Gray's Papaya, Home of Delicious Hotdogs and the "Recession Special."
For those of you who follow this blog, it may seem a little odd to you that we would spend a holiday weekend in New York City. The very core of American consumerism. The things that are "most right" and "most wrong" about the United States can all be found in New York City.
And I guess that's the point. While I was born in Virginia 30-some years ago, I was the first - or one of the first - members of my family to be born in the south. You see, I come from a classic American family. My ancestors were a rag-tag mix of Swiss, German, and Polish immigrants that arrived in New York City and New England between 1700 and 1917, primarily 1890 to 1917 (with the rest of the starving Europeans). My family members found work in Hackensack, NJ's knitting factories and in the shipyards and factories of Brooklyn.
My father's father - the first born American of his family, served in the 82nd airborne in Normandy, France, Belgium, and finally, the Ardennes and Germany, receiving two purple hearts and dozens of other medals along the way. He came home, became a sportswriter for NY Newsday, went to college on the GI Bill, and spent the rest of his professional life as an accountant for Planter's Peanuts. My grandmother, his girlfriend before the world, worked as a typist her whole adult life for the New York City public school system.
They settled in my great-grandmother's house in Forest Hills, Queens, home of the Ramones, Hank Azaria, Jerry Springer, Ray Romano, Carroll O'Connor (Archie Bunker), and former home of the US Open of Tennis. My dad and his sister went to public schools, finishing at Brooklyn Technical High (my dad) and Forest Hills High (my aunt). None of my great-grandparents had gone to college. My Dad and my aunt attended Syracuse and Cornell, respectively - not a bad showing. My dad made his way south, eventually finding work in southeastern Virginia as a Team America-type individual (in his mind, at least).
Since the Mrs. and I live in Maryland, while the rest of our immediate families live in VA and NC, we usually get the duty of paying our respects to the family in NYC. I'm just getting to the point (though I've been visiting New York since I was 10, probably even younger), where I am starting to search out some urban nature adventures in the City. But....they are there.
Rat-fitti, lower Manhattan
Bourbon selections at Wildwood BBQ in Chelsea (I think). Wildwood was OK but not nearly as exciting as Hill Country BBQ, the best "northern" BBQ I've ever had.
Anyway, just wanted to share some "non-scary" pictures of the Big City to you - if I can make it there, so can you.