Ask the Running Nerd: Central Park bathrooms

Know where to go when a bathroom break calls while you’re running New York City’s iconic Central Park. Photo: simon_music/flickr

Know where to go in Central Park. Photo by simon_music/flickr.

You’ve got questions. The Running Nerd will find the answers.


I want to know where the toilets are in Central Park. I’m not going to be looking for a bath in the middle of a run.

~Ewen, Canberra, Australia via The New York Running Show


We hear you, Ewen. Central Park is one of America’s most iconic parks to run. But if you’re not a local or familiar with the park, finding a restroom mid-run can be stressful. There are few things that will leave a runner more panicked than a sudden urge with no place to go; the Running Nerd knows. Luckily, Central Park has 16 public bathrooms, so relief is never far away.

Hands down, the best bathroom to know as a runner in Central Park is located in the Tennis Center near 94th Street and the center of the park, just above the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. If you’re running the reservoir’s cinder path or the dirt bridal path loop—as many, many runners do—this is your nearest restroom. Best of all, it’s open year round. Just run down the little hill from the top of the reservoir or bridal path and look for the building beside the tennis courts.

When you’re on the park’s roads or paths, the best rule of thumb is to run to the nearest building—chances are there’s a bathroom inside. That’s what the Running Nerd does, and it works like a charm every time.

For a complete list of all bathrooms in Central Park, here are two handy links to bookmark and memorize: a listing of all the bathrooms in Central Park and whether they are open year round (four are not), and a running map of Central Park with bathroom locations included.

Happy Trails,

The Running Nerd

Do you have a question? I’ll find answer. Let my fingers to the walking, er running, for you. Contact me here: Contact Karla Bruning or post below.

Karla Bruning is an award-winning journalist and running nerd. She has completed four marathons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning. To listen to an interview with Karla, check out The Marathon Show, available for streaming or download on BlogTalkRadio and iTunes, or listen to a panel of runners, including Karla, discuss the ING New York City Marathon. Read more of Karla’s work at Run, Karla, Run! in the Communities at The Washington Times.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine,,, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.


A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

Contact Karla Bruning


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