Friday, July 5, 2013

The Fifth of July: There Used to be a Boardwalk Right Here

THE FIFTH OF JULY: I saw the Lanford Wilson play with Christopher Reeve in the early '80s. He played a paraplegic homosexual (apologies in advance, that was the word for "gay" back then--you couldn't say "gay" in the NY Times unless it meant otherwise). I probably paid the same as I paid this week to see MAN OF STEEL in Union Square ($14.50). MoS took away the stink that's been in my nose since SUPERMAN RETURNS. What won me over was the Burger King commercial. In 2 seconds of commercial screen time I could see in that pitch for the Whopper that the actor was actually an actor and not a model turned deadbeat-dad superhero. The Whopper by the way has breached $5 in Manhattan. The sign said "$4.99" on Fifth in the mid-30s but they charged $5.09. I asked for 11 cents back. As I left, I saw the new signage being delivered.

On this July 5 I took a trip to Rockaway Park to see how B116 St. weathered the storm. The Sandbar at B116 St. hasn't come back and the wooden boardwalk is gone all the way to B106. A concrete boardwalk is under construction. It was a shock to see new modern elevated bathrooms planted in the sand, the elevation being a good idea if there is another storm of the century. The locals have objected to the view being partially cut off. I observed that the old below-ground bathrooms at B116 have a few inches of green muck pooled at the bottom of the staircase leading to them.

To get from B116 to B106 you can walk along a metal-plank road plunked in the sand parallel to the shore. When you get to B106 you see another modern bathroom and the 21st c. version of The Sandbar: the Caracas Arepas Bar. I got there around 12:30 pm, a little too early for food, and killed the time with a tasty Rockaway (of Long Island City) beer. After Kindling some pix to world famous webmaster Kevin Walsh and a few of my other associates, I returned for a delicious chicken empanada and another brew. It felt like Park Slope by the shore.

Destruction and things falling apart are bad but what makes us America is growth and renewal. No flies on U.S. Would I like to see a dozen places like Caracas in 3 blocks of Rockaway? No, but its heroic return in 2013 after the storm is inspiring to anyone who likes a knosh and a drink on a sunny uncrowded day at the shore.

Postscript: I can recommend the carrot cake and coffee at the Last Stop Gourmet Shop, located next to the A train. Right outside was a blood drive to support a cop shot yesterday. You can't discourage Rockaway. Like the David Brenner gag about the New Yorker who sees the manhole cover explode into the air and yells, "Tails!" Rockaway goes on and will be better than before.

Photos of the Fifth of July, 2013, Rockaway Park, NY.

The old Sandbar.

Bathrooms in the sky.

 The long plank road of metal.

There used to be a boardwalk right here (apologies to Sinatra).

And here.

The future is now at B106.

Still getting the hang of these selfies.

There we go.

One last selfie. So long from Caracas, Rockaway. These folks make you forget that we're supposed to mad at them for selling cheap oil to seniors. Like the Texan said, what's all of their sand doin' on my oil?

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