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Where to Watch the Marathon

The first New York City Marathon was held in 1970 in Central Park with just 127 entrants. It’s come a long way. On November 4, tens of thousands of runners will compete in the world's largest marathon, which now snakes around the five boroughs. Ike Tucker – with the New York Running Company by JackRabbit at The Shops at Columbus Circle – gave us his picks for the top viewing spots. Ready, set, go!


Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
The big watch word is “transportation.” Most of the best viewing spots are by transit hubs that offer multiple lines of transportation, including Atlantic Avenue — near Mile 8. The race takes a big right-hand turn by the Brooklyn Academy of Music. There are three color-coded starts in the marathon, and this is where everyone starts to merge and slow down a bit. There’s usually a marching band.


Queensboro Bridge, Queens
Right at the foot of the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City is another spot that’s easily accessible. Everyone makes a sweeping turn here before they go onto the bridge. The photography options are cool, with the grittiness of the warehouses in the foreground.


First Avenue, Manhattan
If you want to be an all-star spectator, head to First Avenue between 96th and 106th Streets. It tends to be quiet. For a runner, when you get to 90th Street, the crowds start to peter out. By 96th Street, it’s like, “Where did everyone go?” Just before Mile 18, there’s a hill with a great view down First Avenue of all the runners.


Central Park
If you want to see a family member close to the finish line and don’t have finish-line passes, which need to be secured ahead of time, we strongly encourage people to stay on the west side of Columbus Circle. Also, it’s easy to shoot up Broadway to meet runners as they come out at 72nd and 86th Streets


The Shops at Columbus Circle
Our pick for the best public indoor space: The Shops at Columbus Circle. You have beautiful sight lines of all the runners coming up Central Park South. Plus, if the weather is poor, it’s a great place to escape the elements.


New York Running Company by JackRabbit
Whether you’re a first-time runner or a marathon veteran, New York Running Company by JackRabbit wants to cheer you on. Stop by the Columbus Circle store the day after the big race for Marathon Recovery Monday, with brands giving advice on how to bounce back. With that kind of support, everyone’s a winner.

Photo credits:
Queensboro Bridge, right: Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr
First Avenue, both: Erik Van Ingen
NY Running Company Cheer Zone, both: Erik Van Ingen
The Shops at Columbus Circle, left: Alex Barth/Flickr
The Shops at Columbus Circle, right: massmatt/Flickr

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