NYC Marathon – 5 Burroughs and 42 Pieces

A couple of rules of this blog are broken in this post:

1.- In the previous posts I’ve just written about popular races in which I’ve run. However, after 16 completed Marathons, including Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin and London, I haven’t run the NYC Marathon yet (I hope do it soon!).

2.- This is the first post in English in this blog. I apologise the (probably) many mistakes, since I’m not pefectly English fluent. Don’t worry, my Spanish writting is not Bolaño’s one, neither; you don’t miss any literary master piece!.

Reason: I love running and I love NY. And NYC Marathon is one of the best (or the best) popular race in the world. I have been in NY several times, but even before going there, I “knew” the city.

In this blog you can read a post about the wonderful Central Park running I’ve done several times. One of the best places in the world to run, join to Dehesa de la Villa forest in Madrid, my usual tracking rute, and Barrosa Beach in Cádiz, on hollidays. You’re all welcome to both of them when come to Spain.

I hope to run 2012 NYC Marathon. I have my confirmed entry (by qualifying time), and will have to manage some “logistic” matters. Namely, I’m married and have four little children, some of them to be “endorsed” to family if we want to go there.

In any event, I’m so excited to run this race that I’m going to write this piece in advance. If I finally run this Marathon, I’ll work a better issue about it, I promise.

If you see other post of La República del Running, you’ll notice its difference: running, places to run, popular races in Spain and abroad, etc., bundled with my favourite songs, books, movies, TV series, etc. Pieces ever related to the running subject. In this post, I’ll simply include eight “artistic” pieces for each NY burrough of the course, plus dos “bonuses”. To get some “pace”, those eight pieces are distributed 2 x 4, being the four subjects music, books, movies and other artistic issues.

All of them, related to the Burroughs. I appologise for the possible mistakes, in advance. And also I’d like to mention that these are my personal preferences. I’m sure all the native (and not native) people reading this post will have better choices. In fact, I’d appreciate very much if you comment on them, so that we could make a better article!.

In any event, you’ll find here The Sopranos, Jonathan Lethem, Woody Allen, Goodfellas, Breakfast in Tiffanys, Lou Reed, Ramones, The Godfather, Paul Auster and many other NY subjects.

The course starts.


Unfortunately, I’ve never been there. But in movies we’re all be in this place. And in music two references.

1.- One of the best folksingers of all time, Joan Baez, born in Staten Island in 1941. Here, singing in Paris with other genius, Bob Dylan. It’s not a great recording, but being one of the few Baez and Dylan recorded joint performances, I think it’s valuable.

2.- Even if not Staten Island native, this guy Keith Richards have frequentily lived there, and his wife is born in this state. One of the best Rolling Stones songs. And Murakami’s favourite to run!.

Regarding to literary aspects, far from other relevant Staten Island celebrities, as Ralph Waldo Emerson (later, of course in Brooklyn, we’ll go to one of its followers, Jonathan Lettem), two related quotes:

3.- Staten Island as the new fashionable area of the post apocalyptic futuristic New York of Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, one of the best recent novels.

4.- This burrough was hollidays place of one of the most famous New Yorker writers, Henry James. And of course, here’s one of his best knowns novels, The Turn of the Screw, a favourite.

The movies. Here’s easy. As for the rest of New York burroughs.

5.- Staten Island was the main set of most of  the locations of one of the best movie sagas, The Godfather. For instance, the famous wedding which starts the film was shot there:

6.- And one of the most famous Staten Island natives, the great Paul Newman. A tribute, with some of its best performances, The Sting, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Hustler (unforgettable Eddie Felson), etc.

And from Staten Island, two clasic subjects in the miscellanea side.

7.- Home of the invention of the chiclets, by Thomas Adams. Mexican inspiration.

8.- One of the most famous sightings of New York, from the Staten Island Ferry. A turistic “must”. Location of a lot of films, too.


Wonderful burrough. Next time in New York, I’ll try to spend more time there.

The music. Some geniouses.

9.- South in Brooklyn, Coney Island, … Baby, a masterpiece. Great Lou Reed, born in Freeport, Long Island.

10.- Going to jazz. Excellent piece, The Brooklyn Boogie by Louis Prima. New Orleans meets New York.

Of course, talking about books it’s talking about,

11.- The Brooklyn cronist, one of the best contemporary writters, Johnatan Lethem. Brooklyn is the main character of his great books, Motherless Brooklyn and, above all, The Fortress of Solitude. Probably the course run for these streets where Dylan Ebdus and Mingus Rude discover the music and themselves.

12.- And easy. A recent novel, excellent, by the Irish Colm Toibin. Brooklyn, a Novel. A recomendation.

In the movies, it’s compulsory: the Brooklyn Bridge.

13.- I love this one, from the best TV Series of all time, Los Soprano. The River Cafe, the favourite of Johnny Sacks. In this case, with the wonderful Paulie Walnuts.

In my last visit to NY I was lucky to have a dinner in this restaurant, one of the best in town. Of course, the sightings are spectacular.

14.- Of course, the shop in the corner. From the movie Smoke. 16th Street with Prospect Park, in Brooklyn. The great Paul Auster (from Brooklyn, too) at the screenplay, Wayne Wang shooting and Harvey Keitel performing, and taking photos of the shop in the corner.

The bonus miscellanea for Brooklyn. Two sport stars born in this area.

15.- The best chess player of history, Bobby Fisher. Remembering Fisher, Searching for Bobby Fisher, an excellent movie about this sport, which must be compulsory in schools.

16.- And Michael Jordan. Yes, he’s not from Chicago. The best basketball player of all time.


North of Brooklyn. Music, books and films, too.

17.- One of the “local” bands, Ramones. A song dedicated to the Queen’s beach of Rockaway.

18.- And other of the local singers, Tonny Bennet. With a song which starts a “local” movie, too. Later it’ll appear, of course.

Not many famous international writers from Queens, as far as I know (please, report any mistake here). However, two interesting related people.

19.- Jack Kerouac, father of the Beat Generation, lived 6 years in Ozone Park, Queens. There’s some footsteps there of the On the Road’s author (BTW, suitable title for this post subject!).

20.- And the 1972 Nobel Prize of Economics Kenneth Arrow, graduated in Queens University. One of the fathers of the collective decision-making, general equilibrium theory and environment and growth in Economics. Far related to the theories of the well – known John Nash (A Beatiful Mind, shooted in Staten Island, BTW).

Queens is a usual location for movies. A couple of examples.

21.- The “local” movie afforementioned. One of the best films of all time. Martin Scorsese, Robert de Niro, Ray Liotta, Lorraine Bracco and some of the crew which later appears in The Sopranos. Most of its locations in Queens, the neibourhood of Henry Hill character.

I’m sorry, but rights limitations don’t allow to embed here some of its famous scenes, like Funny How?, the Helicopter scene and, my favourite, the Copacabana One Shot (BTW, last one not in Queens but at 10 East 60th Street, Manhattan). You can see them embebed in the original linked source.

22.- Of course, the Queensboro Bridge. In this case, from Manhattan, the movie. And phisically shoted from there. One of the clasic Woody Allen (a NYC icon) scenes.

And to end with Queens a couple of miscellanea issues.

23.- Flushing Meadows in Queens is since 1978 the place of the US Open, one of the Grand Slam of Tennis. Manuel Orantes in 1975 and, of course, great Rafa Nadal in 2010 are the two Spanish winners. Far (by the moment in the case of Nadal) of Federer, Sampras and Connors`5 and McEnroe’s 4.

24.- And from Queens is the actor Hank Azaria. Well – known not only for his films, but for being the voice of some of the characters of one of the best TV series of all time, The Simpsons. Moe, Apu, el jefe Wigum and others.


A lot of pieces from the Bronx. I’ve never been there in my previous NY trips. As for Queens, other burrough to be explored.

In music, a couple of famous neighbours.

25.- First,  a great performer, Billy Joel, with a classic song.

26.- And then, a classic singer, Bobby Darin, with a great performance.

From the literature, other couple of well – known references of this burrough.

27.- A famous novel set in Bronx, from Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of Vanities. Also adapted as a movie by Brian de Palma, with Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis and Melanie Griffith.

28.- A classic reference, Edgar Allan Poe, which lived in Bronx some seasons. From him, any of his amazing tales.

A lot of films have been located in Bronx. Also, some cinema stars born there. A couple of favourites.

29.- The excellent Finding Forrester, set in the burrough. Wonderful Sean Connery. And great end, with one of the most beautiful songs ever, the mix “What a Wonderful World” / “Over the Rainbow” by the sadly dead Israel Iz Kamakawiwo’ole.

30.- And Tony Curtis, born in the Bronx, in his best performance as Joe / Josephine, in Some Like it Hot, one of the best movies of the best film comedy director ever, Billy Wilder.

Finally, the Bronx was the birth place of two legendary american sport stars.

31.- The boxer Jack LaMotta, the Bronx Bull, whose life was filmed in the masterpiece Raging Bull. Other famous NY icon, Robert de Niro, performed LaMotta.

32.- The baseball player Lou Gehring. His life and tragedy was also filmed, by Sam Wood, and his role performed by the movie star Gary Cooper.


A lot of references and possible choices. Eight pieces between a hundred of possibilities.

In music, a couple of songs, by foreigners.

33.- A reference to Harlem, near the last miles of the course. Irish U2’s Angel of Harlem, wonderful song.

34.- A favourite. From Canada, one of the best songs ever. The poet Leonard Cohen.

As curiosity, a cover by the Spanish genius Enrique Morente, join to Lagartija Nick.

Books. Hundreds. A choice from two recent novels I liked very much.

35.- Again Lethem. In this case, moving from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The excellent Chronic City. A must to understand a different New York and, of course, a good chance to enjoy this excellent writer.

36.- Let the Great World Spin. Beautiful novel based in a real issue. The Twin Towers and the famous tightrope walker (also filmed in a documentary movie) as a central part of the plot.

Difficult to remember movies NOT in Manhattan!. Go to Central Park, end of the Marathon.

37.- A Central Park presence in the movies: When Harry met Sally, Die Hard, BReakfast at Tiffany’s, On the Town, Hair, etc. Excellent compilation. 9 minutes, but it’s worth to watch it.

38.- And a classic. Central Park in the movies = Woody Allen. Some in the previous compilation. But a chance for the best Woody Allen film, Hannah and her Sisters (Nobody, not even the rain, has such a small hands).

A caprice, a frivolity (are these expression right?). Some Manhattan restaurants. A recomendation (after the race!)

39.- An excellent burger, near Central Park. In J.G. Melon. Informal, not reservations.

40.- And some more formal dinner. You could chose Balthazar in Soho (also suitable for lunch) and Nobu in Soho o 57th Street (more expensive). Two of the best restaurants in the city.


To end the 42 kilometres, two classic NY images.

41- Of course, this is NY. For things like this we love NY. Near Central Park, 5th Avenue with 57th Street. For the Red Days.

42.- And, of course. The best NY soundtrack ever. From Manhattan, Woody Allen and Gerswhin.

I hope you understand some mistakes and the not – perfect English wording. It wants to be a little tribute to NY from the Madrid running world.



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