Monday, November 03, 2008
There may only be a few weekends left for an outdoor excursion before the weather closes down these pursuits until spring, but if you're looking for an out-of-the-way outdoor lunch, I highly recommend Famous Eddie's, a spectacular hot dog stand in Bushwick. Housed in a tiny structure that juts off a walk-up onto the sidewalk at Suydam Street and Knickerbocker Avenue, it features a tasty menu with double-take prices (the 90 cent hot dog with sauerkraut and onions is wonderful, and two make a meal) just across from Maria Hernandez Park. Eddie himself served us today, telling us that he's been in Bushwick 11 months but already "people are finding us." He's been in the hot dog business for 20 years, and has a stand in Times Square among others.
Famous Eddie's doesn't have a place to sit (though he jokingly asked if we were taking out) so we sauntered across the street to the park. Renamed for an anti-drug community activist who was murdered in 1989, it remains known as Bushwick Park to many (including gmaps), and has apparently undergone quite a renovation in the last decade or so. The Parks Department, as usual, has a fascinating little blurb on the park and community here (who knew Bushwick was the name of a Dutch village meaning "heavy woods"?). It's a gem of a park, with a series of winding paths, a surprisingly splendid plaza, and some high-quality mature trees of every fall color. An added bonus is the silhouette of the Empire State Building peeking up along the east-west avenues.
As an aside, I think marking the laps per mile on park paths is a cheap and brilliant way to get citizens to be active. Walking a few blocks is one thing, but covering a mile--that's an accomplishment, and a measuring stick you can use to chart your progress. I'd bet a study would show that just marking a loop's distance increases walking and jogging traffic, and thus positively impacts the health of the local community.
To get to Famous Eddie's, take the M to Knickerbocker and walk west or the L to DeKalb or Jefferson and walk south until you hit Irving, from which the park is visible. The park is sweet enough for a date, and you'd clock in under 10 bucks including MTA fare!