City Line and Sun Dogs
Monday 12/11, Run #98: East New York
Distance: 9.71 miles
Wind Chill: 38
click on image for interactive map
Unique Miles Today: 7.96
Total Unique Miles: 766.51
Percent of Brooklyn Run: 43.99
For the complete route, click here
Notes: Today, the new week found me heading back toward East New York, where the systematic filling-in of the neighborhood has begun in earnest. Although I typically don't plan more than one run ahead and I don't follow any certain order for which neighborhoods I visit, I imagine I'll probably be heading back out there at least once a week for the next couple of months as I work my way from the far eastern reaches of the borough back towards the center. Actually, I've pretty much decided how I'll approach running the next third or so of Brooklyn, but I'll write it up separately on my next off day. Which will probably be tomorrow, given how I'm feeling right about now.
Most of my route today was in and around the community of City Line, which is either part of East New York, part of Cypress Hills, or its own little neighborhood, depending on who you ask or which resources you consult. And while East New York itself is one of the two neighborhoods (the other is Brownsville) that people consistently warn me about when informed of my plans to run the whole borough, the streets I ran today didn't seem too bad. Sure, there were some run-down parts, but the main commercial thoroughfares like Pitkin and Liberty Avenues were lined with small businesses and many of the side streets had a number of handsome houses, even if some of them were indeed a little rough around the edges. I did see a few young men trying their best to look menacing, and there was this one kid standing on a corner who glared as I passed. A few minutes later, having looped around a few other blocks and heading back past the same point, I passed him again. He just looked up, cracked a bit of a smile, and said "that was quick." Of course, most of the people I saw were doing the things that New Yorkers are doing at 8:30 or 9:00 in the morning -- walking their kids to school, going to work, reading the paper, sweeping the stoop, or chatting with their neighbors.
That said, I'm not naive, nor do I believe that aren't people out there in some pockets of the city who could potentially do me harm. I think running in the morning helps, as does looking like you know what you're doing and not appearing too out of place (something that admittedly is not always possible). I have however, discovered one troubling aspect of running in some of the lower-income neighborhoods -- I sometimes feel overly self-conscious when I stop to take pictures. In fact, I deliberately avoid taking many pictures of particularly run-down houses or decrepit buildings, since it makes me feel like a tourist slumming in the worst parts of town, exoticizing the people who live there and trading off the poverty, crime, and official neglect they're forced to deal with on a regular basis. Most of the time I try to find things to photograph that are interesting enough I'd take pictures regardless of where I was, but it is hard at times to do that while also finding subjects that speak of the specificity of place.
Anyway, I'm sure I'll write more on this kind of thing as I spend more time in these neighborhoods. Regardless, I'll probably be taking tomorrow off and will resume things on Wednesday, though I'm not yet sure where.
For more on the City Line area, check out Forgotten New York's extensive page on the neighborhood (which includes plenty of pictures, too).
Store on Pitkin Avenue
Garage on Lincoln Avenue
Mural on Glenmore Avenue
Where Drew Street dead ends at the subway tracks just north of Glenmore Ave
Another brightly colored building (corner of Pitkin Ave and Crescent St.)
Sun dog over the Linden Plaza Homes