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Local Hudson County Guide to the NYC Marathon

by Cristina Lombardi
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The 51st New York City Marathon kicks off bright and early on Sunday, November 6th. It is the world’s largest marathon and draws in professional athletes, celebrities, everyday runners, and millions of cheering spectators each year.  And with its close proximity to Hoboken and Jersey City, venturing into the city to watch the marathon is a thrilling way to be a part of the action. After the race was canceled in 2020 and was limited last year due to the coronavirus, it returns at its full capacity of 50,000 runners this fall. However, with an expected 3 million spectators lining the streets of the five boroughs of New York City, it’s essential to know how to prepare and navigate the streets. So, if you’re wondering where to cheer on friends or where to grab food close to the marathon, The Hoboken Girl has you covered. Plus, there are a few Hoboken and Jersey City locals running this year to cheer on as well. Read on for our local Hudson County guide to the NYC marathon.

About the Race

The current course has been in effect since 1976, and it spans the five boroughs – Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. The race is organized by New York Road Runners and participation is mainly chosen by a lottery system. In order to guarantee entry to the marathon, runners must satisfy the requirements of the 9+1 program or the 9+$1K program (competing in 9 NYRR-qualifying races and volunteering at 1) or meet the time qualification standards. There’s also a small select group of people who had previously run 15 or more marathons who are guaranteed entry as well. 

In addition, runners can gain entry by joining a team to raise funds for one of a number of incredible charities. The application process begins every March when runners can claim their guaranteed entry or apply to the general entry drawing. 

Tips for Watching the NYC Marathon

  • Be sure to download the TCS New York City Marathon app to track runners and stay up to date on any news and exclusives 
  • Know that there are four start times staggered between 9:40AM and 11:00AM, so make sure you are aware of the time your runner will start the marathon
  • Find out what your runner(s) plans to wear, so you can spot them on the course
  • Check the forecast and be sure to wear plenty of layers, sneakers, or comfortable shoes 
  • Make sure you’re up-to-date on all subway/bus schedules and delays for commuting purposes 

Suggested Restaurants and Bars Along the Marathon Route

The streets of New York are always known to have an energetic feeling. However, there’s no denying that marathon day will bring about a particularly high-spirited atmosphere. Thousands of spectators will be crowding the sidewalks with animated signs, blasting music, screaming in loudspeakers, and ringing bells. In order to be part of the action and party-like atmosphere, The Hoboken Girl gathered a few recommended spectator viewing spots that offer plenty of choices for prime cheering, partying and, of course, brunching. Whether you’re down for venturing to Brooklyn, Harlem, or staying in Manhattan, we have you covered. 

Mile 3: in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

This is a great cheering spot, when the runners are full of energy and waving and smiling. 

See More: Mastani Holistic Center Opens in Hoboken

Food Break:

The Common | 9406 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn


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This cozy shop prides itself on an intimate atmosphere, fresh food, and locally-sourced ingredients. From skillets to bowls and smoothies, this restaurant has a wide menu that’s easy to please different palettes.  

Lock Yard | 9221 5th Avenue, Brooklyn

This comfortable, casual pub has a year-round heated beer garden and serves craft brews, sausages, + comfort food.

Mile 7 | 4th Avenue and 3rd Street, Park Slope

From this point, you’ll be able to see a huge sea of runners making their way down 4th Avenue. You can also easily get a curbside spot, which is great for high fives and encouragement.  

Food Break:  

Stone Park Cafe | 324 5th Avenue, Brooklyn 

This cafe offers a delicious sit-down brunch and uses seasonal, local ingredients.

Bagel World | 339 5th Avenue, Brooklyn

Bagel World has a casual atmosphere and serves handmade bagels, plus smoked fish, deli sandwiches, and baked goods.

Tacos El Bronco | 4324 4th Avenue, Brooklyn 


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This restaurant offers huevos rancheros and Mexican sausage, as well as rustic homestyle options for side dishes.

Mile 9: Lafayette and Washington Avenue

Although there will be more crowds at this location, it is one of the most fun and picturesque places to watch the NYC marathon due to the lovely brownstone backdrop. And for more than 35 years, the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School band has riled up runners and fans with their rendition of the “Rocky” theme song. It’s worth a trek to experience it!  

Food Break: 

Pies ‘n’ Thighs | 166 S 4th Street, Brooklyn 

This shop is a place where you can get waffles and chicken but also fish and grits if you’re up for something different.

Café Paulette | 1 S Elliott Place, Brooklyn  


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This cafe serves up French fare and organic wines in a charming, cozy interior. It’s  a great spot for croissants and coffee.

Walter’s | 166 DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn 

An alternative American eatery where you can have a meal, oysters, a drink, or a quick snack. 

Mile 13, the Halfway point, at the Pulaski Bridge 

As runners hit the halfway point, they’ll need some extra encouragement. This is also deemed NYRR’s official cheering zone, where they give out orange cowbells.   

Food/Drink Stop: 

Lobster Joint in Greenpoint | 1073 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn 

For any lobster fans: this one’s for you. This is a great spot for cheering and indulging a fresh lobster meal with a beer or two.

Troost | 1011 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn

This is a cozy coffee shop with a backyard garden and some light bites that also doubles as a low-key bar. 

Goldies | 195 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn

Goldies has creative cocktails + full bar offerings served in a sleek space with a Vegas feel.

Mile 14: Citibank Building at Court Square, Long Island City

Mile 14 may not be as crowded or energetic as the rest of the course, but is a nice spot for runners to see fans because they will have just passed the 13.1 mark. They will soon be approaching the Queensboro Bridge, one of the course’s steepest inclines and one of the few places where there are not many fans. This makes for the perfect opportunity to spot your runner and give a big hug. 

Food Break: 

The Smith | 956 2nd Avenue New York, NY


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A trendy bar offering American classic dishes and specialty drinks — and a delicious brunch menu.

Under the Bridge | 1079 1st Avenue New York, NY

This corner spot serves plates of traditional Greek meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes.

Madison | 965 1st Avenue, New York, NY

Large neighborhood diner with an extensive menu, including many salad, seafood and Greek options.

Miles 16 to 18, the Upper East Side along First Avenue

The UES always draws a wild, cheering crowd. If you want to be in the thick of it all, First Avenue is the palace to be. It’s essentially a giant street party, but you might not see your runner through all the chaos if you’re lucky!

Food Break:

Dorrian’s Red Hand | 1616 2nd Avenue, New York, NY

Hudson County residents will recognize this one. This neighborhood favorite known for its social scene, cocktails and standard pub fare.

The Jeffrey | 311 E 60th Street, New York, NY

Located at the base of the Queensboro bridge, craft coffee, cocktails, and brews are offered at this cool, rustic bar with sandwiches and snacks. Come for the Bloody Marys, stay for the chorizo quesadillas.

Merrion Square Pub | 1840 2nd Avenue, New York, NY

Easygoing, brick-walled bar featuring a menu of wings and burgers, plus craft beers on tap.

Jones Wood Foundry | 401 E 76th Street, New York, NY


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British taproom with a low-key atmosphere, classic pub food, and an extensive draft beer selection.

East End Bar and Grill | 1672 3rd Avenue, New York, NY

Dark-wood-lined Irish pub with simple bar eats, draft beer, and lots of TVs.

The Stumble Inn | 1454 2nd Avenue, New York, NY

Beer pong and drink specials are offered at this popular watering hole/ sports bar.

Treadwell Park | 1125 First Avenue (62nd Street) New York, NY

Craft beers, cocktails, and New American bar bites are a few highlights at this trendy hangout with ping pong and pinball.

Mile 22: 120th-125th Streets and Fifth Avenue, Harlem.

At Mile 22, the runners venture around Harlem’s historic Marcus Garvey Park, a small park that intersects Fifth Avenue. The sidewalks are wide and the crowds are small, making it a great spot to watch. Plus, by this point, the runners have spread out, so you can see yours easily.  

Food Break:  

Red Rooster Harlem | 310 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY

Popular, stylish comfort food eatery with creative cooking from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson.

Sylvia’s | 328 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY

Harlem landmark serving generous helpings of Southern comfort food since 1962 – from celebrity chef Melba Wilson. 

Mile 23: East 96th Street and Fifth Avenue, Upper East Side.

Watching at Mile 23 is powerful because runners really need encouragement. In this section of the Upper East Side, you’ll get great views of Central Park’s changing leaves and will be right outside some of the Upper East Side’s most pristine buildings. 

Food Break: 

Sarabeth’s | 40 Central Park South, New York, NY 

A quintessential upscale brunch chain serving American fare, including brunch, dinner, and creative cocktails.

Serafina Fabulous Pizza | 1022 Madison Avenue, New York, NY

Bi-level Italian restaurant with thin-crust pizzas, homemade pasta, plus a rooftop terrace.

EJ’S Luncheonette | 1271 3rd Avenue, New York, NY  

This delicious spot is a go-to for New Yorker’s that offers a variety of brunch staples like pancakes, omelets, plus burgers, shakes, and salads. Note that it is cash only.

Miles 25-26: Columbus Circle

This area makes a great location to catch runners before they cross the finish line in Central Park at 67th Street and West Drive mark. 

Food Break:

Café Sabarsky | 1048 5th Avenue, New York, NY.

Sweet-tooth lovers rejoice at this restaurant known for Viennese pastries and savory dishes. 

Jake’s Dilemma | 430 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY


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Take a break from cheering on runners at this tavern with pub food and beer pong.

Dive 75 | 101 W 75th Street, New York, NY

Not-so-divey bar where board games, free candy, and a fish tank come with the beer.

Santa Fe | 73 W 71st Street, New York, NY 

Cozy neighborhood staple where Southwestern cuisine is served alongside refreshing margaritas. And luckily, it is a few minutes’ walk from the finish line.

PJ Carney’s Pub. 906 7th Avenue, New York, NY

Bustling, historic, and traditional Irish pub with a diverse crowd and an old-world vibe.

For more recommendations of spots to hit along the marathon route, click here.

Marathon Fun Facts

  • The coldest NYC Marathon ever was 40 degrees in 1995.
  • The warmest NYC Marathon was 80 degrees in 1979. 
  • The inaugural edition of the race, held in 1970, took place entirely in Manhattan, and consisted of runners completing four laps of Central Park.
  • That first race was also held on a very tight budget. The entire event cost just $1,000 and the registration cost was just $1.
  • Of the 127 runners who participated in the first NYC Marathon, only 55 finished.
  • The women’s course record (2:22:31) was set in 2003 by Margaret Okayo.
  • The men’s course record (2:05:06) was set in 2011 by Geoffrey Mutai.
  • First-place finishers will receive $100,000 in prize money.
  • The course’s highest elevation point is at the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, as runners are passing between Staten Island and Brooklyn.
  • The lottery application process for race registration began in 1996 and continues to this day.
  • In 2000, the race was given a wheelchair and handcycle division and the first winner was Gary Muhrcke with a time of 2:31:38.

Celebrities who have run the NYC Marathon in past years:


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  • Matt James + Tyler Cameron
  • Tayshia Adams + Zac Clark
  • Chelsea Clinton
  • Marcus Mumford
  • Ben Lovett
  • Tiki Barber
  • Christy Turlington Burns
  • Abby Wambach
  • Lauren Holiday
  • Leslie Osborne
  • Nev Schulman
  • Willie Geist
  • Will Reeve
  • Kelli O’Hara
  • Andi Dorfman
  • Joanne Tucker
  • Amy Robach & Andrew Shue
  • Uzo Aduba
  • Teri Hatcher
  • Karlie Kloss
  • Kevin Hart
  • Carole Radziwill
  • Prince Royce
  • Katrina Bowden
  • Bill Rancic
  • Pamela Anderson
  • Mario Lopez
  • Ethan Zohn
  • Apolo Ohno
  • Edward Norton
  • Alanis Morisette
  • Ryan Reynolds
  • Katie Holmes
  • Sean Diddy Combs

Celebrities to look out for this year:

  • Ashton Kutcher

See More: A Guide to Running Clubs in Essex County

Meet a few of the Runners of Hoboken and Jersey City:

hudson county nyc marathon guide

  • Emily Reimann – (Jersey City) – She got in through the lottery system – She works at Acuworx in JC and has helped a few patients get ready for the marathon as well.
  • Allison Birkinbine – (Jersey City) She is running on behalf of the charity, The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the  first child protective agency in the world.
  • Rachel Josephsen – (Hoboken) She got in through the lottery system. 
  • Liv Withrow – (Hoboken) She is running for NYRR Team for Kids.
  • Courtney Schultz(Hoboken) She is running for the American Heart Association for her dad. 
  • Bruno Mele– (Hoboken) He is running with the JDJ foundation.
  • Jacqueline Mescia (Hoboken) She is running with the American Cancer Society.
  • Maysa Moreno– (Hoboken) She did the NYRR 9+1 to qualify.
  • Amy Kirkpatrick – (Hoboken) She is running with Fred’s Team for Colon Cancer.
  • Tango Jorge – (Union City) He did the NYRR 9+1 to qualify.
  • Holly Elizabeth  (Hoboken) She entered through the lottery.
  • Susan Tee (Hoboken) She is running with NYC Swat.
  • Jessica Mallozzi – (Hoboken) She is running for Team For Kids, an organization that provides free youth fitness programs to keep kids active and motivated.
  • Diane Fitzsimons Roberts –  (Hoboken) She is running for Fred’s team.
  • Allison Reddington (Jersey City) She is running for St. Jude.
  • John Sanchez, (Hoboken) He did the 9+1 program to qualify.
  • Adria Gallup-Black (Hoboken) She is running and also volunteering.
  • HG Writer Stephanie Brown + Husband, Austin (Jersey City) They completed the 9+1 requirement.

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