Last weekend, long as it was, was surprisingly packed with impromptu adventures. Starting Friday, N and I took a day-long jaunt out to an empty Coney Island. The weather was beautifully windy and warm, despite the threatening clouds looming, first in the distance, then almost directly overhead and forming what N called “Jesus clouds” with the sun’s rays shining through. The sand stung against my legs when we walked in the street but surprisingly enough, not so much on the boardwalk. We walked the entire length of Coney Island and Brighton Beach although we didn’t have clearance to go to the lighthouse in the Seagate community. Then a brief walk through a very posh neighborhood before going on Manhattan Beach, complete with suburban-type mansions and front lawns although, being in the city, the houses were still fairly close together. One boasted armed guards along with their security devices. There were eggplant dips eaten on the beach to go along with incredibly cheesy salty Georgian bread called khatchapuri that filled us up so much we didn’t have to eat anything else the rest of the day.
The next day, I went on a last-minute trip with ijl to Philadelphia with bus tickets purchased just the night before. Of course, we had donuts at Beiler’s Donuts in the Reading Terminal Market because who can resist that faint crunch of freshly fried donut? My favorite—Boston Creme. A gorgeous walk along the Schuylkill River Park as the sun was setting, complete with a hot air balloon hovering over the dam where geese floated. Then to University City for Senegalese food at a neighborhood restaurant for fried whole fish and the sound of people speaking French (we sighted an opossum along the way! He seemed quite as surprised to see us as we were to see him.) The next day involved even more food, of course. Croissants at Metropolitan Bakery, a roast pork sandwich at DiNic’s (the line moved quite fast!), gelato at Capogiro’s. Then an absolutely amazing tasting menu dinner at Zahav. Best hummus ever. And really, quite a steal for how much food you get and how delicious it all was. Highly recommended. In between, there was the Philadelphia Museum of Art where we looked at Asian architecture & American glassware & European armor with plenty of Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin thrown in. We took the 10pm bus back to NYC.
On Memorial Day, I texted A and was serendipitiously invited onto his boss’ motorboat along with his parents. It was surprisingly low-key and really amazing. We went up Newtown Creek (past bubblers circulating water in the creek and the backs of manufacturing warehouses, large boats that people used to squat in and party on and futuristic water filtration systems) then the East River all the way up to North Brother Island (“Most people I bring out on the boat have never heard of it!” A’s boss said when I asked, “I’ll take you.”) then onto the Harlem River, under a million bridges, some that swiveled and some that rose up to allow for larger boats’ passage, and down the Hudson. We passed the straight empty shot of 42nd street and the Statue of Liberty. What are the rules? I’d asked A’s boss. He said, It’s like the wild west out here. And how lucky for us that it was.