After a seven-month hiatus, and a month early, your favorite running broker finally was cleared by the kind folks at Hospital for Special Surgery to begin a running program!
For someone accustomed to running marathons, the irony and relevance here
of “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” does not escape me.
Essentially, I am starting from scratch – my legs have to remember how to run.
While I won’t bore you with too many details about the challenges of jogging their memory (pun intended), it is a program
of tiny increments.
2 minutes of running at a time, moving up to 4 minutes at a time – next week I move to 5 minute intervals!
This year, I
took a month or two off from writing about running, primarily because I did not have new running ideas for you.
But, inspiration came this month in the form of Riverside Park, where I’m doing most of my rehab running.
If you haven’t spent time in Riverside Park, I like to think of it as a diamond hidden in plain sight.
Those scenes in “When Harry Met Sally?” – all Riverside Park near 91st Street.
It’s Fall in New York – there isn’t a more perfect time to walk, run or relax in Riverside Park.
What is new in the past few years in Riverside Park:
1) Ellington in the Park
– New this summer, the Ellington, a 106th Street restaurant, took the license to operate this incredible cafe in Riverside Park.
Situated around 106th Street in the park,
and looking out onto volleyball beaches and
the Hudson River – they have created a marvelous place to grab lunch, dinner, happy hour, or a visit in a perfect atmosphere.
The food is good (much better than at
the Boat Basin), and it feels more restaurant than park concession.
A fun break during a walk…
2) The 84th-91st extended running path – This opened 3 years ago, allowing runners to stay along the river rather than having to run up a steep hill for a 10-block stretch. It looks neat, and keeps the park as perfectly vertical as possible.
There are many, many other things which are not new, but which simply are
amazing, about Riverside Park, whether you’re running or not.
Picnic Spots and Trail Running –
Whether you’re just looking for a place to have a picnic, or off-road running, Riverside Park north of 96th Street has three levels.
The street level offers level cobblestones for walking or running, full of hills and trees.
Every 2-3 blocks there is a playground, and every 8-10 blocks access to the 2nd level of the park (96th, 98th, 103rd, 108th, 116th).
The second level is really picturesque – flat enough to teach a child how to ride a bicycle, to take a stroll – at least how I imagine a stroll from the 19th century.
And … if you’re not into running hills, this part of the park is perfect for a nice, flat run.
There’s a nice 1-mile stretch to the tennis courts at 116th Street that even is
perfect for a sprint.
The lowest level, where you’ll access the running path that goes from the George Washington Bridge to the North, and Battery Park to the South, is accessible at 100th Street, give or take.
The summer offers a Saturday night concert series there, tennis courts, and river views.
All flat and at sea level.
I meant this as a suggestion – go and check out the leaves in a week or two, go sledding in a few months once it snows, or wait until next summer, when you can take shady walks or runs.
Riverside Park is so special and can be experienced in bite-sized chunks, far less of a commitment than Central Park, but no less beautiful!
The Riverside Park Conservancy is a terrific place to support the park, and it will tell you all about the specifics: playgrounds, how to reserve party rooms, tennis courts and lessons, the gorgeous monuments scattered throughout, and much more!