400 birds

16B70747-7872-451F-A25B-3D70B710959EAh, the appeal of round numbers! Ah, the lure of arbitrary goals! Ah, the joy of obsessive pursuits!

I haven’t prattled on about birding on this blog of late, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t continued to devise ornithological challenges for myself. Two years ago, I documented my quest to see 200 species in New York City . . . something that turned out to be ridiculously easy for anyone with a pair of binoculars, a Metrocard, and (most important) time on her hands. So I upped the goal to 200 birds just in Brooklyn, and managed that as well. (The final tally: 249 species in NYC, 225 in Brooklyn.) Continue reading

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Fake resistance, real resistance and a question

You have, of course, read the “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” Op Ed in the New York Times. The writer assures us s/he is working diligently to protect us all from a volatile and incompetent administration . . . even as they work just as diligently to advance that administration’s policy priorities.

In order to continue that good work, they must of course remain anonymous.

Last night, Eric and I went to Barbès in Park Slope. (This may strike you as a non sequitur, but bear with me.) Continue reading

NYC Marathon spectator training report

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Yes, but will it be open by the first Sunday in November?

It’s September! Were I running the 2018 NYC Marathon, this would be my monster month: I’d be piling on the miles, trying to live right, and generally being an extremely boring person. But just because I’ve retired from marathoning doesn’t mean I’m not training. Now, though, my training is focused on being the best possible spectator (and possibly coaching others toward their own personal spectating bests).

To that end, I set out on this steamy Labor Day morning to run a (small) portion of the marathon course. I’ll be doing a lot more of that over the next month and a half, aiming to publish an all-new course guide in the second half of October. In the meantime, here are some teaser pictures from today’s training run.

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What, no beetroot?!?

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Sacks of flour and poppy seeds (not pictured) leave me hopeful that this in-the-works-for-over-a-year Shelsky’s outpost will in fact be opening soon.

Gowanus speaks

5E992C7E-78BF-4DEB-BB32-F6ED93413FA7The street artist who pastes cryptic sayings on walls around the city is back at it. And how better to dip my toe back into the world of blogging than to post these two additions to this blog’s coverage of his/her work? (You can see previous examples here and here.)

The photo at the top of this post is from the “build it green” re-use center on 9th St between Second Av and the Gowanus Canal. The one below is from the exterior of the defunct Morbid Anatomy Museum at Third Av and 7th St.

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And yes – the fact that I’m once again posting snapshots of things seen on the run around Brooklyn means I’m, well, back to running around Brooklyn. It’s been a long and tedious recovery from my elbow fracture, but I now have more-or-less full use of both arms, which means: more running! more birding! more two-fisted eating!

And more blogging, too.

(In the meantime – if you see more examples of these posters, please: pass ’em along.)

Frailty

23A035C3-DD79-499E-A1E7-4C3C15253C7FTwo days after running the Brooklyn Half, I was on my way to Jamaica Bay to look at migrating shorebirds when I tripped and fell on an uneven patch of sidewalk in Broad Channel, Queens, and shattered my left elbow. It was my second fracture in 12 months.

At the beginning of the year, I had a plan. It had been 10 years since my breast cancer diagnosis. Why not use this blog to look back, while also celebrating survival? Yes, it was tough, I’d acknowledge, but it was doable, even funny at times, and look at me now: running half marathons, tromping through salt marshes in search of new birds, seeking out the best Uzbek food in South Brooklyn?

If that concept veered perilously close to what my sister survivor and political-intellectual heroine Barbara Ehrenreich has called “bright-siding,” well, I’d rely on self-deprecating humor and relentless honesty to keep it real.

Instead, I find myself in direct confrontation with breast cancer’s lasting impact on my body and mind. In particular, I’ve been thinking a lot about the shame that accompanies physical frailty.

Continue reading

Race report: 2018 Popular Brooklyn Half (May 19, 2018)

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Defending my home turf (photo credit: Luke Redmond)

Let’s begin by contemplating the marketing genius who connected this race, which routinely sells out in less than an hour, to its new title sponsor, Banco Popular. Was it the result of a caffeine, doughnut and Gatorade-fueled spitballing session in a New York Road Runners conference room? Did someone at Banco Popular, possibly a runner themselves, come up with the idea? Or was it – as my friend Michael, who has some tenuous family connection to the world of marketing consultants, tells me is most likely – the handiwork of a professional branding matchmaker?

However it happened, this popular race is now officially Popular.  Continue reading

Early May birds, and a cancer look back

Today was a banner day for me in Prospect Park: six hours spent outside, six miles run, and 67 (count ’em!) species of birds seen. That total includes a gorgeous bay-breasted warbler (which should really be called the “red velvet bird,” because that’s what its head and throat appear to be fashioned from), rare cerulean and Kentucky warblers, a roosting nighthawk, and a cutie-pie Lincoln’s sparrow.

Ten years ago, in contrast, I was wondering when my hair would start falling out. Continue reading