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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Epic Brooklyn escapades (3 of 3)

One of my plans for the summer is to check out different far-flung Brooklyn neighborhoods, whether by bike, foot, or bus. So far I've gone out on 3 such escapades: Crown Heights, which I biked through on Wed, July 9; northern Bed Stuy and along its border with East Williamsburg/Bushwich, which I biked on Wed July 16; and the length of Fulton St from Stuyvesant Heights (Lewis Ave) back to Fort Greene, which I walked this morning.

I'll have to recount the first two in more detail in future posts. Here's a brief account of this morning's walk:

Actually this jaunt, unlike the other two, was unplanned. I'd taken the bus (B25) from Fulton at Lafayette all the way out to Lewis Ave in the morning, in order to get a coffee and do some reading and thinking at Bread Stuy. Finally started some language study while on the bus--listened to a couple Brazilian Portugese podcasts I'd d/l'ed from iTunes!

My plan for the morning had been to get out of there in time to make it back to Shambhala in Prospect Height for an 11:30am yoga class. But first got a little delayed in leaving Bread Stuy (for good reason..conversing with people), and then made the error of walking west along Fulton--first instead of walking a bit east to the Utica subway stop, and then second, walking right by the Kingston-Throop stop! Ended up walking all the way to Nostrand, where I went down to see if a C would come along...which it didn't, and since it was already nearly 11:30am by that point, went back above ground and decided to just walk the rest of the way home.

One interesting observation: you can get knockoff Brooklyn t-shirts for $7 out there (the script, "we run Brooklyn") opposed to paying many multiples of that at Vinnie's Styles.

Pretty soon I was back on a stretch of Fulton I'd walked before. I had dragged Anj out there for the "Universal Hip Hop Parade" last August, which culminated on Fulton between Nostrand and Bedford. Specifically, outside the famous Slave Theater (see the photo, and also the subsequent ones in my flickr photostream. See also this NYT article and this more recent Brownstoner post for some background and the latest news on the Slave Theater).

Even then, I'd noticed there were some Bengalis in Bed-Stuy. There was a small halal grocery store we sat outside of, where I spoke some Bengali w/ the proprietors

Today I noticed/realized that there's quite a Bengali community right around Fulton and Bedford. I noticed a couple more halal spots (granted, not necessarily Bengali)..and quite a few Bengali-looking folk walking up and down Fulton.

Then came across a restaurant on the south side of Fulton, just west of Bedford, that had a blowup of a newspaper article about the restaurant and the owner--which informed me he had opened this halal restaurant on Fulton in 1986! Ended up talking to a guy who came out of the spot, and then to the owner who was walking in...I'll have to go back and try the food (halal soul food!), and maybe talk to the proprietor about what the neighborhood has been like over the past 20 years..

I kept walking, and was soon back on even more familiar turf--Clinton Hill and then Fort Greene. There are a few spots along there that I have been intending to finally check out: Joloff for some African food, Olivino for some wine, Country House for some grub.

Back in our 'hood, picked up a handful of bananas from my man on Hanson Pl, and spent a few minutes speaking some more Bengali with him, talking about life and work in this country of ours.

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