Monday, June 23, 2008

Mermaid Parade - Part Deux

Still having some time to kill before the parade started, I decided to head to my all-time favorite beach dive bar in the whole, entire world.

I Bring You - Ruby's

It was more crowded than usual, as you might expect. In fact, it was downright packed.

Like Sardine's

There was still room for a mermaid to preen a bit though.

Water Repellent Lip Gloss

And I managed to find a place to belly up to the bar and have a hot dog and a beer. Actually, I was just holding the hot dog for the Mysterious Chinese Woman while she took this picture. Jeez, she ate a whole pulled pork sandwich and now she was eating a hot dog. She said it was a tradition to eat a hot dog at Rudy's. Who am I to argue.

Just Holding

Notice the authentic Ruby's tee-shirt that I am wearing. This is one that Sam, the manager, gave me a couple of years ago. Note the mustard stain that was there when I got it. It has faded a bit, but I hope it never disappears.

I had a couple of beers and gin and tonics and then the parade started to arrive. The combination of my alcohol ingestion and the huge crowds blocking the way made it difficult to get many good shots of the paraders, but here is what I got without further ado:

Mermaids? On Parade

Well, as you can imagine, there were many more mermaids, or whatever, than that. Thousands even. Way too many to endure. I decided to head out a bit early and try to beat the crowd. I got side-tracked by Beer Island though.

As you can see, it was really crowded. There was a line waiting to get in and they were carding just about everyone.

A Crowded Beach

I mentioned that the wait staff here was very eager. They were, however, a bit confused about just what they should be doing. When we got there in the morning we bought our beers at the stand by the entrance. As soon as we sat down someone came over to ask us if we wanted anything to drink, even though we had just walked to the table with full glasses. We said we were going to order something to eat though. She said she would send someone over. Well, someone did come over, but she didn't have a menu so she had to go back and get one. We ordered and she left only to come back a few minutes later to ask us if we wanted lettuce, tomato, or onion on our sandwiches. The Mysterious Chinese Woman didn't want anything but I asked for onion. I didn't get it though.

This time around we got seats at a table and I ordered a beer and a water for the Mysterious Chinese Woman. She decided she wanted to head back to the boardwalk to take some more pictures. After a bit I had to use the toilet so I told the waitress that I would be back and to not take my beer. Of course when I got back another waitress had cleared the table and seated someone. I had enough to drink so I wasn't going to complain too much, the operative word being "too."

We headed back to catch a subway home and passed by another of my favorite sights in Coney Island.

A Fun Facade

That, again, like Ruby's, is something that probably will not survive whatever redevelopment takes place here. Just too much valuable real estate that has, according to some, been under-utilized for far too long.

In some respects, I have to agree. There are few cities in the world that have a beach as nice as the one at Coney Island, and no cities that haven't utilized the beaches to much better advantage. Take a look at this piece of land just behind the boardwalk. Where else would you see something like that other than in New York. Think Far Rockaway, for those of you familiar with this neck of the woods.

Vacant, But Not For Long

We headed back to the subway but couldn't cross the street to get to it. The parade was still going and this was its route. This, however, turned out to be ill-advised. The crowds were starting to pile up from behind and it was just about impossible to turn around and go the other way. Luckily we were at the front of the back and managed to head to the right towards Brighton Beach. I didn't read about any deaths in this morning' paper so I guess everyone got out alright.

The Crowd And An Icon

It looked way too crowded at the subway stop so we decided to just walk down to Brighton Beach and have a leisurely dinner at an air-conditioned restaurant and wait for the crowd to thin And that is just what we did. I will put up a short post on the place tomorrow. Let me say though, the food was delicious, the service was attentative, and there was a Russian crowd glued to the many televisions (even in the restrooms) watching Russia play the Netherlands in a quarter-final match in the 2008 Euro Cup. This is a big deal, almost as big as the World Cup. Only one team has ever won the World Cup and then followed up by winning the Euro Cup. That was France who won the World Cup in 1998 (I was in Paris, too) and then the Euro Cup in 2000. Last time Italy won the World Cup and they are now out of the tournament so it won't happen this time either.

Russia won the match 3 to 1 so there were a lot of happy Russians toasting each other with vodka when it was over. I would have hated to have seen them if they lost. I think they weep and eat boiled potatoes when that happens.


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