Where will the idiots be?
January 29, 2009 12:34 PM   Subscribe

I would like to watch some of the Idiotarod this Saturday in NYC, but, since the route is semi-secret for nonparticipants, I'm not sure where to go to do this. Any tips?

The Idiotarod (previously on Metafilter) is a race in which drunk people get in adorned shopping carts and propel themselves from (this year) Queens to somewhere in Manhattan.

I can gather from the event's website that this year's race will begin at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens, but that place is hard to get to without a car. Anyway, I figure that the finish line would be a funner place to watch this thing. And if I can't find the finish line, then I'd settle for one of the checkpoints, but I don't know where those will be, either.

I understand that the organizers of this event want to keep it at least somewhat secret, for legal reasons. So if you happen to have the lowdown on this event but do not wish to post it in a public forum like this one, please just drop me a MeFi mail. I don't want to spoil the race, and I promise I won't narc them out - I just want to watch!
posted by Dr. Wu to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Awesome advice from the forums page:

The middle of the Verazzano Bridge is a great place for spectators during the race. You probably want to camp out there starting at like 6:00 am cause it gets crowded.
posted by Oddly at 1:30 PM on January 29, 2009

Thanks, Oddly. But, honestly, that comment sounds deliberately misleading. The Verrazano Bridge is way of the other side of NYC -- nowhere near the Socrate Sculpture Park in Queens. Plus: 6am?!? No way. I just don't buy it.

I think that that commenter is yanking the chain of the person who posed the question.
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:33 PM on January 29, 2009

I used to live in the area and I am pretty sure that Alaska (or, for that matter, Russia) is not visible from the Verazzano.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 1:46 PM on January 29, 2009

Hypnotic Chick: huh?
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:50 PM on January 29, 2009

Pretty sure Hypnotic Chick is referring to the Iditarod, not the Idiotarod.
posted by alpha_betty at 2:12 PM on January 29, 2009

I have it on good authority that Joe Cocker's apartment (48 E 50th) is one of the final checkpoints. Bon chance!
posted by jckll at 2:13 PM on January 29, 2009

At least two Idiotarods have gone through the general DUMBO area and Canal Street. Lower Manhattan (East Village, Lower East Side, China Town) usually play at least a supporting role in the race, but pretty much anything is fair game. Everything is "subject to change", so it is very possible that the starting point is NOT Socrates Sculpture Park. But maybe that's a ruse and it really IS Socrates Sculpture Park. Or not. Hard to say.

Your best bet would be to register and participate at your own leisure (slow and steady as you like). That way you get to watch the race and be a part of the ever changing spectacle.
posted by abirae at 2:13 PM on January 29, 2009

Check the official site for the “Checkpoints,” and starting times, which will be announced around 8am on Saturday.
posted by Oddly at 2:21 PM on January 29, 2009

Your best luck is to befriend someone on a team that is going to have the info. The organizers have announced fake starting points for the last few years as a way to skirt the cops and the throngs of photographers that might make running such an event a problem. There are no permits to the event, the cops are not happy about it.

Saying such, the spectacle has gone thru DUMBO, Williamsburg, Chinatown, Long Island City and Carroll gardens in the last few years. Being on a bike somewhere between those spots would let you catch the participants once word gets out as to where they are.
posted by stachemaster at 2:32 PM on January 29, 2009

Huh. So I guess my best bet is just to look at the website early Saturday morning and then go hang out in one of the specified neighborhoods. I can do that. I was hoping for more specific info, but I understand why it's not provided.

Thanks, everyone. And if you do happen to catch word of the whereabouts of this silliness, please do let me/us know.
posted by Dr. Wu at 3:23 PM on January 29, 2009

Yeah, I would beware any info on their website. When I ran, they actually called to tell us where the real starting point was, and I think we got changes in checkpoints by text message.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:24 PM on January 29, 2009

Socrates Sculpture Park isn't really that hard to get to -- it's just a ten minute walk west on Broadway from the Broadway N/W station. But if Socrates is a fake-out, then that won't do you much good anyway!
posted by moonmilk at 5:19 PM on January 29, 2009

gothamist is reporting, as of a couple hours ago, that "Coco 66 in Greenpoint and ON Greenpoint Ave between West and Franklin is the confirmed finish line."
posted by stachemaster at 11:03 AM on January 31, 2009

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