Brooklyn, From the Bottom Up
Sunday 8/06: Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Flatbush, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg, Greenpoint
Distance: 13.88 miles
Weather: mostly sunny
Unique Miles Today: 13.75
Total Unique Miles: 202.74
Percent of Brooklyn Run: 11.64
click on image for interactive map
Route: I started at the 8th Street subway stop, then ran south to the boardwalk, east to Beach Walk, up to Brighton Beach Avenue, east to Brighton Beach 7th, south to Brightwater Court, east a block to Coney Island Avenue, back down to the boardwalk and then west two blocks to Brighton Beach 6th, up to Ocean View Lane, and then over to Coney Island Ave. The rest is pretty straightforward: I headed north up Coney Island to Cortelyou, east to Flatbush, then up to Washington for a few blocks before heading up Franklin. I took Franklin to Wallabout, then headed east to Lorimer, north to Cayler, east to McGuinness, and north up onto the Pulaski Bridge. When I got to the sign that said "Welcome to Queens," I stopped and walked back home.
Notes: A week ago I mused about the different types of runs I might try to keep things interesting, and one that I contemplated was the "themed run," which is pretty much what it sounds like. The thing is, it was only a theoretical construction, something I'd thought about but had not, thus far, put into practice. So today I decided I'd try my first high-concept excursion, and after rejecting a few ideas I settled on running from the southern edge of Brooklyn (along the ocean in Coney Island) straight north up to Newtown Creek, the border between Greenpoint and Queens -- the entire borough, from bottom to top.
So at about 6:30 this morning I took the G to the F to Coney Island (which took over an hour in of itself), ran my first ever stretch along the boardwalk, and then headed north. My route was chosen largely for its straightness (the whole shortest distance between two points thing), and since I followed major thoroughfares like Coney Island and Flatbush Avenues it was mostly commercial without a lot of residential areas other than large apartment buildings. The weather was great (well, at least for August), and there were some serious Brooklyn landmarks along the way, including the Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church, Erasmus Hall High School, and the (now decaying but apparently once quite grand) Loew's Kings Theater. I passed dozens of tire places, bodegas, restaurants, and other ubiquitous fixtures of the Kings County urban landscape, as well as the requisite old factories, warehouses, empty lots, hundreds of people, and the much-documented ODB mural in Bed-Stuy. As usual, then, there was plenty to see.
All in all, it was a great run. Moreover, it was fun (well, as much fun as running a distance longer than a half-marathon can be on a summer morning), and it's pretty cool to have gone from one end of the borough to the other on foot (it's also kind of impressive to see it all laid out on the map). I'm definitely going to schedule more of these runs in the future, though I'll probably keep them earmarked for Sundays, which is when I usually go long.
Speaking of long... because this was the longest run I've done so far (and the first one with a specific geographic purpose), I've included a few extra pictures today, including one from the very beginning of the run and one from its conclusion. Enjoy.
Outside the New York Aquarium in Coney Island
Bank on Coney Island Avenue
Loew's Kings Theater on Flatbush Avenue
18th Century gravestone outside the Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church on Flatbush Avenue
Restaurant on Franklin Ave
Does that say "dogs" or "docs?" Good advice either way (Franklin Avenue)
Lorimer Street, Williamsburg
Newtown Creek -- the Gowanus Canal of the North