When and where to watch the marathon in Queens – Long Island City

[in 2012, the ING NYC Marathon was cancelled. -Ed.]


Image source: Bob Jagendorf on Flickr

On Sunday, November 4, the ING New York City Marathon is coming through all five boroughs. The route only goes through Queens for two miles, but it’s at a crucial point: runners hit the halfway point of the race right as they cross the Pulaski Bridge from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, into Long Island City. As Queens residents, we’re responsible for cheering marathoners through miles 14 and 15 of the 26.2-mile haul. And, lucky for us, our borough’s section of the race is much less crowded with spectators than the Manhattan portion.

The Queens side of the Pulaski Bridge makes for an exciting spot to watch the marathon. You can stand outside Sweetleaf (cup of Stumptown-roasted coffee in hand) at the corner of Jackson Avenue and 11th Street and watch for the first signs of runners’ heads bobbing over the rise of the bridge. Wheelchair racers begin the marathon at 8:30am in Staten Island, professional women start at 9:10am, and professional men begin at 9:40am. So you’ll see the first racers arrive in Queens around 10:20am.


Image source: ING

The course goes north on 11th Street and Vernon Boulevard for a mile; Vernon, with plenty of restaurants to duck into if you get chilly, is another ideal stretch for spectators. Then the route veers east on 44th Drive and north on Crescent Street to go through Queens Plaza and onto the Queensboro Bridge. If you don’t have much time to watch, but want to catch a bit of the excitement, just stand on the elevated Queensboro Plaza subway platform around midday and look down into the sea of runners – it’s quite an impressive view.

What’s your favorite spot to watch the marathon?