This month’s run takes us to Upper Manhattan and Riverdale!
I was inspired to share this run by a recent article in the NY Times.
Taking the article’s recommendations
a “walking tour” of Upper Manhattan, I’ll write below the “running tour.”
For this run, make sure you take your Metrocard, and $20.
Maybe even an ID!
Take a look at the course I’m suggesting, one I’ve done many times with friends.
This run is a “one way” run, in that we start at 96th and Broadway, where the 1/2/3 trains meet, and end at the 1 train terminus at 242nd and Broadway.
We usually start in Manhattan and finish in Riverdale, but one could do the opposite easily.
Either way, the hills are bold, and the payoff certainly should be carrot cake or bagels.
The carrot cake I’m referring to is from
Lloyd’s, which you can check out here.
While you might expect that all bake shops get their baking started before most people run, often Lloyd’s will disappoint, staying shuttered even past 9 or 10am.
However, when they are open, the payoff is worthwhile.
The Park Section:
The first 6-7 miles are actually in Manhattan, with the last three miles taking you up and over the Henry Hudson Bridge.
The run starts through Riverside Park, taking you up to the 125th Street Fairway before it diverts for about three 3 blocks due to a small construction project.
When that is completed, the course will be easy to follow for the first half.
The West Harlem section is well completed now.
You are under the West Side Highway, with a very well-manicured park with two piers, and access to the newly renovated Dinosaur Bar-b-cue.
Each time we pass this area I remark that it reminds me of the Meatpacking District.
The vast Columbia University construction is immediately to the East, also, rising quickly, a clear indication of what is to come.
Then the path goes around the 145th Street sanitation facility, on top of which is Riverbank State Park – I highly recommend checking it out –
Merry-go-round, ice rink, great views to the North and South, and two entrances- one at 137th and one at 145th Streets on Riverside Drive.
We are running by the foot of the facility; the pedestrian entrances are about 100 feet higher in elevation, though there are stairs one can take from the lower level to the entrance.
You are at sea level at this point, and there is something incredible about being at the river’s edge, with so much green and city around you.
After passing 145th Street, you settle into a newly manicured area, with a number of ball fields around the 155th Street access point from Riverside Drive.
You’ll next see
tennis courts and, if you’re lucky, some newly-constructed art installation made of driftwood, along the riverbank.
A quick point – there are water fountains at the tennis courts, and a bathroom before you reach the tennis courts.
Right there, one could scoot over a footbridge,
up and over toward New York Presbyterian, before reaching the George Washington Bridge, in order to reach the GWB pedestrian path.
That is also a fun route to take.
For this run, though, the path continues all the way to the George Washington Bridge, and the famous Red Light House.
Then the real fun, if you like hills.
The path turns very steep in order to reach the elevation along the West Side Highway, to take you on the rolling hills towards Fort Tryon Park.
There is a bridge over the West Side Highway which takes you to Washington Heights, if you want to get back to civilization after the hill.
Otherwise, within a few minutes you’ll see Fort Tryon Park and the Cloisters on your right, and New Jersey greenery across the Hudson to your left.
Then, suddenly, the park stops, and you’ll get to enjoy city streets for a blip of time.
The nice part is that there is a deli where you can get Gatorade or water, if you need it. This is at about mile 6 of our run.
So, perfect time to refuel, actually!
Currently, there is a ramp being constructed which will bypass the deli diversion, allowing you to go directly to Inwood Hill Park – which you can see is really divided by only
If the deli is closed, we have occasionally wandered East in search of water, and have discovered, all along Dyckman Street nearby, what is a “restaurant row” which looks out onto Fort Tryon Park.
These spots have outdoor seating in Spring and Summer, right next to the 207th Street A train subway.
Super convenient and I’m sure a fun night out, but quiet and quaint at 8am!
And we continue!
Inwood Hill Park can be a little confusing, as you have to take a footbridge about 1/2 a mile to the North.
If you miss it, don’t worry: you’ll simply hit the tip of the island, which is a dead end.
The footbridge takes you over the Amtrak tracks, into the trails of the park, which are paved.
If you study and zoom in, you still will
not see exactly what you need to see.
This map will show that it’s not the Northernmost trail you should
take, but the slight right just before that.
Never fear: if you take the wrong trail, it will take you under the Henry Hudson Bridge, which is quite nice, too!
At this point, you are at Spuyten Duyvil, the spouting devil, named after the cross currents of where the Hudson River hits the connector to the East River.
The Circle Line, the boat cruise company that gives local NYC tours, goes through the passage of the river here, too.
Looking North you can see for miles up the Hudson, catching glimpses of the River Towns such as Yonkers, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Sleepy Hollow.
The bridge becomes a special moment during this run.
Assuming you’ve reached the Henry Hudson Bridge, quickly you’ll get to the Bronx!
Among my favorite parts of this run are these lovely sections of Spuyten Duyvil and Riverdale.
First with a number of cooperatives with amazing river views, then massive houses surrounded by park,
this flat section of the run goes from about 215th Street to 246th Street and is pretty flat.
Palisade Road is quiet, with no traffic in the morning when we run.
247th Street is your turn, and the last hill of the run.
Quite a doozy, actually!
stately homes on either side, with about a 1/4 mile hill.
Huff and puff, and get there!
Then, you simply need to backtrack one block to 246th and cross over to the Fieldston section of the Bronx.
What a pleasure to be surrounded by large, Tudor-style homes built before World War II.
In many ways, this area reminds me of Old Metairie, an area of Greater New Orleans close to where I grew up.
Again, a flat section that allows for some pleasant distraction!
Finally, the payoff – a downhill sprint through Manhattan College to Broadway.
You’ll overlook the Train Depot, where the 1 trains go to sleep, and
at the bottom of the hill, you’re at 242nd Street!
You made it.
The nice part of the last three miles is their diversity of hills and flat, and that
If you’re in the mood for carrot cake, just continue on Broadway for about 1/4 mile to the North to Lloyd’s.
Otherwise, grab a Gatorade and wait for the 1 train.
Back to Manhattan we go!
Hope you enjoyed this little run.
And I hope you’ll go and do it.
By the way, when you’re done, you’re right at Van Cortlandt Park, which is incredibly beautiful and worth a visit and run, too.
More in the coming months. -S