14 December 2006

Just Your Typical Brooklyn Neighborhood

Thursday 12/14, Run #99: Flatlands & East Flatbush

Distance: 9.84 miles
Time: 1:15
Pace: 7:37
Temp: 48
Wind Chill: 44
Weather: mostly sunny

click on image for interactive map

Unique Miles Today: 7.79
Total Unique Miles: 774.30
Percent of Brooklyn Run: 44.44

For the complete route, click here

Notes: Apparently, our little taste of winter has come and gone, and as I was heading down to start today's run the temperature was close to 50, with a forecast high around 60. Perhaps I was premature in swapping out the dewpoint for the wind chill at the top of these posts. I don't mean to complain too much, though, since running in this kind of weather is nearly ideal for me (I tend to like winter a bit more in theory than in practice, I guess), and I'd much rather not have to deal with the layers of clothes and the frostbitten fingers. It is weird, though, to be standing on a subway platform with just a t-shirt and shorts in the middle of December (and judging by the occasional odd look from other straphangers, I'd surmise that a good majority of them agree).

My route today took me down to Flatlands for the most part, though a few parts of the run took me across Avenue H into what's generally regarded as East Flatbush. I like running down here quite a bit -- there's some diversity in the population (though those from the Caribbean seem especially heavily represented), but mostly I like it because it somehow seems very Brooklyn-esque. This, of course, is a subjective quality that I'm not quite able to fully define (nor understand completely myself, for that matter); it's more of an impressionistic perception I get from the accumulated experience of the last half-year's worth of running. But what I mean is that, for the most part, it's home to neither the wealthiest nor poorest residents, there is a wide range of houses and buildings (plenty of single-family and two-family homes, as well as some larger apartment buildings), and while it's mostly residential there are still a good number of small businesses and schools and churches and even some light industry along the streets closest to the Long Island Railroad tracks that cut through the region. I suppose it just feels kind of average. Or maybe "representative" or "typical" are better words, if "average" seems a bit inadequate or even deprecatory. I don't know. Given all I've seen over the last few months and having been through so many different neighborhoods, this corner of the borough just feels like Brooklyn to me, that's all. If I was a more enterprising individual I could look up census data and find out how this area ranks in terms of ethic makeup and educational background and home valuation and income and those kinds of things, to see just how typical it really is. I am not a particularly enterprising person, however, so you'll just have to take my word for it. In any case, I like running down there, and when you factor that in alongside the two days off and the pleasant meteorological conditions, it was a pretty fine run, indeed. Even if it did feel more like mid-April than mid-December.

I'll be back tomorrow (I've got to cram as many miles in as I can before leaving for the west coast a week from today), probably in East New York or maybe Canarsie. As usual, I'll let you know once I'm done. Meanwhile, a few pictures from this morning:

church, flatlands
Church on 40th Street

sign, east flatbush
Factory on Farragut Road

house, east flatbush
Houses on New York Avenue

empress apartments, flatlands
Apartment building on Kings Highway

mosaic, east flatbush
Mosaic on St. Vincent Ferrer School, 37th Street & Glenwood Avenue


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