2013 New York City Marathon in Central Park

The ING New York City Marathon has a very close relationship with Central Park.

Finish LineThe original Marathon, run in 1970, took place entirely in the park.  Runners covered over four grueling loops of the park, including the daunting hills at the northern end, and out of the 127 that entered only 55 actually completed the course.  Now, after wending its way through all five boroughs, the race enters the park at E. 90th Street. and Fifth Ave. and, after a brief sprint outside along Central Park South, finishes at Tavern on the Green.  (For  an in depth look at the course go to the ING New York City Marathon Site.)

For spectators Central Park also offers one of the best places for watching the race.  While being cheered on by the over two million fans anywhere along the course is exhilarating and inspiring and few runners ever forget the thrill of running along First Avenue. in Manhattan and being urged on by the screaming throngs (especially the ones that have spent the afternoon in one of the many bars that line the avenue) it is along the last few miles inside the park that the encouragement is most appreciated.

As you might imagine the finish line is bit crowded and you actually have to purchase tickets watch the runners cross the finish line.  However the east side of the park, from 90th Street. down, offers lots of great places to view the race and cheer on the runners.  There are just a few simple suggestions that might be worth remembering.

1)  Stay behind the barricades – they’re there for the runner’s protection as well as your own.  There is nothing quite as heartbreaking as getting to mile 24 only to trip over a spectator stepping out onto the park drive.

2)  Get an ETA if you’re waiting for a specific runner – you can usually predict with some degree of accuracy by taking the runner’s projected pace and multiply by the mile marker you’re nearest.

3)  What to bring – individually wrapped hard candy is a favorite, sugar helps even near the end, and you can make yourself extremely useful just by bringing a roll of paper towels and passing them out to runners as they go by.  After sweating and swilling water on the run for a few hours things can get pretty soggy.

4)  The New York Road Runner’s Club and the thousands of volunteers do a brilliant job helping runners reunite with friends and family.  Besides being proud and sore at the end of the race participants are HUNGRY.  A pat on the back is appreciated – a bag of Fritos and you’re a hero.

5)  If you can’t find the time to attend the race, or are not near enough, you can always follow your favorite runner’s progress over the internet.  You can track up to ten different runners on the New York Road Runners Website.  All you need is the number of the microchip that each runner wears on their shoe.  With that information you can tell every time the runner you’re tracking crosses over one of the mats along the route.

In any case it’s important to get out and give any support that you can – marathon runners spend many months training and, in some cases, travel from all over the world to participate in the New York Marathon.  You can miss brunch and NFL football one Sunday.  Especially if you’re a Jets fan.

Ice Skating in Central Park

Ice skating in Central Park is easily one of the most picturesque activities to be enjoyed on a winter’s night. Unlike the somewhat overwhelming confines of the Rockefeller Center rink you can actually see stars at the Wollman and Lasker rinks. Feel the cold tingle of New York’s crisp winter air, listen to the music, and take in the incomparable surroundings as you glide (gracefully or not so) around either of Central Park’s ice rinks.

Wollman Rink

Wollman Rink

Wollman Rink was built in 1949 when Kate Wollman donated $600,000 for its construction. In the 1980’s, it was renovated, and is now run, by Donald Trump. It has been a success from the day it opened – over 300,000 skaters glided across the ice in its first year of operation. For more information about Wollman Rink, including rates, hours of operation, and lesson information, either call 212-439-6900.

Lasker Skating Rink, at the northern end of the park, offers a full complement of lessons and activities with certified instructors. For more information about Lasker Skating Rink, including rates, hours of operation, and lesson information, either call 917.492.3856 or email them at lasker@wollmanskatingrink.com.

Wollman Rink, east side between 62nd and 63rd Streets. Enter the Park at 59th and 5th Avenue.

Lasker Rink, mid-Park between 106th and 108th Streets. Enter the Park at 110th and Lenox Avenue.

New Year’s Eve Midnight Run & Fireworks in Central Park

The Annual Emerald Nuts Midnight Run is ready to kick off again this year at Midnight New Year’s Eve.  It should be another memorable party!

New Year's Eve Run

Emerald Nuts Midnight Run – Saturday, December 31 / DJ Music and Dancing • 10:00 p.m. / Costume Parade and Contest • 11:00 p.m. / Fireworks and 4M Race • Midnight / Central Park, New York / C, $ [Key]

Kick off the New Year with a spectacular fireworks and laser light show at the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run! Join the fun and celebrate with a costume parade, dancing. Also, don’t forget to enter our Emerald Nuts contest, the Nuttiest Exercising Experience, for the chance to win a $200 gift basket of Emerald Nuts snack and gear. Scroll down for more details.

Please direct any questions to reghelp@nyrr.org

Party Location

Dancing and the costume contest will be held at the Central Park Bandshell, just south of the 72nd Street Transverse in Central Park, New York. The closest entrance is at Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street.


All courses are subject to change. Check back here the day before the race for final confirmation.

Start on the 72nd Street Transverse heading east. Turn left (north) on East Drive. Continue north to the 102nd Street Transverse. Turn left (west) onto the 102nd St Transverse and turn left (south) onto West Drive. Continue south on West Drive to the 72nd Street Transverse. Turn left (east) onto the 72nd Street Transverse to the finish line near the entrance to Cherry Hill.

Lasker Pool In Central Park – Summer Oasis


Lasker Pool in Central Park.

Need to cool off?  Central Park has its own watery oasis for escaping the summer heat.

Situated between 106th and 108th Streets in mid-park, nestled between loops of the park drive, you’ll find Lasker Rink and Pool. It was constructed in the late 1960’s, made possible by a contribution by the extremely philanthropic (and wealthy) Lasker sisters. While they clearly had the best of intentions, and there is no doubt that the facilities have provided a wonderful boon to the community, the project itself was fought over bitterly for years. It displaced a corner of The Meer and was therefore seen by park purists to be nothing short of desecration. While we may thank the vigilance of concerned citizens and dedicated commissioners for keeping literally dozens of absurd and inappropriate additions from ever coming to fruition (a racetrack and a housing project being just two examples), it is difficult to get too worked up over this installation. Especially if you are close enough to hear the happy screams of landlocked city children splashing about on a hot summer day.

Location: Mid-Park between 106th and 108th Streets

Pool Opens July 1st and closes after Labor Day
Open 7 days a week from 11:00am to 3:00pm and 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Lasker Pool also offers Lap Swimming Mon. – Fri. from 7:00 – 8:30 AM & 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Summer Pool Admission: Free
Bring all your own supplies including a lock
For information: 212-534-7639