Running Brooklyn: the “Original Pizza Loop”

I was in no mood to tackle any of my usual running routes yesterday: loops of Prospect Park; over and back across the East River; along the Brooklyn waterfront and the Navy Yard. My goal of 12 miles afforded me some latitude of where I could reach.

I eventually decided to run to Original Pizza for a white slice. As you might recall, I named this concoction the best thing I ate in 2012, and I wanted to confirm I wasn’t being overly generous with my assessment. I plotted a circuit that would take me through various neighborhoods, and brought along my iPhone.

GTW running route

I’ve got a bad habit when visiting neighborhoods: I take too many pictures. Running, especially on tired legs, is the perfect antidote: you want to stop as infrequently as possible. Did I need a shot of that ornate church? The license plate that said FATMAMA? The miniature chairs tied to a bike pole? Must keep moving lest I become unable to start again.

I had also recently added Instagram to my arsenal. (Why I didn’t do this long ago I have no idea. Shameless plug: follow me!) Do I spend the time filtering and tagging and uploading the pics now, or do I wait and #latergram them? Decisions, decisions. My life is so hard.

Running is speed-dating for neighborhoods. In all, I hit 15, five of which I had already picked: Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights North, Crown Heights South, Northeast Flatbush, Remsen Village, Rugby, East Flatbush, Canarsie, Georgetown, Mill Basin, Flatlands, Marine Park, Flatbush, and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.

It was neat to watch the complexion change as I progressed. The beautiful buildings of Eastern Parkway gave way to nail salons and auto dealerships on Utica and Remsen. Suburbia (and the Paerdegat Basin) showed up on Ralph, abruptly changing to loud, sign-covered buildings on Flatbush.

The pedestrian and bike path along Eastern Parkway was quiet, as you might expect on a Monday afternoon.

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Hang a right on Utica Avenue, though, and things are much busier – and more dangerous for those using their legs.

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A quick left on Remsen Avenue gives you a moment of relief from traffic – until you hit Kings Highway, a complex intersection. The wind pattern yesterday sent planes landing at JFK close to the borough (see my recap from Spring Creek for more on that).

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I would call Ralph Avenue home for two full miles. There were lots of amusing signs like this one.

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I caught a glimpse of my old friend, Paerdegat Basin, upon reaching Flatlands Avenue.

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After touching down in Georgetown long enough to throw down a white slice and a cup of water, I headed west on Avenue N before settling in on Flatbush Avenue. A few images rose above the cacophony of signs lining this route, which hosted me for over four miles.

Here’s a faded sign for either Astoria Savings Bank or a predecessor on the same site. It advertises a “New High Interest Rate”! (I’ll put in a request to the Fading Ad Blog to see what they can dig up.)

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A moment of awe at the old Loew’s Kings Theatre – a perfect sight for the day after the Oscars. Last month, Borough President Marty Markowitz and the NYCEDC broke ground on a $70 million renovation project for this gorgeous building. It will become the largest performing arts venue in Brooklyn.

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And what would a visit for me be without seeing a few gravestones? Here’s the boneyard at Flatbush Dutch Reformed Church. The gate was closed, and I was more interested in getting home and grabbing a bite than trying to read freaky deaky Dutch. Until next time, dead guys.

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Oh, what about the white slice? I stand by my assessment. Still the best thing I ate in 2012, and gunning for the lead in 2013.

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