Quick: What do Margaret Sanger, Mike Tyson, and Ted Nugent Have in Common?
Tuesday 8/22: East New York, Brownsville, & Bushwick
Distance: 9.22 miles
Weather: partly cloudy
click on image for interactive map
Unique Miles Today: 8.95
Total Unique Miles: 285.67
Percent of Brooklyn Run: 16.40
Route: My run began today at the L train stop at Sutter and Van Sinderen. I then ran east on Sutter to Euclid, north to Conduit, down to Glenmore, east to Forbell, up a block to Liberty, east to 75th, south back to Sutter (with a little loop around Conduit and Belmont), west back to Euclid, and south to Linden. I then headed west to Logan, north to New Lots Avenue, west to Sheffield, north to Dumont, west to Hinsdale, north to Blake, west to Amboy, north to East New York, east a short block to Thomas Boyland, north to Eldert, and then up to Knickerbocker. I took the L home from the Halsey stop.
Notes: The answer to the question posed in the title of today's post, of course, is that all three of these folks have connections (although one is admittedly tangential) to the neighborhood of Brownsville. Tyson grew up there (as did fellow heavyweight Riddick Bowe, coincidentally), while Sanger opened up the nation's first birth control clinic on Amboy Avenue in 1916 (the cops shut it down days later). And bow-hunting enthusiast, aging crotch-rocker, and outspoken carnivore Ted Nugent, though a native Michigander, took the name of his 1960s band (the Amboy Dukes) from Irving Shulman's 1947 novel of the same name, which was set in the neighborhood.
But the point is that the area has some interesting history, despite its lingering reputation as an area to avoid at all costs (Brownsville and East New York are the two places I'm warned about most frequently by Brooklynites when I tell them my running plans). So far I've enjoyed my runs in both these neighborhoods, maybe because of the history but mostly because there's a lot going on, and a fascinating mix of the old and the recent, the odd and the mundane, the run-down and the brand-new. One of the more interesting things I came across today was the New Lots Reformed Dutch Church, which, according to the results of some cursory googling, dates back to 1823 or 1824 and is the oldest building in East New York. It also had a very cool graveyard next door.
Lastly, while I don't usually interact with many people when I'm out running, today I had two interesting encounters. First, as I was exiting the subway I saw U.S. Congressman Ed Towns (Democrat from New York's 10th District) out campaigning for reelection. I know, it's not like he's a big celebrity or anything, but then again it's not every day I share a sidewalk with a national politician.
Mere blocks later, I was stopped by a big twenty-something guy on Sutter Avenue who told me a very sad story about his baby not having any formula. Normally, I wouldn't fall for such things (what, do you think I just rolled in here from Iowa?), but his superior size, menacing gaze, and repeated mentions of his inability to find a job after recently getting out of prison led me to fork over the two bucks I keep on me for my post-run Gatorade. While this clearly wasn't a robbery (after all, I handed him the cash voluntarily, there was no weapon involved, and he didn't ask for my camera), it was somewhat more coercive than mere panhandling. I'll chalk this one up to experience, but I was awfully thirsty riding the train home. Maybe I'll keep an extra fiver in my shoe from now on.
Anyway... the heels are still hurting, but the pain was mitigated by a pleasant morning and a neighborhood with a lot to see. I'll probably run again tomorrow (I don't know where yet), but take Thurday off. So, without further ado, some pictures from this morning:
Store on Sutter Avenue
New Lots Reformed Dutch Church
Water Towers atop the Brownsville Houses public housing
Community center on New Lots Avenue
Window on Thomas Boyland Street