Art and Decay

Running through Flatbush, Crown Heights, and Bed-Stuy, I pass through neighborhoods brimming with histories both uplifting and depressing.   They are communities whose collective stories include opulence and crushing poverty; the violence of race-riots and self-affirming acts of artistry; architectural landmarks and crumbling monuments of urban decay.

Sometimes what I pass is ugly, sometimes it is beautiful — but quite often it is both.  There can be beauty amidst the decay, beauty shining out despite the decay, beauty formed from the day, and the beauty of decay.  Guerrilla murals on an abandoned hospital, an empty lot at dusk, the vintage sign of a shuttered auto-shop, a burned-out house, the stained glass of a historic church.

These are just a few of the things over the last week that have made me stop a moment to contemplate in silence — the art, the day — before taking a picture and running on.

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About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
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