We woke up this morning (at Ray and Gwen’s place in Park Slope, Brooklyn) to the smell of coffee brewing and the subway clacking below us. The sounds of the city are much different than those of Idaho, but it actually makes you smile when you hear the garbage guy singing loudly or the sirens of the ladder truck as it cruises by the brownstones. If you hear sounds like this on Loch Haven, you’ll be very worried and wondering where your protection is located. In Brooklyn, it’s just the sound of the day waking up.
After a yummy Ray Breakfast, we got ourselves ready and headed out “down the Shore”, Gwen’s backyard while growing up. It was great to have a local guide to give us the “mostly historically accurate” stories of the New Jersey Atlantic shoreline, including Asbury Park, Point Pleasant and Seaside. For those in the know, Asbury Park is known as the vintage boardwalk that launched Bruce Springsteen. Today it is in an transition period, with old buildings teetering between being remodeled or demolished, luxury apartments being built, and an emerging LGBT community resurrecting the surrounding neighborhoods. It’s all quite an interesting mix of architecture, art and beach vibe. It will be fun to see what the future holds.
Since it’s only been a few hours, it was time for lunch! Spike’s Seafood Market is the place to be on Point Pleasant Beach, especially if you want a “mug of white” (New England Clam Chowder) or red (Manhattan Clam Chowder) or even a crabcake sandwich.
Topped off, we headed down to the barrier islands of New Jersey to check out the cool, huge, Cape Cod style beachfront mansions of Point Pleasant and Mantoloking. They line both sides of the narrow island and each is worth millions.
We then slid further south toward the less ritzy area of Seaside, where they filmed “Jersey Shore” for MTV. Let’s just say it wasn’t as pleasant as Point Pleasant. It’s full of arcades, smaller houses, older hotels, amusement parks, and parking lots. Somehow, this area was fuller than Asbury Park. Lisa felt Asbury had a lot more character, even in its state of transition. (Sorry, but we didn’t get any pictures of Seaside).
We headed back to the Brooklyn apartment to rest, regroup, and watch the Gonzaga game before we had dinner with Gwen’s parents, Maria and Steven. (Spoiler alert: Gonzaga lost their Elite Eight game and we’re still in disbelief.)
Since food always helps one get over a loss, we continued our global culinary trek, and had and an Austrian dinner at Cafe Steinhof. It was the first time we had met Gwen’s parents and we had a great time at dinner telling stories about each other’s kids. How they put up with us Lyons is anybody’s guess!
Tomorrow is our “New York Tourist” Day. Depending on the weather, we plan on walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, taking the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, and maybe taking in a Piano Bar in the evening. Check back to see where we end up!