13 Things You'll See at the United Airlines NYC Half

The United Airlines NYC Half course connects two of the most popular running spots in the city—Prospect Park and Central Park—while also bringing runners through several areas they couldn't race through any other day of the year.

Let's take you along the route with 13 things you'll see along the 13.1 miles of the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half.

1. Prospect Park

We'll start at the start of the race itself and continue in the order in which you'll see them. The United Airlines NYC Half starts in Brooklyn's Prospect Park, challenging half-marathoners with a run up Battle Pass Hill on the very first mile.

2. Grand Army Plaza

Once out of Prospect Park, runners do an out-and-back loop on Flatbush Avenue, passing Grand Army Plaza at the end of the circuit. Inside the Plaza is the Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch, a monument that stands 80 feet tall and was completed in 1892. As the inscription on one side of the monument reads, "To the Defenders of the Union, 1861–1865, the inside of the arch features bronze sculptures of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.

3. Barclays Center

Home of the Brooklyn Nets and (sometimes) the New York Islanders. You'll pass this 19,000-seat arena just after you reach the 5K mark.

4. Manhattan Bridge

On Miles 5 and 6, you'll cross the East River from Brooklyn into Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge. On race day, you'll run over the top level of the bridge as the D, N, or Q lines of the subway run below—see if you can get across faster than they can!

5. Chinatown

Once you've crossed the Manhattan Bridge, you'll be running through Chinatown on your approach to the FDR Drive.

6. and 7. The United Nations and the Chrysler Building

We're grouping two landmarks into one photo here. The United Nations (pictured to the right) stands just north of where you'll turn off of the FDR Drive and onto 42nd Street. The complex is considered international territory, as it serves as the headquarters for the largest intergovernmental organization in the world with 193 member states.

If you look up after making the turn, you'll see the 77-story Chrysler Building towering above. It was the tallest building in the world for a span of 11 months (May 27, 1930–May 1, 1931) before the Empire State Building was completed. Today, the Chrysler Building is tied for the eighth-tallest building in New York City.

8. U Thant Island

But before you set your eyes completely toward 42nd Street, if you look to the right from the FDR Drive exit ramp, you'll see a small island with a few trees and a metal tower. Officially named Belmont Island, this landmass is more commonly known as U Thant Island, and at approximately 100 feet by 200 feet, it's the smallest island in the borough of Manhattan. Its unofficial name was given in honor of U Thant, a Burmese diplomat who served as the United Nations Secretary General from 1961-1971.

9. Grand Central Terminal

Welcoming an estimated 750,000 visitors per day, this train terminal serves the Metro-North Railroad as well as the 4, 5, 6, 7, and S lines of the New York City subway. Its 44 boarding platforms make it the largest train station in the world in that regard.

10. The New York Public Library

As the main branch of the New York Public Library system, the Mid-Manhattan location houses an estimated 2.5 million books in its stacks. Farther along 42nd Street, just behind the library, is Bryant Park.

11. Times Square

In case you haven't heard, the United Airlines NYC Half runs through Times Square. Turning from 42nd Street onto Seventh Avenue, you'll run around the building where the New Year's ball drops. A few blocks later, you'll be running alongside young athletes from Rising New York Road Runners programs across the city as they take part in a shorter-distance race.

12. Carnegie Hall

Some people will tell you that there's one way to get to Carnegie Hall: Practice, practice, practice. That may be true, but another way to get there is by running the United Airlines NYC Half. You'll pass the concert space on Mile 12 as you near the end of the Seventh Avenue segment.

13. Central Park

Turning off of Seventh Avenue and onto Central Park South, you'll trace the edge of the park before making a turn inside near Fifth Avenue. Once you're in the park, you'll run up to the 72nd Street Transverse, cross to the west side of the park, and then make one last turn toward the finish line right near the Mile 13 marker. Another 200 yards or so, and you've made it!

Want to see these all for yourself? Enter the drawing for the 2020 United Airlines NYC Half and you could be running these streets on March 15! The application closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on November 13, and the drawing will take place on November 20.

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Ted Doyle

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