TCS New York City Marathon Sunday is a citywide thrill for more than a million fans who line the course to cheer on the 50,000 runners throughout the five boroughs. Like the runners, spectators need to prepare, plan, pace themselves, and be ready for anything.
Experience everything the five boroughs have to offer while you’re in town for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon! Visit nycgo.com for official information about the restaurants, shops, and attractions that can be found in the neighborhoods along the course.
The best way to catch your runner two or three times—at different spots along the course—is to take the subway; just buy a MetroCard in advance because the lines will be long on November 6; use the MTA Trip Planner for up-to-date schedules.
Best Spots to Watch on the Course
Catch all the action, and your favorite runners, by standing and cheering along the course. Here are some super locations where you can get a great view and enjoy the local scene in and around Central Park:
First Avenue, Manhattan (Miles 16-18): First Avenue is known for being packed with spectators who line the sidewalks and shout encouragement at deafening levels. The avenue’s many bars and restaurants contribute to the festive atmosphere. Fans can run in and out of establishments without missing a beat. Subway: 4, 5, 6, N, Q, R
East Harlem (Miles 18-20): Also known as Spanish Harlem, this neighborhood is home to a vibrant Latino community and provides fantastic music on race day. Runners fear hitting the dreaded “wall” here and in the coming hilly miles, so this is a perfect location to cheer your heart out to help keep the motivation high. Subway: 5
Fifth Avenue, East 90th Street-East 105th Street (Miles 23-24): Along the east side of Central Park, this stretch of Fifth Avenue includes the Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum, the National Academy Museum, El Museo del Barrio, and the Museum of the City of New York. It’s a cultural hub as well as a crucial spot to catch your runners before they enter Central Park. Subway: 4, 5, 6
Team for Kids Manhattan Cheer Post: Fifth Avenue at East 106th Street. Subway: 4, 5, 6
United Stage: Columbus Circle. Subway: A, C, B, D, 1
The final miles take runners through Central Park and to the famous finish at 67th Street on West Drive. To see the final yards of the race, you’ll need to buy a Grandstand Seating ticket in advance.
Central Park West, south of West 66th Street
The post-finish area in and near Central Park (north of the finish line) is a runners-only zone that’s off-limits to spectators. Runners can reunite with friends and family to begin their celebration in the Family Reunion area. It’ll be open from 12:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Select a letter (in advance) to help you reunite with your family and friends; we suggest the first letter of the runner’s last name. Enter the Family Reunion from Broadway at the cross-street that correlates with the letter you’ve chosen. Please note that everyone entering Family Reunion will be subject to bag inspection and screening.
Alternatively, you can choose a local restaurant, bar, or hotel to be your meeting spot. A finish map will be available on the TCS New York City Marathon website, in the race packet that runners receive at the expo, and in the TCS New York City Marathon Mobile App Powered by Tata Consultancy Services.
On race day, use the app to check your runner’s progress. If you are unsure whether your runner has finished, call the Runner Information Hotline at 800.496.6193 and key in your runner’s race number when prompted. Be aware that cellular saturation may prevent you from using your phone in the post-finish area, so plan a time and location to meet up with your runner and don’t assume you will be able to reach him/her by phone.
Spectator Guidelines and Tips
From mile 3 to mile 26, the majority of the course is open to spectators. Yell yourself hoarse and have a blast—here’s how:
Before the Race
Get the app. If you’re planning to cheer for your runner from multiple locations, track their progress using the TCS New York City Marathon Mobile App Powered by Tata Consultancy Services.
Tell your runner where on the course you’ll be, so they know when to expect your support!
Along the Course
Don’t stop cheering. All runners—not just yours—need and appreciate encouragement. Make sure they can hear you! Look at their shirts and race bibs and greet them by name, number, or country.
Stay behind the blue tape or barricades and leave the roadway open for runners.
Make signs, bring flags, and cheer on runners. But leave the amp at home. Unofficial use of speakers is not permitted in New York City.
Stick to the streets. Spectators aren’t allowed on any of the bridges on the course.
Be respectful of private property. Don’t obstruct access to buildings or leave trash or signs behind.
Portable toilets are for registered runners only.
At the Finish
The race finishes at 67th Street on West Drive. Spectators can access the final approach to the finish in two ways:
Grandstand Seating: Tickets are required and are available for $75 at the Expo, Pavilion, and tcsnycmarathon.org prior to race day. On race day, purchase tickets at the West 63rd Street entrance to Central Park.
Standing Spectator Area: Located inside Central Park from Columbus Circle to the south end of the grandstands, approximately 500 feet before the finish. NYPD, NYRR, and the NYC Parks Department may limit access at times, based on capacity. No chairs or seats are provided or allowed. There is no spectator access north of the grandstands in Central Park.
Entertainment and Cheer Zones
Race partners create designated entertainment and cheer zones to help the crowd encourage runners. Many are equipped with sign-making supplies, noisemakers, and pompons, so you can have fun while you watch for your runners. You may find giveaways, video screens, bands, or DJs at these zones to keep you pumped up.