11 August 2006

Pressing Eastward (or, Finding the Hills in Cypress Hills)

Friday 8/11: East New York, Cypress Hills, Bushwick

Distance: 9.72 miles
Time: 1:15
Pace: 7:43
Temp: 70
Dewpoint: 56
Weather: sunny & breezy

click on image for interactive map

Unique Miles Today: 8.40
Total Unique Miles:
Percent of Brooklyn Run:

Route: I started at the corner of Van Sinderen and Atlantic, ran south a block to Liberty Ave, took Liberty east to Drew, went up to 95th, over one block to Forbell, back down to Liberty, and west another block to Eldert Lane. Then I toon Eldert up to Jamaica and then headed west to Bushwick Ave (with an out-and-back detour through the cemetery on Cypress Hills Road), up to Weirfield, then over to Wycoff and down two blocks to Eldert Street. I took the L home.

Notes: Continuing my recent tendency to alternate between tonier neighborhoods and more marginal ones, I headed out to the farthest eastern reaches of the borough. Getting off the L train in the relative desolation of the border between Brownsville and East New York, I found myself questioning my decision, but as I ran east on Liberty Avenue the neighborhood began to grow on me. Yes, the area's clearly got its problems, but there was also a lot to see, and as I looped around into Cypress Hills I noticed quite a number of handsome, well-kept rowhouses and tree-lined streets. Running back west on Jamaica Avenue was particularly interesting, with a succession of cemeteries on my right, the elevated tracks running over the street, and small businesses and houses on my left. Because it's within the boundaries of the borough, I ran up Cypress Hills Street through the cemetery and up to the entrance to the highway, and I'm assuming this is where the neighborhood gets its name -- I think it's the steepest portion of road I've run thus far. Here's the elevation chart for today's run: The numbers didn't come out well, but the elevation of Cypress Hills Street increases from about 60 to 170 feet over a distance of about 2280 feet, for about a 5% grade. I think. It's not so hard to see where the hill is on the graph.

As with other less affluent areas I've run, there was a lot to take in visually. The most unusual thing I saw today was probably the taxidermy shop on Jamaica Avenue (I included the picture below). Is there a real demand for this kind of thing in eastern Brooklyn? I'm also growing pretty fond of Bushwick, which while still a little rough around the edges seems to have any number of quiet streets full of great old houses and lined with sycamores.

Whatever. I'll take tomorrow off, as usual, and come back with a longer run on Sunday. Have a great weekend, kind reader, but first take a moment to peruse today's pictures:

Truck axle graveyard, Liberty Avenue

Corner of Liberty Avenue and Eldert Lane

Why it's important to watch your back (off Jamaica Ave)

Entrance to Maimonides Cemetery

Is it me or does this seem like an unlikely business for Cypress Hills? (Jamaica Avenue)

Corner of Bushwick Avenue and Granite Street


At 9:47 PM, Anonymous susan said...

I had no idea there would be such a thing as a truck axel graveyard, but what a fascinating concept and kind of fun to say to boot!

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Gary said...

I'm not sure if that's the technical term -- I kind of just made it up. But it seems appropriate, doesn't it?

At 2:30 AM, Anonymous jennifer said...

Hi Gary, I hope you dont mind a stranger(non-blogger) like me posting something on your site but.. I was hoping someone who's familiar with brooklyn neighborhood to tell me something. Are you familiar with the neighborhood of Eldert, Bushwick? or halsey J stop on green street? Tired commuting to manhattan from NJ so I am looking to relocate to brooklyn. If it's not much trouble I would really greatly appreciate your comment on the neighborhood. If not, thank you any way and have a nice day. :)

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Gary said...

I've only done a couple of runs up that way (Bushwick), and my honest impression is that the neighborhood was once a lovely place, fell on some hard times, and is now bouncing back. There are dozens of blocks of handsome limestones and townhouses or whatever, many on quiet, tree-lined streets. That said, the busier thoroughfares just to the south (Bushwick Ave and Broadway) are certainly a little rougher around the edges, and there are a number of more industrial blocks interspersed around there too. The J train runs along Broadway.

Based on my (admittedly limited) observations, I like it and think it's a place with a lot of potential. But don't take my word for it! You ought to wait for a real pleasant day and then take the J or the L out that way and walk around a little.

Feel free to let me know what you find...

At 11:58 PM, Anonymous jennifer said...

Hi again..
Thank you for the feedback. Due to the construction on the bridge, i had to take a shuttle and transfer. Did get lost in the way but got a good look at the neighborhood. I went with my friend from Philadelphia, and he said that it's pretty much like his home town. I did get the similar impression as you told me of the place. As for me, i think i might get too lonely there so am gonna look for other places. :)


Post a Comment

<< Home