Saturday, October 27, 2007

If Super Kegel were a superhero, what would its power be?

On this chilly, rainy Saturday, I continue to relive my past — or, er, my summer — as promised. Please indulge me and tell me you guys live for this stuff, because if you find it mind-numbingly boring, my camera will have toiled in vain. If it had the ability to express human traits. Which I think it does.

Toward the end of August, Josh and I made our way down to Coney Island, which is in peril of being shut down, carted away and reduced to an extremely colorful, historical memory. Like many other neighborhoods in New York City, Coney Island — and Astroland and the boardwalk in particular — is sitting on valuable land, which developers intend to plant with condos and casinos. Nice. The only two protected relics of Coney Island are the Cyclone roller coaster and the Steeplechase, which have been designated National Historical Landmarks. Everything else is still the subject of argument and negotiation. It makes me kind of sick, actually. I mean, it's Coney Island. So Josh and I headed down there to take some pictures and take advantage of what was rumored to be its last summer. (So far, though, it's been saved for the moment.)

The first stop after we got off the train was Nathan's

home of the annual July 4th hot-dog-eating contest. We had no intention of ordering actual food (we're not much for fast food, although I could eat Subway every meal for the rest of my life and I'm totally not kidding), but the french fries are heaven. They better be, because inside Nathan's lies pandemonium.

Each lit-up menu kinda-sorta indicates where you're supposed to stand — all the fish-substitute is together, that kind of thing — but there's not enough room for different lines that run in different directions, and you're supposed to get your hot dogs and french fries in the same line as the one you're supposed to stand in to get your chow mein.

And yes, Nathan's is a fine purveyor of chow mein. Chow mein and steak burgers. I know.

But the chaos is all worth it for this

if only for the accompanying stabby-fork. Like in American Gothic, only delicious and bad for you.

Well, thank you for the invitation, young men!

I think I shall bump my ass off! But only if Don Mattingly does it with me.

If I had my druthers, whatever a druther is, I'd say that the couple on the bottom left

will indeed remain homies forever.

Josh remembers riding these boats when he was little.

One of the beautiful things about Coney Island — much like most of the major landmarks in the city — is that everyboy who has been there has a bright memory of a moment in time there. The first time I went to Coney Island, I was with my friend Mark, who was visiting from Michigan or Boston or wherever he was living at the time. I had only been in New York a few months and living in Bay Ridge, which is merely a few miles from the boardwalk. Mark had his car with him (Michigan; I think it was Michigan), so he said right at the beginning of the visit, "Let's go to Coney Island. I can't be this close to the ocean and not go there." I remember standing at the edge of the water when a T-shirt washed up, pretty much completing an entire outfit of detritus found on the beach. During each of his next few visits — Mark was a regular out-of-town guest, the kind who stays but you never mind for how long — we went to Coney Island. As he says, you just can't live that close to the ocean and not go there. It's so fitting now that he lives in Los Angeles and that he proposed to his wife along the water in Monterey. I think Mark is saltwater-based. If you look closely at his neck, you'll find gills. He refuses to cut his hair for that very reason, as he prefers not to unnerve his coworkers.

If you don't keep your eyes on your feet, you may fall into the gaping holes in the boardwalk. Fortunately, a few of them have been patched up.

Good for safety, bad for nostalgia.

I apologize for this

but this is Coney Island. His "garment" was a sparkly seafoam green. Very dainty.

Just down the boardwalk is the New York Aquarium. Along the back wall of the building is the most beautiful, vibrant mural.

The Brighton Beach neighborhood is a nice walk from Coney Island. The streets, which are underneath an elevated section of the subway, are lined with markets and Russian shops and restaurants.

It's still very old-school. Everywhere you walk, people are speaking Russian, and all of the food is Russian cuisine. Awesome.

The first week of September brought Sarah's visit from England. Lisa met up with us one day and we trolled the streets of Cobble Hill, the neighborhood where Sarah and I lived in the same brownstone for three years.

Brooklyn in the summer is a treat, especially when the leafy blocks are dotted with stoop sales — the Brooklyn dweller's version of a garage sale. Josh and I have had two, and it's astounding what people will buy ...

... and sell:

I'm not sure that Super Kegel is something that you want to buy used, but hey, whatever works.

Until the kind women at the table next to us volunteered to take a photo of the three of us together, the mirror had to do.

Cheese plate porn:

This is the stoop of the building where Sarah and I lived. It was a slumber party every day. After she moved back to London, I couldn't even look at the windows of her old apartment from the outside, I missed her so much.

Lisa said that when she got dressed that day, she decided to channel her sassy ancestor, whom you will absolutely read about one day because it's a fascinating story. And I don't think anybody can tell a story like Lisa can, so it's gonna be a good 'un.

"Hey, there, sailor. Why dontcha come up and see me sometime?"

The Italian bakeries in Cobble Hill smell so yummy. And every time I look at the picture of the éclairs, I want to lick it.

When Lisa dropped us off back at my apartment that night, we spent so much time talking in the car that Lisa's battery died. To AAA's credit, the wait for the jump was short and rather enjoyable, just a bunch of old birds sitting around and talking about girl things. And food. We spent a lot of time talking about food.

The next day, a crazy-humid one if I remember correctly, Sarah and I traipsed around the neighborhood. She scored an excellent new handbag at the P.S. 321 flea market.

One shop had a bowl that looked like a birdbath out front. It had been filled with bubble solution and two large wands were left with it for passers-by.

Yes. I said passers-by. Whatcha gonna do about it, big shot?

And then, of course, one has to go to Aerosoles.

So there. My summer. To bring us to the present, here's a realization I came to today, this very present day:

The word spaz is alarmingly underrated.

And so.

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