Riding the line between Brooklyn and that other place

Riding the line between Brooklyn and that other place
Photo by Noah Devereaux

What’s the difference between Brooklyn and Queens? A thin, unmarked line.

It’s not the Mason-Dixon line, but the city’s most populous and most diverse boroughs have been skirmishing for decades over the border that divides them.

On Sunday, tour guide Matt Levy will lead a BYOB (bring your own bicycle) tour that will ride on the exact demarcation separating Brooklyn from its neighbor to its north.

It won’t be easy.

There’s no official marker noting where Kings County ends and you-know-what begins, save for two stone markers on Evergreen Cemetery and a boulder in the yard of the Onderdonk House on Flushing Avenue — but Levy will bring his fellow travellers on the bordered blocks using a bicycle map and some city documents.

“Borders are malleable, imaginary and transient — they’re invented based on government jurisdiction or rich elders to create difference between territories,” said Levy.

The 10-mile tour will begin on the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge at Scott Street — at the edge of Newtown Creek, which separates Williamsburg from Long Island City — before meandering thorough industrial streets to the residential streets of Bushwick, Highland Park, Cypress Hills, Cityline, and East New York ending three hours later at Livonia Avenue.

Levy is looking forward to cycling through The Hole, a swampy landscape off the Grant Avenue A-train where Mafioso types would dump bodies and where a celebrated group of volunteer law enforcement officials called the Federation of Black Cowboys keep the peace.

All you need for the trip is your bike, a bottle of water, some snacks and a sense of adventure.

Photo by Noah Devereaux

Bike the Boro’s Borders (meets at Metropolitan Avenue at Scott Street in Williamsburg), May 22. 2-5 pm. $5. RSVP to [email protected].