It was a near-perfect day for a marathon on Sunday, with sunny skies accompanied by a crisp high of 55.
And Harlem, with its historic brownstones and wide, tree-lined streets, served as the ideal backdrop.
After crossing the Madison Avenue Bridge into Manhattan, the 50,000-plus runners came streaming down Fifth Avenue, where crowds cheered as DJs along the route played Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys ("Concrete jungle where dreams are made of...").
Just below 125th Street they looped around Marcus Garvey Park, where endless rows of brownstones stood watch like an architectural royal guard.
Leaving the smaller park behind, the marathoners headed for their final destination: Central Park.
But before saying goodbye to Harlem, they had one more landmark to pass: the impressive statue of Duke Ellington and his piano.
Did the elite runners, who came before all the others, even notice?
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