Archive for the 'brooklyn' Category

let me talk about running for a minute

I’m just going to talk about running for a minute and then I’m going back to reading about justice and the environment and then some knitting and TV watching.

Running. I’m doing a lot of it these days as training ramps up for the Lake Placid Half-Marathon in June. This past Sunday we (that is, Team in Training Brooklyn) ran the Roosevelt Island 10K — that’s 2 loops of a silly sliver of land between Manhattan and Queens. It had all the things that go with racing: bib numbers and water station and chip timing and getting up at 6 on a weekend to ride the subway for an hour in order to run for an hour. Or an hour and one second as my official chip time recorded. And then the tram and the subway home.

Roosevelt Island 10K
(Here I am, running that race).

The thing about this race is that I ran fast. Faster that I’ve recorded before (and I keep pretty good, anal records about distance and time, in the same spreadsheet that I record the money I spend and coop shifts worked and for a time, metrocard swipes). Faster that I would have guessed I could have run for 6 consecutive miles. I think it’s half the race environment and the little bit of competitiveness I have in me (get past the woman in pink! she’s the worst!), and half that I probably spend more time standing and waiting for cars to pass that I can account for when I run in the neighbourhood.

But here I am now, excited about running fast. About clocking a time that I’m a little floored by. This doesn’t completely fit with my image of myself…but I’m getting there. After the first (and only other race) that I ran, in Philadelphia with Goliath, I was grumbly. It seemed ridiculous to get up early and drive to a place and then stand around and then run five and then drive home–I can leave the front door and run 5 miles and be home in less than an hour. But this Roosevelt Island race didn’t feel that silly; I don’t know what clicked. Maybe it’s having the team (see below)?

tnt on roosevelt island

One other thing is that it was wonderful to go to a part of the city that I had never been to. And to have Eleanor Friedberger in my head all day:

I felt that way too, about the Saturday morning run in Bay Ridge the other week. There’s this great waterfront path, that goes under the Verrazano Bridge that I didn’t know about.

bay ridge run
(Here’s my butt, headed under the bridge)

I certainly haven’t spent much time in Bay Ridge, and it was great to take more ownership of my adopted town by running on a new part of it. The start of the run was by the Owls Head water treatment facility, and so I had different Eleanor Friedberger stuck in my head that day.

I think that part is the most exciting to me: I know this place. I ran it. I used my own power to move my body through this place in the world. When Naomi and I were in the cab back from the airport after our trip to Puerto Rico, we were driving along Eastern Parkway towards my house, and as we passed Buffalo ave she asked where we were and I was like “This is my running route. I know where we are.”

I am made to return

ESPO mural in downtown Brooklyn

I didn’t take very many photos on the trip to Puerto Rico. I didn’t want my camera to get wet and sandy, and most of our fun was had at the beach. I’m not sad, but I felt silly that I think about taking “vacation photos” but rarely keep the camera with me on regular days. Monday was sunny and gorgeous and so I walked the few miles to the Hoyt subway stop on my way up to Columbia (first I thought, I’ll walk to Atlantic, then Nevins, but I didn’t get on a train until Hoyt).

The Hoyt stop is right up against the downton Brooklyn Macy’s — where ESPO has painted this gorgeous “Love Letter To Brooklyn” mural on the parking garage. I had seen it quickly, on bike, and of course on the internet, but it was great to discover it all over again, especially on a day that I set out to pay attention to the place I live the way that I had to each new thing when in Puerto Rico.

A few more:

ESPO mural in downtown Brooklyn
ESPO mural in downtown Brooklyn

I also noticed this excellent address ironwork:

And realized that we really are getting a stadium:
we really are getting a stadum.



Sherita lives at the corner of Atlantic and Classon. I bike by her all the time and she never ceases to amaze. What is she? What is her connection to heating oil?

And as it turns out, she is playing at Jalopy on Saturday.


tall buildings

So Mount Prospect Park, which is right near me, is apparently the highest point in Brooklyn. Which is a silly thought because there are so many buildings in Brooklyn, which are clearly higher, and Mount Prospect Park is a park, which means it does not have tall building built on it (although, given NYC’s love of public private partnerships, that could change).

My real question though is this: If you accounted for elevation, would the ranking of the world’s tallest buildings (and structures, okay CN Tower, you can play too), change?

we will not be shushed

Last year, Sarah Zarrow and I had a great time at the Brooklyn Public Library’s 24-hour Read In. In an effort to stop the budget cuts that would shorten hours, close libraries, reduce services, and lay off librarians, the read-in was a public declaration of how important the library and reading are.

Saving the Library for Dummies
Man with bicycle on the plaza

Though most of those cuts were prevented (well, delayed, really), they are of course on the table again. Every time I go to the BPL’s website I get hit with this splash page image:
save the library

All of which is to say that the read-in will happen again this year. From 5pm Saturday (june 11th) until 5pm Sunday (june 12th) on the plaza outside the Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch, folks with take turns reading aloud. Last year people read stories, poems, recipes, and lists from John Hodgeman’s The Areas of My Expertise. It was a great event–good to be out taking full advantage of the public space, seeing people come out of the park or the greenmarket and wander over to see what was going on, doing something so important with such a charming, wholesome event.

The Magpie Librarian makes a pretty great case for why this matters and why you should come.

So does this puppy:
puppies against cutting the library budget

Blogging, Grad School, Making Things

Rhubarab Jam

Oh man! When best-blogger-ever (and classmate) Rembert Browne linked to my blog this morning I was awed and flattered! So nice to be included in a roundup of grad-school bloggers, most of whom have way better and cleverer blog names than I. Rembert writes “500 Days Asunder,” and Judy’s is “Taiwanderlust.” Amazing.

Anyhow, I thought I better make good on the promises of a blog that shows off stuff that I make when I’m not doing work. And thankfully Rem’s shout-out coincided with the opening of canning season! Yesterday I transformed 2 and a quarter pounds of rhubarb into 6 half-pints of rosemary-rhubarb jam.

Rhubarab Jam

Happily, one of the jars didn’t seal, so I just dug into it, eating it with fresh ricotta on a baguette that my friend Naomi brought over. And then the other Naomi and I got on our bikes and took a tour of the old brewery buildings of North Brooklyn.

brooklyn bike beer blitz
brooklyn bike beer blitz (notice the barrels embedded in the building)
brooklyn bike beer blitz
brooklyn bike beer blitz

Knitting, East and West

my bicycles at valentino pier

This is a photo of my bike at Valentino Pier, in Red Hook, from a few weeks ago. When I parked to go to Baked to get brownies and coffee before sitting down to read on the pier, I got to park up against a yarn-bombed bike rack!

The rack next to that one was also yarn-wrapped, in a different pattern:


Red Hook is full of surprising and lovely things. Especially gardens.

As well as reading on the pier, I got in a bit of work on my Entomology shawl

which I put on hold for a while to knit some fingerless mitts as a sample-knit for Yarnia, my dear friend Lindsey’s yarn store in Portland Oregon. You can read my guest blog post about the mitten-knitting over the Yarnia blog, but here are a few photos:

Good Growing

A few weeks ago, I stumbled into a plot at the Crow Hill Community Garden. I showed up to dig and help out, got offered a plot, and had it filled with seeds and plants by the end of the day. (That was also the day that Ghana beat America in soccer, and I don’t normally care about sports, but that was spectacular).

This is what my plot looked like then:
garden plot
Collards around the outside, beans and cilantro and peas and some other seeds in the ground.

And this is what it looks like now:
My beans, getting all big and stuff.

peppers sprouting
Hot peppers, sprouting out of the ground.

green pepper
A green pepper, growing.
I bought some plants from the Natty Garden shop and put them in (I wasn’t going to rely just on things from seed this late in the season), and the green peppers are starting to produce fruit.

I’m calling the whole thing the pipe garden, because I excavated this piece of pipe when I was digging up the earth, and put in it in the garden, and planted these little flowers in it.
flower in a pipe

In addition to the Crown Hill Community Garden, the Little Franklin Garden is doing alright too. Last week, someone stole my tomato, which is unsurprising, but it would have made more sense to wait until it turned red. Why steal unripe produce? Anyhow, that same plant is growing another little tomato; growing just keeps chugging along.

new tomato

Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn Awesome

I want to post this photo and say that this is the best thing I did this week–a Brooklyn Bridge Birthday Bike Ride (the bridge turned 127 on Monday) with the City Reliquary complete with cake and pop and a band and a dance party. Giving cake to tourists and locals walking across the bridge at 7pm on a weekday is really just a lovely thing to do. This is me giving a piece with a yellow flower to a girl in a dress with yellow flowers. When her mom came up a few moments later and saw her kid with a big piece of cake, she burst out laughing at her charming cake-manipulative daughter. But it was all part of the plan.

The reason that I can’t say this was the most awesome thing I did this week is because last night Naomi and I went to Jalopy for their Wednesday night free “Roots and Ruckus” show, and we saw the best thing I’ve ever seen. The Bill Murray Experience (silly name for an amazing group of musicians), fronted by the cutest lady who sings and plays the washboard and kazoo, just totally blew us away.

Here is a video!

This makes me crazy

no parking on sidewalk

On St John’s Place, across from the Eye of the Storm FDNY Firehouse.

bikes in the kitchen

bikes in the kitchen,originally uploaded by dorywithserifs.

Riding home through Williamsburg.

G’bye, Freddy’s

This is fun: at about 1:36 you can see my friend John and I cross the street (from bottom left corner to the bar), lock up my bike, and go inside. And then my bike gets to be front and centre for the rest of the little clip.

Freddy’s Bar - Last Days from tracy collins on Vimeo.

NYT article and slideshow about Freddy’s here.

Coop Haul

Inspired by Emily’s farmer’s market haul photos, (inspired, in turn, by Sweet Juniper), this is today’s Park Slope Food Coop haul

everything I bought

1 cucumber
bag of brussels sprouts
cream cheese
blue cheese
peccorino cheese
2 avocados
bag of baby carrots
2 packages of frozen ravioli
1 loaf amy’s bread
4 tomatoes
1 kiwi
4 limes
1 bunch kale
3 packages frozen peas
4 bottles of beer
2 leeks
6 eggs
bag of salad greens
bunch of mint
handful of basil
2 lemons
2 lightbulbs
current issue of the coop newspaper


books on hold

Kornfeld, Kornblit, Kornprobst.

k books

All the KOR- names on the books on hold at the Brooklyn Public Library.

The one there for me is Dave Egger’s Zeitoun which I’ve zoomed through in the past few days. It’s wonderful and outrageous (as in “that’s an outrage!”).

Brooklyn Thursday Evening

On Thursday, I took the S-Q combo of trains to Ditmas Park to hang out with the cluster of wonderful humans that live in a house (which might be against the rules), pick up my car, and settle Catan. I took my new camera (a Canon G11) for the ride–I’m so pleased with how it works in low light!

botanic garden
The shuttle stop by me is called Botanic Garden even though it’s not the closest stop to the Botanic Garden and it’s connected to the 2/3/4/5 Franklin Ave. I don’t know how things got named.

waiting feet
Yellow socks and the yellow lego-like subway stripe. I really like that if you look closely, is says “Amoreille” in dots in the top right.

on the train
This little girl was totally vamping for the camera.


Then we drank wine and played The Settlers of Catan. Jamie won.

when the water gets cold and freezes on the lake

Yesterday I went to see Julie Doiron and Herman Dune play at the Bell House. I used to have a “no Julie Doiron in November rule” because it can be such sad music and November is often so grey. But her new stuff is more upbeat and November in New York isn’t really winter yet, so the rule doesn’t apply. Both She and Herman Dune have lots of songs that mention months–mostly Octobers and Novembers and Decembers.

There’s one HD song that he played that talks about “when the water gets cold, and freezes on the lake” and I was thinking about a lake I walked on a few winters ago, in Northern Ontario.

snowshoe feet

Everyday I write the book. Er, blog?

This post from my dear friend Kirsten reminded me that last year I successfully participated in NaNoBloPoMo–and so even though it’s already the second I’ll give it a go this year as well. Hi Kirsten! (And Emily and Kurt with whom I participated last year, a slightly drunken pinky-swear sealing the deal).

Yesterday I woke up late, ate eggs AND waffles for breakfast with Zach, watched Crooklyn, and then drove up to Connecticut for a long-weekend (election!) holiday at the farm-mansion with Anna and Naf.

The night before was Halloween. Zach and I made matching Max-from-where-the-wild-things-are costumes (full disclosure: I am still wearing my grey sweatpants with the tail attached. I am a costume-obsessed 9-year-old this week) and then split up for the night. At my shindig Kelly was decked out as KW (with little stuffed owls tucked into her belt), so we had fun howling together.

kw and max
(photo by Tanveer)

A few weeks before that, the same group of wonderful people held Brooklyn Thanksgiving — a whole slew of people were actually going to be away during real thanksgiving, so we held it early. This photo comes from Emily:

thanksgiving spread

I tried to uphold the tradition of making waffles on thanksgiving, but Em’s waffle iron was mysteriously missing. So we had thanksgiving pancakes with corn salsa. Totally yum.

Brooklyn this week

Billboard update:

252 streetview

Google streetview updated some parts of Brooklyn, and captured the hemorrhoids billboard!

Etsy Update:

defend disserations!

I think that this shirt is awesome.

Actually, I think that’s it.

Unless you haven’t yet been acquainted with Regretsy, the making-fun-of-bad-crafts-for-sale blog that has captured the hearts and minds of the world. This sweater is a recent favourite.

Billboard Update

Cycling through the old neighbourhood yesterday, I took South Fourth Street and found this!
blank billboard

I wrote about my experience with this billboard before
–this is such a lovely sight.

the North Brooklyn Blogger’s Banquet

I sometimes think that it’s silly that I live in New York because I don’t really care about all the stuff that goes on. A really good day for me is about bike rides, coffee, and making and eating food with good people. It’s not even that I’m content to miss some world-famous DJ spinning in some club–I don’t even know that it’s happening and I’ve never heard of the dude.

It’s a good thing that I live here though, because there are lots of good people who want to make food and hang out and dance around the kitchen and debate the merits of zucchini versus summersquash while shelling peas and drinking bottles of Brooklyn Lager.

I appreciate it when these nights are informal and spontaneous, but a little while ago a group of very wonderful North Brooklyn friends and I started plotting and planning about something a little more structured. This group of friends includes photobloggers (Jake, Tanveer, and Joe), comicbloggers (Kenan), breadbloggers (Liz), food+bakingbloggers (Cate), and all-sorts-of-everything-bloggers (me and Emily)–so the logical conclusion was an over-blogged dinner party: The North Brooklyn Blogger’s Banqut (NB3)!

an annotated picture of salad

(photo courtesy of Tanveer Badal, annotations courtesy of me)

Inspired by Mark Bittman’s recent article about salads, I put together the watermelon-tomato-basil-goat feta salad pictured above. I picked up most of the ingredients on saturday at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket and the Park Slope Food Coop, and got the watermelon from Nam’s* on Sunday on my way up to Greenpoint (to Liz & Joe’s) for the event.

THEN: we shucked corn and shelled favabeans and snapped photos and danced around eachother in the kitchen and stirred and baked and put things in the oven and we used all the knives and bowls and cutting boards and we rearranged things in the fridge and took things out of the oven and we stirred and took more photos and peered in the the neighbours backyard and got caught in a rainstorm and drank rose and played with some puppies and made a mess and cleaned it up.

prepping in Liz and Joe's kitchen
Photo by Joe

And then we ate dinner.

And now we’re talking about doing it again before the end of the summer. The same principles will probably apply: no spectators. Well, no spectators at the event, only afterward. Read everyone’s takes on the evening!

watch out, tanveer!

*I don’t love Nam’s like the dude who writes I Love Franklin Avenue loves Nam’s–it’s too pricey and the produce isn’t particularly awesome or plentiful–but I’m glad that it’s there.