What I saw (and ate) at the 2017 NYC marathon

 

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Almost halfway there . . . runners closing in on the 20K mark in Greenpoint

For three years now, I’ve compiled a spectator’s guide to the NYC marathon. Sometimes, I even take my own advice. Here’s a belated race report, of sorts, from someone who did not run – but nonetheless spent the entire day (from a little after 7 in the morning until nearly 7 at night) along, or in proximity to, the course.

Pre-race

I love marathon morning. I love it even more now that the first Sunday in November is also the first day of standard time, which lets me bounce out of bed, linger over my coffee while the sky lightens, and still head out at a ridiculously early hour. By 7 am, I had my running shoes on and was heading down to Fourth Avenue for my traditional run-the-course-backwards jog from Park Slope to Bay Ridge. Continue reading

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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. (CORRECTION: the restaurant is now *open* on Sundays starting at noon. It’s closed Mondays.) 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

Stoop recycling

imageIt’s easy to make fun of Park Slope and its earnest, politically-correct, kombucha-guzzling denizens. There are the bars that offer special happy hours for new mothers (“have a pint with your half pint”); the stroller traffic jams; the antics of the Park Slope Food Coop, dutifully reported in the Linewaiters’ Gazette; and kale, kale, kale, everywhere you turn, in places kale has no business being.

It’s easy to mock, and mock it I do (just ask Eric) – but I also love this neighborhood. Continue reading

A Queens interlude

IMG_4235Although I’ve categorized this post under “Seen on the run,” that’s not entirely accurate. My number one training goal for this month is to avoid heat stroke, and so my trek to Astoria last week to see the Welling Court murals was accomplished via N train and a slow, shuffling walk down 30th avenue. (Truth be told,”slow” and “shuffling” are also pretty good descriptions of my running these days.)

The plan – to the extent I had one – was to see the murals; try the falafel and shawarma at King of Falafel and Shawarma (henceforth, “KOFAS” or simply “the King”); and use my NYC ID to sign up for membership at the Museum of the Moving Image. If I stumbled across some other interesting stuff along the way, so much the better. Continue reading

My biggish year (mid-summer update)

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After hitting the magic 200 number back in May, I fully intended to give bird-blogging a rest. The plan was to refocus this blog on other things (running! interesting or odd things seen while running! food to fuel my running! and, of course, politics . . . because nothing fuels my running like rage!).

Then the summer doldrums hit.

But here I am, back at it, with a quick update of birds seen over the last two months. That would include the fine specimens at the top of this post, spotted by the Brooklyn Navy Yard yesterday and photographed today. Turns out they’re part of an art installation to dramatize the effects of climate change (you can read about the project, and the artist behind it, here). In addition to provoking thought, they also lent a note of grace and beauty to the landscape – something we could all use more of, especially after this past week. Continue reading