The Best Manhattan Spots to Watch the New York City Marathon

By Ben Fractenberg on November 4, 2011 7:04am | Updated on November 4, 2011 7:29am

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Our interactive map gives a detailed tour of the ING Marathon route and points of interests along the way.
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Billy Figueroa

MANHATTAN — Finding a good spot to watch Sunday's ING New York City Marathon among the hundreds of thousands of fans expected to cheer on the runners is not going to be easy — which is where DNAinfo can help.

From the Queensboro Bridge to the Central Park finish line, Manhattan has some of the best spots to watch the annual race.

If you're willing to shell out a few bucks, you can watch the runners cross the finish line at the Grandstand at Central Park West and 67th Street. Tickets are $75 and include a view of a large-screen broadcast of NBC's live coverage.

The Grandstand opens at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday. Tickets can be bought at the New York City Marathon Health and Fitness Expo at the Jacob Javits Center on 11th Avenue and 34th Street Friday and Saturday.

If that's a little too expensive, head uptown to Harlem for an $18.95 brunch buffet at Piatta d'Oro II on Fifth Avenue and 118th Street. Brunch includes a free mimosa and you can watch the runners heading down the final stretch of Fifth Avenue before hitting Central Park.

Restaurant co-owner Rolando Calle said business is usually a little slower during the marathon so it shouldn't be a problem getting a table, but you can still make a reservation by calling 212-722-7220. Brunch starts at 11 a.m.

If you want to avoid the restaurant scene, consider cheering on the marathoners as they hit the wall at the 20-mile-mark at First Avenue and 112th Street.

If you want to get there early, grab a coffee or homemade croissant from La Tropezienne Bakery on First Avenue and 110th Street. It opens at 6 a.m.

Vegetarians can head a little farther south to the V-Note Organic Wine Bar and Vegan Bistro on First Avenue and 80th Street, which has views looking out on the race course. The brunch menu includes items like Crispy Thai Tofu for $14 and organic mimosas for $8.

Brunch starts at noon and they recommend a reservation as the space fills up quickly. Or you could just watch the race as you wait for a table.

Another good outdoor spot to catch the race is at the northern end of Marcus Garvey Park at 124th Street and Fifth Avenue. It's where some of the biggest crowds in Harlem come out to cheer the runners, and walking west along the edge of the park you should be able to find a spot to cheer them on.

The Heavenly Rest Stop Café is on the east side of Fifth Avenue between 89th and 90th streets, across the street from where the runners first enter the park.

You can grab a large latte there for $4.95 and sit outside at an outdoor table, or cheer on the athletes along the sidewalk.

If you walk south along the park and turn in at 79th Street you can head to the East Drive, where the marathoners will slog toward the finish line. It should be pretty crowded in the park, but the extra green space means you should be able to find a spot to watch the action.

And if you simply want to sit above it all try Landmarc in the Time Warner Center at 59th Street and Eight Avenue. The third floor eatery looks over the southwest end of the park where runners will be nearing the finish line.   

It opens at 7 a.m. and you may want to get there early as things get very busy. A manager said they still have space available, but it is recommended to call for reservation.

As if there wasn't enough good food around the marathon, Danny Meyer is catering all the events surrounding the race.

And whether you're inside or out shouldn't really matter.

The forecast for Sunday is a high of 58 degrees and mostly sunny, so whatever you decide to do it should be beautiful fall weather.

If you are an early riser you can catch a bus to the marathon starting line on Staten Island. The bus leaves from the New York Public Library at Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street, according to the MTA.

You can also check out the marathon's website for a list of dos and don'ts for the day. The website says to cheer people who are hurting. But a big don't is telling runners, "You're almost there."

"You should only use those longed-for words if you’re holding the finish line tape (typically, that’s Mayor Bloomberg’s job)," the website says.

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