My Home Town

Daily Prompt: LOCAL FLAVOR  [Write a piece about a typically “local” experience from where you come from as though it’s an entry in a travel guide.]

I’m fairly certain that nobody would consider my hometown an archipelago. But, it is a chain of islands, non the less. Not a large chain, but then again, does size matter, really?

my archapelago

I grew up in one of the outer islands, but did live on the main island for a few years as a young adult. I’d spent a lot of time there, just because it was a hot spot of activity, especially compared to what was going on in my neck of the woods. Which is not to say that we didn’t have some major big happenings on my side of the East Estuary.

We actually had one of the major WORLD happenings on my island, twice. It was a rather significant Fair, and the remnants of both the 1939, and the 1964 happenings still stand today. I wasn’t around for the former (not even a twinkle in my mother’s eye), but was lucky enough to join the global gathering during the latter.

We even had a major baseball team there, as did our neighboring, and adjoining, but separate borough – both now only historical memories. In fact, together we were the counties of the kings and queens. And we had the beaches, which the main island did not have, and they were quite significant beaches, often a great draw for visiting vacationers.

The third major baseball team was on the northern most island, the only major team left.

So let me tell you about my hometown, bring you the flavor of what it’s like living on such a notorious archipelago.

The part of my hometown which most outsiders think of, is but one island, jam packed with giant monoliths, seen from every side. Residents dwell in quaint little brownstones, or larger apartment complexes,  which line the streets, in most areas.  There are quite many neighborhoods: Chelsea, and Gramercy Park, SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown, The Village, Tribeca, The Battery, and the Bowery. The business district is called Midtown, which is also where the main entertainment district is. There’s the Upper East Side, and the Upper West Side, and a park which takes up about 50 blocks! There is a major university in the Northern most part of the main island, and another major university in the Southern sector, where I attended college. There are flower shows, and music halls, and lots of shopping, till you’re dropping. It has the best New Years Eve happening in the world! On the 200th anniversary, there were Tall Ships (of old) sailing into the main harbor. It has every ethnic food you can think of. There are tours around the main island by boat, as well a tours which take you up to the top of the highest monolith where you can see forever, or at least for miles and miles and miles.

Moving to the east island, comprising the two adjoining boroughs, The Party! at The World Famous Kings County Saloon is A Comedy Showcase. There’s also Open Mic  Night at the Super Collider for singers and songwriters. But the beaches are THE major draw, especially in summer. It has one of the greatest amusement parks anywhere, with roller coasters, and other great rides, a boardwalk where you can play carnival games, and get cotton candy, and, dare I say it, the best hotdogs in the universe! and a beach that goes on forever! But don’t forget that even in winter, there’s the famous Polar Bear Club Plunge event which was founded in 1903.

Now, aside from the big World Happenings, The County of the Queens has some interesting events as well. Thunderbird Mid-Summer Pow Wow is a showcase of the Indigenous People’s culture, and has all the traditional dances, and food, and handmade clothing and jewelry, as well as other art created by the Tribes.  There’s also a great educational County Farm Museum, where you’ll find the annual Children’s Carnival every April! There are a multitude of villages, like the main island has.

The North Island offers Walking Tours, and an amazing Botanical Garden, and a zoo! There are free public lectures, held at the Island’s Archive Buidling. And as mentioned, it is home to the last major baseball team.

The furthest island (seemingly) in this cluster is a solitary landmass, connected by a bridge to the County of the Kings. But, more exciting is the ferry service from the Main Island.  This Southern most island offers such fun events as Munch Madness, and the Turkish Cultural Center is open to the public. A pleasant afternoon can be spent at the Greenbelt Nature Center. It is the least populated so has greater hiking trails, and many farmer’s markets.

Perhaps you’ve heard of it?

New York City

Advertisements

25 Songs, 25 Days

Day 24 – A Song I have danced to with my best friend

I’m sure you can guess by now, Mr. Quantum is my best friend. One song we’ve always danced to, when it comes on, is “Crazy.” It’s just one of those songs for lovers.

Face Your Fears

In this weekly event brought to us by Author SB Mazing, we find courage to face our fears!

FINISH IT #7:

His hands were trembling. He wasn’t sure what to do. He wasn’t sure what to think. All he knew was it was now or never.

“Richard, you can do it.”

That was true. But Calvin wasn’t the one who was stuck inside with the terror. He wasn’t the one who had not been out of his house, let alone frightened of even stepping across the threshold. He was the normal one.

Calvin knew this was hard. It always was. Especially taking those first steps. “I’m here with you. We will be back inside in just a minute. We don’t even have to close the door.”

Yes, that was true. He could run back inside, to safety, the second he started to freak out, which he was already doing anyway.

“Why don’t you turn the knob, like we did the last couple of times. Open the door, and just look out.”

Richard nodded. He could do that. He reached out his hand, and felt the cool metal slip right into his palm. It was a good fit. He had turned it last time, and the time before. But the intent was not going across the doorjam. It was just opening the door. What if he pretended that was all they were going to do? Then it would be just like those other times. No different. He turned the knob, and could feel the door easing open, outward, as if being pulled by the wind.

The nausea showed up. “I feel sick,” he said to Calvin.

“Remember what we do when that happens?” Calvin asked. “Take a nice slow breath. Very slow, through your nose. Concentrate on following your breath. Follow me. Breathe in slow.” Calvin breathed in very slowly. Richard followed suit. “That’s it. Good. Now breathe out slowly also, and count in your head. One, two, three, four.”

Richard exhaled very slowly. He counted silently along with Calvin. He felt his heart beating too fast. What should he do?

“Relax your shoulders.” Calvin’s voice was soothing, safe.  Richard could feel his upper body was hunched in on itself. I released the tension. “Now let go of the knob, and the door will keep opening.”

Richard could see the stoop outside expanding. He focused on a dot of paint just beyond the threshhold.

“Feeling better?” Calvin asked. Richard nodded. The spot of paint took his attention. He wanted to see if it was wet. Calvin watched him, saw where he was focused. “If you move up just to where the toe of your shoes touch the jam, you can see it better.”

Richard slid his right foot forward, felt it touch the raised metal of the threshold. Then he moved the other foot as well. His gaze returned to the spot of paint. “Doesn’t that look wet?”

“What?”

Richard pointed to the spot. “That paint spot.”

“Well, it does look shiny. Do you want to check it out?” This was more than he had hoped for.  Richard’s OCD was over riding his agoraphobic fear of leaving his house.

“I… I don’t know. You think I could reach it from here?”

“Hmmm.” Calvin thought outloud. “You probably could. You might have to stoop down, to reach out to it.”

Richard remained standing. He thought about the easiest way to touch the spot. Calvin was right. If he stooped, or even knelt down, he could reach out for it. He  saw that Calvin had slowly gotten down on his knees. Richard followed suit. Stretching out, he leaned forward, then without thinking, he automatically let his other hand touch down on the cement. Finally, however, he touched a finger on the spot. It was dry. For a moment he closed his eyes, the smell of the air was clean.

“Is it dry?” Calvin asked.

Richard nodded. He liked the way the sun felt warm on his arm. And being close to the ground somehow felt safer.

“What are you thinking, Richard?”

“The sun feels good. The air smells clean.”

“Would you like to sit in the sun, there on the porch? You don’t have to get up. Just sit there and feel the sun.”

Richard inched out a bit further, both hands on the ground. He brought his knees over the doorjam, and, still looking at the paint spot, he shifted and sat in the sun, pulling his legs up close to his chest, and wrapped his arms around them. He breathed in deeply.

Calvin crawled out onto the porch, and sat next to him.

“You did good, Richard.”

Richard managed a smile, and looked at Calvin, then back at the  door. It was still open. Good. And, he was outside the house! But he tried not to get too excited, fearing that would spoil it.

25 Songs, 25 Days

Day 23 – A song I cannot stand to listen to

The chipmunk Song

I love chipmunks. They’re one of my favorite critters. So that someone pretended to be a chipmunk, and made them sound silly and everything, it just always really bugs me. I actually don’t like animations either. I know, how… something of me.

25 Songs, 25 Days

Day 22 – A song that someone has sung to me

And I Love You So – Don Mclean

A year after we got married, because we spent our honeymoon on Amtrak, we went to Jefferson, Texas on our first anniversary, and we had our wedding on video tape, and we watch it, (and do every year, now, along with You’ve Got Mail, because we met online), as if we were going through it again. Before we began our ‘ceremony’ Mr. Quantum sang me this song. It was a perfect song, from my perfect husband.

Previous Older Entries