The 2014 NYC Marathon is still about six months away, but it is time to start planning! I hope this post helps.
Getting to New York
If you are coming to NYC from the North, and you are driving, I highly recommend you take Metro North into the city. Here is a map to help you out:
I like to take the train from Croton-Harmon because there is tons of parking and the trains run frequently, but most of the stations are pretty nice. The cost of the train will be minimal compared to parking in NYC, and your car will be unnecessary in Manhattan anyhow.
Where To Stay
For the marathon, I prefer to stay in the area in the red box:
There are several reasons I prefer this area for the marathon:
1) it is central to everything you (might) need
2) it is convenient to the buses for the marathon (more on that below)
3) it is within walking distance to Central Park
4) it is touristy – but if you’re coming from out of town, you’ll probably be doing touristy stuff!
I highly recommend using Priceline (specifically, the “Name Your Own Price” feature). There are so many hotels in NYC, so the chance of you getting a decent room at a great price is pretty darn good! When I stayed for the marathon, I stayed at The Algonquin on W. 44th Street – the rooms are usually $400/night and I was able to get a room for $125/night. With that being said, make sure you pinpoint the neighborhoods you want and the hotel “stars” that you’re looking for.
I did a quick search today and these were the best deals I found:
Hilton Manhattan East (304 East 42nd Street)
$249/night (with free cancellation available)
.6 miles to the marathon buses
One UN New York (1 United Nations Plaza)
.8 miles to the marathon buses
The Expo is at the Javits Convention Center at Eleventh Avenue and West 38th Street.
Thursday, Oct. 30: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (last number pickup 7:00 p.m.)
Friday, Oct. 31: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. (last number picup 7:00 p.m.)
Saturday, Nov. 1: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Getting To The Start
You have two options here: the buses or the ferry. On the map above, I starred the locations where you get on the bus and ferry.
This guy took the bus and he looks happy.
These two seem pretty excited about the ferry.
I took a bus to the start. It was comfy and spacious. It definitely allowed me to relax, which was just what I needed on marathon morning. As to point two made above, there is something to be said for walking out your hotel door, hopping on a bus and then zoning out for the next forty minutes.
The best map for spectators is available here.
Even for an out-of-towner, it’s pretty easy to spectate at the 16-mile mark (this is the turn onto First Ave. – there is a huge crowd); the 20.5 mile mark (this is in the Bronx – there is a much smaller but very energetic crowd); and the 25.3 mile mark (this is right by Fifth Ave. and Central Park South – once again, it’s a huge crowd). Take a 4 or 5 train uptown from 59th street to 138th Street/Grand Concourse. Then after your runner goes by, take a 4 or 5 downtown to 59th Street. Or, for a much better view, go to 86th Street and watch as your runner makes the turn into the park. Don’t try and watch your runner finish. You won’t get very close to the finish line and then you will have a long wait as your runner makes a very slow hike out of the park.
Where To Now?!
You need a plan for when you get out of the park because you will be delirious and your legs will hurt.
Although the NYC Marathon website does not have any details yet, you will probably exit the park at 72nd Street. If you walk straight (easier said than done), you will get to a 1 2 3 train that will take you to Times Square, Penn Station, etc. Or, if you just can’t wait to meet up with your family and friends, there are lots of potential meetup spots in the neighborhood.
May I Get Drunk Now?
Yes, you may. And you should eat something too. Two of my NYC favorites are:
The Barrel (10 Stuyvesant St) and
The Smith (55 3rd Ave)
To Sum Up…
With a little planning, marathon day can be stress-free. Well, except for the marathon part, but that’s up to you.
If I made a mistake – or if something has changed since I ran the race in 2011 – please let me know!
Are you a planner or do you like to make decisions on the fly?
What are your favorite things to do in NYC?