Brooklyn Runner

Urban runs

These days when I go for a run I experience sensory overload from the beauty of the urban environment surrounding my home. I feel lucky to have backdrops like these during just an ordinary run…


Part of my route takes me past the beautiful and decaying Admiral’s Row at the edge of the Navy Yard.


An uplifting message in the industrial waterfront of Dumbo.


A New Year
January 6, 2009, 9:26 pm
Filed under: Contemplating, Seasons, The City | Tags:

Happy New Year! It’s not too late to say that, right?

I love this time of year. The city has been quiet — almost desolate — between the big winter holidays and after the first of the year everyone starts trickling back, slowly but surely. There seems to be a bit more optimism and hope this time of year too, New Years resolutions and all.

Sure, one could trot out all the dreary statistics about how most people abandon their resolutions by mid February, or one could be cynical and say “What’s the point” of making resolutions that you know you aren’t going to keep? But I think making resolutions and aiming for something is entirely the point. Even if you don’t keep them. Even if you try and don’t hit them. At least you hoped for something; at least you dreamed a little.

The tragedy is not in failing to reach the goals, the true tragedy is never having made the goals at all (that’s not mine, I’ve heard it from someone but can’t quite place it just now). So what if making resolutions is cliched, or makes you a big cheese ball. In my book it’s a good practice — at least it gets you thinking.

At the very least it’s an exercise in thinking about what is important to you, what matters, and in what direction you’d like to see things go. One step at at time.

The Brooklyn Bridge at Night
November 11, 2008, 1:01 pm
Filed under: Running Routes, Seasons, The City | Tags: ,


Brooklyn Bridge at Night.
Photo by madabandon.

The other night I ran through Dumbo and across the bridge at night, like 10 o’clock. (I would never do this alone but since I was with another person I felt it was OK).

What a treat it was to be on the bridge and above the water with the city all up in lights and the air cool and mild on your face. It’s a different city up there at night, quieter somehow but still full of life. Perhaps it was the colder weather, and how it gets darker earlier these days, but everything’s a bit more subdued.

With the winter coming and the weather cooling the nights seem quieter now. The cold has always been one of my favorite times to run. Fewer people on the street. The stillness and hardness of the earth seem to make running a more solitary experience — more soulful somehow.

A New Running Route
August 28, 2008, 9:46 am
Filed under: Running Routes, The City | Tags: ,

Hankering for a new “short route,” the other day I tried running some place completely new. A few friends have told me about running along the perimeter of the Brooklyn Navy Yard property, sometimes just for a short run, sometimes on the way to the Williamsburg Bridge. The down side: running on concrete sidewalk for most of the length. The upside: an uninterrupted path for a pretty good stretch. Also, some pretty interesting views, from the old industrial (and in some cases decaying) Navy Yard to the East River and Manhattan skyline.

It’s easy to get to the Navy Yard property. From any major bisecting avenue, head up to Flushing Avenue and you’re on the south end of the property. It’s also easy to know where you are — just stick to the perimeter of the property, which runs up against the river. I stayed on Flushing Avenue for a few blocks, veered left by the BQE entrance ramps, which got me to Kent Avenue heading toward Williamsburg. It’s pretty gritty, with government property and working factories dotting the landscape. An old lumber yard sits near South 11th Street right on the water. Around there the gritty landscape gives way to signs of hipsterville — old buildings graffiti’ed with “Screw Rent” and other clever sayings, and glittering glass condominiums by the Williamsburg Bridge.

There’s a nice new promenade sort of area on the river off South 9th Street behind one of the new condo developments, with benches, new trees, and an amazing view of the city and the bridge. It’s open to the public, so take advantage of this sweet spot. (No water fountains though).

It never ceases to amaze me what an interesting place Brooklyn is. It’s a great short hop around some cool spots, and a continuous uninterrupted path. Oh, but be sure to go during daylight. I wouldn’t want to be wandering this route after dark.

Push for Car-Free Prospect Park
August 26, 2008, 10:22 am
Filed under: Running Routes, The City | Tags: ,

The NY Sun has a story on a push to make Prospect Park a completely car-free park. Transportation Alternatives, the bicycle advocacy group, says they have already successfully whittled away at the hours cars are allowed inside the park. The group is lobbying the Bloomberg administration for a three-month no-car experiment next summer in the park, and are trying to convince the mayor to make a car-free park part of his legacy.

It’s a little confusing, more so since I’ve never driven in the park, but cars are allowed for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening (hours on Prospect Park website here).

Quite frankly, I so rarely see cars (other than police vehicles) in the park when I’m running that it startles me when cars do come by. And if I’m in a car and in a hurry to get somewhere, I’d want to find a route that did not take me through a big, heavily used park, with all its pedestrians and activities going on.

NY Sun: Prospect Park Is Now Eyed For Ban On Cars
Prospect Park website:Hours

The runner who died on Atlantic Avenue…
August 5, 2008, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Contemplating, The City

The runner who was killed while out on a Sunday afternoon run two days ago was a 27-year-old guy named Jesse. He lived in an apartment over Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene. He played in the Nike Recess Federation (NRF), a competitive NYC basketball league that holds its playoffs at Madison Square Garden. He was an Ivy league grad from D.C. and was heading for L.A., an aspiring filmmaker. All according to relatives and friends, who have posted here, and other reports.

It is unbelievably sad and tragic for the community who lost someone who was so obviously and dearly loved. I live in the same neighborhood and run down the same street on my way to and from Prospect Park pretty much every week. Any one of us who runs in this city could have been in his shoes on any given day. It could just as easily be my family, dumbstruck and grieving, my friends talking about all the things I was passionate about, had enjoyed, and all the things I had aspired to do.

Witnesses at the scene say he was on the sidewalk waiting for his turn to cross the busy thoroughfare, a scenario any one of us has been in any number of times. It sends chills up my spine to think of how fragile life on this earth is, how we could leave it at any time.

I didn’t know Jesse personally, but as my path crossed so close to the place where he died, doing the same thing he was doing, I feel obligated to update this space with info and am glad to have people share a little bit of this person’s story. There are plans for another memorial here in Brooklyn, and a service with family in DC. If I receive any new info I will update it here out of respect for those who might be interested.

Atlantic Ave. Fatality
August 4, 2008, 10:15 pm
Filed under: The City

A runner was killed in that terrible accident I passed by yesterday at the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue in Fort Greene, according to news reports. The most detailed I could find is from the NY Post police blotter dated 4 a.m. Aug. 4:

A jogger was fatally struck by a car that spun out of control after being hit by another vehicle in Fort Greene yesterday.

The accident occurred at about 3:30 p.m., when a Cadillac, whose driver was turning on to Vanderbilt Avenue from Atlantic Avenue, plowed into an Acura.

The Acura then spun around, striking the unidentified, 27-year-old jogger, who died at Brooklyn Hospital.

The Acura driver was in stable condition; the Caddy driver suffered minor injuries. Neither was charged.

I wish I knew more about what happened and who the person was.