My 9 Brooklyn Lives, Red Hook Art Project & Running

Photo by Marques Jackson of art by Brooklyn street artist Tripel, who has painted a lot of Red Hook street art.

In the almost 4 years that I've lived in NYC, I've moved more times than I had my whole life leading up to my Gotham adventures. From Harlem to the Upper East Side, my Manhattan foray ultimately ended in Brooklyn. 

When I moved to Brooklyn, I fell in love with the beautiful street art, gorgeous architecture and lively (sub)cultures. From pole dance posses to my Runstreet Brooklyn running team, I finally felt at home somewhere. I felt abnormally normal in Brooklyn (as opposed to just feeling abnormal most of my life haha).

Until a random case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time landed me in the midst of a scene that could have been straight out of 'The Wire,' Red Hook edition. The incident included automatic weapons, warehouses, SUVs signaling and sheer terror. I won't go into details, but I feel very lucky that I lived. This run-in with what I thought would be my hapless demise spurred yet another NYC move. In the incident, one thing that struck me was the young age of those involved. It made me sad that these kids were on such destructive paths already. And sad that I no longer felt safe running the colorful, art-lined streets of my neighborhood.

But programs like the Red Hook Art Project work hard to bring positive outlets and encouragement to kids in under-served areas of Brooklyn like Red Hook, which includes the largest housing projects in Brooklyn. RHAP, a non-profit, is dedicated to helping Red Hook youth through art and music programs, as well as tutoring. So it seemed a fitting beneficiary for the proceeds of the next Runstreet Street Art Run coming up on Sept. 20. 

I got the chance to visit Red Hook Art Project and see the vibrant young artists in action. Many are working on their portfolios to get into NYC art schools and colleges. Some RHAP alumni have had pieces displayed at the MET and some alumni are students at colleges such as NYC's Fashion Institute of Technology. The RHAP programs also include tutoring to help students pass new standardized test requirements in school.

Red Hook is a beautiful, isolated, colorful place that has been painted by some of the best street artists in NYC and the world. Emerging artists from Red Hook Art Project will no doubt make their colorful marks in the Red Hook landscape and NYC art scene.

Join me in the next Runstreet Street Art Run - L.E.S. Edition - to celebrate the amazing scope of NYC street art and give future artists a chance to continue painting the city we love.