Wednesday, April 9, 2008

cheeseburger in paradise

I packed so much in during my recent trip, I probably have fodder for two weeks worth of posts. but I'm back home, I probably should get back to being here now! however, that said, I know at least for the next couple days I plan to continue writing up and putting up pictures of some of my wanders. maybe if you're lucky, I can cover more than one day in one day!

having lived in nearby connecticut for fifteen years prior to moving to cleveland, I had the opportunity to become fairly familiar with new york. getting into the city was easy thanks to the metro-north rail line. we made frequent forays into the city to go to a museum, attend a lecture, hear a concert, or to just spend a day wandering soaking everything in. when we lived so close, we even had seasonal rituals that took place in new york such as the winter solstice revels. in our connecticut days, most of the trips to nyc were day trips. since moving out to the 'hinterlands' (ref this) my trips now are mostly multi-day affairs. this wouldn't be possible without the incredible kindness and generosity of our lifelong friends and fictive kin p&k.

p&k have made nyc their home for well over a decade (and in k's case two decades) nowadays they are self-identified 'new yorkers.' p&k have two cats who were litter mates of our cat rosie, so actually I'm more than just fictive kin, but am truly family - after all, I am coco and noche's human grandmother. when I go to nyc now, along with being able to hang with p&k (always a pleasure) my visits give me more time than I had in the past - and now I can feel free to mix doing some of my favorite things and going to familiar haunts with exploring new places.

this visit one of the new things I did was take a trip to coney island. I can't believe I've never visited coney island before - it's such an iconic part of "the american experience." I know visiting off-season isn't the same as if I had visited in the summer, but it was 'the' perfect time for me. I've heard that there's interest in developing and gentrifying the area - don't know if that will actually happen, but I wanted to make sure I saw the real coney island before it underwent disneyfication! although the area looks more than a bit distressed, there's plenty to charm about the area and the people - we're talking charmed personified, of course in a thoroughly new york way! I enjoyed all the conversations I had with people from the neighborhood. I've really never have carried that childhood lesson of "don't talk to strangers" into adulthood - especially so while I'm off on a wander!
we had two food experiences in coney island. since I'm no longer morally* opposed to eating hot dogs, our first gastronomic stop was nathan's famous. I selected the basic dog with mustard and onions. yes it was one of the best hot dogs I've ever eaten. however, just how great can a hot dog be? most likely my enjoyment came from the setting and being in the company of friends. I know some folks enjoy eating quite a few of nathan's dogs, but I was satisfied with one.

after a tour of the coney island museum and a walk along the famous coney island boardwalk, our second food stop was at totonno's pizzeria which claims that "only god makes better pizza." well I don't know about that, I really can't imagine god making pizza; but their pizza is damn good! I wasn't even hungry when we sat down and when k suggested we order a large I thought, that's silly but quickly followed that thought with fantasizing about one of life's simple pleasures - cold pizza for breakfast. leftover totonno pizza - there's a joke! let me tell you that pizza was so good the three of us not so hungry folks polished off that large pie in no time. so unfortunately, there was no leftover pizza in the fridge for monday's breakfast.

monday came and for my buds it was the start of yet another work week. for me monday dawned with a week of wandering to look forward to. after we got home sunday night I started combing the new yorker and new york magazine and surfed the net to create my wish list of things to do and places to see. of course I wasn't able to pack in everything, but I did get in a great deal.

the start of the week was cool and wet - the perfect kind of weather for going to museums and doing inside stuff. monday I went to the museum of arts and design (mad) which was featuring an exhibition entitled "pricked: extreme embroidery." mad is one of those places that I always try and hit when I'm in town, I've never been disappointed with their exhibits. "pricked" really pricked my imagination. in terms of needlework outside of quilting I've never really delved too deeply into the realm of real embroidery - I don't really count my early experiences with making cross-stitched samplers or doing a bit of crewel work in college (ironically, that college crewel experience came out of a trip to new york and my first visit to the cloisters where I saw the unicorn tapestries and was so taken by them I bought one of those kits to make an embroidered pillow with the unicorn design adorning it!).

after visiting mad, I wandered over to the new york public library to take in the celebration of the 400th anniversary of john milton's birth. among the tantalizing tidbits I picked up is the fact that milton was blind when he wrote perhaps his most famous work paradise lost - this is certainly another example of how the human spirit can over come so many obstacles that life might put in our way! milton did have an amazing life, and an even more amazing life after life! speaking of amazing the new york public library is just that; as I was lost wandering around it's rooms and hallways, I do believe I entered paradise. perhaps, I'll end today's post with a slide show from paradise (at least paradise for those of us who love architecture, books, and the quest for knowledge)
well, that's it for today maybe tomorrow I can wrap it up. I do go on, don't I? sorry!

*okay, a bit strong. however, as a former vegetarian, I still experience occasional spasms of cognitive dissonance about eating meat.

I just realized today's date: april 9: birthday wishes to owlice and tvb! two very, very special folks in my life! happy birthday to you both!

photos: top: the most charming and entertaining 'biking viking'- pic taken on the boardwalk 3.30; totonnos pizzeria 3.30; overview shot of 'pricked: extreme embroidery' 3.31


Steve Reed said...

I have the same misgivings about meat eating. But I figure a bit of meat now and then isn't too terrible.

Glad you got to Coney Island. It is indeed a dump, but it's also well worth visiting. :)

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dennis said...

Dennis always gets the fried clams at Nathans. And lemonade.

Bobby D. said...

I love Coney Island! So many memories of childhood there--and yet my favorite time to go was in winter--to walk on the snowy beach!

WAT said...

They say the finest pizza in the country is to be found in New York, and boy it sure does sound and look delicious!