Saturday, June 07, 2008

Heat Wave! (Staten Island version)

Unfortunately for me, today was the last day of a rather fabulous sale at JoAnn Fabrics, a very un-New York (i.e. suburban) fabric and crafting emporium with a local outpost on Staten Island. I had long planned on journeying out there, via bicycle, to scoop up $1.99 patterns and bolts of fabric. How was I to know that my chosen day would turn out to be the hottest of the year?

Undaunted, I decided just to slather on the sunscreen, load up a couple of bottles of water, and hit the road anyway. After a funny start to the day--which began when our building's security guard told me I reminded him of Kill Bill's "Black Mamba," due to my perceived ability to "kick and turn flips"-- I made a very leisurely Fahrrad-ride down to the ferry station, and waited with a chatty curly-haired fellow bicyclist, who was also braving the weather to head out on a hike.

I wasn't totally sure where I was going on this little jaunt, but decided to stick by the water for as long as possible, in the hopes it would temper the heat and prove to be scenic. Of course, "scenic" means many different things to different people--for me, this ride was interesting, as it featured many nautical-type things that I don't even know the names for (graving docks? loading areas? ship shacks?) that appeared as though they hadn't been used for a maybe decades. There were also some fine lookin' liquor stores and lots and lots of traffic...which prevented much picture-taking, as I was worried about being squashed by one of Staten Island's multiple speeding cars. (I do have to note, however, that contrary to their reputation, Staten Island drivers were pretty nice. No one honked or yelled at me, and most cars seemed to be making a semi-serious effort not to kill me.)

Anyway, after racing under the Bayonne Bridge, I sweated my way up a moderate hill and found myself in clothing-making nirvana. One hour and seven new patterns later, I emerged to find that, although it was technically still morning, it was freaking hot. So much so that as I unlocked my bike, a kindly older gentleman waiting in the car for his wife commented, with some concern, that maybe it was too hot for bicycle riding. I assured him that I was prepared, and set off again.

This time, I altered my route. I had a plan, you see. I was going to reward myself with a post-JoAnn meal at the fantabulous New Asha restaurant. I can't say enough about the New Asha. It is a glutton's dream, if unfortunately located at the top of an extremely steep hill that would crush the will of even the pseudo-Black Mamba. On this day, though, I figured I'd come at it from the top of the hill, rather than the bottom...which, theoretically, worked out, although there was still a hill to be climbed. Luckily, the hill was in the middle of the verdant Clove Lake Park, which gave me the chance to stop both to catch my breath and to pretend I was super-interested in the scenery:

I could only maintain this farce for a short while though--then I had to puff my way up the hill and emerge on the remarkably unshaded Victory Boulevard. By the time I arrived at New Asha, I was pretty much drenched in sweat. (I apologize, kindly New Asha owner, for sweating in your restaurant. But thank you for the star fruit and curry!)

It was, literally, all downhill from there. I boarded the ferry home, sucked in the cooling sea air, took some snaps of passing boats:

and thought about what a shame it is that the world is frying up.

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