12 June 2015


So I did not win the Newton Running route art contest.  Did not even get to be one of the three finalists having a shot at winning shoes for life plus a GPS watch.  After a short time feeling unhappy about it, I decided to start a new, very ambitious project: create a map of all the Brooklyn neighborhoods through run art.  It is ambitious indeed as I don't know all the neighborhoods.  Sure I can start with my own area and adjacent ones, but the thought of driving elsewhere just to run a route sure is not appealing to me.  The thing is once I am done, whenever that is, I'll know a lot more about Brooklyn.

I belong to a NextDoor.com neighborhood made for Bath Beach residents so the first nabe I ran was Bath Beach.  I made two separate runs and stitched the two pieces together.  I am not that happy with the B in Bath and may re-run the route one of these days.  Next I thought I would cover my own turf and ran "Grave"  for Gravesend.  I did feel something odd when I started to create the V, sure enough once I got back I discovered that the "r" and the "a" are stuck together.  It was good that I decided early on to make Gravesend in two separate runs.  No point of putting a lot of time into a run only to find out that it's no good.  These days I run in the evening any way and dinner seems to come too soon each time, that is I have time constraint.

Today I was supposed to re-run Grave but I happened to be near Bensonhurst so I made "Benson".  While "Benson" itself came out perfect, I made it too close to the border of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst such that when stitched Bensonhurst to the bigger map, the letters overlaps, rats!

Here is the work-in-progress map, warts and all.  Slowly and surely I will have the entire Brooklyn represented as route arts.

07 June 2015


My son goes to school in Staten Island and this weekend he needed to meet a classmate for some project.  The bus does not run reliably on the weekend so I drove him to Staten Island.  The kids stay at a public library and I had some down time.  Years ago I would spend that time in the car watching movie on a portable DVD player or maybe listen to audiobooks etc.  Now that I'm more health-minded, the night before I checked out nearby area for a running route.  Once before I noticed some National Park not too far from the school and the library.  Great Kills Park it is called.  It has a beach, too and features a narrow strip of land sticking out into the Atlantic.  That was my destination after dropping off the boys at the public library.

I don't hate driving per se, it's the parking part that I hate.  Luckily, this is Staten Island, the one borough of New York City that not that many New Yorkers visit.  I drove into the park and even near the main entrance near Hylan Boulevard there were some parking spots.  I kept driving further, I wanted to go as far as I could by car then explore the rest of the park on foot.  Parking Lot G was the furthest I could go.  Beyond that you would need a permit of some sort.  There was plenty of parking spots and there was no booth to collect tolls so I supposed it's free parking.  Kinda sad how I thought that way, elsewhere in New York City it costs a fortune to leave your car in a safe place, to avoid getting ticketed.  

I already had running clothes on the inside, so just removing the outer layer, a few minutes of stretching and off I went.  To be safe, I started with the multi-use path, there were already a few walkers and runners.  Not too long afterward the road ended and I took the sandy path on the left to go toward the beach.  On the beach I turned northwest to get to Crooke's Point.  The run became more of a walk, I rescued two overturned horseshoe crabs and watched them slowly re-entering the sea without saying thank-you.  There were a few fishermen out on the beach, some with kids.  The waves lapped at the sand but there was always enough room to go along.  After Crooke's Point, there was a rocky wall and a road paved with gravels.  I resumed running but took time out to snap photos of some sleeping ducks.  What a life, just lounging around with beaks in their back.  At the end of the gravel path, I was back at Parking Lot G.

I already covered about 5 km so I figured it would run 5 more km for an even 10.  As I ran toward park entrance, a raccoon calmly crossed the road to get into the bush.  The park has some some wild sections closed off to visitors, either by fence or bush, the 'coons are very much at home.  At the 6 km mark, I planned to run for another 2 km then U-turn to reach the 10 km.  However, at Parking Lot F, I decided to go along the nice waterfront and unknowingly curved away from the park entrance.  I kept following the road and eventually found myself back on Hylan Boulevard.  Sure I could still U-turn but there was no fun in that.  I had a good idea where the park entrance was and found my way there and eventually got back to Parking Lot G.  The distance came out 12 km, a hot and humid km's more than planned.

I was there!
Lucky duckies.
These two horseshoe crabs became some seagulls' dinner.
Whatever species these flowers are, I stopped and smelled them.