TCS New York City Marathon Sunday is a citywide thrill for more than a million fans who line the course to cheer on the 50,000 runners throughout the five boroughs. Like the runners, spectators need to prepare, plan, pace themselves, and be ready for anything.
The best way to catch your runner two or three times—at different spots along the course—is to take the subway; just buy a MetroCard in advance because the lines will be long on November 6; use the MTA Trip Planner for up-to-date schedules.
There’s no spectator viewing at the start or on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Fans in the NYC-metro area can watch the WABC-TV, Channel 7 broadcast, and everyone, everywhere can follow runners’ progress via the TCS New York City Marathon Mobile App Powered by Tata Consultancy Services.
Catch all the action, and your favorite runners, by standing and cheering along the course. Here are some super locations where you can get a great view and enjoy the local scene:
Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn (Miles 2-4): You'll see runners--pros, those you know, and the masses--as they exit the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and move along Fourth Avenue. This is an exciting spot to dance, cheer, and encourage runners from cheer zones.
Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Miles 10-13): Claim some sidewalk space along streets lined with shops and restaurants, in this very popular section of Brooklyn. Enjoy local treats as you watch runners and encourage them to keep their pace as they head toward the bridge to cross into the next borough: Queens.
Pulaski Bridge (Mile 13.1): The Pulaski Bridge connects Brooklyn to Long Island City, Queens. The bridge is closed to spectators, but many fans wait on the Queens side, just past the race’s halfway mark, where runners appreciate some loud encouragement.
First Avenue, Manhattan (Miles 16-18): First Avenue is known for being packed with spectators who line the sidewalks and shout encouragement at deafening levels. The avenue’s many bars and restaurants contribute to the festive atmosphere. Fans can run in and out of establishments—their own marathon of sorts—without missing a beat.
East Harlem (Miles 18-20): Also known as Spanish Harlem, this neighborhood is home to a bustling Latino community and provides fantastic music on race day. Runners fear hitting the dreaded “wall” here and in the coming hilly miles, so this is a perfect location to cheer your heart out to help keep the motivation high.
Museum Mile, Fifth Avenue (Miles 23-24): Along the east side of Central Park, this stretch of Fifth Avenue includes the Guggenheim, the Jewish Museum, the National Academy Museum, El Museo del Barrio, and the Museum of the City of New York. It’s a cultural hub as well as a crucial spot to catch your runners before they enter Central Park.
The final miles take runners through Central Park and to the famous finish at 67th Street on West Drive. To see the final yards of the race, you’ll need to buy a Grandstand Seating ticket in advance.
Central Park West, south of West 66th Street
The post-finish area in and near Central Park (north of the finish line) is a runners-only zone that’s off-limits to spectators. Runners can reunite with friends and family to begin their celebration in the Family Reunion area. It'll be open from 12:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Select a letter (in advance) to help you reunite with your family and friends; we suggest the first letter of the runner’s last name. Enter the Family Reunion from Broadway at the cross-street that correlates with the letter you’ve chosen. Please note that everyone entering Family Reunion will be subject to bag inspection and screening.
Alternatively, you can choose a local restaurant, bar, or hotel to be your meeting spot. A finish map will be available on the TCS New York City Marathon website, in the race packet that runners receive at the expo, and in the TCS New York City Marathon Mobile App Powered by Tata Consultancy Services.
On race day, use the app to check your runner's progress. If you are unsure whether your runner has finished, call the Runner Information Hotline at 800.496.6193 and key in your runner’s race number when prompted. Be aware that cellular saturation may prevent you from using your phone in the post-finish area, so plan a time and location to meet up with your runner and don't assume you will be able to reach him/her by phone.
Spectating isn’t complicated if you follow these simple guidelines! Stay warm, yell yourself hoarse, and have a blast.
TCS New York City Marathon Mobile App Powered by Tata Consultancy Services
If you’re trying to cheer for your runner from multiple locations, or simply want to follow the action from home, downloading the TCS New York City Marathon Mobile App Powered by Tata Consultancy Services is a must. With the ability to track up to 10 runners as well as check start, course, and finish maps, the app will ensure that you stay connected.
Dress for Spectating Success
November is chilly in NYC, so dress in layers and bring a hat and gloves. Pack lightly and wear shoes that are comfortable for walking and standing for long periods.
Tell Your Runner Where You’ll Be
Make sure your runners know exactly where you’ll be cheering, so you can wave and provide them with the support they need to go the distance. And be sure to check what your runner is wearing, so you can spot them as you follow their progress on the app. It's often easier for you to pick them out of the running crowd than vice versa.
Don’t Stop Cheering
Don’t forget that all runners—not just yours—need and appreciate encouragement. Make sure they can hear you! Look at their shirts and race bibs and greet them by name, number, or country.
Entertainment and Cheer Zones
Race partners create designated entertainment and cheer zones to help the crowd encourage runners. Many are equipped with sign-making supplies, noisemakers, and pompons, so you can have fun while you watch for your runners. You may find giveaways, video screens, bands, or DJs at these zones to keep you pumped up.
Miles of Music
The TCS New York City Marathon boasts more musical entertainment along the course than any other race in the world. Runners and spectators can hear 130+ bands along the route—an average of five acts per mile! From brass bands to bagpipers and from punk to country, you're sure to hear live music and DJs that will get you pumped up and help you encourage your runners to keep their momentum till the finish.
Informaton on specific bands and locations will be available closer to race day.
Be sure to cheer for the musicians, too. They're playing four-hour sets (or more!) and volunteering their time to keep you and your runners entertained.