Brooklyn Runner

Prospect Park’s crime rates are city’s lowest
December 27, 2007, 3:59 pm
Filed under: The City | Tags: , ,

The latest crime statistics for New York City parks are out, and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park has the lowest rate of all city parks. The 585-acre Prospect Park, according to the Daily News article, had 27 crimes in the first three quarters of 2007, while Central Park had 90 and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens had 43.

It’s certainly nice to hear and I’m happy to know Prospect Park has fewer crimes than the city’s other parks (go Brooklyn!) But the numbers alone don’t tell the whole story. What types of crime are taking place? During what time of day? And where inside the park? It’d be one thing if there were robberies happening at 2 a.m. on the wooded hilltop in the middle of the park, quite another if there were assaults taking place at Bartel Pritchard Square at 3 p.m. on a Sunday.

No matter how low crime rates go, it’s always important to be vigilant as a runner in the city (especially when running alone). In general I feel safe running in the city and in the park, but I do pay attention to what’s going on. I don’t run after dark by myself, I avoid remote, empty places, and I stick to routes where I know there will be people around, if not nearby. Finally, in the event that something should happen, I always go out there with some piece of identification on me, in case I end up in a situation where I’m unable to communicate.

Of course, crime should not have to be a problem — we should be free to run through a park at 9 p.m. without fear of being attacked. But it is a reality that we have to live with, so we might as well be smart.

Winter in New York
December 22, 2007, 3:51 pm
Filed under: Seasons | Tags: , ,

They say the best thing about New York in summer time is getting out of the city. If that’s true, then I think the best thing about New York in winter is when everyone else leaves town for the holidays — and you have the quiet streets all to yourself.

The days right around the winter holidays can be some of the most relaxing times you’ll have in the city. You can get a seat on the train when you normally never do, catch a cab in record time, and get into your favorite trendy restaurant without having to wait an hour. Outside of the usual tourist haunts, it seems every place is just a little bit quieter, everything slows down just a little bit more.

Which makes those the best times for a good, long solitary run.

Prospect Park at high noon today was quiet like it never is on a weekend afternoon. Bare trees against a cloudy gray sky. A few walkers, a few bikers, a few hearty runners. Not much more.

The bridge — even in winter
December 20, 2007, 1:12 pm
Filed under: Contemplating, Seasons | Tags: , ,

It was twenty-something degrees, windy, a Saturday afternoon. I was hoping I’d find the Brooklyn Bridge walkway a little less crowded than it usually is, weather and all. Alas, seems nothing short of a hailstorm (or an ungodly hour, like 6 a.m. on the weekend) could keep the throngs away.

This is New York, after all.

The thing about living and running in one of the greatest cities in the world is learning to share it with tourists. I’m tempted to get annoyed by the crowds, just the sheer volume of people crossing through such a narrow space. But I’m reminded of why they’re here: To catch a glimpse of the sights I pass by every day — and sometimes take for granted.

Take the view as you’re going over the Manhattan Bridge on the Q train (which I take to work every day). There’s just nothing like it. Especially in the morning. Coming out of the tunnel, rising above the water, the industrial buildings of DUMBO to your left, the financial district to your right, the iconic webbed span of the bridge straight ahead. . . And at the right angle, on a clear day, you can see the Statue of Liberty too.

I just never get tired of it.

So it’s a small price to pay, having to be a little more nimble as you dodge camera-toting tourists, maybe saying “excuse me” to the group that insists on walking four-abreast across. You are out there to enjoy a good run, after all, in one of the most beautiful places in the city, and it’s hard to complain about that.

Holiday shopping deals
December 12, 2007, 9:59 am
Filed under: Seasons, Shoes and Gear

Tis the season to go shopping and there are plenty of deals on running gear to go around. . .

In Park Slope, tomorrow (12/13) is the first Buy in Brooklyn event, when stores stay open until 10 p.m. Slope Sports will discount running shoes 20 to 40 percent (though it doesn’t say which ones) and other merchandise is on sale. The $10 hat-and-glove bin, thermal socks, and gift certificates sound like good stocking stuffers for runners.

At Jack Rabbit Sports, all store merchandise is 15 percent off! Makes it worthwhile to replace those running shoes for a new season.

Paragon Sports has free one-day shipping for orders over $48.95. And at Super Runners, you can buy gift certificates online.

Not a bad bunch of options for runners dreaming of a balmy Christmas.

Merrill, financial services, and the marathon
December 6, 2007, 11:39 am
Filed under: Contemplating, Marathoning

The material for this post is a bit dated but interesting nonetheless. A few days after news broke about Merrill Lynch’s $8.4 billion write-down and the subsequent ouster of its CEO, the financial giant ran a full page ad in the New York Times. With a heading that read, “Why Merrill Lynch is still bullish on Merrill Lynch,” it included this telling line:

“We try to remember that investing is not a sprint, but a marathon, and that over the long term, patience is invariably rewarded.”

A month earlier, the Times ran a story about the sponsor of the New York marathon, ING, that drew the same correlation between investor prowess and long distance running:

“It is not surprising that a financial services company would find attractive qualities in sponsoring a marathon, especially in New York, a global economic capital, said Don Hinchey, a vice president of The Bonham Group, a Denver-based sports and entertainment marketing firm.

“Marathoners tend to be affluent. The average household income for participants in the New York City Marathon is $130,000. . .

“‘Couple that with the fact that marathon runners, by nature, think long term,’ Hinchey said. ‘They’re comfortable with delayed gratification. Isn’t that the essence of the appeal of an insurance product or financial planning?'”

(It’s worth noting, by the way, that “the initial three-year agreement as title sponsor cost close to $6 million, according to officials with the New York Road Runners, the race organizers. The arrangement with ING has since been renewed through 2010, and is believed to cost $2 million to $3 million a year.”)

Does this make runners a more financially savvy group? More likely to become wealthy in the long term, or at the very least maintain financial health?

I’d like to think so. But perhaps it’s enough to shoot for less tangible riches, and mental health.

Winter Running Help
December 6, 2007, 9:39 am
Filed under: Seasons, training | Tags:

I love running in winter. But less daylight, harsher weather, a more rigorous work schedule, and holiday plans add up to dictate a much more relaxed running regime. This article from Runners World provides helpful and encouraging tips on readjusting one’s training throughout winter — reducing but not abandoning training altogether, so as to be ready for spring racing.

The author recommends not less than three nonconsecutive days of running, and maintaining a base of at least 50 percent of your usual weekly mileage.

That, I believe, is doable, even with darker, colder days and relentless work deadlines.