Over the past decade, Brooklyn has been dubbed the “hipster” borough of New York City’s five areas, but it has held a long history of cultural significance to the East Coast well before ironic t-shirts and foodie havens were considered neighborhood staples.
Fortunately, for those traveling to Brooklyn for the half marathon, there are plenty of options when choosing where to eat, play, and stay. Plus, everything is very accessible by subway, cab, walking or bike. Few could argue there’s a better time to visit NYC than in the fall. And with this year’s race hitting mid-October, you’ll get to witness the leaves changing in Prospect Park and see how the city transitions from its typical steamy summers into the cool of fall before it hits the holiday season.
Thursday, October 12th
Day one of the Health & Fitness Expo takes place at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on the West Side of Manhattan. It’s where you’ll pick up your race packet and load up on swag before race day. After you’ve stocked up on running gear and supplies, it’s time to explore the city.
Take in a Broadway Play
If you have time in your tightly packed schedule, see a Broadway or off-Broadway play. Hamilton is the most sought after, but there are plenty of other classic favorites you can choose from as well. You just might spot a celebrity in the area. Hollywood actors and actresses have been known to take a break from the silver screen to appear in plays just as Denzel Washington and Viola Davis did in Fences before also starring in the movie.
Eat a Dirty Water Dog
While the nickname sounds less than appetizing, eating a hot dog from a street vendor is about as New York as you can get. You’ll find them on nearly every street corner. For about two dollars a pop, you can get one served up piping hot with your choice of condiments; mustard and sauerkraut are the ones often recommended.
Visit the Museums
The famed 5th Avenue in NYC isn’t only known for luxury penthouses and haute couture stores. The Upper East Side is also home to some of the best museums in the world. One of the most well-known is the Metropolitan Museum of Art or simply, the Met, which is a must visit for any museum lover. It backs up to Central Park and is big enough to take up at least the afternoon to view all the galleries and special exhibits on display. The Guggenheim Museum is also nearby and can be identified by its all-white, spiral case-style exterior. There are public tours at 2:00pm all days the museum is open. Then, you can cross to Central Park West, if you want to check out the American Museum of Natural History.
Find Treasure at the Brooklyn Flea Market
With over 80 vendors with everything from furniture to clothing to art for sale, you’re sure to find something special at the Brooklyn Flea Market. Even if you decide not to buy, browsing through the different booths is a perfect way to spend the day. Follow it up with a trip over to the Williamsburg waterfront for Smorgasburg. Take your pick from some of New York’s best culinary creations while enjoying the views. You may just stumble across the next big food craze.
Dine at a MICHELIN Star Landmark
One of the arguably best NYC views is from The River Café located Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass or Dumbo. It’s been a longstanding culinary experience where a dress code is enforced and reservations are highly recommended. Think about booking a table now because the restaurant takes them as far as one year in advance.
Friday, October 13
Day two of the Expo commences and while you’re back in Manhattan, check off a few more to-dos from your list and then make your way over to Brooklyn to explore!
Drink a beer at the oldest tavern in NYC
McSorley’s near the East Village is a low-key bar known for drawing famous writers and artists alike who lived in the area at the time. You only have two options for beer when you head into this bar, light or dark, and they come to you two at a time.
Pay Respects at the 9/11 Tribute Center
The place of Ground Zero during the tragic 9/11 attacks is now an outdoor plaza and accompanying museum where you can learn about the history of that fateful day and how the area has evolved since. Lower Manhattan is easy to navigate, so you can also take a walk down Wall Street and stop by South Street Seaport where you’ll find plenty of places to eat.
Bike Over the Brooklyn Bridge
You can always hop in a cab or take the walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn, but if you rent a bike, it’s easy to glide on by people stopping for pictures. Plus, you can keep the rental to explore the rest of the borough on wheels. But take your time and enjoy the beautiful views you’ll get of the NYC skyline when you cross over.
Grab a Slice of Brick-oven Pie
Looking for that perfect sauce-to-crust ratio? You will find it in Brooklyn, home to some of the best pizza on the planet. Be sure to stop at Grimaldi’s when you cross the bridge. Founded in 1941, the legendary pizzeria serves up brick-oven pies, calzones, and a selection of adult beverages. For the perfect Neapolitan pie, look no further than Di Fara Pizza. Each ultra-thin slice has that impeccable parmesan zing and just enough charred dough to keep you nibbling long after all hunger pangs fade.
Explore the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
There’s always something new blooming at the botanic garden, a 52-acre garden in the middle of the city. Take a tour, walk through the exhibits, or just breathe in the beauty of the space. You can easily spend an entire day hanging out here, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Ride the Line to Coney Island
The F, D, N, and Q trains will run all the way to Coney Island in Brooklyn where you can learn about the history of the area and visit Luna Park, if you want to ride the roller coasters or hop aboard a horse on the carousel. There are also plenty of carnival games to play and places to get a casual meal.
Saturday, October 14
Race day! The race begins at 7:00am Saturday morning, so make sure you give yourself enough time to head over to the starting line. Afterwards, enjoy the free concert where the race ends in Prospect Park. Stay tuned to find out who’ll be headlining for this year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll race.