Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hot dogs and a speakeasy

While entertaining friends from the 817 we discovered another fascinating NY treat. PDT (Please Don't Tell) is a hidden gem of a cocktail lounge. Located on St. Mark's Place in the bosom of the East Village no sign is necessary. PDT is day of reservations only. Luck was on our side and we scored a pre-dinner reservation at this lovely little lounge.

To go to this subterranean one must go into the hot dog dive. Once inside make your way to the phone booth and after that you are on your own. Yes, go to the phone booth. Check it out.

I won't write anymore. Go and enjoy.

PDT is a sweet secret in Gotham. Maybe I shouldn't tell? No, it's okay. We are friends.

Coney Island, USA

Summer has arrived and in celebration we headed out to Coney Island. Today was the 25th Mermaid Parade and what a spectacle it was. Men, women, children, and in betweens all enjoyed the parade of thousands on the boardwalk. The backdrop with the historical Coney Island amusement parks on one side and the beach on the other added up for one memorable day.

The Mermaid Parade pays homage to Coney Island's forgotten Mardi Gras which lasted from 1903 to 1954. NYC boldest and brightest show up dressed to thrill. Costumes range from mermaids to neptunes to subway cars. It is a bawdy display of colorful people waving their freak flag proudly.

If you aren't familiar with the history and controversy surrounding Coney Island you should treat yourself and do a bit of internet research on the subject. It is quite fascinating. Personally I hope the developers pull back and let this one of a kind all American seaside piece of history continue to bless the shores of Brooklyn.

"It is blatant, it is cheap, it is the apotheosis of the ridiculous. But it is something more; it is like Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park; it is a national playground, and not to have seen it is not to have seen your own country,"
said Reginald Wright Kauffman in 1909 of Coney Island.

This seashore playground offers everything from sideshow school to the best in burlesque to the wonderful New York Aquarium. In some ways it is as though time stood still. Coney Island is the epitome of things we wish we could do and not look back.

Time has taken its toll on Coney Island. The beach is not the cleanest. In the amusement areas there is a charge to use the restrooms. The area is not the safest but there is just something about it. The mind wanders to years gone by. I always think of those gritty city kids of the Depression that waited all winter long for one life changing day at Coney Island.

Coney Island is shocking, breathtaking and a relief all at once. The richness of the people of Coney Island shines through. The aficionados of this incredible land truly make it great. They are passionate and eccentric. We all need a bit of Coney Island in us.

*Random fact...the first American hot dog was introduced in Coney Island around 1870 by German immigrant Charles Feltman.