Monday, March 31, 2008

Rambling 'round Brooklyn

Around 3.5 million people live in Brooklyn, making it the most populous borough of New York City. Yesterday, many of us took to the streets and parks to enjoy the most Spring-like day in weeks. Everywhere were runners, walkers; bikes, skateboards, strollers; horseback riding lessons and long-line kiting; short sleeves, long sleeves, hats, scarves, shorts; soccer, baseball, cricket, football, frisbee, handball. It was the kind of day when everything seems cut from glass, even the break and especially the sky where it is occluded along the edges of rooftops, water towers, steeples. Edward Hopper light in all directions. In celebration of wheeled freedom and temperatures in the 50s, I wandered, by bici, through various quilted sections of Brooklyn.

Red Hook along the waterfront of reclaimed warehouses, container cranes silhouetted, soon-to-open Ikea, sprawling Fairway grocery, main drag Van Brunt lined with oddities and antiques, early season baseball practice next to a series of giant grain towers – from the little I watched, the winter ice has not quite melted on throwing arms and creaky gloves.

I continued on through South Slope, past historic Green-Wood Cemetery (final home to, among others, Samuel F.B. Morse and Boss Tweed), into Sunset Park and up onto the eponymous hillcrest park: Walt Whitman, in his days with The Brooklyn Eagle, may have sat just there and imagined his yawp sounding across the rooftops in Brooklyn, across the East River above the beating financial drum of colossal Metropolis, and on to the rest of the world.

After winding back through Windsor Terrace - a pocket of columned-porticos, stalwart Farrell’s, lipped on the freeway - I visited an old friend, Prospect Park. Lying in the sun, I could almost convince myself that I needed sunscreen.

A few parting lines from that sweaty-toothed madman:

What is it then between us?

What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?

Whatever it is, it avails not - distance avails not, and place avails not,
I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine...


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Anonymous said...

Brooklyn is amazing, especially during the spring. Head over to the botanical gardens & Brooklyn museum- well worth it! Not to mentioned walking/riding around admiring those gorgeous brownstones... and the food. So glad to be back in a country where I have cuisine choices as opposed to just pasta & pizza. I love me some pasta/pizza but at times I crave something different.

Fango said...

Yep yep, the Brooklyn cultural hub - of the gardens, the museum, the library, and of course the park - is where it's at. Wandering the brownstone streets, the wider avenues out in the farther reaches, the nooks and crannies: a lifetime worth of adventures right here in the best borough.
As for food choices... yes, true. But when the slim pickin's are so damn good, how can we complain?!