain Newark is without a doubt the easiest and usually fastest way into Manhattan.
By AirTrain Newark
Much like JFK AirTrain, this 3-mile monorail system will whisk arriving travelers to Newark Liberty International Airport Station, the connecting point for Transport of New Jersey trains into Manhattan. AirTrain Newark operates every 3 minutes from 5 a.m. until midnight, so if your flight is delayed, you won't have to worry about rail transportation out of the airport.
If you're headed to Midtown, you can figure on a 30-minute ride in total via AirTrain and connecting to a New Jersey Transit train directly into New York's Penn Station (34th St., 7th-8th Ave.). Penn Station is located directly below Madison Square Garden. From here, there are dozens of hotels within walking distance, or you can connect to numerous subway lines that'll take you virtually anywhere in Manhattan. The fare is $12.50 one-way for AirTrain and NJ Transit combined.
If Lower Manhattan/Financial District is your destination, your one-way fare will be $11.00 with an estimated travel time of 40 minutes. Though a bit more complicated, the connections to the World Trade Center Station are quite simple. You'll ride AirTrain to Newark Liberty Airport Station, transfer after one stop via New Jersey Transit at "Newark" Penn Station, and then transfer again to the PATH (Port Authority Trans Hudson) train with direct service into the city. It sounds complicated but really isn't. This route just involves one additional transfer and train to get you into Manhattan.
Auto travel times between Newark Liberty International Airport and Manhattan can vary greatly due to traffic. There are two primary routes into the city from Newark and both involve using a tunnel under the Hudson River. The Lincoln and Holland tunnels are known for extensive backups that can crawl for miles, so if you're coming in by Lyft/Uber, be prepared for a drive anywhere from half an hour to an hour, possibly longer. And if the weather isn't cooperating, take the train!
Lyft and Uber both service EWR, but they both have designated locations where they can pick up passengers, which you will see once you begin to request a ride in the app. Currently, the pickup zones for Lyft and Uber are at the departures area, and you will be asked to verify which door you are at. Estimated fares from Newark Airport to Times Square are $40-45 with a shared ride vehicle, $50-60 for one to four passengers not sharing the car, and $60-70 for a vehicle that can carry as many as six passengers. Yes, tolls and tip are additional, but that is the norm.
If you prefer to take a cab, you'll find them right outside of the baggage claim level and each terminal. As you're leaving the terminal, look for signs to "Ground Transport" and/or "Taxis." Once outside, you'll see where all the cabs are picking up passengers. Taxi fares from EWR to Manhattan are not inexpensive. This is due to taxi restrictions that do not allow for the driver to pick-up a New Jersey-bound rider after bringing a rider into New York City.
Estimated fares to the west side of Manhattan at this time are:
- Battery Park North to W. 23rd St.: $50
- W. 24th - W. 58th St.: $55
- W. 59th - W. 96th St.: $60
Fares will be higher than this if you're traveling to the East Side.
Before you step outside to hail a cab, you should to be aware of several additional fees. There is a $5 per ride surcharge from EWR to Manhattan on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This same surcharge applies from noon until 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays. As if that isn't enough, add another $5.50 for paying with a credit card. Wait, we're not done. You are also responsible for the tunnel toll which is currently $11.50 round-trip during peak hours. And don't forget to tip the driver, say, 20 percent? Total potential damages to Midtown = about $90.
Need something last minute? Here are several well-stocked running stores in Manhattan:
New York Running Company by JackRabbit
- Midtown West: 10 Columbus Circle (inside the shops at Columbus Circle)
- Upper East Side: 1051 Third Ave. (62nd-63rd St., east side)
- Union Square/Greenwich Village: 42 W. 14th St. (5th-6th Ave.)
- Upper West Side: 140 W. 72nd St. (Columbus-Amsterdam Ave.)
Super Runners Shop
- Midtown East: 821 Third Ave. (50th-51st St., east side)
- Theater District: 745 Seventh Ave. (49th-50th St., east side)
- Upper West Side: 140 W. 72nd St. (Columbus-Amsterdam Ave.)
- Upper East Side: 1291 Madison Ave. (southeast corner at 92nd St.)
- Upper East Side: 1172 Third Ave. (68th-69th St., west side)
- West Village: 604 Washington St. (Morton-Leroy St.)
Brooklyn Running Company
- Williamsburg: 222 Grand St. (Driggs-Grand St.)
Do you have another running store to recommend? Email us to let us know.
The TCS New York City Marathon Expo presented by New Balance takes place at the Jacob K. Javits (a long-time U. S. Senator from New York) Convention Center, located on the Hudson River, 11th Ave. & 35th St. This is a three-day event where you will pick up your packet and bib for race day.
There are also hundreds of vendors on site showing the latest in running gear, apparel, nutrition, technology, equipment and more. Be sure to bring your photo I.D. and runner confirmation to the Expo in order to register.
The expo hours are:
- Thursday, Oct 31: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Friday, Nov 1: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov 2: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Important: The last entry for number pickup is 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and is 5 p.m. on Saturday.
If at all possible, we recommend going on Thursday or Friday to avoid the Saturday crowds, to save your legs and to get the best selection of goods from the vendors.
How to Get There On Foot
Walking from Midtown, head west on either 42nd St. or 34th St. until you reach 11th Ave. If you've chosen 34th St., the convention center begins at the intersection with 11th Avenue. For 42nd St., turn left at 11th Ave. and walk a few short blocks to the Javits. The convention center is 0.8 miles from Macy's in Herald Square/17 minutes and 1.1 miles from Times Square, or about 22 minutes.
The New York Marriott Hotel at the Brooklyn Bridge provides free shuttle buses on Friday and Saturday. They head to the Expo at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and return at noon and 4 p.m.
How to Get There by Subway
|34th Street–Penn Station|
|34th Street–Hudson Yards|
|34th Street–Penn Station|
|34th Street–Herald Square|
|34th Street–Herald Square|
How to Get There by MTA Bus
Take the M34, which operates on 34th St. from the east side to the west side and stops right near the convention center at 11th and 12 Avenues.
How to Get There by Ferry from New Jersey
Take the Midtown Ferry from New Jersey to West 39th Street. The Midtown Ferry operates from the following ports:
- Edgewater Landing
- Port Imperial (Weehawken)
- Lincoln Harbor (Weehawken)
- Hoboken–14th Street
- Newport (Jersey City)
- Paulus Hook (Jersey City)
Visit the NY Waterway site for more details.
How to Get There by Taxi/Lyft/Uber
Don't want to try out the subway, bus or ferry? Grab a taxi, Lyft or Uber to get you to the Expo. The distance is short from most of Manhattan, and the cost will be very affordable.
The New York City Marathon course is known for being deceptively hilly and one of the most difficult major marathons in the world. There are two major bridges to cross, the Verrazano-Narrows at the onset of the race (Staten Island to Brooklyn) and the Queensboro/59th St. Bridge at Mile 14 (Queens to Manhattan).
While the Verrazano is pretty easy because it's uphill portion is Mile 1, when your excitement is really pumping, the Queensboro will be a different story. Just take it slow, and walk the uphill side of the bridge if necessary. You'll also want to anticipate extended stretches of a gradual incline, such as along First Avenue heading uptown.
Of course, you also get to run the downside of the bridges and avenues, but don't let your adrenaline or the enthusiasm from 2.5 million spectators push you to run faster than you've planned. It will catch up with you the last couple of miles, where Central Park is hilly. In addition, Central Park South just prior to turning back into the park to the finish line is another gradual uphill segment.
Here's the official New York City Marathon map, which also details what subway trains stop at which point along the route.
- Determine your detailed personal plan for the unforgettable experience that is the New York City Marathon. Resist the urge to run faster than you are accustomed, and don't start zipping by slower runners in the early miles of the race. Save energy for the hills and incline during the last couple of miles. Run smart and you will be among the 97 percent of starters who finish this amazing race.
- Racertrips Ambassador Valerie recommends getting to Fort Wadsworth early so you'll have the best chance of snagging a promotional giveaway from a race sponsor. She also suggests finding a space to be your home base for the lengthy time you'll spend waiting for your assigned starting wave. During her previous NYC marathons, she’s been able to snag a beanie from Dunkin’ Donuts and has gotten some much-needed, pre-race calmness from therapy dogs that were visiting.
- Don't be overly concerned about the marathon's time limits. If you see the sweep bus behind you, don't worry. There is no requirement for you to get onto it. Race officials will note your bib number so you can be tracked manually. Race support may start being removed at some points, and you may be moved from the roadway to the sidewalk, but you definitely can continue. Ambassador Valerie advises, "Every bridge has a sidewalk for pedestrian access. You may miss the Wall of Sound along 1st Avenue, but it's okay. Just keep going....There are NYRR (New York Road Runners) staff or volunteers looking out for you and still police along the route. Keep going. They are pulling for you and want you to finish no matter how late....There is a big cheering section for the final finishers. And if you aren't one, consider coming back to cheer them in. The latest arrivals are incredibly inspiring and tough."
Free Transportation to the Starting Line
There are three official modes of transportation to Fort Wadsworth, the start of the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon. The times below are for the actual transportation. You'll need to allow additional time after you arrive for security clearance, checking personal items, doing your personal business and getting positioned in your assigned starting corral.
Racertrips Ambassador Valerie says, "Go early! I don't care if you are in the last wave that leaves at 11 a.m. Take that 6 a.m. ferry or 6:30 a.m. bus. You get an extra hour of sleep anyway the night before." (Clocks fall back an hour the night before the marathon.)
- Midtown Manhattan Bus: 60 minutes
- Staten Island Ferry + Shuttle Bus: 90 minutes
- New Jersey Bus: 60 minutes
By Bus from the New York Public Library in Midtown
Buses will transport runners directly to Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island. The New York Public Library is centrally located on Fifth Avenue at 41st St. and is walk-able from many Midtown hotels. It is also accessible via many subway and bus routes.
By the Staten Island Ferry + Shuttle Bus
The Whitehall Ferry Terminal is accessible by several subway and bus routes. It is also within walking distance of several Lower Manhattan hotels. The free ferry transports runners to St. George Terminal on Staten Island, where free buses will then take runners to the starting area.
By Bus from Met Life Stadium (Parking Lot K) at the Meadowlands Complex in New Jersey
Buses will transport runners from Met Life Stadium, Parking Lot K, directly to Fort Wadsworth. There is no parking at this location, so runners should make arrangements to be dropped off by friends or family or utilize their hotel shuttle bus transportation.
By Private Bus or Car, Taxi/Lyft/Uber
- Drop-off is on Lily Pond Avenue, outside Fort Wadsworth. There is no parking.
- The walk from the drop-off area to the start villages is about one half mile.
- Private vehicles arriving from New Jersey must drop off runners and clear the Staten Island Expressway by 7 a.m. At this time, the expressway will close to vehicles. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will also close to all traffic at 7 a.m.
More Important Race Transportation Information
Only race participants will be permitted to board the shuttle buses to the start. No spectators are allowed at the start.
- Your choice of transportation will be printed on your race bib. You must take your assigned mode of transportation.
- Please read this statement provided by the marathon race officials: "It is important that you take your assigned transportation to the start on race day. Whether you are making the journey by bus or ferry to Staten Island, opting to travel at a time you are not assigned for means you are impacting the capacity of that transport. That affects the safety of other runners, our staff, volunteers, and city transit partners. We appreciate your cooperation in helping the event run as smoothly as possible."
- Due to the size of the race, the NYC Marathon uses starting corrals A through F (2017 example), and four wave starts at 9:50 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 10:40 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. These corrals cover a sizable swath of ground, so be prepared to walk a fair distance before actually crossing the starting line. Your official race time will commence when your chip crosses the starting line.
For additional marathon information, visit the marathon's Help Center.
No, your family and friends won't see you start the NYC Marathon.
With more than 50,000 runners, the TCS New York City Marathon, is one of the largest road races in the world. And because of this, friends and family will be unable to see you start, or in all probability, finish the race. Non-runners are not permitted at the Fort Wadsworth starting area (except for those assisting disabled racers) on Staten Island, and only race officials, dignitaries and a small number of spectators who purchase grandstand tickets well in advance can get anywhere close to the finish line.
Don't fret, though, because the best places to see your runner are along the race route. Here are some of our favorite places to feel the energy and also have great fun as a spectator, which will be easy to do in New York. Each location denoted below also includes directions via subway to get there.
- Before you set out for this amazing day, you'll need to pre-plan where you're going to be and how you're going to get there. Be sure to download the free New York Subway app, which will be of enormous assistance as you navigate the system. Also, spend some time studying the marathon course and combined subway map online.
- Tell your runners ahead of time where you'll be watching for them. Choose specific race miles, major landmarks or major intersections, and tell them on which side of the street you'll be standing. When it comes to intersections, make it something really easy or obvious, such as "the intersection in Brooklyn where there's an inflatable Elvis on top of the convenience store." This is important because your runner may not have their full directional bearings due to the crowds and their focus on the race.
- The New York City subway offers free Wifi throughout the system.
Closest to the Start, Miles 2-4, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
After crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge from Staten Island, the course runs through the heart of Bay Ridge via Fourth Avenue. This close-knit community is ethnically diverse and fascinating, with Irish, Italian, Greek, Norwegian and a large Middle Eastern population. The streets are narrow and the excitement of the runners just a few miles into the race coming through is fantastic.
Take the R train from Manhattan to the Bay Ridge Avenue Station, the closest subway stop to where the Blue, Green and Orange courses merge. The R originates in Forest Hills, Queens, stops close to the Long Island City area hotels, continues to Midtown Manhattan, turning to the south at 57th St. Following Broadway, there are numerous stops in Midtown and Lower Manhattan before crossing into Brooklyn. Race day schedules are typically maintained at weekday levels with trains every 5-8 minutes, but the ride will still take 45-60 minutes depending on where you board.
Mile 5: Sunset Park, Brooklyn
This will be less crowded, but there will still be throngs of people. The D, N and R trains all stop at 36th St. in Brooklyn, which is between miles 5 and 6. (Note: This is not the same 36th St. that's in Manhattan, or in any other borough). This ride is a bit shorter ride than the one to Bay Ridge. The D is an express (fewer stops = less travel time) that originates in The Bronx, travels down the west side of Manhattan by Central Park, then via Midtown and Greenwich Village to Brooklyn. The N, like the R, starts in Queens and then crosses into Manhattan and makes all local stops that aren't made by the D.
Mile 8: Fourth Ave. & Atlantic Ave., Downtown Brooklyn
Again, closer to Manhattan and Queens, this viewing area is served by many more trains and will be a crowded vantage point. That being said, this is a long stretch with plenty of sidewalk for cheering on the runners. Subways that stop in this general vicinity are the D, N, R, B, Q, 2, 3, 4 and 5. If you're a basketball or hockey fan, you'll be near the Barclay's Center, home to the Brooklyn Nets (NBA) and New York Islanders (NHL).
Miles 16-18: New Balance Block Party, Manhattan
First Avenue at 62nd St. is the site of this fun-tastic extravaganza. The crowds will be raucous and large, and the runners will be coming off of the Queensboro/59th St. Bridge into a mass of humanity that is hard to describe. It's a massive party with a DJ, Jumbotron, marching bands and tens of thousands of cheering and screaming supporters. It's known as the Wall of Sound, and once you experience it you'll understand, either as a runner who will be immediately pumped for the next few miles or as a spectator because you are in the middle of a "happening." Also, by this point in the race, the pack has thinned enough that your runner can stop and chat, pose for pics, or grab a snack from you.
When Racertrips Ambassador Marc was running the marathon, he and his family arranged to "meet" on First Avenue between 64th St and 65th St. on the west side of the block, and finding them wasn't terribly difficult. They had signs with his name on them, and they popped out from the crowd. Other supporters wore things like Dr. Seuss "Cat in the Hat" hats, the same colored lime, or orange or day-glo type clothing en mass, and so on. Be creative, and you'll successfully find your runner.
Subway lines Q, 4, 5, and 6 run north-south through this area, so you can choose where to disembark. To avoid the largest crowds in the 62nd-66th St. stretch, consider taking the #6 train up to 68th, 77th, 86th or 96th St. Runners tend to lose some of their energy after passing the massive crowds in the 60's, so any uptown support will be much appreciated. From 96th St., you can walk crosstown to Fifth Avenue while your runner continues up into the Bronx and then back to Manhattan, where you can see him or her again between Miles 23 and 24.
Keep in mind that Manhattan's avenues are much longer than the numbered streets. Meaning, it'll take some time to walk from First Avenue, crossing Second, Third, Lexington, Park, and Madison Avenues before reaching Fifth Avenue. The distance is approximately 0.7 miles or about a 15-minute walk.
Miles 23-24: Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
This will be your last chance to see the runners before they enter Central Park and where they finally sense that they are getting close to the finish line. Thankfully, you won't have to deal with the park's rolling hills, which can be quite a surprise just when the runners think that Manhattan will be leveling out for them late in the race.
This area runs from 105th St. down to 85th St., with Central Park on the runners' right and numerous museums on their left. You can arrange a photo-op along the way by the El Museo del Barrio (105th St.), Museum of the City of New York (104th), the Jewish Museum (92nd), or the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (88th) before the runners turn into the park at 85th St.
Positioning yourself along the race route a couple hundred yards inside Central Park is also a fun place to see the runners make the turn from city streets to a beautiful park environment. After seeing your runner for the final time, you'll have time to chart your course to the Family Reunion area, which is about 2 miles away.
The sheer number of runners and spectators will make it virtually impossible to see your runner cross the finish line. Be sure to arrange a meet-up spot beforehand.
The official Family Reunion area will be on Central Park West from West 60th Street to West 65th Street, with entrances to this area only from Broadway. This area is open from noon to 5:30 p.m. and is organized alphabetically by letter, so plan to meet your friends and family at a prearranged letter. Considering that you've just run/walked/crawled 26.2 miles and will most likely be tired, sore and stiff, you probably don't want to walk the full distance of the meet-up area to find your letter, especially if it begins with A, B C, D....Those are the longest walks after the race. We recommend picking a letter toward the end of the alphabet and meeting your friends or family there.
Important Racertrips Tip: Everyone entering the Family Reunion area will be subject to bag inspection and security screening.
Encourage your family and friends to track your race progress using the free TCS New York City Marathon Mobile App, which will be available for download during race week. Via this app they will be able to know precisely when you've crossed the finish line. Family and friends can also call the Runner Information Hotline at 800-496-6193 to see if you have finished the race. Be aware that cell phone service may be sporadic at peak crowd times.
Finally, poncho runners will exit Central Park about 30 minutes after crossing the finish line and will arrive in the Family Reunion area 15-30 minutes after that. Bag check runners will exit the park 45-60 minutes after race completion and won't get to the Family Reunion area until another 30-45 minutes have elapsed. Make sure your supporters understand that they won't be able to meet-up with you until 60-90 minutes after you cross the finish line.
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