02 January 2007

Starting the New Year in New Lots

Tuesday 1/2, Run #103: East New York

Distance: 8.52 miles
Time: 1:05
Pace: 7:38
Temp: 44
Wind Chill: 36
Weather: sunny & windy

click on image for interactive map

Unique Miles Today: 6.79
Total Unique Miles: 800.90
Percent of Brooklyn Run: 45.97

For the complete route, click here

Notes: For my first run of the new year I made my way out to East New York once again, part of my ongoing, concerted effort to fill in some more streets both in that neighborhood and Cypress Hills, just to the north. The area in which I ran today is usually called New Lots, a name whose origin lies with the seventeenth-century Dutch farmers who settled out there in order to get away from the, um, old lots to the west. (Actually, according to Kenneth Jackson and John Manbeck's "The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn," the center of Flatbush back then was indeed referred to as Old Lots.) Anyway, the rural nature of New Lots became threatened when John Pitkin built a factory just to the north in the 1830s and, in a fit of absolutely brilliant place-namery, christened his new neighborhood East New York because it was, well, east of New York. New Lots soldiered on, however, incorporating as its own municipality in 1852, and hanging in there until finally swallowed whole by the rapidly expanding city of Brooklyn in 1886. Twelve years later, of course, New Lotsters became New Yorkers, when the five boroughs were finally consolidated. Some remnants of the past still exist, like the Old Dutch Reformed Church (which I saw on a run back in August) and the adjacent cemetery.

So there you have it. The paragraph you've just read is courtesy of a vague New Year's resolution, in which I've decided to try and provide some actual content here alongside the seemingly daily updates on the frailties of my musculoskeletal system. A little history here, perhaps a little personal reflection there, and maybe the occasional rumination on larger themes and issues to round things out. Or something like that. Regardless, I'm trying, so be sure to check back from time to time to see how this pans out. (If I were a betting man, though, my money would be on a reversion to lengthy essays devoted to my aching heels and tight hamstrings.)

As for the run itself -- it was perfectly fine. We're still experiencing above-average temperatures (what is this now, eighteen days in a row?), though a strong northwest wind did its best to make things feel a little more like winter (or at least like early spring). New Lots is largely residential, and while there is an interesting variety of houses -- some older blocks of mostly-intact rowhouses, quite a few apartment buildings, several neglected buildings in pretty bad shape, and a number of recent attempts to build functional, affordable housing -- there weren't too many truly compelling photographic subjects. Sure, houses make nice photos sometimes, but I feel awful self-conscious taking pictures of someone's house when they're watching me from the window. Still, here are a few shots I managed to take:

barber shop, east new york
Just off Riverdale Avenue

linwood street, east new york
Corner of Linden Boulevard and Linwood Street

mastermad, east new york
Snediker Avenue

grocery, east new york
Just north of Livonia Avenue

house, east new york
Berriman Street


At 9:46 AM, Blogger Feminist Runner said...

Happy New Running Year (and regular year), Gary!
Brooklyn missed you. Yes, I now speak for the whole borough. I can no longer leave that job to Marty Markowitz.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Gary said...

Hey, thanks -- happy new year (both kinds) to you as well. The ten days off were sure nice, but it's good to be back. I think. We'll see what the new year holds (though I'm hoping physical therapy's not part of it!)


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