Friday, September 14, 2012

Chocolate Egg Creams and the Kick-Off

I arrived back home in Sevilla this morning. The Dowager Duchess (and The Kid Brother) kept me very busy in Brooklyn, leaving me little time for blogging. It was too short a time with them and too long a time away from San Geraldo. I'm going to share some more pictures and stories from the great City of New York for the next two or three days (although I only hit three of the five boroughs this trip, and one of those was not Manhattan).

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.

31 comments:

  1. ah, memories of working at NYABIC........cannot remember if I started there in Brighton, or at the school in Bay Ridge, but I'm pretty sure you are the one that recommended me for the job.

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    1. Carole:
      You started at the school in Bay Ridge... and the year was 1970. Hard to believe.

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    2. You have an amazing memory.....

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    3. Carole:
      That's just because I'm so much younger than you.

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  2. such a nice walk, thanx for taking me along. Glad you got home safe :)

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    1. Monkey Man:
      Thanks. It's a lot more hectic there than here in Sevilla. But that walk is wonderful.

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  3. Love that photo of your father's mother.
    So very cool.

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    1. Bob:
      Thanks! I have a bunch of my grandparents on the beach in the '20s. Really wonderful photos.

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  4. It is nice that you are getting to revist your childhood on this trip. And I love love love the beach photo!

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    1. Jenners:
      Revisiting my childhood is not always a good thing. But this trip was a pleasure and so were the memories. Isn't that beach picture priceless?!?

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  5. Glad you had a good trip "home". Loved your photos! But... isn't it also great to be back HOME again? To me, HOME is wherever Bill is. By the way, we have put down our deposit on an immersion school/home and after this trip will start making plans for Seville (January). Ole!

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    1. The Odd Essay:
      So exciting about your plans for Sevilla and really look forward to meeting you both! The trip to New York was great and it's great to be home. I told my mother I felt like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place (her and San Geraldo), but I don't know who is the rock and who is the hard place!

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  6. Awww, nice memories, and good scenes, and yummy egg cream (always have heard of them and never had one-- they never offer them even in New Jersey!) Love the beach :) I'm glad you had a good time, but, wow-- that was short! My husband was away for just one night this week and (though I enjoyed my "alone" time), going to bed alone was uncomfortable, and I was glad he was back the next day. He said to me, "See, you left me for a whole week in the summer, how do you think I felt?" Oops! :))
    Bienvenidos en Sevilla! (or, bien RE-venidos!)

    Judy

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    1. Judeet:
      Oh, how I love egg creams. Yep, Jerry and I do not like traveling separately anymore. We used to regularly be apart because we would both travel for business. Now, one night apart is too much.

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  7. How awesome that your walking through your childhood

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    1. kisatrtle:
      Instead of running away from it as fast as I can!

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  8. I'm so glad you maintained the family tradition and kicked the wall. What a fine way to end your stay. I also love to shop at Trader Joe's but I've never tried the chocolate covered soy nuts. Maybe next time.
    I'm happy to see that Sharon of Odd Essay is coming to Sevilla! I'm looking forward to all the posts from her about you and your's about her--this might be verrrry interesting!

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    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      My mother was so pleased when I showed her the kick-off picture that afternoon. Yes, I'm very excited to meet Sharon and Bill and I know they won't be disappointed with Sevilla.

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  9. In my imagination, dowager duchesses don't shop at Trader Joes, I must adjust my thinking. I bet it feels good to be home.

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    1. Stephen:
      It does feel really good to be home, although it wasn't easy saying good-bye again to The Duchess and The Kid Brother. Dowager Duchess's DO shop at Trader Joe's. They just don't drive themselves there.

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  10. lovely photos, and who wound have thunk it - such a lovely beach !

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    1. Spo:
      Yes, the beach is surprising. Thanks!

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  11. Welcome home! It was great to read about your adventures in NYC... and missing San Geraldo.

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    1. Thanks, Peter. It's great to be home with the saint. REALLY missed him.

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  12. The best chocolate egg creams are found in NY! As are black and whites and bialys. Fortunately I can bring the latter two back to DC.
    Looks like you had a great trip. Loi

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    1. Loi:
      I hadn't had a chocolate egg cream in years. SO good. I had bagels this trip but no bialys and no black & whites! I did, however, take a picture of a black & white in a bakery window. Those were my favorite pastries when I was a kid. But there were too many other baked goods to eat this time!

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  13. Hi Mitch! It's been so long but I wanted to say hello and greetings from Irvine, CA! I miss you guys and wanted to just reach out and let you know that you and Jerry are often in my thoughts! Happy belated one-year-in-Sevilla anniversary! I still enjoy reading your blog and am glad you are still actively writing! Please give Jerry my love when you go back to Spain! Eric says hello too!

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    1. Natalie:
      So good to see your note. Love to you and Eric from us both!

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  14. This is a wonderful post, Mitch. It is almost quiet as you take us back to your past and family traditions during your morning walk. Very nostalgic it must have been.

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    1. Jim:
      It was very nostalgic and a bit quiet (in my head at least). I loved having a couple of hours to revisit the good memories (and ignore the bad ones).

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