Thursday, August 19, 2010

Boozy, Notorious & a bridge to Brooklyn

"The day Boozy and Notorious walked across the Brooklyn Bridge." Sing that using the melody from "Ode To Billie Joe".

I planned to go to the gym this morning, but just didn't get around to it. I chose instead to enjoy my morning cup of coffee watching last Sunday's CBS Sunday Morning and repeats of The Golden Girls alternating with reading the latest copy of Entertainment Weekly. Okay, so I should have gone to the gym, but it was a lovely way to spend the morning of a day off. I knew I was going to get exercise anyway.

At the subway, the first train to arrive was the M. I took it to Queens Plaza and waited to transfer to the R. I was paying no attention when I got on an E. I was typing directions for the day on my Blackberry. Thankfully, I looked up and noticed the E before the doors closed. It wouldn't have been horrible to be on the E. The R just puts me closer to where I was meeting Boozy.

When the R finally came, I played seat hockey, briefly, with an older man. I started to sit then thought he was planning to sit. Being a southern gentleman (laughter is not permitted here) I was going to let him sit. He chose to stand so I took the seat. The next thing I know we're hearing the sounds of someone informing us of New York City's hunger problem and wanting donations. Quickly, I started hearing the jazz sounds of the smooth-voiced Melody Gardot. I gotta block that shit out most of the time. I agree that there is a hunger problem. It's not limited to NYC. I just don't give money to solicitors on the train. There are organizations for that kind of donation. Sing it all away for me Melody.

The day was absolutely gorgeous. White cumulus clouds dotted the blue sky like cotton balls on a piece of light blue poster board. The temperature was in the mid 70's. There was a slight breeze. It couldn't be more glorious. There was peace in my soul as I waited for Boozy to join me for our adventure. There wasn't a hurried desire to get to the Bridge, only a desire to allow the day to unfold. That is not something I do often. It's a good feeling. I should allow myself the experience more often.

We stopped at Jamba Juice before getting on the N train toward Brooklyn. Boozy ordered the Mega Mango and I the Peach Perfection. We each added a free shot of vitamins to our smoothie. With our batteries charging from the smoothies and the vitamins, we stopped by an ATM so that we could pay for our adventure. We then made our way to the subway station at 49th Street.

I realized quickly that the N train we were on was not going to stop where we needed it to - City Hall. We transferred at Union Square to the 6 express train to Brooklyn Bridge. Five-7 minutes later we were at our destination. All these years I've been in NYC and I never realized how quick and easy it was to get to the Brooklyn Bridge. I feel like I've wasted a lot of time thinking it was too far and too much time on a train. Somebody find me an "idiot" badge.

As we emerged from the underground station to the visions of blue sky, I turned to Boozy and asked, "Why don't we live down here." It was beautiful. Beauty accented with white tiles, green trees, and colorful fabrics. We found our way onto the bridge and began our journey across. You have to be aware of the cyclists. Boozy informed me that they get angry with the walking tourists. We were tourists today. So we stayed out of their way. However, being New Yorkers in reality, we weren't enjoying the walking tourists either.

It took no more than 30 minutes to walk across the majestic Brooklyn Bridge. Even pausing for pictures of the water, Brooklyn and Manhattan views. It was such a lovely walk. Slathered in sun screen and enjoying the shine.

We made our way to Old Fulton Street and joined the line of people on the sidewalk waiting for a taste of coal brick oven pizza from Grimaldi's Pizzeria. They don't serve slices and they only take cash. It's a New York destination. A fixture on the Brooklyn Bridge experience. (Thank you Boozy for that description.) Of course, I have to be honest here. I had never heard of the place. Boozy was the one who knew of it and suggested we go there.

Okay, so I don't really know how long we waited in line. It could have been 30 minutes it could have been 45. Time flies when you're having fun. We looked at all the pictures I had taken so far and talked. When we finally made our way to the front of the line, we were shaded by a big, old, beautiful tree. And just like that, we were being called inside.

Can you say crowded? Every red and white-checkered tablecloth covered table was filled. Elbow to elbow. 1950's rock n roll was playing loud on the sound system. I looked around for the jukebox. One wall was full of Frank Sinatra pictures, posters, memorabilia. It was a pizzeria where American Graffiti met film noir. The history was apparent. There's no telling what stories these walls and tables could tell. We ordered beer and pizza. Peroni for Boozy, Amstel Light for me and a large regular pie for us to share.

There are no pictures of the pizza because we devoured it. Boozy mentioned this to me and thought it would be funny to take a picture of the empty pan. No such luck. The second the last slice was taken, a waiter swooped in a took the pan. Two beers each and a whole pie later, we paid our $32, cheap, bill and headed back into the sunshine in search of ice cream. There will be no judgment allowed at this statement. We had already consumed beer and pizza in the middle of the day. There is nothing wrong with adding ice cream to the mix. Hell, it's almost called for. Bad is bad no matter how little or much you consume and all of this bad was really good.

The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory was located a mere 351 feet from the door of Grimaldi's. How do I know that, you ask? Well, Boozy's phone gave her directions with distance in feet. It was at the end of Old Fulton Street. Before indulging in the ice cream, we walked along the water at Brooklyn Bridge Park. I had no idea there was such beauty simply across the bridge from Manhattan. The view of Lower Manhattan was breathtaking. Thirteen years later and I still feel amazed that I live here. It was smile inducing. After we had tired ourselves with the walking and the food and the beer and the park, it was time for a little sugary goodness. Boozy got Peaches and Cream on a sugar cone and I got Vanilla on a waffle cone. We started our trek back to the bridge. Remember what it's like when you have an ice cream cone in the sunshine? Good! Then you'll have a excellent picture of me trying to keep that ice cream from running down the cone and dripping off my hand.



As we started back to Manhattan, I noticed a large digital clock. It said 5:01pm. We had spent 3 hours in Brooklyn. We walked back across the bridge, facing the oncoming deluge of tourists. None of them seemed to get the concept of moving out of the way as we passed one another. There was no sense of shared space. Three people shoulder-to-shoulder, filling the space, and as Boozy and I approached, we were the one's who moved. It happened more than once with the same outcome each time. Annoyed, I just stopped moving out of the way. If we ran into each other, so be it. The southern gentleman from earlier in the day had given way to my true identity. For the record, it took us about 20 minutes to walk the bridge this time.

Back on Manhattan soil, we decided to walk to Chinatown and catch the R train at Canal Street. We stopped at an outdoor seating area to rest and drink a little water. We were giddy. Kinda punchy with laughter. I think it was happiness. Yes, I was happy and Boozy was happy. We had a fantastic day doing something neither of us had ever done before. The experience was perfect.

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