Driving in NYC is unlike driving anywhere else. A five-mile commute can often take more than an hour. Perhaps this is why so many residents and tourists alike choose to walk instead of drive throughout the city. Kirsten Chen with Thought Catalog says, ”The average New Yorker walks anywhere from two to five miles a day. Walk to work across town? That’s 2.8 miles (4.51 kilometers) round trip. Need to pick up some groceries at Amish Market? Add another .5. Stroll to happy hour and stagger home? Depending on your martini-induced sense of direction, you could work your way up to a 10k in a single day. Here in New York, we walk farther and faster than most people on planet earth.” Maybe this is why a lot of people take to one of the many running and walking trails throughout the city. Staying in shape is crucial to ensuring they can walk their way through the city on a daily basis.
If you’re traveling to NYC and want to run or walk to improve your health, it’s pertinent to take advantage of one of the area’s many trails to prioritize your safety and avoid a pedestrian accident.
We’ve put together a helpful guide to keep you safe while walking and running in NYC:
Use Fitness and Trail Apps
You can use fitness apps to help you stay safe in NYC city, too! Many of these apps will use your location to give you convenient directions to the closest running and walking trails. Take for example the app called Strava. This GPS-focused app not only records your exercises, but it also provides you with a list of popular routes in NYC. This feature on the app is designed specifically for those who “want to see the city on a safe, well-traveled route.” In addition to providing you with a list of routes, the app explains the various attractions you can expect to see as well as the elevation of each route and whether or not you’ll be going on a leisurely jog or on a more robust lengthy hill slog. Another app that’s ideal for staying safe while exercising on foot in NYC is RunKeeper.
Always Wear Reflective Clothing
Inwood Hill Park has lots of hiking trails and walking paths. It also features both leisurely and more aggressive elevations to take advantage of. Many agree it’s a great place to bring the whole family, including your favorite furry friend. You’ll find lots of dog parks to enjoy. The forested areas in the park features some of the city’s biggest and oldest tulip trees.
Regardless if you’re walking or running on a trail during the daytime or at night, always wear reflective clothing. This ensures that others can see you. It also helps other pedestrians along with cyclists to see you. A cyclist running into you on a bike can be just as dangerous as a car running into you, especially if the cyclist is traveling at a fast speed.
There are lots of types of reflective clothing that you can wear. You don’t have to waltz around the city in a high-vis reflective vest. Instead, you can wear jogging pants that have reflective stripes going down both sides as well as a top with reflective print. A quick search on the internet will turn up hundreds of sites you can shop on to purchase tees, shorts, and pants that have reflective prints and stripes. They even make headbands, gloves, socks, and more with reflective prints.
Carry a Flashlight
If you find yourself on Staten Island, make sure to check out one of the many trails at the Greenbelt Nature Center. Do keep in mind, though, that this park doesn’t feature paved trails, but it’s still a great place to enjoy nature at its finest. If you’re on the hunt for an easy stroll through the wilderness, this park is going to be right up your alley. Its abundance of wildlife paired with trails for both novice and avid adventurers makes it a perfect fit for the whole family.
You won’t need a flashlight during the daytime at the Greenbelt Nature Center, but once the sun goes down, it’s always a good idea to use a flashlight while walking or strolling through any of the city’s parks. If you forget a flashlight in the hotel room, you can always use the flashlight on your smartphone. To ensure your phone has enough power to keep the flashlight on for an extended period of time, make sure to pack a portable battery charger. Simply plug your phone into the charger while you’re walking on a trail and enjoy a fully charged battery without having to plug your phone into an outlet.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
You might not expect such great walking trails here, but no trip to NYC city is complete without visiting the Bronx. At the Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, you can enjoy a 1,146-acre park that is full of wonderful walking and running trails. This park has a lot of history to go with it as it was once a massive plantation that was owned by the Dutch Van Cortlandt family from New Amsterdam. Along with walking and running, you and the family can enjoy golfing, cycling, and much more. If you decide to visit, don’t forget to go hiking along the park’s abandoned rail line.
Even if you’re walking at a slow pace, you’re going to exhibit a lot of energy. After walking a couple of miles, you’re probably going to feel pretty tired. This is why you should always pack water and healthy snacks when taking to the area’s many trails. You can carry a backpack with snacks and water, making it easy to tote these items with you. If you intend to walk several trails until the sun goes down, you’ll even want to pack an extra pair of clothes. Ideally, at nighttime, you’ll switch into an outfit that has a lot of high-vis reflecting.
Best Time to Walk
Another great park that boasts lots of walking trails in NYC is Alley Pond Park in Oakland Gardens. This is a family park that’s perfect for hosting a birthday party. From walking trails to tennis courts and tracks, there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy. You may think there’s a “best time” to walk in NYC to help you avoid the rush, but honestly, it’s always rush hour in the city that never sleeps. Whether you head out at dawn or right after lunch, you’re going to endure heavy foot traffic. The city does seem to calm down a bit during the middle of the night, but this is definitely not a time you want to be traveling by foot, especially at one of the parks. If you have several attractions you’re wanting to visit, make sure to plan accordingly and give yourself several days in the city to enjoy yourself.
From the Statue of Liberty to Central Park to the Empire State Building, you could spend a week in NYC and still not run out of things to do. Millions of tourists flock to NYC each year to experience the New York lifestyle. Many of these tourists fly into NYC and stay at one of the area’s nearby hotels. While flying most definitely comes with its advantages, it also leaves you without a car for transportation once you arrive at your destination. You, of course, always have the option to rent a car, but this can get expensive, and this is why so many people choose to walk instead of drive. Use our tips listed above to keep you safe as you walk through NYC.