Here's How To Run, And Drink, Your Way Through New York City Like A Local
For the first time since September, I came to work today in nothing but a t-shirt and sweater.
It's official, spring is knocking on the door. And while it hasn't been anywhere near the toughest winter in recent memory, I for one am more than ready to let Mother Nature in.
For some, the first sign of warm weather means rooftop bar season is in full effect, and it's like a second job to grab post-work drinks at every outdoor establishment known to man.
For others, the thaw of winter signals the return of outdoor athletic activities. Now, it's all about getting out, exploring and running laps around your city. And, of course, ending up at one of the many outdoor drinking establishments your town has to offer.
When it comes to running, and drinking, I can think of few places better than the five boroughs of New York City. You may not equate a concrete jungle with a runner's paradise, but an in-depth look at all New York City has to offer will reveal an extraordinary variety of trails and paths... that all lead to an awesome spot to get a post-run drink.
Here's your guide to running New York City like a boss.
Hudson River Greenway
The Run: Blazing this roughly 12-mile trail will allow you to pretty much see the entire west side of Manhattan. The surface is pretty flat and you get unbelievable views running along the Hudson River.
The Reward: Outdoor drinks on a docked boat at The Frying Pan.
The Run: Everyone is familiar with Manhattan's Central Park, but that doesn't make it any less of a runner's delight. You can run the park's entire 6-mile circumference, pick up breathtaking scenes of the city and take a break on the Great Lawn or East Meadow.
The Reward: Get your swank on at The Loeb Boathouse Central Park.
The Run: One of the most historic sites in not just New York City but the entire world, the Brooklyn Bridge offers runners a 1-mile stretch like no other. Suspended above the East River, the route provides the views as well as an easy connection between Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The Reward: New Zealand meets Manhattan at Nelson Blue.
The Run: You can run Brooklyn's Prospect Park via a 3.68-mile track around the perimeter of the park, or you can take in picture-perfect views of the lake on a shorter, 1.76-mile run.
The Reward: Test your palate with rotating draft beers at The Double Windsor.
East River Promenade
The Run: An approximately 1.5-mile run on Manhattan's east side, the East River Promenade will take you alongside the FDR and give you some awesome views of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The Reward: The laughs and drinks flow freely at Old Man Hustle.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The Run: There are a variety of paths to run and sights to see in Queens' Flushing Meadows Park. After you finish, you can watch some soccer and snack on a delicious empanada or two... or six. Those things are addictive.
The Reward: Bomb tacos and margaritas at Tu Cocina Restaurant Bar.
Van Cortlandt Park
The Run: With 3-mile and 5-mile loops, Van Cortlandt Park is one of the country's top-ranking cross-country circuits. There are fitness stations situated in the park's Parade Ground as well as a shorter track in Van Cortlandt Stadium.
The Reward: Pub grub and craft beers await at Bronx Alehouse.
Staten Island Boardwalk
The Run: A 2.5-mile stretch on Midland Beach, the Staten Island Boardwalk will offer you sites few New Yorkers actually go and see. The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge provides the backdrop, while you'll also get views of the army base at Fort Hamilton.
The Reward: Get your neighborhood pub feel on at Lee's Tavern.
The Run: A run around Astoria Park will provide you with sights of the East River and two nearby bridges. In the summer, you can cool off after your run at the Astoria Park Pool, the largest outdoor pool in the five boroughs.
The Reward: Over 150 craft beers are on offer at Mosaic Craft Beer & Wine.
Hunter's Point South Park
The Run: This Queens running ground is a 10-acre park, which will provide awesome views of Manhattan's east side. In addition to the running trail, there are volleyball and basketball courts.
The Reward: Pony up to a spacious, two-level bar offering over 24 beers on tap at Alewife.
The Run: This 1.5-mile trail runs along the Bronx River and, in addition to the track at the park's center, Soundview Park boasts six basketball courts, six handball courts, six baseball fields and numerous biking paths.
The Reward: Rack 'em up at Park Billiards Cafe and Sports Bar.
Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk
The Run: It might be a schlep, but this roughly 3-mile run provides some of the most historically-significant scenery in New York City. As you run along the boardwalk, you'll see the beach and the legendary Cyclone roller coaster.
The Reward: Keep it classic American at Ruby's Bar & Grill.
Fort Greene Park
The Run: While there are quite a few entrances to Fort Greene Park, meaning you can pretty much make your own running route, there's a short fitness path loop guaranteed to take you by the park's famed steps.
The Reward: Gastropub junkies need to look no further than Putnam's Pub & Cooker.
Carl Schurz Park/Bobby Wagner Walk
The Run: In Carl Schurz Park, you can run the Bobby Wagner Walk along the East River. Heading all the way up to 125th street, you'll catch views of the Roosevelt Island lighthouse and Randall's Island.
The Reward: If you're game for a traditional Irish spot that gives free chips with every drink, head over to Ryan's Daughter.
The Run: The High Bridge, which connects the Bronx and Manhattan, is NYC's oldest standing bridge. On the Manhattan side, you'll get picturesque waterfront views and a look at the first aqueduct to provide the city with water.
The Reward: For bomb wines and great food, all the locals know you need to head to Kazza Wine Bar.
The Run: Perfectly situated between Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx, Randall's Island offers runners 5 miles of waterfront paths. Icahn Stadium, located in the northwest of the island, offers an indoor track option.
The Reward: Keep running north to the Bronx to find Charlie's Bar & Kitchen.