Summer Travel 2019
Summer Travel 2019 involves family. We spent last Wednesday through Sunday in New York and Connecticut, for family Bat Mitzvah and high school graduation celebrations. Mid-July will have us in Rochester New York for my daughter’s wedding party. (A scheduling snafu had us in Rochester for 2+ extra days. Easy solution? Two-plus extra days in Lower Manhattan, after the party.)
New York City
LB and I had not been to NYC together before. She’s had NYC addresses, and I’ve been a many-times visitor. Together, we had a fine time. One hour from landing at LaGuardia to arriving at our place at 75th St. on the West Side. OK dinner at Jacobs’s Pickles. (Best ever greens and black-eyed peas, which I will try to replicate. Very fine hush puppies. OK fries. Not-so good fried green tomatoes.)
On our full NYC-day we looked for lions on the top of a building on 103rd or 104th Street, at West End Ave. Gone missing, they have, or maybe they never were. Regardless, we wandered into the building Leigh lived in, discovered her doorman’s son-in-law, ate some fine street pizza, and took the subway to the Highline.
The Highline rocks. It’s an elevated, vegetated 20-block walkway that hums energy. New York’s best thing, maybe.
Alas, New York cannot avoid itself: The Highline ends with the beginning of Hudson Yards, Manhattan’s paean to capitalism run amok. Garish to the extreme and full of commercial tenants every landlord, anywhere, wants. For the sake of Hudson Yards, along with our own financial statements, we should hope for the economy to keep going up, up, and away. If it falls away into a recession, Hudson Yards will suffer.
From Hudson Yards we made our way across the Brooklyn Bridge. Walking. Busy, and full of all sorts. I was struck, both by those in our midst and the amount of early evening activity in New York Harbor, by what the arrival of my ancestors and the Bernstein side of Leigh’s must have been like. Our people came from Eastern Europe. (The villages you see in Fiddler on the Roof? Close enough.)
The notion of my great-grandparents and Leigh’s paternal grandfather arriving at Ellis Island more than 100 years ago, at a bustling port not so very different from how it is 100+ year later, hit me hard. Too many Jews I know have bought the Kool-Aid Donald Trump sells on immigration. The people arriving now, from wherever, differ from our people not at all. They’re oppressed and looking for opportunities. Just like our ancestors, even though they practice different religions, speak other languages, and have darker skin colors!
Sadly, Israel and immigration leave me at sea with Judaism. Our machers demand loyalty, certainly with respect to Israel and its battle with the Arabs, and only a bit less so when it comes to domestic immigration policy. As a Jew born in America in the late 50s, I don’t feel disadvantaged. Somehow, though, my peers feel oppressed and, therefore, entitled to forget about everyone and anyone who struggles on this planet to feed, clothe, and shelter his or her family. I don’t understand how those who have so much can feel so impoverished.
New York City … Again
Apologies for my digression. We had a lovely dinner in Brooklyn, at a restaurant I will not name because the experience—we met up with Leigh’s old college friend, and had a delightful evening—was much, much better than the food or service.
On Friday, before the train ride to the ’burbs, we did an architecture tour of 42nd St. Very cool, and followed by lunch at the Grand Central Oyster Bar.
The rest of our trip involved Connecticut. Family. Accomplishments. Relaxation. Good times.
And, after the Bat Mitzvah, curly fries, pulled pork, and melted white Cheddar cheese. TBT, we did the same dish on Saturday, after the celebration of our nieces’ accomplishments. Here’s the proof. (I guess we made an impression on the bartender / server, for on Saturday the kitchen gave us a much larger portion.)
So that’s my first Summer Travel 2019 report. Stay tuned for more.