Random, Roaming, and a Bit of Beefcake

We have one more day here in New York.  Jerry and I are spending a couple of hours at Starbucks getting caught up again with the cyber world.  We then get to have lunch in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with an old friend we haven’t seen since we left Connecticut in 1993. We are really looking forward to that.  This evening will be spent having a buen viaje dinner with my mother.  Perhaps we (Jerry… he’s a saint) will do a load of laundry in the morning.  Another visit to Starbucks.  And we’ll then pack and head to the airport.  The reality has not set in.  I think we’ll both be overwhelmed with the excitement once we get on the plane tomorrow.

WAITING FOR THE NUMBER 7 IN THE HOT AND HUMID STATION.

We made a trip to Grand Central Station for lunch with two people very special to us. I had hoped to take a lot more pictures and do a lot more posting during our stay in New York.  There has been so much to shoot and share.  But, time did not allow it.  So, I’ll instead just share some random shots taken with my iPhone in recent days.  We spent a few minutes in Grand Central Market and walked away with a bag of chocolate-covered raisin clusters for Jerry and SUGAR-FREE (and still delicious) chocolate-covered cashews for me.  The chocolate Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building looked like fun.

AND TO THINK WE WALKED AWAY WITH ONLY A HALF POUND (.226 KG) OF CHOCOLATE.

We had dinner last night in Rego Park, Queens, with long-time friends who are so kind and always ready to brave NYC traffic just to get together with us.  They chose another amazing restaurant — London Lenny’s — which bills itself as the best seafood restaurant in Queens.  I wouldn’t argue (although it’s the ONLY seafood restaurant in Queens I’ve ever experienced). 

LONDON LENNY’S BROILED SCROD, SCALLOPS, SHRIMP, AND SOLE.  SUPERB.
(AND SO HEALTHY THAT I COULD ALLOW MYSELF A SLICE OF KEY LIME PIE.)

We returned home from London Lenny’s to discover that my mother’s co-op was experiencing a blackout.  We turned the corner to discover emergency vehicles, police cars, pedestrians, stores, and five high-rise buildings containing 2,500 apartments all in the dark.  The co-op runs on its own power plant, which at times can be a plus.  It was just about the only neighborhood lit up during the major blackouts in the Northeast.  Fortunately, we only had to wait 20 minutes until power was restored.  But, then came the ride to the top in the elevator with Jerry, who was convinced the power was going to fail again and get us stuck.  We made it!

IT WASN’T LONG BEFORE WE SAW THE LIGHT.

The other night, Jerry, my mother, and I were all too tired/lazy to head back out for dinner, so Jerry offered to just scramble up some eggs and make some toast.  Now, if I were the one offering to scramble eggs and make toast, you might be served — if all went well — scrambled eggs and toast.  Jerry, the master chef (and former caterer of Russian dinners), doesn’t know how to keep it that simple.  He scrounged my mother’s refrigerator and produced what my mother and I would both call a gourmet scramble — with a side of fried sweet potatoes, and a blueberry/strawberry garnish.  I think he’s a keeper.

JUST A LITTLE SOMETHING JERRY THREW TOGETHER.

Before leaving Irvine, Jerry and I shipped off all our old family 35mm slides to have them digitized.  The two disks arrived and we have been having a wonderful time tripping down Memory Lane.  I found an old “beefcake” shot of me poolside in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  I was 15 at the time.  It might be better described as “beefSTICK” since that was more my shape.

BEEFCAKE OR BEEFSTICK.  YOU DECIDE.

Mermaids Before Málaga

Just four more days and we’ll be on our way to JFK for our flight to Málaga!  In January, we obtained a lease for a place in Sevilla before deciding to relocate to Málaga.  As a result (and we thought this might be the case), our residency visas were issued for Sevilla and we are required to live there at least until our resident cards are issued (which could take several months).  Jerry and I fell in love with Sevilla, so it’s no great hardship to have another change in plans.  So, we have our vacation rental in Málaga for the remainder of July and will find a permanent place in Sevilla (which is only about an hour and a half away on the express train).  We thrive on change!

THE MERMAID (AND MERMAN?) ON THE STATION
AT THE CORNER OF OCEAN PARKWAY AND BRIGHTON BEACH AVENUE.

I hope to post at least a couple more times before we leave New York.  Maybe there will be Malaga Mermaids and Mermen to photograph next week.  Right now, we’re sitting in a Starbucks in Fresh Meadows, Queens, after visiting an old cemetery to do some research on dead relatives for Jerry’s genealogy website, connectedbloodlines.com.  This afternoon and evening will be spent visiting and being visited by living relatives.

Picking Up a Couple of Sailors

The Parachute Jump still stands as a recognizable icon of Coney Island.  It was moved to its current location in 1941 from its original spot at the 1939 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadow Park.  The ride became part of Steeplechase Park, which closed in 1964, the year my family moved to Brooklyn from Long Island.  I don’t remember the ride running after Steeplechase Park closed and for that reason alone (or simple cowardice), I myself never rode the Parachute Jump.  My mother, however, did.

THE PARACHUTE JUMP THIS BEAUTIFUL, SUNNY MORNING.
The story I remember from my childhood — this is what I remember my mother telling me when I was 10 — was that she rode the Parachute Jump with my father when they were first dating.  She would have been 16 and he 17.  More of the story that I remember my mother telling me was that she went on it to impress my father.  Now, the Parachute Jump was not something I could imagine my mother riding.  In fact, I had never seen my mother go on any ride at an amusement park.  They all made her “too dizzy,” she insisted.  So, when she told me the story and I asked her why she didn’t go on rides any more.  Her response was, “Well, your father married me.”
YESTERDAY FROM MY BEDROOM WINDOW, SHOWING THE WONDER WHEEL AND CYCLONE.
THE PARACHUTE JUMP IS BEHIND THE BUILDING ON THE RIGHT.
A few years ago, while my mother was visiting us in Las Vegas, one of my cousins was also visiting and we were talking about Coney Island.  My cousin was from LA and she had only seen Coney Island once when she flew in for my mother’s 80th birthday.  In jest, I began to tell my cousin how my mother had tricked my father into marrying her by going on the Parachute Jump and making him think she was fun.  But, my mother immediately corrected me (she does that quite a bit).
THE CONEY ISLAND BOARDWALK THIS QUIET MORNING AFTER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND.
“No. No,” she said.  “I didn’t go on with your father.  He was in the Army.  Harriet and I picked up a couple of sailors.”
What?!?
We all burst out laughing.  “YOU picked up a couple of sailors?” I roared.  (If you met my very proper mother, you would know how absurd the idea would be — even the fact that she could say something like that aloud.)
THE PICK-UP “ARTIST” MORE THAN 60 YEARS LATER.
And then the back-pedaling began.  “Well, Harriet did the picking up.  She was much more forward than I.  I would never do anything like that.”
I had tears in my eyes. “But you and Harriet picked up a couple of sailors?”

“It wasn’t like that.  It wasn’t nice for two girls to go on a ride like that by themselves.”

“But it was nice to pick up a couple of sailors?”  I was having such a good time.  “What about your husbands?”

MY PARENTS.  YEARS AFTER THE SAILORS.
(MY FATHER WAS NEVER TOLD.)

“Well, of course, we weren’t even engaged at the time.  Murray was in the Navy and your father was in the Army.”  My mother was actually blushing now and Jerry and my cousin Joan were wiping tears from their eyes.

“So, what did you do AFTER the ride?” I asked.

“They walked us to the subway station and we took the train home.  It was completely innocent.”

We recently took my mother to a local diner for lunch.  The diner is called “The Parkview” because it’s not far from the Coney Island amusements and you can see some of the rides from its south-facing windows.  I was gleeful when I saw the photos on the cover of the large (diner-sized) menu.  There were old shots of the rides and amusements at Coney Island, including the Parachute Jump.  And at the very bottom of the cover… my mother and Harriet’s sailors!

Brooklyn, a Couple of Slugs, and No Mermaids

We are both so tired from our travels and I think the excitement of what we’re doing that we arrived at my mother’s house (that’s what we who grew up in apartments call our apartments) and have become a couple of slugs.  Today, our second day here, we hung around the house in the morning, went out for lunch at a local diner, took hour-long naps, and then deserted my mother to walk the mile to Starbuck’s to get online again.  My poor mother must think we’re the most boring people around. 

A SHOT THIS EVENING OF THE RESTORED BRIGHTON BEACH AVENUE
SUBWAY STATION (THE EL… SHORT FOR ELEVATED) AT OCEAN PARKWAY.

This is a big holiday weekend (July 4th, Independence Day), and my mother lives within walking distance of the boardwalk and a very busy beach resort.  So, I don’t think we’ll be doing much for the next couple of days except avoiding the crowds.  (I’ll think like a New Yorker here and also mention that I don’t want to give up our good parking spot because we may not find another until Monday night.)  It might be fun, though, to take a walk along the boardwalk tomorrow and get shots of the holiday crowds in Coney Island.  Too bad we missed the annual “Mermaid Parade” in late June.  That’s a tradition that began in 1981, but I didn’t know about it until we stumbled on it during a stroll to Nathan’s (for hot dogs) while here for my mother’s birthday in 2007.

MERMAIDS ON THE SUBWAY.  SO, I DON’T THINK THEY’RE “REAL” MERMAIDS.
(I FOUND THIS SHOT ON THE WEB FROM THE 2011 MERMAID PARADE.)

Little Russia by the Sea

RUSSIAN, THE MOST COMMON LANGUAGE ON THE NOW-THRIVING AVENUE UNDER THE EL.

We are sitting at the Starbucks on Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, catching up on email and other things cyber.  This is about a mile from my mother’s apartment (which is sadly not wired), so Jerry and I strolled over here a short time ago after Jerry had quite a lie-in this morning.  We arrived yesterday at Kennedy Airport from Los Angeles at 10:00 pm (that’s 22:00 in Euro-time… for our dear cousin in Norway who always gets “a.m.” and “p.m.” confused; military time makes a lot more sense anyway).

“HOUSE OF BOOKS, ST. PETERSBURG” ON BRIGHTON BEACH AVENUE.

I plan to share lots of pictures while we’re here.  I don’t think there’s any place quite like it.  I can’t wait to have my first — and possibly last — hot dog and French fries from the original Nathan’s in Coney Island (the adjacent neighborhood on the beach).  But, right now we have to finish our coffees and get back home to my mother before I feel really guilty!