I was recently blessed with the opportunity to travel to New York City. It was a busy trip with work taking up 9 of my 12 days there. I did manage to get in some pretty tourist stuff.
When I went to Vienna and had a short visit I discovered Running Tours, they are like a Walking Tour, or Segway Tour, but instead of strolling, your guide shows up at your hotel room with running shoes on, and the adventure it on. I contact New York City Running Tours to set up a 6 mile run for sightseeing, and training for the Seattle Half Marathon. Although I felt safe the entire time I was in NYC, it isn’t really the best place to take off on a run, and hope you don’t get lost. I had already run up 7th Avenue through Time Square to Central Park: a straight shot out and back from my hotel. Tackling Wall Street, the WTC Memorial area, and the Brooklyn Bridge was something else entirely.
I set up my tour to start at 6am on my day off. My guide, Catie showed up right on time. We jumped on the Subway, which I hadn’t ridden yet, and we were off. During the subway ride Catie started to fill me on the background history of NYC, and I was amazed at how well she knew the dates, and people. She is an architect by education, so her knowledge of how the city was built, and the history of individual buildings was amazing. We got off the Subway near Battery Park, and within minutes we were running along the waterfront with views of New Jersey, and off in the still dark morning (we departed the hotel at 6am) the Statue of Liberty looking out over the New York Harbor.
We cut into the city and headed towards Wall Street, and ran past the Bull that used as a placing shot in so many movies. Over my entire trip I was constantly reminded how many movies are set in New York, and how even thought it was my first trip, I had seen so many of the sites repeatedly, I felt like I have been there before. A quick stop on Wall Street, a 5 minute history lesson, and we were off again. Catie did a great job of keeping a pace that was comfortable for me. All the along the way she had tidbits of information, and facts about the city, the people, and the character of the city. As buildings came into view through the long canyons created by the buildings, she would point out the ones of interest, and fill me in on who built it, and how tall it was.
Next thing I knew, we were headed on the Brooklyn Bridge, which has an amazing history, and is so recognizable thanks to its hundreds of appearance on TV and the movies. As we got onto the bridge and looked back the sun was rising over the city, and there was a beautiful mix of clouds and clear skies that made it unforgettable. We stopped for a few quick snapshots, and we were off again. I wanted to run backwards so I could keep staring at the skyline and the sunrise.
We dropped down into Dumbo and snaked out way over to the Williamsburg Bridge where we headed back towards Manhattan. Within a few minutes we were headed up Canal street. I was really struck by the change in architecture from neighborhood to neighborhood. Catie did a great job of explaining the actual geology of the area and how it directly impacts the architecture of the neighborhoods.
Although we covered six and a half miles, I felt like we only ran two or three. It seemed so quick and I found myself regretting not having signed up for a ten miler. Although, I doubt my knee would have allowed me to go much further, it has been a little finicky since my eight mile run on the Birk-Gilman Trail.
Within a couple of hours, the picture Catie took were in my inbox. I had such a great time, I called Michael and requested that we set up another run before I headed home. I had a specific place I wanted to go, and he was more than happy to accommodate my request. On Friday, Catie was back at my hotel with a custom route for us. The weather was sprinkling rain, and I appreciated that she gave me to option to call the shots, as I hadn’t brought gear for running in the rain. This time we headed straight north up 8th Avenue towards Central Park. The rain picked up a bit as we headed north, which was making me nervous. I didn’t want to get soaked, and cold, as I haven’t been the 100% healthy recently. After a short stop at the Columbus Circle, and an overview of the history of the park, we were off into the park. Within a couple of minutes of getting into the park, it started to pour down rain. Catie took action and we headed into the center of the park. The rain let up as soon as we turned. We ran into some of the less lit, and less traveled paths and places In the park, and again Catie’s knowledge of the history of the area was astounding.
We continued through the center of the park, hitting the Mall, the Loeb Boat house, and the Weather Station. Soon we were running up the east side of the park on 5th Avenue after a quick stop to look at the outside of The Met.
Before I knew it, we had covered another another mile or so, and suddenly we transitioned from Central Park to Harlem. I had asked to visit the Memorial Plaque for the Savoy Ballroom on Lenox Avenue, in Harlem. The Savoy Ballroom was the birthplace of the Lindy Hop in the 1920’s. I have been dancing Lindy and many other Swing dances that originate with the Lindy Hop since 1998, and although the ballroom hasn’t been there since 1958, and it is now apartments, a visit to the plaque had been on my bucket list for many years.
I highly recommend New York City Running Tours. It is a fabulous way to see the city, with top notch guides, and wonderful personalized customer service! I am looking forward to my next trip to New York, and my next running tour!