Lunch Anyone 7/21/10

                           July 21, 2010


Location:                    Plattekill, NY





            I understand that lunch is a meal that can and is often eaten at very diverse times.  There are the lemmings of the world that find it necessary to find sustance at exactly 12:00 noon.  When the hands of the kitchen clock both point to the ceiling it must be time to place your butt in the chair placed at the table and start munching.  Then there are people like Connie and me.  We tend to eat our lunch, or brunch, or linner at just about any time of the day – morning – evening we darn well feel like it.  We have done this forever and I hope we continue.  We all know that I enjoy food, but I hate routine, especially when it is connected to food and my enjoyment of consuming it.  Yesterday Connie and I went to lunch.  We ate at a little after six and our establishment of choice was located on Beeker Street right in the middle of Greenwich Village in lower Manhattan.


            It was our day off and we needed an adventure that would take us away from our campground.  A trip to Lake George was on the list of maybes, but it portended rain or thunderstorms and the thought of spend a couple of hundred dollars to be locked up in a hotel listening to rain hit the window did not peak our excitement meter.  We had talked about taking the train into New York City, but a severe case of lazy had settle in our sleepy heads and we were not on a schedule of convenience for that adventure.  What could we do?  We sure could not just set in our home and wish we were somewhere else.  So, I suggested that we get in our car and play a game of Sacce Tag.  That is where we place a destination on our GPS, set the navigation mode to extreme adventure and head out to see what kind of adventure we can find and usually a neat place to have lunch.  Extreme adventure mode is telling Sacce to go the most direct route and avoid highways.  For this adventure we decided to go south and try to find Staten Island.


            Our route took us along the palisades that line the Hudson River and through some beautiful state parks that border the northern edge of the New York City metropolis.  It is almost mystical how the largest city in our country can be bordered by the pristine beauty of nature that is the Hudson Valley.  There are vistas and panoramic views that take a second place to very few places in our world.  The climbing hills of green lush forest that push from the wide expanse of the majestic river to the peaks of the glacial moraines is a beauty of nature that must be seen to be fully enjoyed.  And there are Neanderthal pin heads that think there is no beauty in New York, or think there is nothing in or near the city that they would ever want to experience.  I have so much pity for them and their stupidity.


            Our sojourn to lunch took us further and further south until we found ourselves in New Jersey.  I can not say I was finding this turn of event s to be nearly as enjoyable.  The views of nature turned to views of unloved and distraught industrial areas.  Much of the area we drove through looked like it had once been used and abused by industry and now has been left to attempt to survive in a less than prosperous time.  It was a sad microcosmic view of a lot of America today.  But we were on an adventure and driving through some of this maniac traffic was exactly that, an adventure.


            With a lot of luck, a few choice words that are for adult consumption only and the aid of our traveling companion, Sacce, we found our selves nearing the bridge that would rescue us for New Jersey and transports us to the island in the middle of the Long Island Sound and yet our adventure was not over, it was about to begin.  Connie programmed Sacce to find the ferry and we were to see what taking the Staten Island Ferry really meant.  We did find out that part of the reason that the ferry is free is that it cost $8.00 dollars just to cross the bridge to get the ferry and then you just pay $5.50 to park in the parking lot at the ferry.  Who ever said having an adventure was free?


        Nearly $14.00 lighter in the wallet and snuggly backed into a rather small parking spot and we were headed to the very large, rather new building that is the terminal for the ferry.  We did find that most of New York managed to get there six minutes before we did, but that is just more memories for our adventure.  We had absolutely no idea what we were doing nor did we know how to do it.  We could see the sky line of the southern tip of Manhattan in the misty distance and we were smart enough to figure if we walked in that general direction we might find a means of crossing wide birth of water that lie between us.  The ride from Staten Island to New York is all that it is advertised to be.  The majestic skyline of Manhattan on the horizon, and an enormous working sea port just off the bow of the crowed ferry punctuated by the pure awe of passing by the
Statue of Liberty as she holds her lamp beside the golden door is all that and then a lot more.  I did not get to do my Barbara Streisand moment where I stand on the bow of the ferry and sing “Here I am world.” But I did still feel the inspiration and awe as we passed form Staten Island and entered the world of New York City.  Passing under the watchful gaze of the Statue of Liberty and past the Ellis Island, where so many of our forefathers first entered this country was a memory and a moment in my life that will forever be a real part of my being now.  It was really cool and we were still looking for a place to have lunch.


            Being in the largest city in the country with its eight million inhabitants plus the extra 4 million visitors and commuter workers can sound intimidating, that is if you were of a mind to be so intimidated.  We just left the ferry, looked for a subway station and a machine to purchase a metro card and headed off for an adventure and lunch.  The subway station was just out the door of the terminal and the machine was quite friendly and has $45.00 of my money, but I have a metro card and all of New York City to explore.  Life is good.  With a perusal of the subway map, the simple philosophy that if you want to go up in street numbers you board an uptown subway and visa versa, Connie and I were off to find Central Park.  After a few circular meanderings in the underground city, more than 1 or 2 revisits to the subway map and a bit of luck we found the redline that would connect to some green line that would somehow take us uptown and drop us off somewhere near the southern entrance of Central Park ot maybe the Metropolitan Museum.  It really did not matter; we had no plans and all day to accomplish them.  Following the uptown sign and a transfer at Times Square we found ourselves at the 68th street subway stop and the subway car we were in had entirely too many people on it  so we decided to get off.  It was a good choice.  We were a few blocks up form the southern entrance of the park and a few blocks south of the museum.  A good place to start our above ground exploration.  We did however make a wrong decision upon leaving the subway station and walked east when we should have walked west.  A stop at a news stand, a purchase of an overly priced tourist map and a bit of retraced footsteps and we were on our proper path once again.


The section of New York that we walked and walked and walked in for our adventure was very clean and enjoyable.  The upper eastside brownstone townhouses are very picturesque and pleasant to stroll by and enjoy.  If you have not been in New York City it is very easy to get a bad impression of what you might think you will find.  What you will find are a myriad of sculptured gardens lining a very clean and orderly neighborhood.  You will find a large selection of human inhabitants that all seem to be very friendly and just as pleased to be there as you will find that you are.  New York has gotten a bad reputation from people that have never walked the streets of Manhattan and within a very few moments of your true experience of the city you will be transfixed with the feeling of charm and cleanliness and warmth that is truly New York City.  There is, of course, the pulse of life and energy that throbs in the atmosphere of being in the center of the universe that is New York.


            We did find Central Park.  We did not explore even a tiny bit of it.  It is very large and we did stroll a mile or two up 5th avenue as we enjoyed our adventure into the city. 

            We did not, however find a neat little bistro in which we could have lunch and it was now approaching four pm. What should we do?  How can we salvage our desire to have lunch – linner – food?  We found a park bench on the edge of Central Park right on 5th avenue, how cool is that?  We took out our overly priced tourist map and tried to find food.  After a rest and a frustration of not finding a neat bistro right where we were we decided to find a subway head downtown and see if we could find Washington Square or the East Village.  The subway was on the other side of the park, and sustenance was in the downtown direction, or so I thought.

             To quicken the tempo of my mind meandering.  We fully enjoyed the retreat called Central Park.  It is a true oasis of calm and pleasure in the middle of busy megacity.  We did find a vender for a pretzel and a soda and we did find a subway station.  Using my philosophy of NYC direction, we headed for the downtown subway, rode it until one of the stops sounded interesting and found ourselves right in the middle of the East Village where every street is a Basin Street and every corner offers 

new options of adventure and exploration.  Greenwich is the capital of the Bohemian atmosphere and a microcosm of the world’s bistros.  You can eat Mexican next to a Korean café that is across the street form an Indian deli that is next to a Indonesian sushi bar.  And that is on one block and  not even close to what is on the next block or the one around the corner right or left and the East Village section of New York is large than most cities.  It is a really cool place to be plus it rekindles so \ many memories of my ill gotten youth and the temperament of the 60’s.


            By 5:30 Connie and I had found a bistro located someplace in Greenwich Village

that offered half price Corona, 20 cent wings and hard rock music that was just soft enough to allow Connie to almost appreciate it.  We were not only the oldest people in the place, we were definitely old enough to be the parents of most of the other evening revelers and maybe even the grandparents of a few.  We were, however, treated as part of the normal early evening, happy hour crowd.  I love New York City and its ability to accept everyone at face value.  Our lunch was served at around 6:30.  Our waitress was very attentive, the wings were great and a prelude to the fantastic dinner and the beer was half price all evening.  Life is good.


            With full tummies, a slightly bloated bladder and out tourist map we were ready to see if we could find the Staten Island Ferry and our car and head for our home.  Subway stations seem to magically appear when ever you need one and you still have to just look for the uptown or downtown track.  A few stops later we were but a few feet from Battery Parks and simple meander to the ferry terminal.  Which was a good thing, because I probably did not need the wings and the full entrée, but it was a beautiful evening with the sun setting in the west and many more adventures in our future. 


            We did find the ferry.  We did find the car.  And we did find our way home.  Our lunch was more of a dinner. Our trip home took less than half as long as our trip in to the city.  And our memory bank is now filled with the pleasure of a day in the city of New York.  If you do not allow the shear mass of humanity and over powering number of options to intimidate you, New York is an extremely easy and pleasant city to explore.            


There are few places on this earth with more choices and more pure opportunities of adventure and awe inspiring experiences.  Just remember that, in Manhattan, the subway stations seem to magically appear just as you need one and if you want to up in street number look for the uptown track and if you want to go down in numbered streets look for the downtown n track.  If you get confused, head for the Times Square station and find a map and start your adventure over again.  Also, you will find that the people of New York are very friendly and willing to help give you direction. Even I helped a girl find here way to Queens. If she only knew how lost I was at the time.


            I did find Central Park, as fantastic bistro in the East Village and my way back home.  Maybe I was not a lost as I thought.  I can not wait until my next sojourn. I still have a lot of rides on my metro card to use, and there are so many bistros to sample.  And, of course we do have to plan another lunch.