Went to New York this past weekend. It was pretty great, as New York is known for being. I haven't been since I was 17, and then did not stry too far from midtown, as out of towners from Virginia tend to do. I flew into JFK, and my friend Matt picked me up at the airport. We drove through Queens to his place in Brooklyn, past streets and places that I have heard of, but never seen. Everyone knows a little about New York, even if all you do is sit at home and watch Law and Order reruns. Queens Blvd. Astoria. The BQE. Williamsburg. Flatbush Ave. These are all part of my pop culture vocabulary. As we were crossing from Queens into Brooklyn, there was a sign over the road... a public, city funded sign, mind you... that reads "Brooklyn. Believe the Hype." What a fantastically New York slogan for a fantastic outer borough. I wish I had taken a picture, but I am self conscious about doing such things for fear of looking like a rube. That may be a fear I need to get over if I want to share my travels with others. All weekend, I took a grand total of one picture.
Upon arriving at Matt's place, we went for a short run around Park Slope, and then had some smoked brisket sandwiches for lunch. Then it was time to head into Manhattan to pick up our race packets for the half marathon. The New York Road Runners Club is headquartered in some super high dollar real estate in the Upper East Side, in a converted brown stone. That was the only time we spent in Manhattan above the Village. Back downtown, we had some chinese noodles in Alphabet City, and then headed back to Brooklyn.
The race on saturday started at 7 am. Bag check at the race was a stereotypical exchange with New Yorkers. We arrived there at ten minutes to seven, and apparently thats when bag check closed. I went to the table corresponding to my bib number, and was informed by a shouting man that bag check was closed, not to even try to hand him my bag, and that I needed to take it to late bag check.
The race itself was amazingly organized, with water stops every mile, an incredibly well marked course, and a fast pace on my part.One observation of note: New Yorkers are not nearly as likely as Virginians to run shirtless... fyi. Who is the bad ass now, Brooklynites? The race ended in Coney Island, on the Boardwalk. Luckily, I brought a shirt to wear after the race, because riding the train through Brooklyn shirtless in short shorts might have been ill advised. Matt assured me, though, that if I chose to, he had my back in case anyone tried to start something.
The rest of the day is blur of happy memories of tired legs, good food, China Town, the West Village, more good food, and good times with a good friend.
Brooklyn is awesome. Believe the hype.