Friday, January 4, 2008

January 2008

What you do not know because you are not me.

January 2008

Once a weekend for the past 16 years I like to go on what my kids call a running adventure. I think they like it when I come home and tell them the wonderful things I have seen. Sometimes I join our group run, but usually I just GO.

I have given some thought to how to cover 10, or 15 or 20 or more miles. These are a few things I look for. Not repetitive, (I did 6 loops of Prospect Park once, never again), relatively traffic free, access to fluids, not so much sun, and a way home. I also do not really worry about exactly how far I run, nor does it bother me when I have to stop at a red light.

I live a block from Grand Army Plaza and I usually find myself heading to Manhattan, (yes the perimeter of Manhattan meets most of the above criteria). I take the calm streets to Downtown Brooklyn, Carroll to Smith to Cadman Plaza, no traffic problems and a drinking fountain at Carroll Park and a few in Cadman Plaza. I often add a loop or two of the “track” in Cadman Plaza. From there I can choose from two great bridges. I usually take the Brooklyn.

City Hall is were my adventures begin. For a run I call ‘Around the Horn” I stay straight on Chambers Street and make a left at the Hudson River. As I head south, I am always impressed by the diversity of activity in the harbor. I have seen cruise ships, aircraft carriers, a forest planted on a barge and swimming/rowing races in the water where the Hudson meets the Bay. One of the most understated aspects of this run is the landscaping between North and South Cove, I am no expert, but I think they did a good job considering it is squeezed between different types of buildings and roads and the Hudson. I never take the Statue of Liberty for granted and I love the faces of those tourists waiting to go see her. Just passed the Stature of Liberty Ferry is a nice misting fountain that can be cooling in summer. There used to be a Fish Market at Fulton St. It operated every third day, if I was lucky I would get to run under the fish flung by mongers. Now it is just a shopping place for tourists. I miss it, even the smell

If I wanted to add some considerable miles I would keep heading north along the East River. Between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges there is a great “recreation” trail. It has marked mile markers, shade and shelter from rain (thanks to the elevated FDR), but not a drop of water. One of the neatest things that I see along this stretch is the quantity of people practicing an Asian dance/yoga/religion. Although I can not do it justice in a written description, I can say it is beautiful.

Continuing around Houston Street I run through and/or around some old parks. They are currently in a massive state of reconstruction. There are some functioning water fountains, bathrooms and trees that do provide shade. I often leave the park world and cross Manhattan on 10th Street. There is a foot bridge over the FDR and E 10th Street is wide and one way (I am running into traffic) and calm. I also like E 10th St because I work on University Place just off East 10th Street. I have stashed some clean clothes in my desk and run to work this way. If I keep going I run into the Hudson River again. From there I can head south to Chambers St and back to Brooklyn.

Once in Brooklyn I do not return the way I came. I wiggle through the Heights and run on the Promenade. (One important thing all runners should know about the Promenade. There is a playground just west of Clark Street, the water fountain that is attached to the park house works in the winter, its plumbing is inside!) After the Promenade, I often stay close to the water to get an interesting view of the Brooklyn Docks and often get a close look at the Queen Mary. She is huge, I mean HUGE.

Sometimes, I go for a very long run without leaving Brooklyn. I actually call this the Never Again Run, although, I have done that a few times. I run halfway through Prospect Park to Coney Island Ave and scoot over to Ocean Parkway, run its length to the Coney Island Boardwalk. Make a right turn and run to the Parachute Drop / Key Span Park. Then I run on Cropsey Ave to just before the Belt Parkway and take Shore Rd. to the shopping center where I think Kohls is. Then, I run along the harbor (under the Verrazano Bridge) to Owl’s Head Pier. Then, I find 2nd Ave and go to about 30th St., I make a right turn and run to Green-Wood Cemetery and back to Prospect Park. I call this the Never Again Run because THIS ROUTE IS MOSTLY DEVOID OF WATER OR SHADE, and THERE ARE NASTY DOGS IN SUNSET PARK. So why go back? Diversity, history, breathtaking views, ancient industrial buildings and great sense of accomplishment. I have also realized is pays off to do this in reverse (2nd Ave is pretty busted up and it in reverse you will be there with fresh legs. Also, if you get tired on Ocean Pky, it is real easy to use your MetroCard to get home.

This is getting long; Next month I will describe some interesting one-way runs that I have done.

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