Monday, April 4, 2011


I am a long time devotee of Forgotten NY, a website created by a gentleman by the name of Kevin Walsh, which has spawned a book as well as 42 ... no, 43 "Forgotten Tours."  If I still lived in New York, I'd be signing up.  I love stuff like this ... I'd like to go back to the Transit Museum someday.  Last time I went was with Mark and Sandy and it had to be 1976 or 1977.  

The presentation of the tours has become more sophisticated with time, thanks in part to internet mapping.  For the last few years, Kevin Walsh has utilized something called Wayfaring which not only shows the tour route superimposed on a map, but provides an interactive list of "Waypoints", which is all really way cool.  Forgotten Tour 43, which is set for mid-April, covers an area of Queens I have some familiarity with, having spent far too much of my youth rushing to or from the Hunterspoint Avenue Long Island Railroad Station.  Although I hardly think one can dignify the dingy platform, which appears to have been frozen in time, unchanged since the last time I regularly rode those rails, in 1987.

I have really gone off-track here ... excuse the pun.  Okay, so I was poring over the Wayfaring map, and for some reason found it hysterically funny that the Queens neighborhood called Blissville sits right smack up against a big old cemetery - Calvary Cemetery, to be exact.  No bliss there, if you catch my drift.

The Borough of Queens, especially the western half, has an inordinate number of cemeteries.  Which makes it the most depressing borough in the City of New York.  Where else can your kids go to a high school that is in a cemetery?  And a Catholic school in a Lutheran cemetery, at that.  I guess the good news is that there really is no place for the kids to go to get into trouble, unlike someplace like Dr. Phillips High School here in Orlando, which is right smack across the street from Universal Orlando. 

I used to work between two cemeteries.  That was 1975 to 1976, and I was working with Mark at Robert Hall Clothes as a retail merchandise distributer.  Fancy title.  I remember my brother was so excited for me because my gross salary had finally broken $100.  I also worked for a while at a recycling facility, which stunk.  The facility, not the job.  The cemeteries were off of Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, almost directly across the street from one another.  No matter where you turned, dead people.  If you turned west to walk to the Chinese take-out, you were facing a cemetery.  If you walked east on Metropolitan Avenue, you were adjacent to a cemetery.  And then there was a back roads sort of route I took sometimes when going home, that took me down the Interboro Parkway (now called the Jackie Robinson Parkway), just under 5 miles long and I would pass three large cemeteries arrayed on either side.  I changed jobs, and changed driving routes.  Actually, that's when I got off the road and into the subway.

I got entrenched in the Wayfaring map because I am absolutely crazy about maps.  Road maps, subways maps, railroad maps.  I love poring over them, figuring out new routes, familiarizing myself with street names and highway number designations.  I think I must be always looking for an escape route.  One thing, I almost never get lost.  Unless I am relying on Mandy, the portable GPS.  She once tried to send us into the Arkansas River.  I'm still mad about that.  So I use her as a backup, and continue to play Pavel Chekov to my husband's Mr. Sulu.  It's worked for us for close to forty years.

I once had a roommate when I was at Stony Brook who became seriously indignant when I referred to Veteran's Memorial Highway as "454".  She huffed that "nobody knows it by the number" and made me feel like an idiot.  I didn't bother to tell her that I also referred to Smithtown Bypass also known as Nesconset Highway as "347."  I couldn't risk triggering another one of her outbursts, as I was having a hard enough time that semester anyway.  I wonder if she has ever traveled on an interstate highway, which generally do not have names.  I'll bet she has a permanent earworm, courtesy of Johnny Rivers:  "they've given you a number, and taken away your name."

I know, I'm being mean.  But of the nine roommates I lived with during my four years in college, she was second from the bottom, just below the dingbat who majored in guitar and who practiced over and over and over again, and just above the winner for all time awful roommate.  Yep, she's the one who fooled around with her boyfriend while I was in the room, over and over and over again.  I should have put her together with the guitar guru, then she could have done it to music.

On to better stuff:  the weather was nice.  Hot, but nice.  I was not overwhelmed when I got to the office today, despite being out sick on Friday.  It was manageable.  And I am still on a high from the success of my hamantaschen.  I finished baking them today.  Perfect.

And I was also pleased with the results of my accidental lasagna.  Those no-bake noodles rock.

Cook like there's nobody watching, and eat like it's heaven on earth.

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