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Monday, September 13, 2010

Highland Park

A recent walk through East Brooklyn saw me pass the 2/3 mark of Census Tracts walked. The specific one that took me over the mark was Brookyn Tract 1142.01 - which along with its sister (Tract 1142.02) make up a lovely hillside area nestled up in an out-of-the-way corner of the Borough between Jamaica Avenue, Highland Park, and the Jackie Robinson Expressway. Hillside neighborhoods are in short supply in Brooklyn, but while the almost San Francisco-like steepness initially piqued my interest it also turned out to be a great walk in general, full of old homes of various architectural styles, unexpected views, and of course kids taking advantage of the inclined streets on various wheeled devices. Much of East New York, and East Brooklyn in general, tends to get painted with the same brush in the media. People who can name a dozen distinct neighborhoods and their characteristics in West Brooklyn don't know any two blocks are different from Utica Avenue to the City Line. This area - along with many others - serves as a reminder that East Brooklyn contains the same diversity of architecture, geography, and community as the other parts of the borough.

With most areas, I'm content to walk through them, take in the area, and check the tracts off the map. When it comes to revisiting - well, I'll see them if I see them. I've always had the goal of having a broad knowledge of the city, not a deep knowledge - I'm happier to know 10 neighborhoods a little bit rather than one neighborhood well. While there's certainly many neighborhoods that I do know well, it's generally more by circumstance than design.

Once in a while though, a tract or two will capture my imagination, and I'll put it on my list to revisit. I'll definitely be returning to that neighborhood up the hill.

For an in-depth look at Highland Park, see Brian Berger's guest page on the neighborhood at Forgotten-NY

Neighborhoods: Highland Park, Cypress Hills, East New York
Tracts Walked: B1142.01, B1142.02

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