7 Mile Run in Brooklyn/NYC for an Out-of-Towner?
March 27, 2013 9:31 AM   Subscribe

I'm visiting NYC next weekend, and I'd like to maintain my habit of running 7 miles every Saturday morning. I'll be staying with a friend near Court and Atlantic, in Brooklyn. I'd like to start my run there, or very close by.

I could be talked into taking a short subway ride for a great place to run, but would like to avoid it, for time-saving reasons. I'm a little apprehensive about just taking off and running on city streets for 3.5 miles and then turning around. I'm used to running here in St. Louis, where I usually run in our enormous Forest Park or the surrounding neighborhoods, which are not all that New York-like. Any route suggestions from locals and, better yet, local runners will be much appreciated!

A few specific things you might be able to help with:

-He's pretty near the Brooklyn Bridge. Is it feasible to include it in my route? Seems like running across it would be an iconic experience, but it also might be a dumb tourist pipedream.

-Google Maps doesn't reveal any (big) parks nearby, except maybe the Brooklyn Botanic [sic?] Garden. Can I run in there, or is it like the Botanical Gardens here, i.e. admission-charging, and made for strolling and looking at plants?

-Anywhere I should specifically avoid? I don't want to go traipsing through some neighborhood where everybody who lives there knows running on the sidewalks is a dick move.

-Is there NYC running ettiquette I should know about? Everything is spacious enough here that runners get along pretty well with pedestrians, automobiles, etc. without trying too hard. But I've never run in NYC before, so I'm not sure if there are things I should know.

posted by PhatLobley to Health & Fitness (23 answers total)
This is somewhat generic and I know nothing about running in Brooklyn, but I do know about trying to find a place to run in a strange town, and there's a newish tool for this: Garmin added heat maps to Connect. You can even "Show filters" and filter by running and click Search again and get heat maps just of running. It looks like a lot of people run in the Gardens!

I don't see a way to deep link but here's the page.
posted by ftm at 9:35 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's only about 2.5 miles from Prospect Park! You could run over there, take in a couple miles of trees, then turn around. Or you could take the 2, 3, or 4 train to Grand Army, if you wanted to run in the park exclusively. It's just lovely, and accommodates lots of runners.

I would recommend against running on the Brooklyn Bridge, as it can be a bit of a crowded clusterfuck, but if you do, please take care to run in the pedestrian lane, not the bike lane.

Brooklyn Botanic [sic?]

No sic! "Botanic" is right! And it's more of a strolly/walky kind of place, yes.

I don't think there's any other major etiquette issues with sidewalk running, though; just try to be situationally-aware and have a nice time!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:36 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

(also I don't know if you mean "next weekend" like the 30th or "next weekend" like the 6th, but if it's the latter, feel free to join us at Central Park in the morning!)
posted by Greg Nog at 9:39 AM on March 27, 2013

If you don't feel like taking the subway, I think it's about 7 miles if you run from the corner of atlantic and court to Prospect Park, do a loop and then run back. This loop, to be more specific.
posted by Grither at 9:39 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd go up to Prospect Park, which is right across the street from the Botanic Garden (which is more of a strolling and less of a running kind of place in my experience--I don't ever recall seeing runners there myself). You could come out of the park on the south side and run on the sidewalks of Ditmas Park too, which is leafy and pretty. I agree with Greg Nog that the bridge would be quite crowded.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:40 AM on March 27, 2013

I second the train to Grand Army Plaza. Running in Prospect Park is one of my favorite things on earth to do-- it's about a 3.5 mile loop. Do it 2x, and you can end your run with a fresh muffin at the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket!
posted by activitystory at 9:40 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

You're staying just a few blocks from the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, which has a waterfront path with beautiful views, from Atlantic Avenue to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. The park's not complete yet but the path is continuous.
posted by moonmilk at 9:41 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

Botanic Garden is a bit far from right there, but yes you could run to Prospect Park, run there and run back. You could also run through Brooklyn Heights and then run along the waterfront (Brooklyn Bridge Park).

Personally I find that sometimes the route between Court/Atlantic area and Prospect Park can be a bit sketchy. Not too too bad at all, but as a lady person when running I've gotten shouted at about how I'm keeping my body nice for the gentlemen folk and such. YMMV though.

Running across the bridge IS crowded, but also kind of awesome. You could also combine that with Brooklyn Heights/Waterfront, though you'd have to run across/run back.

Some of the running apps will let you map out your route so give that a shot.

No particular running etiquette, lots of people run here! Just on the bridge stay out of the bike lane.
posted by sweetkid at 9:41 AM on March 27, 2013

The Botanic Garden is indeed meant for strolling and does charge admission.

However, Court and Atlantic puts him REALLY near the Brooklyn Bridge park - it doesn't show up on as an obvious park on Google Maps because it's kind of new. But if he goes west down Atlantic to where it says "Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6" on Google Maps, and then turns north, he will be in a riverside park thing that stretches from there all the way along the coast up to the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, and then even past that to the base of the Manhattan Bridge. Some portions of the stretch between Pier 6 and the Brooklyn Bridge base may route him through what looks like sidewalks alongside construction sites, but there will obviously be a path there, marked for runners/pedestrians on one side and bikes on the other. He may also have to duck onto the sidewalk for one block of the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan Bridge stretch, but a lot of other people will be doing the same thing, and the rest of it will be through parks.

Another option is to go to that same intersection for Pier 6, only turn South - the sidewalk along Columbia Street from Atlantic south to about Degraw Street has designated lanes for bikers and joggers. If he takes a right at Degraw street and then a left, he can also keep going down Van Brunt all the way to Red Hook proper; he'd be on the sidewalk, but that is not going to be a very busy part of the city. It'll look ugly as hell until he gets deeper into Red Hook, but it's pretty quiet.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:42 AM on March 27, 2013

If you're going to run across the Brooklyn Bridge, do it EARLY, as it gets crowded with tourists.

If I were you, I would take the subway to Central Park, which is much nicer than Prospect Park.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:45 AM on March 27, 2013

If I were you, I would take the subway to Central Park, which is much nicer than Prospect Park.

That is really a matter of opinion (Olmsted/Vaux designed both Central Park and Prospect Park, and I think I read that Olmsted always preferred Prospect better) and subwaying to Central Park is going to take you a chunk of time that's wasted in my opinion when you have so many beautiful options in Brooklyn.

Just the streets in that neighborhood are quite beautiful! (used to live over there).
posted by sweetkid at 9:48 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

Was just about to pop in to say exactly what sweetkid did. I love both parks, but prefer Prospect, which has the benefit of HORSIE TRAILS where you might even see some COOL-ASS HORSES

(though Central Park DOES have a hella cool mountain lion statue tucked away alongside one of the paths)
posted by Greg Nog at 9:51 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, another justification for going along Columbia and then down Van Brunt into Red Hook - a mid-run snack break at Baked.

(That Columbia-to-Van-Brunt stretch is part of my bike route to kayak in the summers, and something at Baked is part of my own reward for getting out of the house as well.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:15 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

....and I'd also like to apologize for phrasing every one of my answers as if someone other than you was going to be doing this jogging. I have no idea how that happened.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:18 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can definitely run on the Brooklyn Bridge! That said, it's probably best done early in the morning, say, before 10AM. While the tourists are sleeping off their hangovers, eating breakfast "At Tiffany's", etc.

You could then do a loop around the Financial District, possibly all the way to Battery Park for a great view of the Statue Of Liberty.

One thing that's interesting about running in NY is that it's definitely possible to run your whole 7 miles in one direction, and then just take the subway home. I mean, cool down for a minute to avoid stinking out the train, sure, but people do this all the time.

I would not go all the way to Central Park to run. It's a great place to run, don't get me wrong, but there are lots of other great places, and you're not staying anywhere near that -- you're looking at a half hour on the subway to get to a running spot that's about on par with a place you're already in walking distance of.

Also, Prospect Park is NOT "inferior" to Central Park, it's just less famous. Which is the way we hipsters like it.
posted by Sara C. at 11:02 AM on March 27, 2013 [3 favorites]

Oh, and running is definitely allowed in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, though others are right that it's not terribly convenient to your starting point. It's also not huge, and there's an entry fee, so I'm not sure it's really worth paying to get in to run for like 15 minutes before you're back in an equally nice (and free) park.

A runner friend of mine who lives nearby has a membership to the Botanic Gardens only for the purpose of running there. But again, she lives around the corner. Different story.
posted by Sara C. at 11:05 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you head up in to South Williamsburg and over the Williamsburg Bridge, then run through Chinatown and back to Brooklyn via the Manhattan Bridge, that run is A) almost exactly 7 miles, B) very scenic and C) pretty legit, given the two bridges.
posted by saladin at 11:28 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Also, Prospect Park is NOT "inferior" to Central Park, it's just less famous. Which is the way we hipsters like it.

Less famous = less crowded, fewer tourists, more hipsters (but the hipsters are gentle and kind.)
posted by sweetkid at 11:53 AM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden does not charge admission between 10am (when it opens) and noon on Saturdays. After noon, it's regular admission. But I've never ever seen anyone jogging there.

I might go over that direction on Dean or Pacific, then zig-zag down to Union St., because it's a bit prettier than the direct Atlantic/Flatbush route. But you should totally go over the Brooklyn Bridge and check out the new park.

And speaking as a walker, not a jogger, NYC pedestrians are pretty aware of who else they're sharing the sidewalk with, and they'll expect you to keep up whatever pace you've set.
posted by mgar at 1:16 PM on March 27, 2013

I'm willing to bet the original poster named "Brooklyn Botanic Garden" because Prospect Park isn't clearly labeled at some zoom levels in Google Maps, and the Botanic Garden is right next to Prospect Park.

It's generally easier to run down residential streets as opposed to business streets, as the foot traffic can get quite heavy on business streets.

Everyone in Brooklyn runs in Prospect Park, and running there, doing a lap, and running back would get you a good view of a few Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The Brooklyn Bridge is a place where people run, but it does indeed get quite crowded on a nice day. It is about four blocks west from the Manhattan end to the West Side Greenway, which goes all the way up and down Manhattan.

The Manhattan Bridge also offers a good view and is not at all crowded on the walkway, though the bridge walkway isn't quite as epic. You can take in the view of the Brooklyn Bridge, though, and race subway trains. But it ends in Chinatown, which has crowded sidewalks and isn't the best for running.
posted by akgerber at 2:44 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Another reason to not do the Botanic garden, even if it is free during the day - the paths really aren't....joggable. They're narrow, and kind of windy and confusing if you're trying to do a loop, and there are a couple places where there will be random stairs out of nowhere.

But yeah, the Botanic Garden is right bang next to Prospect Park anyway, and that's way more conducive to jogging. Save the Botanic Garden for after you've done your lap in Prospect Park and you want to cool down with a walk.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:18 PM on March 27, 2013

I ended up taking (roughly) Grither's loop. It was a neat run! Prospect Park was very cool, and full of people on such a nice day. I ran 7 miles faster than I ever had before. Thanks, everybody!
posted by PhatLobley at 5:10 AM on April 8, 2013

Glad to hear it went well!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:27 AM on April 8, 2013

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