The Tracks of New York

The Tracks of New York

A city of 8 million, and over 200 tracks to run on.

The Tracks of New York
LØPE MAGAZINE – Special Edition, Issue No. 018, March 2020

Photography and Map Research by Liam Boylan-Pett

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When you leave New York, one of the rites of passage is to write an essay about why you’re leaving New York. My leave-New-York-moment could trace back to 2013 when I moved out to New Jersey, but in 2019 when I moved to Michigan, that’s when it really felt like I was gone for good.

I did not have an urge to write an essay, though. My “I’m leaving New York act of defiance” was mapping every damn track in the entire city into one obsessive Google map. I started by clicking each track I knew of, but that only got me so far—so I mostly just went over Google maps with a fine-tooth comb. And after many hours of work, I mapped what I believe to be every track in New York. 

Most of them are less than 400 meters. Many are un-runnable—either because they’re about 25-meters long with 90-degree turns or because they’re at a school that closes its doors to the public (I was told I couldn’t take a photo of a track in the Village)—but I counted over 200 tracks in the five boroughs. 

After I mapped them, I didn’t really know what to do with them. I still am mulling over some plans for stories, but for now, in the time of social distancing, I figured why not share a map that I had a fun time creating? No, New Yorkers should not go run on these tracks today, but go check them out once this pandemic has calmed down. 

Once you’ve had a chance to scour the map (and please reach out to me at if I missed one!), take a look at some of the photos I grabbed of a smattering of tracks, below.

Like runners, no two tracks are alike. 

Enjoy, and happy running. And as always, hurry, but slowly. 

– Liam 

Hurry Slowly

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