Central Park is a perfect urban oasis that in many ways represents the heart of New York City. Convenient location, lush natural beauty, and the diversity of people and activities is why it is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. And if you are a runner, there is almost nowhere more exhilarating and fun to run than Central Park.
Built in 1862 as a backup water supply for NYC, the reservoir was decommissioned in 1993. Today it is encircled by a 1.58-mile cinder pedestrian pathway - a favorite of runners, and also walkers, tourists and photography buffs. Featured in many movies and television shows, the reservoir offers perfect views of the Upper West Side, Upper East Side and Central Park South skylines.
If you're more ambitious try my favorite route - the 6-mile, paved Central Park "loop" that takes you through the entire park, passing by Tavern on the Green, Sheep Meadow field, the Time Warner towers, Central Park Carousel, Central Park Boathouse and the Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums. You can also experience the last four miles of the NYC Marathon by entering the loop at East 90th Street and running clockwise until you cross the "finish line" at Tavern on the Green. If six miles is too long, you can create shorter paths by cutting across various transverses in the park. There are water fountains and small food vendors in the park, too.
Tip: try to run when the loop is closed to traffic (weekends and weekdays outside of rush hours).