The energy surrounding the New York City Marathon is indescribable, you simply have to be there. Lucky for you, experiencing the Marathon couldn’t be easier (running it is another story entirely). Maybe the most spectator-friendly race in the world, there’s really not a bad seat in the house to take in the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6 (at 8:30am), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t superlative places from which to spectate.
If your idea of a good marathon-watching time is cheering on an abundance of still-upbeat runners, rise early and plop yourself down in Bay Ridge. Fresh off the race’s start in Staten Island, marathoners empty off of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and onto 4th Avenue. Along this corridor, which marks the race’s 3rd and 4th miles, exuberant runners are still liable to shout back words of thanks to encouraging fans, for a uniquely validating experience.
Most Eccentric Supporters:
For a quintessentially Brooklyn take on cheering sections, there’s no better place to stand than Fort Greene’s Fulton & Lafayette intersection near mile 8. The standard roar of humanity is accompanied by an eclectic symphony of local musicians wailing on bagpipes and banging rhythmically on upturned buckets.
Most Likely to Brunch:
Perhaps you like the idea of the marathon, but would prefer to chow down on an order of eggs benedict as the runners whiz past. If this notion speaks to you, then Bedford Avenue in North Williamsburg is where you need to be. As you sit and brunch, enjoy the sounds and ambiance of the race unfolding at mile 11, without worrying about making room for yourself on the busy sidewalk outside.
To contribute your own vocal chords’ output to the loudest section of the course, you want to position yourself on the 1st Avenue Corridor in Manhattan, which spans from mile 16 to mile 20 in the Upper East Side. Once runners veer off of the Queensboro Bridge, look for a bit of pep to return to their step as they encounter what’s often described as “a wall of sound.” Large excited crowds, coupled with reverberating effects from the canyon of buildings really up the decibel levels at this favorite cheering spot.
Most Appreciative Runners:
The race only ventures into the Bronx for about a mile (the beauty of the course is that it touches all five boroughs), but that mile is crucial for the average marathoner’s morale. Mile 21 stretches across the Bronx’s 138th Street, and marks the point where many runners hit the infamous “wall” of fatigue. This section is traditionally less spectator dense, so any fan who ventures that far north to cheer will certainly be met with exhausted but extremely grateful nods from the athletes.
Greatest Discrepancy in Runner Enthusiasm:
Before its finish in Central Park, the marathon veers just outside onto Central Park South. 25 miles in, it’s remarkable how easily runners can be sorted into one of two camps: poor bone-tired souls willing their legs to continue, and those who are buoyed by the imminent conclusion of their toil and pick up their pace toward the finish. Regardless, it’s safe to say cheering is much appreciated at this final point in the race by all competitors, and it’s truly inspiring to see the wide range of humanity that completes this enormous feat