I have lots of favorite places to run, and one that is always near the top of the list is Central Park, and in particular, the running path around the Central Park Reservoir.
When I lived in NYC, the reservoir was the site for my daily run. Unlike running in the ‘burbs, or the country, there are not a lot of route options for running in Manhattan unless you like stopping for streetlights every 1/0 of a mile. So, people generally run along one of the rivers or in the park. I always chose the park.
I honestly cannot imagine what NYC would be like were it not for Central Park. Kudos to those who set aside the land and preserved it, because the city would simply not be as livable without it. Anyone who has not visited Central Park probably cannot imagine it, but it is possible to feel alone in Central Park (and I don’t mean just in the scary way). It is massive – over 800 acres – and it has many areas that are intentionally left wild – large rocks, brambles, overgrown brush and trees. It is really cool to experience a bit of wilderness in the heart of such a big city.
When you are in the middle of Central Park, you can really can lose sight of the fact that you are in the middle of a large city (provided you avoid looking up at the huge buildings lining the edges of the park), especially on weekends, when most of the roadways are closed to automobile traffic.
Toward the upper middle of the park lies a reservoir, now called the “Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir,” that has a 1.5 mile running track surrounding it. My regular run while in NYC has always included at least one loop on the path around the reservoir. It is a beautiful spot, and my favorite part has always been taking a turn at the northernmost point and then heading south, which gives a great view of the beautiful old buildings lining Central Park South and the skyscrapers of midtown behind them. Despite having run this same loop hundreds – possibly even thousands – of times, I never fail to feel a sense of awe when I make that turn and see that skyline. Never. And I can’t imagine that I’ll ever tire of it. Where else in the world can you run on a tree lined path along a placid body of water and see such an iconic city skyline? If there is such another place, I certainly haven’t found it.