New York & Staten Island Half

I flew from Chicago to New York in the morning and luckily I found out that I was upgraded to First Class which was amazing but also makes it a bit harder for me to fly economy from now on ūüôā

Arriving in New York I took the subway into Manhattan and then to the Upper West Side where my hostel was. With not a lot of time, I walked around Central Park a bit which is a really great thing to have in such a big city like New York. In the evening I went to the West Village to have dinner with friends I met on my Machu Picchu trek. 

The next day I was ready to do some sightseeing! I had gotten a four attraction flex pass from one of the many sellers of city passes and so would want to see some of them. I started in the Financial District, seeing the famous bull, Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. The morning was very cloudy but it improved during the day except it left the humidity behind.

I went to the 9/11 Memorial which was really haunting. The two waterfalls in the place of the two towers was very well done and the museum is really haunting and beautiful. I was 11 when it happened and remember the events unfolding on the television in front of me and being in the museum brought me back there as well as brought me to how it would have been to be in New York at the time. I would really recommend going to the 9/11 museum.

As the clouds lifted, the top of One World Trade Center became visible and even had a cool effect of one of the sides creating a sort of god ray. I went to midtown and got some lunch and then walked over to the Intrepid which is an aircraft carrier which is docked in the New York Harbor and is now a museum for airplanes. That was a really spectacular museum. Both because it’s an aircraft carrier but also because the collection of airplanes is vast (not as vast as the museum of flight in Seattle though) and it has an actual space shuttle. The Enterprise is located here and while it’s never been to space due to being built as a test vehicle, it’s still very impressive.

The day after I went to the Natural History Museum. This is a gigantic museum and I did spend most of my day there. Their collection of dinosaur skeletons is really something to behold and it really informative with plenty of signs to read about how evolution took shape and caused the dinosaurs to evolve. The rest of the museum contains models of animals, an exhibit on the universe and some halls on human culture from around the world which is interesting but the dinosaur skeletons are definitely the main interest for me.

In the evening I went to Times Square to see the busyness of it and it is crazy. It’s probably also mostly tourists. But I had to go there because I had gotten tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It’s a really good play with some amazing scene magic happening on stage so I would recommend it to any Harry Potter fan. As a note, it’s a two part¬†play so I watched it over the course of two nights but it’s also possible to do both parts in one day.

I had devoted one day for skyscrapers. And this was the day. First up on the agenda was the Rockefeller where it’s important to note that you buy a timed ticket where you need to return at a certain time. Which gave me a few hours before I could actually get to the top. I spent the time taking the Roosevelt Island Tram to Roosevelt Island. The view of Manhattan from Roosevelt Island is really nice. While you can’t see all of the tallest building, you do have a nice view to the UN and still a very good view. It wasn’t touristy at all as well so that’s an extra plus in my book.

I did finally get to the top of the Rock as the Rockefeller is also known as and got a stunning view. I had carefully selected this day as it would be sunny and the view and weather did not disappoint. To the North would be a great view towards Central Park and the size really struck you. It’s really a marvel at how Central Park was created and also left alone to create this giant green oasis. To the South would of course be the Empire State Building and in the distance, One World Trade Center.¬†

After the Rockefeller I walked around, saw the Grand Central terminal and the Public library. I also went to MoMA or the Museum of Modern Art which is free on Fridays 4-8PM. And I’m glad I went when it was free! Because I do not really understand modern art at all. So if you’re generally not a fan of modern art I would recommend going on Fridays and braving the crowds.

I saw the second part of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the evening and then went up the Empire State Building at night to see the skyline at night and also because the famous Sleepless in Seattle scene happens at the top of Empire State Building at night. But it turned out to be a smart move because not only did I see New York from the top in the night as well as day, there was also no queues. And the Empire State has a huge queue capacity as there are queues for ticketing, queues for the ticket scanning and queues for the elevators. In any case, I would recommend doing this combination, Rockefeller during the day, Empire State during the night. If I had to pick one, it would be Rockefeller because of the view of the Empire State. And I didn’t go up One World Trade Center but I could imagine it’s a really good view there as well.

The next few days I spent walking around a bit where I saw the Flatiron building and generally walked around the different neighborhoods of New York. I went to Brooklyn after my race which is really nice. Brooklyn Heights had great views of the skyline but of course every tourist is there for the Brooklyn Bridge and in particular to get the famous picture of the Manhattan Bridge from Washington St in DUMBO (see the seventh picture or left-most picture on the third row below).

I also took in the Metropolitan Museum of Art or simply the Met as well. The Met is huge! Really huge and covers so much historical art. I really liked it with its large exhibitions of mummies and ancient Egypt, coverage of Greek and Roman art and generally just its huge breadth. For some reason a lot of perfectly fine exhibits were closed, and not in a renovation way but parts of it were just closed. A bit strange but there was so much to see anyway that I don’t think I missed anything.

This was my first time in New York and it was an awesome trip. New York is everything I imagined and more and there’s so much to do in New York. There are world-class museums everywhere, there’s running to be done (in fact, there were three different races going on when I ran the Staten Island Half), there are so many neighborhoods with so different characteristics and there are so many great small pizza places to try (I’ve never eaten that much pepperoni in such a short timespan before). And then all the activities to do as well. I went to Broadway and saw Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as well as the Upright Citizens Brigade to catch some improv and of course, there’s plenty of places to see some standup comedy. Before I went, I always wondered what was so great about New York, and after being, I can’t understand why I didn’t go earlier.

Race information

Goals

  • Finish – Completed

Pictures

Splits

  • 5K – 00:31:05
  • 10K – 01:00:32
  • 15K – 01:31:35
  • 20K – 02:00:41
  • 21.1K – 02:06:35

Training

After Chicago which was really tiring, I decided to have a bit of active recovery. Not that I had that much of a choice really! New York was waiting for me to explore it and the walking around really helped get the soreness out.

Pre-race

Since the race was on Staten Island I needed to actually get there first. Luckily it was pretty easy to get out there, take the subway to the South Ferry terminal and then go on the free ferry to Staten Island. It’s a beautiful ride with great views of the Statue of Liberty.

Race

I felt pretty good going into the race and it started pretty well. The conditions were great with cloud cover and cool weather. The race course was nice as well and went downhill in the beginning. 

I did pretty well in the beginning and set a good pace with no problems. The weather cleared up during the race and at the halfway point it was sunny again. I got some solace from being halfway finished and since I was still feeling pretty strong I sped up. I finished quite strongly and set a good time.

The route itself was pretty nice. A bit hilly but otherwise pretty wide and straight with great views of the Verrazzano Bridge and even a bit of the Lower Manhattan skyline.

Post-race

I got my stuff and then made my way to the ferry while eating the post-race¬†snacks. I didn’t rest afterward as I went to Brooklyn which you can read about above.

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