Marathon is here! It’s an incredible time as we cheer on all the aspiring runners as they perform a feat that seems unimaginable to me. I’m ready to cheer each one of them on with my cow bell and loud vocals. But where are the best viewing points?
The official course map maps out the entire course and the the official spectator guide give you some great suggestions. In addition, I asked my readers for my favorites and they answered with a lot of fantastic suggestions:
We always watch it at the corner of 92nd street and Fort Hamilton Parkway, right by the Verrazano Bridge, as they get off. Great spot! Get there earlY by 9:00 am!!!
Between Miles 10 and 11 on Bedford Avenue, the course goes through the Satmar Hassidic community before heading into Williamsburg.
Drop anchor at Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues in Brooklyn (mile 8), near the iconic Williamsburg Savings Bank Building, to catch runners making their way up Fourth Avenue. The location is right on top of a transit hub, and plenty of cafés and shops line the route nearby.
FORT GREENE/CLINTON HILL
In Fort Greene, the Brooklyn Academy of Music at Fourth Avenue and Lafayette Avenue is a popular place to view the marathon — there’s an ING Cheering Zone here. This is where the three different streams of runners merge and the lead pack often begins to break up. Farther into Fort Greene on Lafayette Avenue, lots of marathon-day stoop parties go on here.
we watch outside Underwood playground between Washington and Waverly – so we have bathroom access if needed
Lafayette Ave and Cumberland in Fort Greene. One family there DJs outside their brownstone for the crowd – it’s a street party and everyone, including the runners – has a blast dancing to the music and cheering.
Corner of Lafayette and Cumberland is super awesome. block party, dj, dancing and lots and lots of cheering
Vanderbilt. The high school band plays an off version of the Rocky theme song on a loop and I love it!
Ditto on Vanderbilt. I was one of those kids playing an off version of Rocky many years ago.
I always loved the corner of Lafayette and Adelphi (or wherever A Table used to be).
I heard Lafayette & Washington near the church is amazing because the choir serenades the runners!
all along Lafayette in Ft Greene and Clinton Hill is a nice place to see the runners.
The corner of 9th street and 4th avenue. The firetrucks line up to cheer on runners. Everyone’s out with pots and pans. Then you can hop on the N or R up to Columbus Circle area finish line.
we always watch along 4th Ave. We tend to stake out a place anywhere between 12th and 16th. In general, it’s not too crowded and kind of a cool vista. At that stage all the front runners are usually still packed together.
Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg is close to subway stops as well as markets and restaurants for refueling. These stretches are crowded, loud and exciting.
The Marathon, Mile by Mile
Miles 1–2: Staten Island and the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge
Sorry, the start of the race on Staten Island is closed to spectators. Tune in to NBC4 New York for live coverage of the start.
Mile 2: Bay Ridge
Spectators get their first glimpse of runners is the pack comes off the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge. Crowds are relatively sparse here, and the view is spectacular!
Miles 3–8: Fourth Avenue
This five-mile stretch of the race has more than 30 official entertainment spots. Position yourself near one of the bands for double the fun.
Miles 8–9: Fort Greene to Clinton Hill
An official cheering station and the merging of three lanes make the eight-mile mark at the Brooklyn Academy of Music a hot spot for watching the race. Enthusiasm continues up Lafayette Avenue, where crowds can be less dense.
Miles 10–12: Williamsburg
As the race makes a sharp left onto Bedford Avenue, the route crosses South Williamsburg—traditionally a Hassidic Jewish neighborhood—before crossing into the hipster haven of Williamsburg. McCarren Park is a popular vantage point.
Miles 12–13: Greenpoint
Further off the beaten path than Williamsburg, the miles through Greenpoint on both sides of the Pulaski Bridge (which is closed to spectators) are populated by loyal Brooklynites.
Miles 13–15: Queens
The Queens portion of the race has enough onlookers to be exciting, but not so many that you’ll be uncomfortable. Plus, Queensboro Plaza offers easy access back into Manhattan via several subway lines.
Miles 15–16: Queensboro Bridge
Spectators are not permitted on the bridge, but the lead-up to it is a popular spot from which to watch the race.
Miles 16–19: First Avenue
These are some of the most crowded miles of the course, but some say the sight of runners coming off the bridge is worth the six-person-deep crowds. Spectators tend to thin out above 96th Street.
Miles 19–21: Bronx
Only one mile of the marathon course is inthe Bronx. Many runners may hit “the Wall” at this point, and they rely on cheers to carry them through.
Miles 21–23: Harlem and North Central Park
Harlem’s vitality and enthusiasm make it a high-energy place to watch from. You might also see the elite athletes staging breakaways.
Miles 23–24: Fifth Avenue
A slight incline makes this a grueling part of the race for runners. Throngs of spectators provide a much-needed boost.
Miles 24–26.2: Central Park and Central Park South
Crowds will be dense but very enthusiastic inside the park; be prepared to bump elbows with strangers.
Beyond the finish: Upper West Side
If you’re meeting a runner, designate a spot beforehand. The further north you go, the easier it will be to congratulate your tired loved one.