Thursday, July 5, 2012

NYC Running Routes: West Side Highway

So, if any of you have been reading my blog since, oh, April, you would know that I began a series about running routes in NYC. They are some of my more popular posts, so if you care to backtrack, check out running the Queensboro Bridge, running the East River Path, and running beaches in NYC. Throughout the summer I will try to dabble in this series as experience allows. 

Today, I did a barre class, then did a 3 mile run on the West Side Highway! It was an awesome July 5th! After what was maybe my healthiest 4th of July BBQ ever, we spent the night at our friend's house who live along the Hudson River. After a 6:30am barre class with my dear friend Mrs. Gray, I set out to conquer the West Side Highway. I did an out and back from 42nd Street to about 75th Street. If you're thinking about running on this path, check out my experience below!

Name: West Side Highway Bike Path, Hudson River Greenway/Path, Manhattan Waterfront Greenway.
Location: The path runs all the way from the tip of Manhattan to the Bronx (See this site for a clearer explanation of the pathway, see this site for a bike map route) 
Entrance: I entered on 42nd Street and 12th Avenue. Entrances are all along the West Side Highway on 12th Avenue.

The path had very clear signage. In certain portions bikers and runners share the path; in other portions they are (GRATEFULLY) segregated. When heading "downtown" from 42nd Street, the path is mostly shared (A single path instead of the double path in the photo below). If you head uptown, the path is quickly separated and clearly states so.

The running pathway moves away from the crowded West Side Highway. As I moved uptown, the pathway moved closer to the water and further away from the honking taxis. Although the bikers are closer to the highway, a friend suggested using their path in the morning to take advantage of some shade. Shade is VERY limited until you get to the 70's, and even then is sparse in the morning hours. As you move north, the casual pedestrian traffic tends to dissipate and you are left with mostly runners and cyclists.

Bathrooms and water ARE available! This cafe is located near 70th Street, and has public bathrooms. There were also portapotties situated in various locations, perhaps for construction. This is convenient for runners in a tight squeeze! As you move uptown, there are bathrooms and water fountains at major exits such as 72nd street, 96th street, etc.

If you need to get some distance in, run to the George Washington Bridge and find the cool red lighthouse! It's about 5 miles from the 72nd Street entrance to the red lighthouse. It is a beautiful run along the water, and the lighthouse is a good "goal" to run to!!! Remember to take a picture!!! 

There is spectacular art displays that are updated often, including this submarine! There was also a train, a weird skull like sculpture, sitting areas, everything. My run went by so quickly because I was paying so much attention to the new attractions that seemed to be never ending!

Who could forget the INTREPID?! Yes, this amazing boat began and ended my run. It is such an incredible thing to run by, so grand and and majestic. Perfect way to cap off a fabulous July 4th. (Updates coming soon...if you follow me on Twitter, well, you got the photos to tell you about my holiday!)

Verdict: The West Side Highway is a great running route if...
- You can run for a while without water, or carry your own bottles.
- You run early in the morning or in the evening as there isn't much morning shade in the warm months.
- You can run without music to stay aware when being passed by numerous bikers.
- You enjoy art or being entertained while running. 
- You want a generally flat route.
- You like ships, lighthouses and water.

Where do YOU run? Have you run this path? Have you tried anything new lately? TELL ME ABOUT IT! 

121 days until the ING NYC MARATHON!!!


Joanna said...

Beautiful route! There is definitely a lack of running routes where I live. I try to run around my complex or a nearby park. After I have my baby I want to get back into running and now I want to look for better places to run. I'm sure when the scenery is nice, the run is a lot more fun!

Kimberly Hoban, R.D. said...

Looks like so much fun! And still loving this running routes series! :)

Meg O @watchmegorun said...

I'm so jealous, I want to run that route. It looks like so much fun! I haven't ran any new routes recently and I definitely need to. I need to be distracted by sights and I have been staring at the same ones foreverrrrrr