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If you love running in Central Park like I do, then you should definitely use the Central Park Coat Check. It’s the single most convenient place to stow your warm-up gear before entering the park on your run. The Central Park Coat Check is open year round, 24 hours a day. And the best part? It’s free to the public.

This Sounds Amazing! Where Is The Central Park Coat Check?

Don’t bother looking for it on Google maps. It won’t show up in your Yelp search or in those NFT guidebooks. You probably walked by it on your last visit and didn’t even know it. The next time you’re in the park or walking up Central Park West or 5th Avenue on the east side of the park, keep your eyes peeled for a big, leafy bush that can conceal your brightly-colored running gear. This, dear readers, is your very own coat check.

Ummm, It Sounds Like You Want Me To Leave My Jacket Unattended Inside Some Random Bush….

Not unattended. Hidden.

Fine. It Sounds Like You Want Me To Leave My Jacket Hidden Inside Some Random Bush….

Correct.

But remember that New Yorkers have a grand tradition of hiding things in public. We hide spare keys inside small magnetic black boxes outside our apartments. We hide speakeasys behind phone booths and laundromats. We hide electrical substations inside fake town houses and we all hide our feelings behind irony and sarcasm.

Ever hear of geocachers? These people literally hide things in plain sight for fun. If they can do it, why can’t we?

Right…. So Here’s What I’m Thinking:

Stop.

I know exactly what you’re thinking:

Gee thanks for the tip Julie, but this sounds like a great way to lose a warm-up jacket. This is New York City – not Grover’s Corners. If it ain’t nailed down, someone will take it. Even the rats make out like bandits. You really think your jacket is going to be there after your run?

Fair points, all. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. If you choose your coat check wisely, your gear will be perfectly safe. The hardest part will be overcoming that uneasy feeling you have when you leave something unattended.

You Mean Hidden?

Right. Hidden.

Listen, like every great innovation, the Central Park Coat Check is not for the timid. You gotta risk it for the biscuit.

Why Do I Even Need A Coat Check?

New York is a true four-season city. We get all kinds of weather and it’s a challenge to dress properly, especially since running can make it feel as much as 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. The start of your run can feel like winter and the end of your run like spring. In these conditions, runners usually have 3 options:

1) Underdress, and risk freezing

2) Overdress, and risk overheating

3) Dress in layers, and carry what you shed (ie: tie it around your waist)

The Central Park Coat Check solves this problem. It allows you to dress in layers, shed them in a safe place, and enjoy the rest of your run unencumbered.  

Got The Concept. But Is It Worth The Risk?

I’ve been using the Central Park Coat Check for over 15 years and I’ve only lost one hoodie. The bottom line is that the reward of a comfortable run far outweighs the risk of losing an old warm-up jacket. If you choose your coat check carefully, no one besides a lost geocacher should be able to find it. Besides, anyone who fishes a random article of clothing out of the bushes must really need it. If my warm-up jacket helps a less fortunate soul stay a little warmer in the bitter NYC winter, well, that’s a donation I’m perfectly happy to make.

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