Best Spots in Manhattan to Watch the Marathon
Manhattan, Miles 16-18
Runners pour off the Queensboro Bridge at 59th St. and head up First Avenue. There’s a block party at 62nd St. with a DJ, Jumbotron, and local marching band churning out NYC-inspired music to inspire the runners on their final 10.2 miles. Take the Q, 4, 5, 6 to 59th St./Lexington Ave. stop.
There are plenty of places to eat along First Avenue and the side streets.
- One of my favorites is British pub Jones Wood Foundry on 76th between First and York. Order their signature fish and chips.
NYCOTC Tip –
If you stay on the west side of First Ave., it will easier to walk west toward Central Park to watch the finish, or even just back to the subway.
Since you will not be permitted to cross First Avenue above 59th Street during the race, you would have to walk downtown to 59th in order to cross.
Manhattan – Miles 20-21
After traveling up to East Harlem, runners briefly cross into the Bronx.
Take the 6 to the 110th Street stop to be at one of the route’s least packed areas, also infamous for race fatigue. There’s an official block party here with local DJs, a drumline and a Daybreaker dance scene to help runners and spectators alike maintain energy levels.
- There’s also an entertainment zone at Marcus Garvey Park.
- Unlike the runners, you can head over to Red Rooster or the legendary Sylvia’s in Harlem for a gospel brunch. Be sure to make reservations.
Manhattan – Miles 23 to Finish Line
The finish like is at West 67th Street and West Drive, near Tavern on the Green. But don’t expect to get up close and personal.
Non-runners are not allowed in the finish line area without advance tickets for Grandstand seating.
Simply, the further you are from the last few hundred feet, the better your access will be.
As we said at the top of this page, Mile 25, where the runners enter the park for the home stretch, at Duke Ellington Circle, is my top choice location to cheer them on with screams of “Almost there!’ and “you can do it!’. Take the 2 or 3 to 110th St.
After the NYC Marathon
If you know a runner, use the TCS New York City Marathon App to find them at the end of the race.
You should be making reservations now for your celebration dinner, since many restaurants, especially those close to the end of the race on the Upper West Side, will be mobbed with people wearing NYC Marathon medals and wrapped in crinkly heat-trapping silver blankets, like walking baked potatoes.
- A good bet is Cafe Fiorello a few blocks from the finish line, at Broadway and 60th St., for exhausted runners to refuel on carb-loaded pastas. They offered a special 10-ounce portion of pasta for $25 all weekend in 2018.
What’s your favorite spot to watch and cheer the runners in the annual NYC Marathon?
This was posted originally in 2012 and is updated annually.