Book Review: Fun on Foot in New York

Even if you don't run the New York City Marathon one day, you can still enjoy running through the Big Apple with help from Warwick Ford's Fun on Foot in New York, the runners' and walkers' guide to New York City.

In this comprehensive guide, Ford offers an inside look at more than 90 different routes complete with maps, pictures and variations. Each route is outlined with notes on comfort, nearby attractions, convenience and a destination.

The book is well-organized with a separate chapter devoted to each of the city's five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island. Beyond this, the book also covers Westchester, Nassau, Suffolk, Hudson counties, Upstate New York and parts of New Jersey.

During a trip to NY this past summer, I was able to test out a couple of the routes in Manhattan. I found the book informative and easy to read. I liked that there were suggestions for alternative routes--both longer and shorter--which was helpful for planning based on time constraints and training mileage needs.

 

Early in the book--on page 18--Ford delves into arguably the heart of running in Manhattan: Central Park. Ford says, "While I do not have the statistics to prove it, I have no doubt this is the most popular on-foot exercise place in the world."

I believe it. I couldn't turn left or right without seeing a handful of runners and running groups during my visit. The park's ties to the New York City Marathon also make it a special place for runners who aspire to run the NYC Marathon one day or who enjoy running the same paths as elite runners from the past.

I ran a simple 5K route starting at the south end of the park and did half of the popular 6.1-mile Park Drive loop. The book points out many of the park's popular loops and landmarks which are helpful in guiding the way. It's one thing to read about it, but there is nothing quite like seeing the real thing for yourself.

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Though I didn't get to run through it, I particularly enjoyed reading Chapter 7 covering the Hudson River Jersey-Side. There is an array of maps and photos with great descriptions to put everything in context.

After giving a detailed guide to reach the Colgate Clock, Ford shares an inside scoop tidbit for runners and walkers with directions to find a "little pedestrian bridge that takes you directly into the north end of Liberty State Park." This same attention and detail is paid throughout the book, allowing you to uncover new paths and trails from the big boroughs to the smaller towns.

The only problem with the book is that it can't account for the construction you might encounter. I wasn't able to explore some of the routes described around the Upper East because of various street closures and construction. But with more than 90 routes, you have a lot of options.

Whether you're a tourist or a local, "Fun on Foot in New York" would make a great running and walking resource. Buy your copy of "Fun on Foot in New York" today.

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