Running Broadway from tip to tail

I decided to run all of Manhattan’s Broadway last night, starting at 225th Street in the Bronx, over the Broadway Bridge, down the spine of the Manhattan, through Columbus Circle, and down to Battery Park.

At the beginning of 2015, I had this side goal of running all the streets of Manhattan. I didn’t get it done in a year, but I’m mostly run from the top of the island down to Central Park.

I’m into the sane part of urban planning where it’s mostly a grid. I run one street east, get to a river, then go down a block and run the next street west until I reach another river. That takes care of the latitudes but misses the longitudes. I haven’t worried about those because I pushed off the north-south streets for big runs like tonight. I’ll run all of Broadway tonight and the other avenues other nights.

Going from North to South seems the way to go. The bottom is sea level and the top is on a hill.


Starting in the Bronx

The first major sight is the George Washington Bridge, although from Broadway it’s nothing to look at. Down the street you can just make out some of the lights. Otherwise, it’s a highway overpass.


The George Washington Bridge

From there I tick off the blocks in groups of ten. I make it to 170, 160, and so on to 110. Most of that is slowly chugging up big hills. It was a bit above freezing but I was sweating with no hat or gloves and a thin, long sleeve tech shirt.

That puts me level with the top of Central Park even though I’m still several blocks west of it. Broadway will parallel the park until the 60s where it turns to make the angle across Midtown.

When I got to Columbus Circle, I paused for a snack and reset RunKeeper on my phone. I’ve tried it with long runs before and it tends to get unhappy and slow over 10 miles. I was also carrying a spare battery / flashlight combination, but I had plenty of juice left. Now I had to run the bottom half, which is mostly downhill.


So far the run was mostly lonely and quite. Below the park and through Times Square. It’s bright and busy. It has bike lanes suitable for running, which feels better on my feet than all the concrete so far.


Stephen Colbert’s Show


Times Square

With the horror of Times Square behind me, it was quiet for a bit. The 30s and 20s are deserted. The Flatiron Building is dark and unlit.


The Flatiron Building

At Union Square, which still has some snow, Broadway stops it’s diagonal path.


Union Square still has snow

Then it’s the Canyon of Heroes, where the dates of ticker tape parades are noted in the pavement.


Canyon of Heroes

Since I’m running backward in time, the first ribbons I run over celebrate sports teams. Then veterans. But in the post-war period it’s foreign leaders, adventurers, and lifesavers.


New York Yankees

But, no tourists.


No Tourists

I stop at some construction to note the strata under the street—alternating layers of dirt and paving stones. And, busted up pipes that are probably as old as Trinity Church.


Layers of road

Getting to the Bull means I’m almost done. Curiously, this is a bit of guerrilla art that the city adopted and made permanently “temporary” and has it under constant police guard since Occupy Wall Street.


The Charging Bull


The Bull and I

The Dutch flag marks the spot of the original Dutch fort.


The flag of the Netherlands

And, then it’s the Customs House on Bowling Green. That’s the end of Broadway, all 15 miles of it.


The Customs House

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.