So when we last left your intrepid traveler, he was just leaving his old place of residence, feeling both mentally exhausted, but better for the experience. Of course, it was not quite as adventurous as Quarsan, Zoe's favorite twat, (see his recent post on her blog regarding Tanzanian butchers for further details) but the one thing we had in common was the search for food.
However, continuing my walk back to my mom's building, I came across a sight that pushed my spirits up. You will recall that I found the site of my old "thinking tree," the enormous willow that stood in the empty field across the street from my building. Apparently, there was more than one willow that suffered the same fate. I came across one such willow, right next to the former baseball field where I played Little League baseball as a kid. It is now paved over, the big field known as "the Greenway" being used as a parking lot while all the parking garages were being rehabbed. The word is that since the garages are all opened again, that the Greenway will be returned to its former state at some point. One can only hope.
This tree however did not suffer quite the same fate as my willow. It was still intact, rooted in the ground, but only a small fraction of its former grandeur. That said, looking at I had a sense of hope. It was coming back from the near-death experience it seemed to have suffered. There was life sprining forth from it, and the branches that came out of it formed a small canopy that maybe, with time and caring, will envelope another kid, and let him or her think underneath it.
A small explanation is in order. (Claudia, you may wish to take your anti-emetic before reading further.) White Castle. Home of the "murder burger," the "belly bomber," or my personal fav, the "rectum rocket." All misnomers. A storied hamburger. One only need rent "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle" in order to understand its appeal. Before McDonald's, Before Burger King, before Wendy's, there was White Castle. Small burger, you can eat 2 or 3 at a shot. Some of the best onion rings around, and their vanilla thick shakes are heaven. I don't eat a lot of junk food. If I go every 2-3 months, that is a lot. This however, was a trip down memory lane, at least those that involved copious amounts of recreational pharmaceuticals. My personal best is 8 cheeseburgers at one sitting. Ah, those were the days.
Food is an important part of any New Yorker's upbringing, that is to say, knowing where the best places are to eat out. There are so many eateries, restaurants, etc. in a city of almost 9 million, that one needs to be choosy. Growing up in the Bronx however, one has an extra added benefit.
Off the mainland of the Bronx is City Island. Originally a small fishing village, it is now a mecca for seafood lovers all over NYC. The only section that rivals it, IMHO, is Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. The island is crammed with seafood places up and down, from begining to end. My personal fav, and known to all in the Bronx, is Sammy's, a City Island institution. We took my mom there last year for her 75th birthday, and it had been a number of years since I was there. The food was as delicious as ever. However, as Sammy's is on the expensive side, and I was treating my brother to lunch, another place two doors down filled the bill.
Tony's is the last restaurant on the island, and was one of the more inexpensive places. Still, it was cheaper than Sammy's and the food was good, though not as good as I remember it. Back in the day, the boats use to pull up to Tony's and dump their catch right on the dock next to the restaurant. Talk about fresh catch of the day! My brother and I dined on some excellent New England chowder, frogs legs and clams.
City Island also does not feel like NYC. It provides a bit of a respite from the high energy that one usually finds in other places in the city. From the gulls that amasse on the pier, to the sailboats that lazily make their way to the mouth of Long Island Sound, this is a quiet place in a very noisy city. I do miss it.
And that, as they say is that. All-in-all, a good trip, mixed with good and bad, joy and sorrow. Let the next time be all joy.
spring flowers - I am quite fond of this series of Wildflowers of Canada that came out in 1977 and try to collect as many as I can from my stamp dealer to use for Postcross...
4 days ago