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The 5 Best Scenic Running Paths Outside Manhattan

April 9, 2012 6:00 AM

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The Coney Island Boardwalk (credit:Friends Of The Boardwalk)

The Coney Island Boardwalk (credit:Friends Of The Boardwalk)

Sure, Central Park and Riverside and the path along the East River downtown are great scenic spots for runners, but not everyone lives in Manhattan. The rest of the city’s runners need only check out these great options for runners with some of the finest scenery New York has to offer.

All New York City parks are open from 6 a.m. until 1 a.m. unless other open hours are posted. In general, playgrounds and wooded areas close at sunset and it’s safest not to use secluded trails after dark.

fortgreene The 5 Best Scenic Running Paths Outside Manhattan

Photo Credit: nycgovparks.org

Fort Greene Park
85 S. Oxford St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 965-8900
www.nycgovparks.org/

Hours: park daily – 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.

For a pleasant 5K, start from the G train stop on Clinton/Washington, take Washington Avenue to Willoughby to Fort Greene Park. Loop three times around the park, Brooklyn’s oldest, along the sidewalk, then back to Willoughby and return to your starting point.

coney island boardwalk The 5 Best Scenic Running Paths Outside Manhattan

The Coney Island Boardwalk (credit:Friends Of The Boardwalk)



Coney Island
Corbin Pl. to W. 37 St.
Brooklyn, NY 11224
(718) 946-1353
www.nycgovparks.org/

Hours: boardwalk – 24/7
Runners are advised not to use the facility after dark.

Take the D, Q, N or F train to Stillwell Avenue and enjoy Coney Island’s ocean breeze by looping the length of the famous boardwalk for a 5.5-mile run. In the summer, reward yourself with a dip in the water or a hot dog from Nathan’s. Bonus for runners: Cyclists are not permitted to ride their bikes on the boardwalk during the day, which cuts down on traffic and makes the run that much more relaxing. Metered parking is available along most local streets. Use any of the area lots on West 17th Street, between Surf and Mermaid at West 12th Street, on Neptune Avenue or West 15th Street.

Related: NYC’s Best Running Spots

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
111-01 Corona Ave.
Flushing, NY 11368
(718) 760-6565
www.nycgovparks.org/

Hours: daily – 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Runners are advised not to use the facility after dark.

For a scenic run that features some of the borough’s most iconic sites, head to Flushing Meadows Park for a 2.5-mile loop that offers glimpses of Citi Field, the Queens Museum, Zoo and Hall of Science, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and the Unisphere. Parking is available at locations throughout the park, or take the 7 train to Willets Point/Mets Stadium.

Related: Best Outdoor Activities in NYC

van cortlandt park The 5 Best Scenic Running Paths Outside Manhattan

Van Cortlandt Park (Photo courtesy NYC Department of Parks & Recreation)

Van Cortlandt Park
1 Bronx River Parkway
Bronx, NY 10471
(718) 430-1890
www.nycgovparks.org/

Hours: park daily – 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.; trails and wooded areas close at sunset

The nature trails at Van Cortlandt Park are as far removed from city life as a New York runner can get. There are several short, rugged trails, but the gem of this park is the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail, which leads all the way up to Tibbets Brook Park in Yonkers. It can be as long as a 7-mile run, depending on where you turn back, or if you veer off onto any of the side trails. Limited parking is available north of 242nd Street and Broadway. Take the 1 train to 242nd Street instead.

astoria park The 5 Best Scenic Running Paths Outside Manhattan

(credit: NYC GO)

Astoria Park
19th Street (between Astoria Park South and Ditmars Boulevard)
Queens, New York
(718) 626-8620
www.nycgovparks.org/

Hours: open 24/7

On the East River between the Triborough Bridge and Hell Gate bridge, Astoria Park’s shoreline makes it a perfect place to run year round. Take in more than 50 green acres on one of the city’s most serene shorelines. Park for free on the north side of 25th Road between 21st and 18th streets.

Michael Browne is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City, specializing in travel and the hospitality industry. Browne is the former managing editor of Travel Agent magazine. His work can be found on Examiner.com.


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