I know it’s not the time of the year yet with our sometimes horrible winter weather. But once spring will be here, get out and back in shape again. So let’s look at some fun runs in Brooklyn.
Prospect Park-The Red hook track run
The Red Hook track run is important for track training. It is a lot shorter than it feels. We run 15th street to Red Hook, come back along Union street, where the group normally disintegrates when crossing 7th avenue. Industrial archeology and brownstone Brooklyn shape this run through near-empty roads.
There’s a full eight-lane 400-meter nearly brand-new rubberized track, just south of Carroll Gardens, just north-west of Park Slope, you can strap on your spikes and burn your lungs out to your pounding heart’s content.
The track is part of a massive, well-maintained City park that includes football/soccer, baseball fields, a community swimming pool, and an indoor gym with an active boxing program. The track is at the corner of Columbia and Bay Streets in Red Hook (south of the Battery Tunnel entrance). Easy exit from the BQE, or take the F or G trains to 9th & Smith Streets. (The subway stop is super-elevated.)
Once on the ground, head one block west to Clinton, south across the busy Hamilton Avenue, then two blocks more south and west. (On your way Clinton will meet Bush – which didn’t happen very often back in the day.)
Prospect Park-Boathouse Loop
The Boathouse Loop is exactly 1.03 miles long, one mile if you cut corners. It has some of the best scenery in the Park. Very useful for training, but it is not flat at all. If you’d rather take a walking tour of South Williamsburg, check out this post by clicking on the link. Then, you’ll learn what is what and who is who in South Williamsburg, including economic developments and that kind of stuff. When you’re in the Prospect Park area and not running, you may very well pay a visit to the Brooklyn Museum located on the north side of the park.
McCarren Park is North Brooklyn’s largest park. There is a 1/4 mile track that attracts all sorts, including a dedicated training group, as well the surrounding complex of parkland–baseball fields, dog runs. The park house has a spontaneous but well-beaten running path about its circumference.
These dirt loops are from 2/3 to 1 mile around, depending on your route. There is exercise equipment (chin bars, leg lift bars, abdominal ramps) next to the track. It’s not the country or even Prospect Park, but it’s the best in the area if you want to get off the street. From here, it isn’t that far to the Brooklyn Acting School located just south of McCarren Park.
There are two entrances to the Brooklyn Bridge walkway from the Brooklyn side. The walkway begins at the north corner of Tillary and Adams Streets in Downtown Brooklyn. A concrete pedestrian and bicycle path starts next to the traffic entrance. From here you are about 1/2 mile from the beginning of the span.
You can enter the walkway farther along, using a stairway at the corner of Prospect Street and Cadman Plaza East, past the north end of Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn Heights. The walkway surface stays concrete as the bridge rises but soon changes to a wooden boardwalk.
Now you are on the bridge proper and are starting to enjoy the big views up and down the East River. The boardwalk rises faster than the roadbed, which is on either side, so you are well away from car exhaust.
A yellow line down the middle of the boardwalk separates bikes from walkers and runners, but the bridge gets crowded and runners usually have to venture out into the bike lane. Be careful doing this, though, especially going downhill, since some bike riders love to fly down the bridge. See also why many people prefer to live in Brooklyn over the City. On the Manhattan side, the concrete starts again and deposits you next to City Hall Park.
You can continue into Manhattan, south to Battery Park, west to the new Hudson River Park, or even north towards the heart of the city. You could, of course, head back east over Mr. Roebling’s bridge to Brooklyn again (which is our favorite alternative). Back in Brooklyn with its interesting history, there is more running to do.
This long, skinny park sits at the northeast edge of Brooklyn Heights. You can run on what is about a half-mile dirt trail loop. (At the south end the trail breaks but you can loop around through a wood-chip zone.) An alternative is to run on the sidewalk that circles the park. There are water fountains at both ends of the park. Check also this post about things to do and attractions in Brooklyn.
Running through Cadman Plaza makes a nice complement to running the Brooklyn Bridge. You can add a few (flat) Cadman Plaza loops to Brooklyn Bridge hill work, or go the whole hog and tour more of Brooklyn while keeping your heart rate in training range. You may also want to try Brooklyn Heights Promenade. For splendid views of Manhattan, without the rigors of Brooklyn Bridge hills, try the promenade park at the west end of Brooklyn Heights.
From Cadman Plaza, run due west across Cadman Plaza West, then Henry, Hicks, Willow Streets, and Columbia Heights. The Promenade is just west of Columbia Heights and runs from Middaugh Street at the north to Remsen Street south. You are above the BQE and have unobstructed views of lower Manhattan.