Today I did a little run in the corner of Brookline squeezed against Dormont, Mt. Lebanon and Beechview. It had potential to be a long run on a gorgeous evening, but a complaining knee cut it short.
This is the “business” end of Brookline. Pioneer Avenue and Brookline Boulevard intersect and then each finds a curvy way to West Liberty Avenue, land of car dealerships. Just off these roads are surprisingly residential areas jammed with strawberries. OK, ok, I didn’t actually see strawberries, but there were certainly many flower gardens, trees and landscaped yards.
Even in this small alcove of Brookline, there were several sets of stairs. Cutting past the dead end of Stapleton Street, steps took me directly to West Liberty Avenue. Another, Edge Vale, abruptly dropped off of Aidyl Avenue to Brookline Boulevard. Whoever had the chore of doing yard work there was using its flat landings to stage their implements; a lawn mower, gas can and orange weed whacker wire graced the steps.
I started down Fordham Street and quickly got sidetracked by Midland Street, which took me down to McNeilly Road, a border between Pittsburgh and Dormont. I wandered a bit in that area, making sure to stay in Pittsburgh. You can tell by the bright blue Pittsburgh street signs at every intersection. However, before I could finish Dorchester, my knee flared up and I called it a day.
This run took me around Highland Park, the park not the neighborhood, to the rear of the Pittsburgh Zoo and down Butler Street to Lawrenceville. I also was planning to hit three small areas that had short streets and steps. It turns out, one set of steps was just wildly overgrown, one was broken and one didn’t exist anymore.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Starting in Highland Park, my troublesome hamstring reared its ugly head as I went up Farmhouse Road. From there on out I only managed a mostly slow trot. However, Highland Park, in the brightly sunny, blue-sky day was magnificent. Lush green trees towered over plush green lawns.
I made my way on Lake Drive to Carnegie Lake. This little man-made pond has wooden boardwalks out into the water. Earnest young men were trying to fish while excited little girls were throwing bread to the fish. The large swimming pool is still unfilled, but several beach volleyball games were underway on the sand courts. The players had gone all out, playing in bikinis and swim trunks. Past this beach scene, pavilions disappeared into the deep groves and a flight of stairs led to trails.
Lake Drive winds around the back of the zoo as it ascends to One Wild Place. This two lane road is split between a lower ascending lane and an upper descending lane. Along the wall between the two are cute mosaics fancifully depicting animal antics.
From there I went out on Butler Street then went up Baker Street. It is a fairly steep street going right up into Morningside.
Past the “Welcome to Morningside” sign was one of the little side streets I had targeted. It was shaped like an upside down “V” with a set of stairs crossing the open part of the “V”. Alas, the brilliant sun and ample rain caused everything to be overgrown on steps known as Dressing Way. I ventured up for a bit, crunching the Japanese Knotweed underfoot. Finally, it looked too dense to continue, so I backed down the crunchy steps and instead ran up Marietta Street. Marietta ends at the apex of the “V” and intersects Premo Street. As Premo dissoved into a driveway, I saw the top of the Dressing Way steps and thought “That looks doable!” So I went all the way down them through the forest of knotweed again. Whew! I hope I’m not allergic.
Along Butler Street again, I winded my way to Osborne Street, hoping to find a stairway down to Butler. No dice. No sign of those steps.
Back on Butler, I encountered a friend biking home. I don’t think I had seen Antonella since the Covid19 lockdown and we got to chat for a couple of minutes. I love it when I’m in a random spot in Pittsburgh and come across a fellow runner.
My next step encounter looked much better. This was a short flight up to Sawyer Street. Unfortunately, tree damage prevented a full traverse of those steps. The top conveniently doubled as a staging area for some brick work.
From there, I ran to Stanton and Holmes. I had one section of Holmes to complete and did it, crossing Holmes off my list for good. By the time I got to Kendall Street, though. my hammies had had enough and I walked back to the car. Over six miles in with a great evening, so can’t complain.