Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Archive for New York City

Eating our Way to the 5-Boro Bike Tour


Bike New York’s TD 5-Boro Bike Tour is once again upon us, Sunday, May 4. I won’t be there this year, but am wishing good weather, a good ride and good eats to my friends who will be. Maybe I’ll consider 2015. And, maybe I can convince fellow travelers to do a repeat of some of the wonderful food stops we enjoyed last year.

A 40-mile bike ride and a 4 a.m. volunteer stint required adequate nutrition, and what better place to find some good eats than New York City.

Our culinary tour included:

Mile End Deli:   This Brooklyn eatery, walking distance from The Flea, has a walk-up carry-out window and a sit-down dining area that accommodates 20- 25 people max. Most of our group ordered smoked meat sandwiches, making comparisons with the smoked meat at Montreal’s delis.  I ordered a hot dog along with a a side order of slaw and frites, which were flavorful and plentiful.


La Silhouette An evening meal took us to a Manhattan restaurant familiar to friends Phyllis and Mike from her days of living in New York. I have since heard this restaurant closed in late 2013 and no word on it reopening. Pity, because it had a wonderful ambience, a varied menu with beautifully prepared entrees, particularly seafood dishes, and service that was flawless.

Joe G’s Following a long and chilly day for our five cyclists,P1010218three of our crew opted for comfort food and a cozy restaurant.  We chose this below-street level restaurant near our hotel.  At Joe G’s you will find dark wood, white tablecloths, pleasant staff and a selection of Italian dishes perfect for four tired senior athlete travelers.

If you give any of of our dining choices a try, please let me know if you agree.  For me, I can’t wait to return to New York for the sights, the food and the athletic events.  P1010227

And maybe next time, I will step out of the volunteer t-shirt and onto two wheels.

Before I return to NYC for the 5-Boro Bike Tour, I will be making my way through the five boros at the 2014 New York City Marathon. I’m looking for some additional dining choices and will be building my list early.  I’ve already received recommendations for Brooklyn’s Grimaldi’s pizza.  Any other suggestions out there?

What to see that you don’t see on the 5-Boro Bike Ride

New York City is a great exception to that penchant of mine for driving to races in scenic places.  For races, runs and rides in NYC, I leave personal transport behind and navigate the public transit system.  This option will be even easier when the bike share program is up and running, pending the ruckus about the appearance of the bike stands.

We are fortunate to have Amtrak service into New York City.

NY Penn Station Amtrak Terminal

The train is quick, comfy and easy, rolling into Penn Station  where we connected with the metro system and our specific destination.  With few exceptions, this group of senior cyclists/runners continued to either use public transportation or to hoof it throughout the stay.

On arrival, we found our way to the Bike Expo on South Street.  In addition to picking up packets and ogling nifty cycling products, we walked the pier area, seeing the remains of the devastation left by Hurricane Sandy as well as the progress made in rebuilding.

Having taken care of business for the Sunday ride, we had downtime to do some exploring. To ward off nerves about the upcoming ride, what to see and do?

Brooklyn Flea Market:  Our friend Janis led us through

Brooklyn Gardena tree-lined street of brown- stones to the this wonderful market referred to locally as the Flea.   It has a sizable selection of vintage products,Brooklyn Flee Market original art work,The Flee   and an eclectic blend  of food choices.IMG_0963

Battery Park area:  As I finished up my Sunday volunteer stint (5 a.m. through mid-morning) at the start of the 40-mile ride, I knew my friends would have hours to go before we would meet.  With little familiarity of Battery Park,

English: New York City skyline with Battery Pa...

English: New York City skyline with Battery Park – seen from the Staten Island Ferry Deutsch: New York City Skyline mit Battery Park – von der Staten Island Fähre (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I  knew a few landmarks and stayed within easy walking distance of the Staten Island Ferry, the finish point for the 5-boro ride.

World Trade Center – Upon my release from volunteer duties on Sunday morning, I simply began walking the area and found myself around the World Trade Center.  On this cool damp morning, nothing could have prepared me for the palpable sense of loss. Frozen in place, I stood before the lengthy list of photographs and names of police and firemen lost.  A stop in a cozy coffee shop helped me warm up and sift through my thoughts.

National Museum of the American Indian  The museum was conveniently located a few blocks from the ferry, allowing me (or so I thought) several hours to browse and learn. Wandering through several exhibits, I was drawn to the sight and sound in a room showing a documentary on American Indian contributions in blues, jazz and rock music. After a 4:30 a.m. trip to my volunteer stint, I was particularly enjoying sitting down in a plush chair in a viewing room with a fantastic sound system. The filmed commentary and the music were wonderful. Then, a quick end to my comfortable lounge chair as the cell vibration alerted me.  Three of the five friends out on the course were swept and loaded on a bus somewhere past 20 miles. Details on this are in my earlier post on the 5-boro bike ride.  

Museum time was over for now. Reconnaissance and retrieval time began. 

English: New York City - Staten Island Ferry D...

English: New York City – Staten Island Ferry Deutsch: New York City – Staten Island Ferry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Frugal Friday – Race Fees Paid for Naught

We interrupt the litany of Boston tales to explore the costs of races we don’t run – either because we don’t make it to the start line or the race is cancelled.


“MONEY” (Photo credit: Englishpointers

English: Symbolized moneyAs with any type of travel, participating in road races sometimes requires transportation and lodging costs in addition to registration fees.   So, for those of us who want the max from our running budget, how do we minimize costs when the race is a no-go?

There are online registration services that provide insurance coverage for fees in some circumstances, such as injuries, but those I’ve seen don’t address cancellation of a race.

So, why don’t we get to the race start line?  We’re already invested and it’s understood that race registration fees are nonrefundable.  In my personal case, the most costly recent races I have missed and may miss, both in travel costs and entry fees cover both the scenario of the cancelled race (NYC Marathon) and potentially this year’s Boston Marathon; the first a race cancellation, the second an injury.  (Note to self:  Downhill skiing was not the wisest choice of cross-training.)

Injuries and unexpected family events are the primary reasons I have been a no show after registering for a race and I hear those reasons most frequently from running friends when they bail on a race and the registration fee and travel expenses go down the drain.

English: Dripping faucet Deutsch: Tropfender W...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And what are the reasons that races actually cancel? In my experience, weather-related cancellations are most frequent and they make sense.  I’ve been registered for races where portions of the course were under water.  Adventure races aside, do you really want to be out there anyway?
The most notable weather-related cancellation,  the 2012 New York City Marathon found runners from around the world either settling in for New York City shopping and shows, or more likely scurrying to find another marathon, preferably along the Eastern seaboard.

Then, there is the March 17 Rome Marathon.  No, not cancelled, but Runner’s World reports the start time may be delayed from 9 a.m.  to late afternoon depending on the date a papal decision is made.  So, registered runners may have a little more time to lounge on the piazza sipping cappuccino before they begin their journey past the Coliseum and the Trevi Fountain.


TREVI FOUNTAIN (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then, there is the previously scheduled April 10 Gaza Marathon which in fact was cancelled after authorities in Gaza determined women would not be allowed to participate.  The United Nations Relief Agency then promptly canceled the marathon.
While I was looking forward to New York, I’m not enroute to Rome this year and I’m not one of the 370 women who had registered for the 26.2 mile Gaza run.  But, who knows what wiles of the world will occur between the time I commit to my next race entry and the time the start whistle blows.

If someone has the answer for this frugal senior runner, please let me know.  I’m daydreaming of an easy cost/benefit formula that would intuitively tell me when it’s time to hedge my bets with insurance coverage or some other method of cutting my losses.  You may be saying it already exists – it’s called common sense.  True, but common sense is sometimes in short supply when the lure of  intriguing travel and race destinations call.