25 November 2006

Finishing Up Dyker Heights

Saturday 11/25, Run #88: Dyker Heights, Borough Park, Sunset Park

Distance: 9.15 miles
Time: 1:10
Pace: 7:39
Temp: 46
Dewpoint: 30
Weather: sunny

click on image for interactive map

Unique Miles Today: 7.54
Total Unique Miles: 687.40
Percent of Brooklyn Run: 39.45

For the complete route, click here

Notes: I began today by running that pesky block of 7th Avenue down by the Dyker Beach golf course that I had (quite irritatingly) missed yesterday (it was all of .0921 miles long), then made my way up to the "real" start on the border between Dyker Heights and Sunset Park. Overall, this morning's run served to fill in a hole of sorts on the "big map" (a wedge-shaped piece of Dyker Heights between Fort Hamilton Parkway and 7th Avenue), before I moved north into the southwestern corner of Borough Park. It was a sunny and relatively warm morning, but the high point for me is probably that Dyker Heights now moves over into the "completed column," leaving just one run at the very eastern edge of East New York and one across the Marine Parkway Bridge and into Floyd Bennett Field to complete the whole southern third of the borough. If the pleasant weather holds out, maybe I can even finish this week.

Altogether a fine if uneventful run, with a mix of residential and commercial blocks and a mostly Asian-American and Hispanic flavor (except for a few blocks in Borough Park, which bore the evidence of the Hasidic community there). If only the weather could stay like this all winter...

I took a few more pictures today than I did yesterday, so here's a representative sampling:

caterers, borough park
11th Avenue

crates, borough park
Behind a fruit market (10th Avenue)

buildings, borough park
Fort Hamilton Parkway between 59th and 60th

prime, borough park
64th Street

remnants, dyker heights
65th Street

24 November 2006

No, Fort Hamilton the Fort

Friday 11/24, Run # 87: Fort Hamilton, Dyker Heights

Distance: 9.12 miles
Time: 1:10
Pace: 7:41
Temp: 50
Dewpoint: 28
Weather: sunny & breezy

click on image for interactive map

Unique Miles Today: 5.13
Total Unique Miles: 679.86
Percent of Brooklyn Run: 39.02

For the complete route, click here

Notes: Is Fort Hamilton -- the actual military installation at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge -- even part of Brooklyn? I have no idea. I mean, it's an Army base, and the army's part of the US government, so presumably it's under federal jurisdiction and not technically part of Kings County at all, right? But then again, it's physically surrounded by Brooklyn, and its history is entwined with that of the borough. And the southern part of Bay Ridge is sometimes considered a sub-neighborhood called, surely enough, Fort Hamilton. So although it's a toss-up, I suppose, in the interest of completeness I decided to run it anyway (bet no one saw that coming!).

The facility itself is pleasant enough, and included what I assume are the usual army base staples (commissary, PX, post office, bowling alley), though it was pretty quiet and seemed almost deserted today, the day after Thanksgiving. The original stone fort overlooking the water now houses the Harbor Defense Museum, and the views of the bridge from the down there are fantastic. After I finished up at the fort, however, I ran up to the northern edges of Dyker Heights, hoping to fill in a few gaps I'd left along 7th Avenue, managing to hit them all, except one -- the block between 88th and 90th Streets, the stretch that was closest to the fort in the first place. Grrrr. Now I'll have to make a separate trip down there one of these days just to get that one block...

Anyway, a quick history of Fort Hamilton (cribbed mostly from various internet sources) for those who are interested in such things: The fort's military significance was apparent as early as 1776, when the original battery there fired on the British ship HMS Asia as it brought in troops to suppress the nascent American Revolution, but its importance grew after the War of 1812 and expanded during the nineteenth century (the actual stone fort was built in the 1820s). At various points, Robert E. Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and erroneously reputed "inventor" of baseball Abner Doubleday were all officers assigned to the fort. Fort Hamilton now supports many of the area's Reserve and National Guard units, among other things.

I didn't get the chance to take many pictures today, but here are a few:

flammable, fort hamilton
Building 216A, apparently

tank, fort hamilton
Tank on General Lee Avenue

bridge, fort hamilton
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, with the old fort in the foreground

21 November 2006

Flo-Jo in Bed-Stuy

Tuesday 11/21, Run #86: Bedford-Stuyvesant

Distance: 8.61 miles
Time: 1:05
Pace: 7:33
Temp: 38
Dewpoint: 25
Weather: sunny & breezy

click on image for interactive map

Unique Miles Today: 8.51
Total Unique Miles: 674.73
Percent of Brooklyn Run: 38.73

For the complete route, click here

Notes: Today I abandoned all pretense of sticking to my elaborate plans and just went for the easiest run I could come up with. And this morning's excursion couldn't have been much simpler -- it was a direct, 12-minute subway ride from home, it started and finished right at the subway stop, and the route itself was basically just a big rectangle with four of the interior streets filled in. No dead ends, no cul-de-sacs, no weird unnamed streets or doubling back over my route or anything. Just a nice, symmetrical, very efficient run on a chilly but pretty fall morning. It added eight and a half unique miles to my total, but it also cleared my head and made me feel a lot better. I can always go back to the complicated runs tomorrow, I suppose, or the next day.

The parts of Bed-Stuy I saw today sure have a lot of incredible architecture -- just block after block of beautiful houses and interesting buildings in a diverse array of styles. I could've taken a thousand pictures, I think, but in the spirit of the aforementioned ease and efficiency, I reined myself in. One of the many visual highpoints was a painted tribute to Florence Griffith Joyner (better known to many as Flo-Jo), the Olympic sprinter who took home three gold medals at Seoul in 1988 but died at age 38 in 1991. It was, I believe, the first running-related street art I've seen thus far.

Finally, a sincere thanks to all who emailed or left comments over the last couple of days. It really is much appreciated.

Some photos:

real estate, bed-stuy
Lafayette Avenue

houses, bed-stuy
Mansard-roofed houses on Putnam Avenue

doors, bed-stuy
Tribute to Florence Griffith Joyner on Putnam Ave

building, bed-stuy
Alhambra apartment building on Nostrand Avenue

wall, bed-stuy
The side of a stoop on Hancock Street

church window, bed-stuy
Church window at Patchen Avenue and Halsey Street

food market, bed-stuy
Corner of Putnam and Throop Avenues (I think)

19 November 2006

Gray Day

Sunday 11/19, Run #85: Midwood, Borough Park

Distance: 9.19 miles
Time: 1:10
Pace: 7:36
Temp: 44
Dewpoint: 33
Weather: mostly cloudy

click on image for interactive map

Unique Miles Today: 7.95
Total Unique Miles: 666.22
Percent of Brooklyn Run: 38.24

For the complete route, click here

Notes: I ran today because I didn't know what else to do. Late last night I received the news that my younger sister Tara had died. She was 36 and a Navy veteran, having served in a medical unit in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War. She was also a kind and gentle person, who loved animals and drawing, and did her best to keep the lost art of letter-writing alive -- each year I could count on several cards and missives written in her unfailingly neat (though almost microscopic) handwriting. But she had also had been living with a debilitating mental illness for the last several years, and recently her condition seemed only to worsen. My parents and other siblings, as can be expected, are taking this pretty hard (especially my other sister Mel, who has been mentioned a few times in these posts over the months). I am not a religious person, but if there is indeed an afterlife, it's my hope that Tara is someplace where she has finally found the peace that she found so elusive here.

I apologize for the less-than-jovial tone today, and please forgive me if my posts over the next few days are short, perfunctory, or even nonexistent.


building, borough park
Apartment building on Bay Parkway

wall, borough park
59th Street

corner, borough park
The colorful corner of 65th Street and Bay Parkway

memorial, borough park
9/11 memorial at tiny Dahill Triangle (where 23rd Ave, Dahill Road, and 59th meet)

door, midwood
Just your typical Reformed/Lutheran/Russian/Korean church (Avenue P)

houses, midwood
Houses on E. 13th Street