Brooklyn vs Portland

9e77b7b5-841f-41c1-bfa5-658d8a5ca028.jpeg

We surrender

Okay, Portland, Maine: you and your wood-roasted beans win the  hipster coffee throw-down.

You place well in the doughnut competition, too, with your potato-based Holy Donut (especially the maple-glazed ones, with or without bacon). Continue reading

Advertisements

Race report: the 2019 Popular Brooklyn Half (May 18, 2019)

IMG_6990

The Brooklyn Half memorializes its entrants

Ah, the Brooklyn Half! This used to be my favorite race, an un-ironic celebration of all things Brooklyn. Then it became my favorite race as an ironic celebration of a very specific Brooklyn, the Brooklyn of curated food trucks, craft beer, and made-for-Instagram photo ops.

So what happened this year? My lack of excitement was matched only by my lack of preparation. I was running, because, well, that’s what I do – but honestly, I would really have rather spent the morning birding.

In the end, I did a bit of both. Continue reading

Street art Sunday: migrations

458ECDBE-EC23-4B77-9D3D-4735D6D62419I’m in northwest Ohio this week for the “Biggest Week in American Birding,” returning to the streets and landscapes of my childhood to watch thousands of birds make their own journey north. I’ll have more to say about my trip in a post-to-come.

In the meantime, here’s a series of poignant, hopeful murals that make the connection between the migrations of birds and people. They’ve adorned the exterior of P.S. 24 in Sunset Park for years now, and while time has worn and faded them, they’re still beautiful.

B7ED84FB-CC1E-47F8-961B-97E858FDB3CA

A8A76927-5A35-4A4F-B4A5-6DAA42734D7C

75843178-28A0-4553-A425-4FDD12077CEC

0F74CF80-ACFE-406A-82B1-964F2219F1E0

Street art Sunday: Brooklyn at work

IMG_5176

A proud Sunset Park machine shop

In honor of May Day, also know as International Workers’ Day, coming up on Wednesday: images of work and workers from around the borough.

The first couple of examples aren’t street art proper, but I love them anyway. The gears and fasteners at the top of the post aren’t retro, or ironic, or historical: they decorate the walls of a small machine shop on the northern edge of Sunset Park. I choose to believe that one of the workers there – a skilled painter as well as a machinist – suggested festooning the outside walls with images of precision tools and quality products. Continue reading

Street art Sunday: Red Hook

IMG_5736 (2)Red Hook has long been one of my favorite running destinations. When Eric and I were first together, and I was using my visits to explore Brooklyn, Red Hook seemed to me like the quintessential Brooklyn neighborhood: low-rise, industrial, unpretentious, tight-knit, nautical.

Once I moved here for good, I decided that I loved it because those same attributes reminded me of Detroit.

It’s also a great neighborhood for street art, and over the years, I’ve compiled quite a gallery of snapshots taken on the run. Some of the works still exist in more-or-less their original state, some have gone the way of the old Revere sugar refinery, and some are weathered and tagged-up (kind of like me).

A sampling follows. Continue reading

Street art Sunday: self-referential irony

IMG_5760 (Edited)Today’s look at Brooklyn street art focuses on street art that’s not only aware of itself as street art, it demands that you be aware of it, too.

Like this late, great piece in Gowanus, dripping with irony as well as gold.

IMG_5144

Then there’s this contribution, which can still be seen in Bed Stuy.

IMG_6577

And this from Bushwick, with extra irony courtesy of a passerby.

Bushwick constructivist w pedestrian (2)

But my hands-down favorite is the piece at the top of this post, found in Sunset Park. I like the fact that there’s nothing ironic about it. It’s clever, sure, but it’s cleverness that celebrates creativity, not the other way around.

Race report: 2019 Gaza 5.5K and dabke party

2019 gaza 5k

Taking selfies while facing the sun, and racing in a keffiyeh: two bad ideas. (Photo credit: Lisa Maya Knauer)

I haven’t raced in six months and a day, and the Gaza 5K was the perfect way to ease back in. The emphasis of this race is on fundraising (to support community mental health services for kids in Gaza) and community. It doesn’t start on time, the course isn’t accurately measured, there are no mile markers, and the chaotic starting area is crowded with kids and strollers – but so what? How many other races do you know that culminate in a dabke dance party? Continue reading