It could be difficult to find a New Yorker who does not know a runner of
40,000 runners took
this 13.1 mile stroll through Prospect Park, then down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island.
(I had some fun covering that course a bit in a recent post!)
This year’s race enjoyed perfect weather, showcasing Brooklyn at its best.
I had to hoof it to Brooklyn Bridge Park, crossing over the construction of Toll Brothers’ Pier House in the process,
in order to pick up my “bib,” or race number.
I was reminded of a really fun run I took to Red Hook last summer.
In that spirit, I thought I’d offer up this Brooklyn run, which takes in less beach view and more of Brooklyn’s industrial port territory.
The running path is well marked, and, in the morning, there’s plenty of shade!
recently have been catching up on The Wire, my brother’s favorite TV series, which is amazing but also began over ten years ago.
Season 2 of The Wire covers the Port of Baltimore in some detail.
So shipping, and stevedoring in particular, have been on my mind.
I wanted to know the root of the word “stevedore,” so of course I
simply looked it up.
I thought it would be a Nordic word, but it turns out to be a derivative of the Portuguese/Spanish word for “to stuff.”
Don’t tell me you didn’t learn anything today!
(Of course, after Saturday’s run there was a significant amount of stuffing one’s face with hot dogs, but that ground’s been covered.)
Here is the link to our run crisscrossing
normal run through Brooklyn
starts on the 59th Street Bridge into Long Island City (which you can see here), then proceeds
through Greenpoint, Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, and finishes either with a return
over the Brooklyn Bridge or a
subway ride back to Manhattan.
in its Brooklyn parts, at least, runs the course of the New York City Marathon
in the opposite direction, avoiding the miles and miles of 4th Avenue.
At the moment, the Long
Island City portion is one large construction zone.
From 2009-2011, most of the development sites were dormant.
But, if you’ll forgive my Hobbit reference, Smaug sleeps no more.
The condominiums in Long Island City
actually are among the few within striking distance of Manhattan offering studios and
one-bedrooms, and starting around $500,000.
The subway access is terrific, and my view is that Long Island City finally is going to come into its own as a thriving neighborhood.
TF Cornerstone and other large developers are building rentals, and condominium development was taken over by reputable partners with deeper pockets and pre-crash.
Much of the corridor toward the Pulaski Bridge is filling in, where taxi stands once were, next to old standbys and newer arrivals like the MoMA’s Long Island outpost.
Again, since we run in the early morning, the traffic on a weekend is not a factor, whether bike or car.
So as we scoot over the Pulaski Bridge into Greenpoint, we get to look West to Manhattan, over the Long Island Expressway tunnel, into Manhattan, then the Newtown Creek.
On this morning, we chose to take the more scenic route through Greenpoint, along the bike path on Franklin, West, and Kent Streets.
This will give you more of a flavor of the condominium development along the waterfront –
fewer tire repair shops and more industrial loft and brick to soak in.
Small parks have been completed, and
old one-level buildings continue to be demolished to make way for residential offerings.
At 7 am, it’s quiet, generally uninhabited, and breezy.
These condominiums are selling now for over $1000 per square foot, whereas in 2009-2010 they
sold for half that.
Now, along the bike path, you’ll bypass the main Williamsburg thoroughfare to the East, on Bedford Avenue.
At this time of morning, either way would be okay – and
though Bedford would be sidewalk running
and a bit more congested, you’ll see more beards and smell more artisanal coffee at this time of day.
Kent will wind up pushing you into Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, an area which is seeing plenty of green shoots.
Here, the North side of the BQE has been underdeveloped for some time, but no more.
This is not the scenic, leafy Fort Greene Spike Lee enjoys.
But we hit the historic homes relatively quickly.
I should mention that taking a right (going West) on Myrtle or Willoughby will take you to Flatbush Extension, and back toward the Brooklyn Bridge.
However, we were in the mood to explore.
Taking a right, then, on Atlantic Avenue, gave us a nice view of the Barclays Center, and what happened to be the setup for the MTV music awards
A Rusty Turtle, indeed.
Sadly, we bypass Prospect Heights, which I haven’t run through yet.
Instead, Atlantic Avenue threads Prospect Heights, Park Slope, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Downtown Brooklyn, pushing into Brooklyn Heights and a slew of antique shops and restaurants along the way
– well-covered shopping thoroughfare.
Once we run under the BQE (again), the well-marked bike path offers a left turn into Red Hook.
reminded of the areas affected by Superstorm Sandy regularly, during runs, and Red Hook took Sandy right on the chin, with major flooding throughout the neighborhood.
Yet, even during this run of a few months ago, remnants and telltale signs of that storm nearly two years ago were almost gone.
Instead, the Signs of Progress are there.
along the waterfront and Fairway have become the excuses for driving into Red Hook, for many, but modest homes and development make this a sleepy and separate nook of Brooklyn.
At an average of $500-600 per square foot, prices remain much more reasonable in comparison to those of
their nearest neighborhood neighbors.
Some amazing views of the water from Red Hook may be found here.
In many ways, the run to Red Hooks feels like stepping back in time.
These old trains are now gone, unfortunately, another Sandy casualty.
There had been a push for a streetcar service to supplement the only public transportation to the neighborhood –
the bus (in addition to the ferry).
What we get to enjoy are these very old warehouses, old streets, and a feeling of being a part of an area that remains a vestige of craftsmanship – now inhabited by furniture makers, designers, and the dreamers of dreams.
IKEA offers a ferry to Brooklyn, in case you want to take in this water view.
Additionally, as you approach the terminus of the warehouses, these
loom in the distance (h/t Atlas Obscura).
As we ran back toward Manhattan, in the heat of this August morning, we took something different away from this run.
We had been trying to get there for a long time, and seeing so much history seems that much more satisfying for the wait.