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Exercise in the time of coronavirus: park stairs

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

This wide set of stairs in Jackie Robinson Park can be accessed at Bradhurst Avenue and 148th Street
Jackie Robinson Park's extra-wide stairs

As the pandemic rages on, outdoor exercise remains one of the safest and no-fuss ways to stay active.

Luckily in Upper Manhattan you're never too far from a steep park crisscrossed with some serious stairs—many with more than 100 steps.

So here's an idea: Find the nearest set and get ready for a major workout. A good rule of thumb is to run up and down for 30 to 45 minutes. And, yes, you can also walk.

From south to north, here's where to find the best:

South Harlem

Although practically the entire park is filled with stairs, one of the longest sets (150-plus steps) starts at 120th Street and Morningside Avenue and goes all the way up to Morningside Drive.

Central Harlem

Scenic stairs abound at this park—including the set running along the newly renamed James Baldwin Lawn at 135th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. But it's hard to beat the surroundings near the steps at 141st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue: The neo-Gothic towers of City College loom above while founding father Alexander Hamilton's 1802 home is just to the north.

The stairs in St. Nicholas Park are great for a workout
The scenic stairs near W 141st Street in St. Nicholas Park.

Central Harlem

Run up the extra-wide set of stairs that start near the peaceful bandshell at 148th Street and Bradhurst Avenue, then leave time to explore the recently renovated paths of this leafy, historic park.

Washington Heights

Possibly the steepest of the bunch, Fort Tryon's Grand Staircase starts just north of the Anne Loftus Playground, connecting Broadway near Dyckman Street with the Met Cloisters at the top of the hill (if you're not too sweaty, you can even pay a visit).

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