For those who don't know, tomorrow, Wednesday June 3rd, is National Running Day. I've been a runner for a long time, and I've always found that it's one of the best ways to explore a city, so in honor of the occasion, I've slapped together a 4-ish mile run around Crown Heights that would make a great jaunt for anyone who feels inspired to go for a jog around the neighborhood tomorrow. For a closer look at the route (or to make your own), click here.
Turn left (south) on Classon past St. Teresa of Avila and take another left at St. John's, which takes you past Abigail and Franklin Park (come back for a hard-earned beer at the end of the run). Follow St. John's past Nam's Greenmarket and take a quick right on St. Francis Place, which takes you up to Lincoln. Head left on Lincoln and then take another left down St. Charles Place back to St. John's, which you can follow over to Bedford. The houses on these two little side streets are cute as can be and in gorgeous condition.
Take a left on Bedford Avenue and head one block down to one of the most interesting corners for architecture in Crown Heights at Bedford and Sterling, where the Dragon Building and The Studebaker face each other. Swing right on Sterling and head east to New York Avenue, home to some grand old houses and apartment buildings and a now-decrepit convent.
Take a left on NY Ave and take it down to St. Marks, where a right takes you a block east to the big yellow Brooklyn Children's Museum at Brooklyn and St. Marks. Take another right along the Museum on Brooklyn Ave, and cut through Brower Park to Park Place.
Take Park east to a right at Hampton Place (another cute little side street) and then take another right when the street dead-ends at St. John's. Hop over to Kingston, and take a left down across Eastern Parkway, looking to your right to see the World Headquarters of Lubavitch Judaism at 770 Eastern.
Two blocks past Eastern, take a right and head back west on President Street, past some of the grandest old homes in Crown Heights. After a block (or two), take another right and head back up to Eastern Parkway, and run the parkway path all the way back to Franklin, past the grand old theaters and banks that line the thoroughfare.
Head home north along Franklin, and if you've still got energy, take a quick jaunt over one block to Bedford to Grant Square, one of the more impressive clusters of old hotels and apartments around. You've just run four-plus miles through one of Brooklyn's finest neighborhoods!
This is, of course, but one of many great runs to be had in the area. Nearly every street has its treasures, and I'm sure I've left out more great spots than I've mentioned. I also highly recommend the incomparable Prospect Park (which Olmsted called his greatest work) or, if you're feeling like a few more miles, a bridge run, making use of two of the three East River bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg). You'll be forced to spend a little time in Manhattan, but it's worth it for the views and free-flying feeling of crossing the river under your own power.