Saturday, August 05, 2006

Fish Festival Across The Pond

I headed over to The Heights in New Jersey today to visit with the Mysterious Chinese Woman's family and to attend a Fish Festival that was being held. I love these little festivals, they remind me of an earlier, more innocent time. When the local fairs actually had side shows with deformed people affectionately called "freaks" that you could gawk at for only a quarter. Ah yes, how I remember holding the Lobster Boy's claw-like hand and peeling a bit of skin off of the Alligator Woman.

Of course any trip of any distance must start with the obligatory subway ride.

We headed down to catch the ferry in the Financial District that is pretty deserted during the week-ends, except for the tourists taking pictures of, well, of what I don't really know.

Only a couple of blocks away from the subway is the means of escape.

We got there about an hour early so we had some time to kill.

It turned out it was a good thing we got there early because the lines quickly grew.

In fact, many people waiting in line weren't going to be able to get on the boat and the next one didn't leave for another two hours.

But, the boat did arrive and we were able to board.

It was close enough to noon for me to belly up to the bar and order a Bloody Mary with a beer chaser.

We soon arrived at our destination where people lined the shore awaiting our arrival.

We quickly scouted out the area, the rides and the various booths selling food.

Before making any decisions as to where to eat I decided to head to a place where, I suspected, there would be people who would have the inside information.

I popped in for a beer and chatted up the lovely bartender, Cheryl.

After hearing that Certified Clam and the Fire Department had the best food available we headed out to purchase some and then return to the beer garden in back to eat in a nice little shaded area.

I had the garlic clams from Certified Clam, $11 for a large and delicious plate of them.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman, still working on her Hot Dog jones, opted to hit the Fire Department's booth.

We spotted a lovely little get-away home that would be really fun for a vacation. I would have liked to have taken a peek inside, but there wasn't anybody home.

After spending the next day doing major cooking for a family barbecue I headed home on Monday just like a commuter.

On the way back we passed by Red Hook where a cruise ship was moored, I think it was The Princess something or another.

Soon enough we were pulling back into downtown Manhattan.

And, the early reminder that the weekend was over, the subway ride back home.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Monk

Rest assured, the Monk is safe and well protected by a pair of mighty mastiffs, or, more accurately, large dachshunds.

For those of you who might not be familiar with the story of the Monk, suffice it to say he was once kidnapped by an evil relative and held in less than comfortable accomodations. I was able to rescue him and he is now under constant guard, for his own protection. There may be more of the Monk in the future.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Yankees Game

Today I head out to see a Yankees game courtesy of my friend Allen. Each year he and a bunch of cronies head here from God knows where, Philadelphia, or someplace like that. I hooked up with him last year as a result of this blog and we have met up several times since. He was at Pioneer to celebrate Number 1000 with me. This year he offered me six tickets, most generous, so I took along several friends and the Mysterious Chinese Woman.

Normally I could just catch the 4 Train form Borough Hall to Yankee Stadium but, because it is a week-end, that train doesn’t run here no more. Instead I had to start out taking the 2 Train to Times Square.

I love how the MTA, or whomever, can spend whatever it takes to install works of art in the subway stations yet not find the money to keep them clean and in good working order.

The MTA must also make a pretty penny encouraging drinking on the trains.

One good thing about the filth on the tracks is that the scurrying of the rats gives you a heads up on when the train is approaching.

From Times Square we grabbed the shuttle over to Grand Central.

We stopped to admire more artwork on our way to catch the 4 Train to where we were headed.

A bit of a hike and we were ready to catch our train.

Yet another dramatic shot of a train entering the station.

A relatively short ride later and we were standing on the platform overlooking Yankee Stadium.

A somewhat more important view from the platform was the one looking the other way, towards where I was meeting my friends.

We were all meeting at Yankee Tavern, a reliable watering hole about a block away from Yankee Stadium.

We got there a bit before noon so we were able to belly up to the bar and pre-order our beers. Then headed over to catch the game.

Once there a stop was made to replenish our supply of beer.

We had great seats on a hot day, up high but under an overhang so we were in the shade and caught a all to rare breeze when it blew. Lovely view of the neighboring skyline as well.

The fellow taking the picture is Allen and behind him you can see Bernie and my friend Bob. I think the women were off powdering their respective noses or something.

After the game the Mysterious Chinese Woman and I stopped by the Ball Park Lanes for a quick drink before catching the subway home.

We each had a delicious Hot Sausage on a bun. That was my first for the day but someone had already wolfed down two hotdogs at the game. Who that might have been I cannot imagine.

And there is no justice in the world because she never puts on any weight. Of course, as she reminded me, she didn’t have three beers (just one).

It was a quicker shot back home because I picked up the D Train so there were no transfers involved.

Even better, the D Train dropped me off a mere block from my favorite Dive Honky Tonk bar in Brooklyn, the infamous Hank’s Saloon.

The friendly bartender Jeanne was on duty and gave me a friendly greeting.

I learned that what I had suspected was, indeed, going to happen. The new owners who, originally said they were just going to add a second floor to the place, are going to tear it down and rebuild it. I figured this would be the case because I don’t think this building really could be saved, let alone added to.

They have promised to keep the existing atmosphere, but that will be hard to do. Places like this have to evolve, they can’t really be created.

After a quick Gin and Tonic to cool down I headed home but decided to stop into the Brazen Head for one of their specialties, a real ale on draft.

The bartender, Jill, pulled me a nice Six Point Double IPA from one of their casks.

This place always has one or two real ales available (the other one today was Victory Storm King Stout) and also hosts an annual real ale cask festival every year. Well worth taking in. You can find out more about them by going to their website:


  • I was just leaving when I ran into an old friend, Frantz, who I hadn’t seen for the longest time.

    We repaired to the backyard garden area for another beer and he caught me up on his activities. He is an artist and had been over in Europe, working and putting on some shows. He is back now and if you get a chance check out his work. He is quite talented and sometimes you can see his work hanging on the walls of the Brazenhead.