2018 NYC Marathon spectator’s guide to Brooklyn (and Queens)


I’ll be there.

It’s back, for the fourth consecutive year!

To help you have the best possible marathon-viewing experience, I’ve compiled pointers from my own past races – those I ran (2005, 2006, 2009 DNF, 2014, 2015) and those I watched (2007, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017). This summer and fall, I ran the course (in manageable segments), seeking out interesting places to stop for a bite to eat and something warm (or cold – one never knows what kind of weather the first Sunday in November will bring) to drink.

This guide, like the three before it, is unabashedly Outer Borough-centric. That’s true for several reasons. First, I’m an Outer Borough kind of gal. Second, the crowded viewing spots along First Avenue and Central Park don’t require a guide; they’re where people go by default. Third, and most important – I honestly believe that your viewing experience will be better here. You’ll be closer to the action, and also closer to the real spirit of the race, and of the city.

Plus, the eating is way better. 

Past guides have taken an encyclopedic approach, describing the neighborhoods along the course and giving a long list of restaurants, cafes and points of interest. This year, I’ve limited myself to one recommendation per mile (two in the early portions of the race, for reasons I’ll explain). If you want more options, do check out previous versions, all of which have been updated for 2018 to note the (sadly long) list of closings and other changes. You can find 2015 here, 2016 here, and 2017 here.

First, though, some general marathon watching do’s and don’ts.

If you’re cheering for a specific runner, and want to make sure that the two of you actually see one another, DO establish in advance where you’ll be.  That doesn’t mean something like “I’ll catch you in Park Slope” or even “I’ll catch you in Park Slope around Carroll Street.” It means “I’ll catch you in Park Slope, just after Carroll Street, in front of Mission Dolores” or, if you’re unfamiliar with landmarks,  “I’ll catch you in Park Slope, on the northeast corner of Fourth and Carroll.”

DO avoid the blocks around mile markers. While planting yourself by, say, the 10 mile mark may sound like a good idea, it’s actually a terrible one. There’s a lot going on at the mile marks. Runners will be checking their watches, and medical tents, rows of port-a-johns and tables of water and Gatorade will occupy at least a block on either side of the marker.

DON’T cross the course. Seriously, don’t even think about it. In the early stages of the race, when the runners are coming thick and fast and the police “caution” tape has not yet begun to sag, crossing the course is pretty much impossible. It’s in the later stages that you’ll see a handful of people attempting it. But you shouldn’t, for two reasons. First off, it’s dangerous. The runners are very likely moving faster than you think (watching thousands of marathoners stream past can distort your sense of speed), and they’re focused on their race and the runners around them, not on goofballs attempting to dash across the street. Second, and most important, it’s just plain rude. The slower runners in the later waves of the race already have to contend with the detritus of thousands of earlier, faster runners – crushed water cups, energy gel packets, banana peels, orange rinds, puddles of vomit – and with flagging fan support. But they keep right on running, in a show of determination that I find inspiring. By cutting across the course in front of them, you’re telling them that their race doesn’t matter. Don’t be that person.

DO have a train strategy. The R and G trains can be your friends on marathon day, but if it’s important to you to be on a particular side of the street – whether it’s to cheer on a runner or to eat at one of the great restaurants featured in this post – you need to map out your approach in advance. For example, not all of the R train’s Fourth Av stops allow you to exit on both sides of the avenue . . . you may need to go a stop or two beyond your destination and double back. And in Queens, taking the G vs. the 7 train will put you on opposite sides of Vernon Blvd. Using the subway to follow the runners along, checking out different neighborhoods along the way, is a ton of fun – but it’s a good idea to map out a route (or routes), instead of trying to wing it.

. . . 

Since the first two miles of the race  are run on the (inaccessible) Verrazano Bridge, this guide starts with mile 3.

Mile 3 – Bay Ridge


Just looking at the bridge in the background makes me tired (and hungry)

Mile 3 runs from the Verrazano Bridge to Fourth Av/82nd St (for runners in the Blue and Orange starts) or Sixth Av/74th St (for runners in the Green start). Bay Ridge is an odd mix of suburbia (car dealerships, chain restaurants), Main Street Americana (especially along its charmingly sedate Fifth Av business district), and the marks left by successive waves of immigrants (Lutheran churches by the Norwegians, red sauce and cannoli by the Italians, halal meat counters by more recent arrivals from the Middle East and North Africa). It is also, for some reason, home to an inordinate number of doctors’ offices.

Because the runners in the different color-coded starts will be on different sides of the street (or on a different street altogether, in the case of the Green runners), I’ve also color coded my recommendations. Blue runners are on the east (right, if going in the direction of traffic) and Orange runners on the west (left) of Fourth Av.

BlueKaram (8519 Fourth Av, Bay Ridge). In a neighborhood dense with excellent Middle Eastern restaurants, Karam is my go-to spot. Their sandwiches are overstuffed and flavorful, their hummus and baba ghanouj creamy and delicious, their housemade lemonade just what you need to wash it all down. And should you think it’s too early for a sandwich or a snack of fried kibbeh (though why on earth would you?), there’s always their exemplary pistachio ma’amoul.

GreenLeske’s Bakery (7612 Fifth Av, Bay Ridge). No, Leske’s is not right on the course. Nothing really is: runners in the Green start traverse what’s essentially an expressway service drive before turning onto residential streets and, finally, joining the other runners on Fourth Av at Bay Ridge Parkway (the equivalent of 75th St). If you want to see your runner in the very early stages of the race, Bay Ridge Parkway between Sixth and Fourth avenues is a fine place to do it (even if it’s technically in mile 4). It’s a pretty, largely residential street of limestone townhouses, where you’ll be cheering alongside Bay Ridge families. And if you need sustenance, Leske’s Bakery is just a few blocks south, on Fifth Av between 76th and 77th. Like the Lutheran churches clustered in the neighborhood, Leske’s is a reminder of Bay Ridge’s Scandinavian heritage. You can still get Danish and Swedish-inspired pastries here, but the ladies behind the counter will probably try to talk you into one of their decidedly non-Scandinavian peanut butter and jelly doughnuts – and far be it for me to try to talk you out of it.

OrangePasticceria Rocco (9402 Fourth Av, Bay Ridge). Located on the southwest corner of 94th and Fourth, where runners from the Orange start turn onto the avenue after coming off the bridge, this is a great place to see marathoners at their freshest and most exhilarated. Do them a favor, and encourage them NOT to go crazy – they still have roughly 24 miles to go. And do yourself a favor, and have one of Rocco’s cannoli. Or maybe two.

Mile 4 – Bay Ridge into Sunset Park

IMG_6543 (Edited)

Lutheran churches are easier to find than restaurants in Mile 4

Runners from all three starts hit Mile 4 at Fourth Av/63rd St. This section of the course straddles Bay Ridge and the far southern edge of Sunset Park. It starts out residential (and medical), until, in the 60s, Fourth Av is slashed through by busy Shore Road, with the Gowanus Expressway overhead. All of this makes for a culinary dead zone, and you’ll have way more choices in the next few mile of the course. But if you do find yourself here on race day, you’re not entirely out of luck.

Blue/GreenCastillo de Jagua (6811 Fourth Av, Bay Ridge) serves up heaping portions of soulful Dominican food. Try a side of the mangú, mashed green plantains topped with soft, barely pickled red onions. It’s a traditional breakfast dish, but it also makes a great foil for the various stews and long-cooked, falling-off-the-bone meats on display behind the counter. Just point to whatever looks best to you. If that should happen to be the pernil (which is what generally looks best to me), say “yes” when the nice ladies offer to snip off some of the skin for you. It’s pork candy.

(I continue to hold out hope that my old favorite along this stretch, Eddie’s Hero Place at 6917 Fourth Av, will reopen soon, as the sign in the window seems to promise . . . but it was locked tight when I went by earlier this month. 2019 UPDATE: Eddie’s Place is now occupied by a Dominican cafe called Spanglish Eats.)

Orange – The Emphasis Restaurant (6822 Fourth Av, Bay Ridge) is a classic diner. It serves diner food in a diner atmosphere. What more is there to say?

Mile 5 – Sunset Park


Delightful and delicious Sunset Park

Mile 5 runs through the beating heart of Latino Sunset Park, ending at 43rd St. The phallic steeple of St. Michael’s Church is the most notable landmark, pulling the runners along as they (hopefully) settle into their rhythm. If your rhythm is “stroll” – lucky you! Strolling is the best way to experience this section of the course. You can let St. Michael’s steeple pull you along from bakery to bodega to street vendor to restaurant. There’s an abundance of places to grab something to eat or drink here – in food terms, it’s my favorite part of the course. Picking just one recommendation for each side of the street was tough.

Blue/Green –  Panadería  Don Paco Lopez (4703 Fourth Av, Sunset Park) is a delight. It has two sides – bakery and restaurant – as well as big glass windows through which you can watch the runners stream past. There’s not much seating, but you can always get your food to go – or, better, enjoy the opportunity to squeeze in and get to know Sunset Park up close and personal.

I highly recommend the huaraches, which are made in house. In contrast to the giant, overloaded versions available elsewhere around town, these are masterpieces of minimalism: a delicate, oblong, bean-filled tortilla, slightly crisp at the edges; a swipe of sauce (verde or chipotle), a crumbling of queso fresco, and the topping of your choice (or none at all, if that’s your choice). If you share my love for savory, slightly gamey lamb and goat, ask for the meltingly tender barbacoa de chivo. (It’s also sold by the pound, if you want to take some home.) The barbacoa, as well as the classic hangover cure of mole de panza – tripe in an incendiary chile árbol broth – is only available on weekends, and runs out early (I’m not sure what that implies about the neighborhood’s drinking habits). Tamales, tacos and tortas are also on offer, and the bakery side is well-stocked with a variety of sweet breads and pastries, along with fresh-squeezed orange and blended green juice – best enjoyed without plastic straws.

The other great thing about Don Paco Lopez is the people who work there. They’re friendly, solicitous and gracious to customers who complement them (in bad Spanish) on their eco-friendly “no straws except on request” policy.

OrangeCafe Zona Sur (4314 Fourth Av, Sunset Park) is pretty and welcoming, with reasonable prices and an interesting menu (a little French, a little Italian, a little Argentine, a little Mexican). In short, it’s the kind of neighborhood restaurant every neighborhood should have. I’ve been there for dinner, gone back the next morning to retrieve a scarf I left behind (it was waiting for me at the bar), and found people I remembered from the evening before sipping their morning coffees. It’s not that they spent the night (although as comfy as the place is, that’s a tempting thought); it’s just that Zona Sur’s all-day hours and enveloping warmth pull you back. 

Mile 6 – Sunset Park into Greenwood Heights


There’s no resting in peace for the marathoners

The good eating continues as Sunset Park turns into Greenwood Heights turns into the South Slope (the last two neighborhoods being recent of coinage and vague of definition) somewhere in the 20s. The vast Green-Wood Cemetery – at one point, it was second only to Niagara Falls as a tourist destination – touches the avenue between 34th and 36th streets, although its grand main entrance is off Fifth Avenue. Businesses along this stretch are also heavily Latino, with Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico all represented.

Blue/Green – Options are fewer on this side of the avenue, mainly because the prime area around the bustling express subway stop at 36th St is occupied by Green-Wood. A couple of comida criolla spots, serving the cooking of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic (with Cuban sandwiches available as well), bookend the cemetery. I wrote about the sancocho soup at La Fe, on the corner of 36th St, a couple of years ago. This year, in the interest of fairness and variety, I gave the version at La Parada (855 Fourth Av, between 31st and 32nd, Sunset Park) a try. It was also excellent: rich broth, big chunks of beef and chicken, as well as carrots, yucca and potatoes, with rice on the side. In the morning, they dish up Dominican breakfasts of eggs with mangú, with or without cheese and salami.

Orange – If you don’t live in Ecuador or New York City, your opportunities to sample Ecuadorian food are limited. So why not stop by Reina de la Nube (928 Fourth Av, Sunset Park) and give it a try? They offer tropical juices, blended to order with either milk or water and your desired amount of sugar (I’ve learned to ask for “2” – spoonfuls, packets, I’m not entirely sure – instead of the standard “3”); various baked goods; and Ecuadorian highland breakfasts like mote pillo (eggs scrambled with hominy) with various meats and sides. 

Mile 7 – Greenwood Heights into Park Slope


Fourth Avenue in all its glory

Hulking condo towers, with more under construction, jostle workaday auto repair shops and laundromats on this section of the course, which takes runners from 23rd St in Greenwood Heights/South Slope to 3rd St in Park Slope. The ugly streetscape notwithstanding, this is one of the most fun and festive parts of the course. Neighbors chat, kids play, everyone cheers. Washington Park, which touches Fourth Av between 3rd and 4th streets, brings some welcome greenery to the scene (and if you were to cut through it toward Fifth Av, you’d find a very nice farmers’ market in full swing).

Blue/Green – Imagine my excitement when the storefront of death at Fourth Av and 10th St, past home to various defunct restaurants, sprouted a sign for Shelsky’s Brooklyn Bagels (453 Fourth Av, Park Slope).  Shelsky’s is part of a new wave of Jewish restaurants and appetizing stores in NYC, steeped in the traditions of early 20th century immigrants from Poland and Russia, even as their owners sport pig tattoos that would have scandalized their great-grandmothers. I’ve spent a small fortune on smoked sable from their Boerum Hill location for special occasion brunches, and while I worried a bit about the impact a store right here in my neighborhood would have on my bank balance, I eagerly anticipated the opening.

I’m still eagerly anticipating it. The first signage went up right around this time last year. At the beginning of last month, I noticed a spiffy new illuminated sign and sacks of flour and poppy seeds in the windows. “Cool,” I thought. “Looks like Shelsky’s is opening soon. Can’t wait to include them in my marathon guide!”

A month and a half later, they’re still not open. (I checked again this morning.)

So what can I say? If they’re open on November 4, go. If they aren’t, well, Olivier Bistro (469 Fourth Av, Park Slope) is just a block away, and offers breakfast and brunch in a dining room that opens to the street, so you can watch the Blue and Green runners go by as you nibble your croissant.

A fun alternative for the community-spirited is the chili cook-off that’s part of PS 118’s (aka the Maurice Sendak School) annual Marathon Fun Day.  The school is located directly on the course, between 7th and 8th streets; besides sampling chili, you can make signs at their sign-making station (paper and markers provided) and pick up a noisemaker or two. You don’t need to have a kid at the school to be welcome.

Orange – My perennial favorite on the west side of the course is Reyes Deli & Grocery (532 Fourth Av, South Slope, between 14th and 15th). It’s a small grocery store that also has a grill and a minuscule seating area, and it happens to turn out some of the finest tacos in Brooklyn. Putting my money where my mouth is, this is where I stopped on marathon day last year to pick up a Mexican breakfast sandwich . . . and guess what? I’ll probably do the same again this year. (Their cinnamony, house-made rice pudding, stocked in the refrigerator case up front, is excellent.)

Mile 8 – Park Slope


The end of 4th Av is in sight

After they pass 3rd St, runners continue to make their way down Fourth Av through Park Slope until they hit Flatbush and, shortly after that, the 8 Mile mark at Lafayette. Perhaps because of the abundance of restaurants up the hill on Fifth Av – as well as the burgeoning restaurant scene down the hill on Third Av – this stretch of Fourth Av isn’t particularly dense with places to eat on a Sunday morning.

Blue/Green – Forget about Fourth Av on this side. Oh, there are a few places where you can pick up a bagel or smoothie, but none of them are terribly interesting. Instead, after you’re done watching the runners – or are ready for a break from watching the runners – walk down to where Fourth ends, at Atlantic Av. The runners will be crossing Atlantic and immediately turning left onto Flatbush, where giant TV screens show the progress of the race. What you want to do instead is turn right on Atlantic, continue across Flatbush (please don’t ask me to explain this intersection) and past the rusty hulk that is Barclays, to the Atlantic Center (625 Atlantic Av), where the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are setting up shop for the winter. Their move indoors coincides with marathon weekend, so why not check out this hipster food extravaganza in its new location? Smorgasburg’s winter incarnation has significantly fewer vendors than its summer one, but there are still plenty of choices, whether your tastes run traditional (in which case I highly recommend the Sicilian seafood preparations from Ca’pisci), modern/fusion (Destination Dumplings, Takumi Taco) or just plain weird (the infamous ramen burger).  And while you’re at it, you can shop for “maker”-made goods at the Flea, or, for that matter, for discount electronics (presumably also made by makers) at Best Buy. (2019 NOTE – while shopping at Best Buy is still an option, the Flea and Smorgasburg have moved on to Williamsburg this year.)

Orange – Just one (long) building off Fourth on Douglass, Threes Brewing (333 Douglass St, Gowanus) is one of a cluster of microbreweries in the Gowanus and Carroll Gardens neighborhoods, and the only one that serves food (but not until noon) and coffee (starting at 8 am). So go there early for their excellent coffee, later for their even more excellent beer and burgers (also, “hot AF” chicken sandwiches and the obligatory veggie option), and try to figure out how to get to the train. (Hint: you may have to double back to 9th St.)

Mile 9 – Fort Greene and Clinton Hill


Clinton Hill brownstones

This mile begins with a colossal bottleneck. When the runners turn the corner from Flatbush onto  Lafayette, by the Brooklyn Academy of Music, all three starts finally converge . . . just as the course transitions from broad and commercial to narrow and residential. Between the sharp turn, the merger of the Orange runners, the narrowing of the roadway and the usual mile marker/fluid station craziness, I’ve seen many near-misses and a few actual collisions here.

My advice: don’t add to the chaos by cheering in the area immediately around BAM.

Instead, go just a bit farther down Lafayette, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful brownstones, towering trees, and some of the biggest and best crowds of the race. The crowds are personal here, consisting largely of families from the neighborhood, church groups, and miscellaneous others who know a fun spot when they see and hear it. (If you’re cheering for a specific runner, though, know that the sidewalks are narrow and crowded, and it may be hard for your runner to spot you amidst all the cute kids holding out their hands to be slapped.)

There are also some great places to eat tucked away on those residential streets. One to consider is Peaches Shrimp and Crab (285 Grand Av, Clinton Hill), part of a local restaurant group devoted to contemporary Southern cooking. As its name implies, this particular location tilts seaward – think shrimp and grits, crab cake eggs Benedict – but during brunch hours they’ll also scramble you some eggs or (even better) serve you fried chicken with a side of crunchy French toast. Peaches’ side street location is close enough to Lafayette that, if you position yourself strategically, you can watch the runners stream through the intersection as you eat.

Mile 10 – Bed-Stuy


Turning the corner from Lafayette onto Bedford

Mile 10 begins at Classon Av, generally considered the dividing line between the Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods; takes a left turn from Lafayette onto Bedford a few blocks later; and ends just on the other side of Flushing Av, generally considered the southern boundary of Williamsburg.

That is to say, it’s run almost entirely in Bed-Stuy, a historic neighborhood with some of the most beautiful blocks in Brooklyn. To see them, though, you’ll have to stray from the course, which is mostly commercial and, to be honest, kind of drab. As the runners head north on Bedford, past Willoughby, the neighborhood becomes heavily Hasidic, feeling more like an extension of South Williamsburg than the Bed-Stuy that Spike Lee depicted with such tenderness in Do the Right Thing and Crooklyn.

The biggest and most enthusiastic crowds along this section of the course are around the intersection of Lafayette and Bedford, where the runners make their turn. It’s a good place to catch a runner’s attention and make them feel like a champion (if they’re having a good day) or give them a little boost (if they’re having a bad one). It’s also a good place to grab a bite to eat.

Specifically, it’s a good place to grab a ridiculously rich, briochey doughnut from Dough (448 Lafayette Av, corner of Franklin, Bed-Stuy). I’m partial to the one glazed with passionfruit and sprinkled with cocoa nibs, unless, of course, the seasonal pumpkin puree with spiced pepitas is on the roster. You can find Dough doughnuts all over town these days, but this store is where it started – “We fry in Bed-Stuy” was an early slogan – and it’s still the homiest, and the best. Can you peek through a steamed-up window to watch bakers pouring flour into a giant Hobart mixer at some upscale food hall? No, you cannot.

Mile 11 – Williamsburg


Bedford and Broadway in Williamsburg: yeshivas and rugelach to the left, yoga and ramen to the right

Mile 11, which starts just after Flushing Av and follows Bedford through South Williamsburg, is a transitional mile. Most of it is through a largely Hasidic neighborhood.  But toward the end, the runners hit Broadway, and everything changes.

The race has entered Hipster Disneyland.

My general antipathy toward the gentrified sections of Williamsburg notwithstanding, the broad intersection of Bedfod and Broadway offers expansive views of the runners – and the blocks to the north are chock-a-block with places to grab a bite to eat. We’re now more than ten miles into the race, we’re getting close to lunchtime, we’re in New York City, and this post has yet to mention pizza. So I’ll take care of that right now, and suggest dropping in to Motorino (139 Broadway, Williamsburg – opens at 11:30) for one of their Neapolitan-style pies.

Mile 12 – Williamsburg into Greenpoint


There’s no denying that Williamsburg has good street art

You really don’t need this guide here.  In the mile-long stretch of Bedford between S. 3rd St. and Nassau, you can’t swing one of those annoying cheer sticks without hitting a hipster brunch spot – or, better still, a hipster.

But I committed to this mile-by-mile approach, so I’m going to recommend Sweet Chick (164 Bedford Av, at N. 8th St, Williamsburg) on the strength of their fried chicken and waffles. In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably say the “rumored” strength of their fried chicken and waffles, as I’ve never actually eaten there. My commitment to researching this blog post has limits, and brunch in Williamsburg breaches them,

Mile 13 – Greenpoint


Manhattan Av still has a Main Street vibe

I don’t know about the runners, but this blog is breathing a sigh of relief as we pass McCarren Park on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint border. On the Greenpoint side of the park, longstanding Polish businesses and useful things like hardware stores are hanging in there, at least for the time being, amidst the vanguard of aggressively quirky cafes and boutiques and, marching right behind them, legions of chain stores.

Greenpoint’s main drag, Manhattan Av, is a fun place to give runners a boost as they approach the halfway point of the race. Like Lafayette back in mile 9, it’s a relatively narrow street with a distinctive neighborhood-y feel – but with the advantage of wider sidewalks. It’s also packed with places to eat.

My favorite, for both food and general cuteness, is the Polka Dot Café (726 Manhattan Av, Greenpoint). It has motherly Polish women in the kitchen, adorably kerchiefed Polish waitresses out front, and really good Polish food. With Greenpoint on my personal marathon day itinerary again this year, I’ll be saving room for one of Polka Dot’s apple pancakes for sure . . . and maybe a pierogi or croquet with sauerkraut and mushrooms.

Mile 14 – Long Island City


Leaving Brooklyn for Queens

Mile 14 begins on the approach to the Pulaski Bridge, which connects Brooklyn to the Long Island City section of Queens. That’s Newtown Creek you see below it; toxic, sure, but still affording runners fine views of the boroughs to come, with Queens up ahead and the spires of Manhattan off in the distance to the left.

Spectators aren’t allowed on the bridge on Marathon Sunday, though, so if you don’t have access to a boat, you’ll need to take the G or the 7 train (swimming is definitely not recommended). Once on the Queens side, the runners veer left, onto 48th Av, and then turn right, onto Vernon Blvd.

Vernon Blvd is lined with restaurants and bars. Many of them strike me as interchangeable, the kinds of places that invariably pop up when an area starts to attract shiny waterfront condo developments. For something more old school (and, because it’s noon by now, more alcoholic), may I suggest: the LIC Bar (45-58 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City). It’s 100 years old and wears its age proudly. In honor of the marathon, they’ll be opening early on November 4. By 10 am, the man on the phone told me. Or maybe 9 am. He wasn’t sure, but since the first runners won’t be hitting LIC before 10:30, that shouldn’t be a problem.

A note on trains here. Long Island City is blessed with many subway stations, but on marathon day, they’re hemmed in by the loop of the course.  If you want to go to the LIC Bar, your best bet is the 7 train to Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av.

Should you take the G train instead, find yourself trapped on the wrong side of Vernon, and need to console yourself with brunch at the kind of place that offers avocado toast with seaweed and hemp, there’s always Bellwether (47-25 Vernon Blvd, Long Island City). If you do stop there, please let me know what you think of it; I haven’t been.

Mile 15 – Long Island City


The runners can’t take in the view from the LIC waterfront – but you can

On 44th Drive, shortly after the 14 mile mark, you may find yourself asking: what smells so good? And what’s that street party going on? You’ve found John Brown Smokehouse (10-43 44th Dr, Long Island City). Like the LIC Bar, they open early on Marathon Sunday (around 10 am, I believe). I’ve been there on normal days, and can attest to the deliciousness of their food (especially those greens, and that cornbread). I haven’t been there on Marathon Sunday – something I plan to remedy this year, if I can figure out the trains – but a Queens-based acquaintance who has tells me it’s her cheering spot of choice, and a whole lot of fun.

Another note about trains: to get to John Brown Smokehouse, I believe your best bet is to head to the massive, complicated Court Square subway complex (served by the E,M,G and 7 trains) and try to find your way to the exit that takes you to the northeast corner of 21st St and 44th Dr. Or take the 7 to Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av and follow the runners along the course. Or give up and make the long walk from Queensboro Plaza.

. . . 

This year’s guide ends with the runners heading over the Queensboro bridge into Manhattan. While I plan to join them there at some point, and while I also plan to find something delicious to eat along bustling 116th St. in East Harlem, my knowledge of Harlem and the Bronx is too thin to take on a mile-by-mile guide to those neighborhoods.

There’s always next year.


And falafel. And tacos. And mangu. And doughnuts. And pierogies. And . . .

So have a great day at the marathon, cheer hard, eat well – and on the following Tuesday, please vote well, too.




1 thought on “2018 NYC Marathon spectator’s guide to Brooklyn (and Queens)

  1. Pingback: A Brooklyn neighborhood guide for NYC Marathon spectators – 2019 edition | Not another Brooklyn blog

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