Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Could Hear the Mermaids Singing

11078 Steps

I'll have what she's having!

Teresa, Jose Luis and I met up on E. Houston at Katz's Deli for a quick breakfast before making the subway trek to Coney Island for the Mermaid Parade. Katz's has been around forever and it a good way - they have not moderised it. The waitresses are central casting and there is now a sign over the table where Meg Ryan had the fake orgasm in "When Harry Met Sally." (I am sure most people do not want signs over their fake orgasms, but it was fitting here.) The whole Lower East Side is fascinating to me and I feel some sort of draw as if I would want to live there. Maybe it is the easy access to chopped liver and knishes.

Coney Island is a whole new old world. Thinking now the yersteryear immigrant vibe of the LES was a perfect set up for this bygone era amusement. I felt ghosts. But then I always feel ghosts. This is a place that "once was," but with the influx of people we saw, it "still is" as well. We went to the Coney Island Museum and saw a photo of the old Elephant Hotel. A hotel shaped like an elephant in the Trojan Horse school and was a staple of late 1800's Coney Island. "Elephant Hotel" was even an Edwardian euphemism for sex.

These girls are lovely.

We walked along the boardwalk where the Atlantic awaited and I felt a swoon of possibility in just seeing it laid out there. The beach was covered in people and colorful umbrellas. The parade itself was loads of fun. Lots of mermaids and mermen and body makeup and breasts.

The must do was a trip to the original Nathan's with its beautiful neon and long ass queues. The hotdog was a must, but Teresa and I also wanted the softshell crab sandwich. This sandwich took forever to get and when we tore in, it was the most disgusting thing we ever ate. Imagine eating some fishy, fried, egg-sacked hockey puck that washed up on an oily beach and was stepped on by thick-booted construction workers. Yes, it was that bad. I had to have a Mr. Softee cone just to get it out of my head.

We did delight in talking to three German girls sharing our table. They were from Hamburg and two were heading out to San Francisco and LA so we gave them some good suggestions. I know I am middle-aged now as I just passively drink my own excitement and memories of what it is to be young and adventuring in a foreign country, staying on floors of friends of friends and not having many plans save adventure and lust. I know I am not that now, but I am grateful that I once was and got to experience that.
Coney Island was a great day out, but the sun and the sea took its toll as we slogged with the huddling masses back to Manhattan.

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