"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Monday, July 7, 2008

July 4, 2008 At Belle Harbor

As it turns out I was in Belle Habor for the 4th of July, which is a very upscale part of Far Rockaway. I really had no idea where I was going. I just thought Rockaway is Rockaway, I didn't know Belle Harbor was part of that area. This is the neighborhood where this happened two months and one day after the 9/11 tragedy. And that was only a few blocks from the house I was visiting that day.

I was invited to spend the day with my friend Jae and her family and go to the beach. But the weather was so crummy I decided to stay home most of the day and to go visit her and her family in the late afternoon. That way I wasn't on top of these people that really don't know me and I don't wear out my welcome.

Because this community does not allow street parking on holidays and weekends I had to take the bus. This turned out to be quite pleasant and easy. I have a bus stop right outside my building and the transfer to the second bus is only about 10 minutes down the road from my initial starting point. I just stayed on that second bus until the last stop. The entire trip took about an hour. I met a very funny old lady on the bus who chatted me up.

This old white haired lady with lots of chin hair that would not tell me her age started asking me a lot of questions. "Where was I going?" I told her to my friend's house on the beach in the Rockaways. "OH. What town?" I answered her that I didn't know, just he Rockaways. Honest to g-d I didn't know there were more than one there. She gave me one of those funny looks. Hmmm.

I offered her some of my Utz pretzels and she politely declined and told me how she gets a huge bag of them at Waldbaums for half price and goes through them in two days. Later with my friend her family I learned as they brought up the topic of Utz pretzels, not me mind you, that apparently you can only get them in the northeast and it's a Pennsylvania Dutch Country thing really. Since I never really lived outside of the Northeast I didn't know this. So I didn't know why getting them was such a special thing to this woman or the fact that she knew of this place to get them at such a great deal. But boy was she excited. I think she was a bit deflated that I didn't share in her excitement at the moment. Sorry nice old lady, I didn't know it was something special at the time.

So she goes on to ask me if my friend is going to supply dinner and how late will I be there.

I say, "UMM...I dunno, never thought about it. I suppose so as it is the 4th of July."

Old Lady, "Well it's good you have your pretzels because it just might be your dinner. Did you bring a jacket?"

Me, "No."

Puzzled look from old lady with slight brow raise as if to say this girl is young and dumb.

Old Lady, "You know it gets cold on the beach at night."

Me,"It's 90 degrees now how much could the temperature drop. I'll be fine. I have been taking care of myself a long time."

Old Lady, " I have lived in NYC longer than you are probably alive!"

I smile and say, "Wow you've been in NY for more than 40 years huh?"

Quizzical look, onced over. Silence. Silence. Then, "Yes I have," With a big smile remembering that she had to actually answer me.

She kept mentioning that when she was really young like me, blah blah blah. So I finally said to her, "How old do you think I am?" She didn't want to answer. So I said to her, "How old are you?"


I reply, " Well I am middle-aged." And she tells me there is no way that I am.

When first getting on the bus at the transfer point, the bus was packed tightly with people. By this point it was pretty empty and I had just noticed as we had been yapping it up for so long I wasn't paying attention to the rest of the people.

I said to her, "Wow look at this. There were so many people and now nothing!"

Old Lady says sarcastically,"I don't think the people on the bus would appreciate being referred to as nobody."

I just burst out laughing and so she had to as well. I said, "Lady you are so damn literal!"

There were other funny moment with her but well let's move on to the photos below.

I was waiting for my bus tranfer and saw this fire in the direction I knew my bus had to take.

Here's a little bit from the bus ride crossing the first bridge.

Here's the view from the backyard of Jae's house.

The lifeguards on the beach all in orange.
I love this picture of Jae. She is adorable in her pink shoes.

On the way to the fireworks on the other side of Belle Harbor from the beach, we passed this cop car that had pulled over some young kids driving.
This is the view of Howard Beach from where we were standing. It was to the right of us. you could also see lower Manhattan and Brooklyn from this location but of course it was dark.
I found this on my neighbor's door when I came home.


Jessica said...

Good post! That old lady sounds interesting. :) Bus trips are often amusing, at least for me. Hope you have a good week!

leezee52 said...

I love the old lady and the fact she told you about the pretzels and she can get them for half price....I bet she doesn't buy anything for retail... lol

Lauren said...

Jessica, she sure was a pip! I had a blast. NO PUN INTENDED.

Lee-She probably doesn't get anything that isn't on sale. She doesn't have too much happening I suppose so she spends her time on those types of things. I personally couldn't be bothered to run all over the city for a pair of white shoes, which I think I didn't mention but she told me "she wasn't as lazy as me" -HA! ...Or for cheap pretzels.

Malcolm said...

That was an interesting little "slice of life" story about you and the elderly lady on the bus. It never occurred to me until now, but the one thing that I miss about catching the bus is the people watching.

By the way, is the Rockaway where you visited the home of Rockaway Beach? "Rockaway Beach" is my favorite tune by The Ramones!

Lauren said...

Malcolm, I think that is the Rockaway in the Ramone's song because they were born and raised in Forest Hills only a little walk from where I live now. So that would make sense.