There’s an official TCS NYC Marathon app. I’ve used it before when I went to go watch a few friends run. You can track anyone running the race on the app. It’s pretty accurate +/- a few minutes. The app also has the map of the course.
You can’t get into Central Park unless you have a pass. Best place to catch someone is around mile 18 (1st Ave and about 96th) and around mile 23 (5th Ave and about 96th st). This way if you miss them at mile 18, you’ll have a second chance. Trains will be packed heading uptown so give yourself some extra time.
This is 100% on point: the 1st Av / 96th St and 5th Av / 96th St locations are prime spots for catching runners. Just make sure to agree to a location ahead of time so your runner knows where to look for you, as it can be stressful and maddening otherwise. Also, as soupydumplings mentioned, the app is invaluable. Just make sure to have your phone fully charged, as it is a common complaint that it drains the battery.
Also, just to clarify, Central Park is not entirely closed. Only the route areas. Everything North of 90th St is open and that is how you will want to cross to the west side if you are planning to meet up after the race. For details on Central Park closures, see here: http://www.centralparknyc.org/events/ ... dual-events/marathon.html
Also, it seems like this year they have taken feedback into account and corrals are not closing as early as in other years. The updated information for timelines can be found at this link: https://www.tcsnycmarathon.org/sites/d ... 0Start%20Times_100918.pdf
The key thing to remember for race day is that corrals are closing at 25 minutes, or less, from start time. That's much more sensible than in previous years. See below, or refer to the link right above.
Corrals open 8:50 a.m. 9:35 a.m. 10:05 a.m. 10:30 a.m.
Corrals close 9:25 a.m. 9:55 a.m. 10:20 a.m. 10:45 a.m
Wave Start 9:50 a.m. 10:15 a.m. 10:40 a.m. 11:00 a.m.
Good luck to everyone participating!