Best (Secret) Quarter-Mile (2010)

Washington Street

The majority of New Yorkers live nowhere near Central, Prospect, or Van Cortlandt parks. Out of the 29,000 acres of public space our city has carved out for recreation, most are not conducive to exercise. Walking to your nearest green space or busing it to a waterfront footpath in order to jog is equivalent to taking the elevator and getting in line for the next available StairMaster. A handful of regulation quarter-mile running tracks are scattered around the five boroughs: Victory Field in Queens' Forest Park, Corporal Thompson Park in Staten Island, Red Hook Park in Brooklyn, Macombs Dam Park in the Bronx, and only two on the island of Manhattan (East River Park and Thomas Jefferson Park). It's a workout just to get to these ovals. So where can you stretch your legs, lengthen your stride, and work those calves by getting up on your toes without hurdling strollers, dodging headphone-wearing bikers, or waiting for the light to change? Let the straightaway quarter-mile of Washington Street from Canal to Leroy, along the vacant truck bays of the UPS distribution center that fill the block, be your Secret Quarter-Mile. Wide open, devoid of traffic, it's the best place to clock your new PR or reach your VO2 max in the shortest amount of time.


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