Honestly the hardest thing about the NYC Marathon could be initially. Due to the race route, which winds through the city’s five boroughs, the start line is located in Fort Wadsworth, near the base of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island. Unlike marathons such as Berlin and Chicago which begin and end in the heart of their cities, the NYC Marathon begins in a fairly inaccessible area.
I know longtime New Yorkers who have never ventured this deep into Staten Island, so for visitors the hike is daunting. But don’t be afraid! I’m here to help you get to the start on time and without tearing your hair out too much. These are your transportation options to the New York City Marathon start line.
How to take the ferry to the New York City Marathon start line
The easiest method, especially for those staying in brooklyn and lower Manhattan, is to take the Staten Island Ferry from Battery Park. You’ll avoid all traffic and road closures, and get a great early morning view of the Statue of Liberty along the way.
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Take the subway to the southern tip of Manhattan. The nearest stops to the ferry terminal are South Ferry on line 1, Whitehall Street-South Ferry on line W and Bowling Green on lines 4 or 5. (Note that line R, which stops usually in Whitehall, is diverted for the weekend, so avoid these trains). However, several other lines will take you to the financial district and just involve a slightly longer walk from the metro to the ferry. These stops are Fulton Street on lines A or C, Broad Street on lines J or Z, Wall Street on lines 2 or 3, and World Trade Center Path station. Alternatively, you can take a bus to the ferry, although this can be trickier with road closures. The M15, M20 and M55 buses will bring you closest.
Head to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, where you’ll join thousands of other riders on a 30-minute boat ride to Staten Island.
At the ferry terminal on Staten Island, you can board one of the many shuttles that will take you to the start of the race. Just follow the crowd.
How to Take the Bus to the NYC Marathon Start Line
The NYC Marathon also offers bus transportation to the start from two points: one in midtown Manhattan and one in New Jersey. If you’re staying in Queens, Upper Manhattan, or the Bronx, the Manhattan Bus might be the easiest route. If you are in New Jersey, this bus will definitely be the most convenient.
Downtown Manhattan Bus
The bus pick-up location is near the New York Public Library at the corner of 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. You can easily take the metro to a nearby station. Times Square is the stop for lines 1, 2, 3, A, C, E, N, Q, R, W and 7. Bryant Park is the stop for lines B, D, F and M. Grand Central Station is stopping lines 4, 5 and 6.
New Jersey Coach
This bus pick-up location is in the K parking lot of the Met Life Stadium. However, it is not easily accessible by public transport and there is no parking, so to take this bus you will need someone to drop you off at the stadium.
How to Drive to the NYC Marathon Start Line
Finally, there’s the option to drive to the start, which makes the most sense for those staying on Staten Island. However, there is no parking at the start, so you will need a friend or an Uber to drop you off outside of Fort Wadsworth at the intersection of Lily Pond Avenue and McClean Avenue. It should be noted that the Staten Island Freeway and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge are closed to traffic at 7:00 a.m. on race day. Therefore, if you are coming from Brooklyn or New Jersey, you will need to leave early.
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