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