|THE VIEW FROM THE DUCHESS' BALCONY. HEADING INTO NEW YORK HARBOR.|
Tuesday morning, The Dowager Duchess went with a group to Trader Joe's (a specialty retail grocery store). The nearest one is in downtown Brooklyn and my mother loves shopping there when she gets the chance. She comes home with dark-chocolate-covered edamame (soy nuts) and lots of other goodies. While she was gone I took a two-hour walk on the beach, Boardwalk, and around the neighborhood.
|THE RECENTLY RENOVATED (UNWOODEN) BOARDWALK AT BRIGHTON BEACH.|
LOOKING WEST TOWARD CONEY ISLAND.
Except for the day of the tornadoes, the weather in New York was glorious for my entire visit. Tuesday morning was in the mid-70s, perfect on the Boardwalk and beach. When I walked, I walked briskly, but as you can see I stopped often for pictures.
|FEET IN THE ATLANTIC, LOOKING BACK TOWARD CONEY ISLAND.|
For a big-city seaside, the beaches are very pleasant — especially in September after the millions of swimmers and sun-bathers have gone back to work and school. On a Sunday in summer, you have to carefully walk on your toes between blankets and towels to get to the water. When I had breaks from school, I would head down to the beach in the morning and I wouldn't go home until after 5. The sound of the waves is my favorite sound in the world (other than the sound of San Geraldo's voice).
|CONEY ISLAND AND BRIGHTON BEACH WERE MOBBED EVEN IN THE 1920s.|
MY FATHER'S MOTHER (POLKA DOTS) AND A FRIEND.
Starting at the age of 15, I worked Saturdays for the New York Association for Brain Injured children. They had a play-therapy and occupational-training program and rented space in the Shorefront "Y" in Brighton Beach alongside the Boardwalk. After my first year with them (I worked through high school and was their art therapist for a year after I finished college), they moved from that building to a lot more space in a public school in the neighborhood of Bay Ridge. But that first year, I would walk to work via the beach in the morning.
|THE SHOREFRONT "Y" WHERE I BEGAN TO BUILD MY FORTUNE IN 1969.|
I was hired at a hefty $3 a day — and that was a joke even that long ago. My first Saturday, I went to the nearby deli for lunch. I had an amazing (and huge) corned beef sandwich along with a chocolate egg cream. I spent almost two week's earnings. (A chocolate egg cream consists of chocolate syrup, seltzer, and milk. There are lots of different theories regarding the origin of the name, but one thing is certain: The drink never included eggs.)
|CHOCOLATE EGG CREAM AT THE PARKVIEW DINER LAST WEEK.|
ALMOST AS GOOD AS I REMEMBERED.
A couple of blocks past the "Y" you reach the end of The Boardwalk. It slopes down, ramp-like, to a small paved area that ends at a brick wall. You can turn right onto the last bay of Brighton Beach, or turn left and head up into the streets. The neighborhood of Manhattan Beach begins soon after.
|THE WESTERN EDGE OF MANHATTAN BEACH BORDERING BRIGHTON BEACH.|
My father and mother used to walk the Boardwalk to the end and "kick off" the wall. It became a family tradition. After my father died and the first time Jerry and I again took that walk with The Duchess, we all kicked off the wall. We kept the tradition going for years. So, when I walked on my own Tuesday morning, I felt it my duty to honor my father (and mother) and kick off the wall.
|THAT'S ME KICKING OFF THE WALL TUESDAY MORNING.|