I'll be traveling in New York City during the marathon. How should I plan around that event? I assume that getting to and around the neighborhoods that the course passes through will be challenging by any means except subway. Should I plan to avoid those areas entirely, or does the city mostly continue to function as normal on that day? If I need to be at a specific place at a fixed time, should I keep fairly close by, to ensure that I can get back in time?

I am not really interested in watching the marathon, and I'd prefer to keep my distance from massive crowds. If it's possible to get around and to the usual points of interest (or whatever latest, hippest, off-path spots) without too much trouble, I'd like to do that.

(I think the question can apply somewhat broadly as I've asked it, but I realize some may disagree. In my particular case, I have half a day to spend before I depart from LGA. The course map for 2013 is linked from here, for reference.)

  • 4
    Welcome to travel.SE. Are you traveling on the day of the Marathon and what are your specific concerns and where are you travelling to and from. NYPD have never closed the entire city down for the event and once runners pass through a particular area roads are reopened.
    – Karlson
    Oct 18, 2013 at 18:47
  • Thank you for the welcome, Karlson. As mentioned, I am trying to plan my day, so don't know yet where I'll be, apart from LGA as noted. I do realize the whole city isn't closed down; it's why I mentioned the neighborhoods that the course passes through. LessPop seems to have understood my concerns in his answer below, but thanks for trying to clarify.
    – Kimberly
    Oct 20, 2013 at 2:03

1 Answer 1


Leave yourself extra time to get to the airport. Other than that, unless one point of your journey is on Staten Island, or literally along the course route, you probably won't even notice the Marathon.

NYC is a huge city. The Marathon is a big event - and as you've noticed, the course sprawls all over town - but because of the somewhat mobile nature of the marathon crowds, it tends to not be as big of a deal as some make it out to be.

In terms of tourist attractions, anything south of 59th street in Manhattan is going to be 100% unaffected by the Marathon. Which is a chunk of the city that contains, if not most of the tourist sites in the city overall, certainly the largest single portion of the cities sites of tourist interest in an area of it's geographic size. Really, the Marathon doesn't really hit much of tourist interest at all. Other than it's jaunt through Williamsburg along Bedford Ave. (if you're interested in shopping or brunching with the hipster-set), and the run down the UES/East side of Central Park (with the various museums along that path), the Marathon largely stays out of NYC's tourist districts.

As far as getting to the airport - the loss of the Queensboro Bridge hurts. Especially if your destination airport is LGA and you're headed there from Midtown Manhattan or the UES - it's a favorite of cabbies for the lack of a toll, and of course, any traffic it would normally carry is probably being redirected to the Midtown Tunnel. But it's far from the end of the world - give yourself a little bit of additional time (I'd say an extra hour to be safe, but you can cut that down the later in the day you need to go) and you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

  • Great! This is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for, especially the bridge, the extra time for a cab, and the point about lower Manhattan. I later had the idea to dig further on the marathon site, and found the schedule for volunteers tearing down aid stations, so I have a rough idea of when roads will re-open. I feel much better informed now. Thank you so much!
    – Kimberly
    Oct 20, 2013 at 2:10
  • Just a note: 'Lower Manhattan' tends to very specifically refer to the extreme downtown areas of the city, south of Canal Street (or, some people WHO ARE WRONG, would argue, south of 14th st.). The area south of 59th st. comprises all of Midtown and Downtown. Oct 20, 2013 at 3:51

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