Native New Yorkers and the Night of the Iguana

Two dear friends that I knew when I worked at my last (and worst) corporate job — one was in essence my business partner at work and the other was someone we both met at a trade show — came to Brooklyn Wednesday just to have dinner with me. PG, my workmate, flew several hours and Vince drove several hours. They are both people I am so grateful to know and to have in my life and I can’t believe their generosity in coming all that way just for dinner with me — and the Dowager Duchess. We went out in Sheepshead Bay at a great Greek restaurant. My mother and I have been there before, and Vince coincidentally knows the owners’ son. I of course had my camera. Did I think to take any pictures of us or our meal? No! But I did take a picture of a local resident.


Our table was near broad French doors that opened onto a dining patio, the street, and the fishing port across the way. At one point, Vince gasped (I think he actually said, “Holy crap!” and then apologized to The Duchess for his language. I turned around to see a guy with a very large iguana on his shoulder. My mother turned and said, as if iguanas were a very common sight in Brooklyn, “Oh, I see them all the time. He walks her on a leash.” Vince and I went outside for pictures. The restaurant owner and some staff went outside to pet the iguana. The owner of the iguana had several baby iguanas in a sack. He was selling them for $150 a piece. I offered to buy one for The Duchess. She turned me down… without even a “thank you very much.”


When The Duchess shopped at Trader Joe’s Tuesday morning, she returned with a Spanish Cheese Tapas Sampler to make me feel more at home. I didn’t have any. She had some on a bagel with breakfast Thursday morning. Just the way they serve tapas in Sevilla?


Given all the packages of Pepperidge Farms Double-Chocolate Milanos my mother bought for me (I even brought two home to Sevilla), and the 5 pounds of baked goods from Aunt Matilda, I didn’t have any room for my childhood favorite from the bakery, a New York Black & White cookie. My sister and I used to love these major treats — very large cake-like cookies topped half with dark and half with white icing. I was tempted at a diner one day, but merely took a picture.

I’ve written quite a bit about New York diners, and realized that many of my readers have no idea what that even means. So, I snapped a shot of The Duchess and The Kid Brother outside the Parkview Diner in Brooklyn (where the Kid Brother and I had Monte Cristo “sandwiches” — huge slabs of French toast topped with a ton of ham, turkey, melted cheese, and maple syrup; and enough French fries to feed a family of 6… or San Geraldo). The Parkview Diner is the one near Coney Island (you can see some of the rides from their windows) that has the menu with photos of the Parachute Jump and “The Dowager Duchess’s Sailors.”


Before I left Sevilla, San Geraldo looked at me and asked, “Who’s going to cook for you two?” When The Duchess and I were not going out for lunch and dinner, I did the cooking! Every day, I would boil water for tea and actually steep the tea bag in each of our cups. I was the one who would slice the bagels. I even toasted my own frozen waffles one day. The Duchess commented that she did all the washing up all week and I responded, “That’s the way it works.” What a team.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

24 thoughts on “Native New Yorkers and the Night of the Iguana”

  1. You're becoming quite the master chef!
    If the meal is tea and bagels, I guess.

    And don't get me started on the iguana. That would have done me in.

    1. The iguana really was beautiful. But I don't care if it's a vegetarian; you wouldn't catch me going anywhere near those diamond-shaped, razor-sharp teeth.

      I wonder if instead of master chef I might be called meager chef.

  2. I remember back in Poonah in '43, we had a cook who loved iguanasies (iguanii, uguaniums?). Six ruddy months of iguana & chips every evening until I plucked up the courage tell the Butler-wallah to sack her. Chewy little blighters, very chewy.

  3. And you had no room for a Black and White cookie!!?? lol
    AW!!!Look at those two, sweet! I'm talking about Kid Bro and your mother, not the cookies!
    Those diners sound fabulous and I've heard about their good reputations.

    1. Jim:
      Oh, there were so many things I had no room for! The diners serve ridiculously enormous portions. They could cut them in fourths, charge one-fourth the price, and I would have been much happier… and would then have room for a black & white.

  4. Great post! I got a chuckle out of the "tapas" cheeses from Trader Joe's eaten with a bagel. I'm glad you didn't pay $150 for a baby iguana–that is a total ripoff! My son had a pet iguana for many years. When she died in the early spring, he took her out on the Mississippi in his kayak and sent her off on an ice floe, Viking style. The shot of the diner is terrific and those two-tone cookies look like every kid's dream. I really enjoyed all of your home-town posts. The two buddies who traveled to see you is a testament to the terrific person you are!

    1. Monkey Man:
      That iguana was very sweet, but I won't go near the teeth! I just finished another package of Double-Chocolate Milanos, so the black & white cookies are not very appealing at the moment. (Give me a half hour.)

  5. I recall seeing iguanas on leashes in Mexico. They look so much like dinosaurs. But it's interesting that people from the restaurant went out to pet them because there seems to be a connection between botulism and iguanas. Hope you're all feeling okay.

    1. Stephen:
      So glad San Geraldo wasn't there. He'd be having a panic attack about botulism after reading your comment. What's the gestation period? I should be fine if I haven't gotten sick by now… right?

      I remember movies from the '50s and '60s using iguanas as dinosaurs (The Lost World, for one).

  6. Okay it wasn't a NY diner, but an Orlando one. Staying at the Sheraton but having meals at the diner.

    You must lost lots of weight on that diet! 😉

    1. Judeet:
      This diner is actually very good, too. I love that photo of the two of them. When I said I wanted a picture, my brother slid across the seat AWAY from my mother. But he slid back and unbelievably allowed her to put her head on his shoulder (he's not the touchy-feely type). They both look very content.

  7. Believe it or not, we had black and white cookies upstate. I remember them fondly, although it's been ages since I've had one. Oddly, that photo of them reminds me of a certain Star Trek episode.

    1. Knatolee:
      That was, as well, one very sweet-tempered iguana. But that was close enough for me.

      If I had the time, I would have traveled around Brooklyn taking pictures of all the diners. They are lot bigger are more extravagant than when I was a kid. Then they looked simply like individual train dining cars. My mother's friend was taking care of us one day (I think it was when my brother was born, so I was about 5) and she took us to my first diner. She ordered me pork and beans. I HATE pork and beans. I didn't go back to a diner until I was in high school, thinking all they served were pork and beans!

Please share your thoughts...

%d bloggers like this: