I find my Cuban spot

My Cuban Spot

Louie Estrada’s Cuban spot is now mine, too

What does it take to rouse this blog from its slumbers? What it takes, evidently,  is a jolt of sugar and caffeine, followed by a sharp slash of yellow mustard. Sour orange juice, garlic, salt and pork help, too.

Which is to say . . . I had lunch at this counter in Gowanus, and just had to write about it. My initial plan was to include it in my annual NYC marathon course round-up (yes, installment #3 will be arriving soon), but (a) My Cuban Spot is closed on Sundays and (b) it really deserves its own post. Continue reading

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Back in the game

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Classic Williamsburg

I started running again, tentatively and furtively (what my doctor and physical therapists don’t know won’t hurt them, right?) at the end of July. My arm felt fine; my legs felt like two tree stumps. Those first 3 and 4 mile runs left me as spent as a 16-miler at the end of an 80-mile training week.

The big concern, of course, was that I’d take another fall and re-damage my mostly, but maybe not totally, healed humerus. But after surviving two scary falls while walking – once on a metal cellar grate, once on the polished terrazzo sidewalk of some fancy Manhattan building, both slicked with rain – my latent fatalism came to the fore, and I decided: screw it. If I’m going to go down, let me go down running.  Continue reading

If walls could talk

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Last year, I posted about a series of cryptic messages printed on posters and pasted up on walls around the borough. I’m here to report that the artist(s) is (or are) still at it.

Here’s an updated gallery with some recently-spotted* additions. To me, the messages seem to have taken a darker turn. Is that an artifact of a small, skewed sample, do you suppose, or a reflection of darker times? Continue reading

Afterlife of a sign

IMG_5318One of my first posts when I started this blog three years ago was a tribute to the Kentile Floors sign that once graced the Gowanus skyline, rising above Second Avenue at 8th Street. The last letters disappeared in early July of 2014; coming home on the F train hasn’t been the same since.

The sign is gone, and Kentile floor coverings themselves are even longer gone, but you can still buy a “Mens Kentile Floors T Shirt in Rust Orange” from Livepoultry designs for $28 on Etsy. Or, for $20, a DIY model kit made from chipboard (“a 100% recycled material”) by Boundless Brooklyn.

Or you can seek out tributes on walls around the borough – from the walls of the luxury condo developments that have replaced manufacturing enterprises, to walls shadowed by public housing projects where former manufacturing workers and their children and grandchildren, employed in other sectors or not at all, live.  Continue reading

And then she fell . . .

At roughly this time exactly a week ago, I was a mile in to a planned 10-mile run – over the Brooklyn Bridge and then across to the Hudson, returning, I hoped, before the day grew too godawful hot – when one of my shuffling feet caught an uneven square of Carroll Gardens sidewalk and I went airborne.

There was no righting this fall, I knew in that long moment. There was only the sickening suspense of not knowing how bad it would be, and what part of my body would hit the ground hardest.
Continue reading

Race report: my 2017 Brooklyn Half experiment

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The post-finish scene on Coney Island

Here’s an idea: let’s see what happens when someone trains hard all winter for a spring marathon, runs said marathon, then takes the next month off (logging only easy, stop-and-start birdwatching miles, mostly in quarter mile increments, with a longest steady run of, oh, let’s say 4 miles, and no speedwork) before racing a half marathon.

World of pain, or demonstration of the lasting aerobic benefits of marathon training?

I didn’t set out to conduct an experiment last Saturday – the Brooklyn Half is one of my favorite races, and I just wanted to run the damn thing – but the circumstances more or less created one. Continue reading

Hacking the park

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Team portrait (we were named by the individual in the middle)

A couple of weeks ago, I received one of those mysterious email invitations that cause those of us with suspicious minds to wonder if the offer is entirely on the up and up. Would I like to participate in an exciting event called “Hack the Park”? For free? With a guest of my choosing?

The only catch was – well, as far as I could tell, there was none. I was invited, but not required, to blog about the experience . . . and since I’m always on the lookout for blog fodder, why not?

I said sure, and invited one of my Prospect Park Track Club teammates to be my date.  Continue reading