Saturday, 19 November 2011

Go big or go home

I like big cities. I like the anonymity of being in a big city and how you can just get lost in it. I love the energy of all the other lives trapped within it and the way each little part of town is a small universe all its own. That's how we found New York. 
We spent the first evening in town with Donald, a family friend, who was holding onto a package my parents sent us. They're so sweet. They packed a box full of Polish treats and kaszanka, a blood sausage that my parents know we love. Donald told us of some new Broadway shows to check out if we got a chance to score cheap tickets, but we decided to spend the next day roaming around town. The weather was warm, so we took advantage and set for Central Park. It was teeming with people walking, running, cycling, taking row boat rides in the pond. A sea of New Yorkers and I was floating in it with a big grin on my face. It made Gabe happy to see me enjoy myself. He worries sometimes that I'm disheartened by the challenges of the life "on the road". I admit that since we left Halifax the going's been tough at times and the conditions get to me, but arriving at a place as stimulating as this and feeling it lift my spirits, makes it all worth while. 
You know what else makes up for the hardships? (no pun intended) A lunch at Katz's. One of the oldest and most popular delicatessens in the city. It's where Harry met Sally, and she had the thing that the old lady at a table next to her wanted to have, too. The Katz's experience took up most of the afternoon, but it was a blast. First we waited outside in line with a few dozen other folk. A hefty bouncer was letting handfuls of people in at a time, dispensing order tickets as we trickled in. Inside steel barricades hoarded patrons into separate lines. Those who wanted self serve advanced toward a store-long counter where they shouted out orders and handed in their tickets. It looked like a trading floor at the stock market. We watched the conveyor belt of people flooding in and out of the place while we waited for service at a table. Bundles of salami dangled overhead on the wall behind the counter, where busy staff prepared fresh rye bread sandwiches and fished out delicious pickles out of tank-size barrels. A plate full of those and pickled green tomatoes arrived at our table shortly after we placed our order. We couldn't get enough, and the best part was still to come. People around us were gobbling down pastrami and corned beef sandwiches stacked with meet so high it could barely be contained by the thin slices of bread. The meal delivered to our table was a lot more than we bargained for. I got a football sized Reuben sandwich, with corned beef, cheese and sauerkraut. Gabe's was a hot open faced roast beef sandwich with a side of fries and coleslaw. We shared the two meals and washed them down with pints of Brooklyn Lager. It was heaven. We wobbled out of Katz's and toward the subway in a food induced stupor, but I wasn't completely satisfied. A neat little gelato shop, disguised as a chem lab, situated right next door lured us in, and we gave in to a double scoop of plum and coconut icy delicacy. That did it for us. Food didn't even cross our minds again until the next morning. We grabbed a quick breakfast and prepared to sail down the Hudson toward Sandy Hook, where we would wait for the next weather window to depart south, toward Virginia, this time in the company of another vessel.

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