Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

NYC Hurricane History. More than just Sandy & Irene. High Line, Kosher Deep Fried Oreos and Artisanal Burgers in Crown Heights. Good Morning from Bayswater!

To sit up here on the deck overlooking Motts Basin, sipping my morning coffee feeling the breeze pulling at my curls and listening to the birds singing incessantly..  one can not help but wonder what this place looks like in a hurricane. It is so calm this morning. Well, now, after the gardener stopped mowing the yard the birds could be heard singing again. Song birds singing, not rakish squawks as in some places but real song birds.. Perched up high in a pine on the part of the tree that survived Hurricane Sandy is a family of song birds. They sing to the birds in the neighbor's pine and the neighbors sing back. It's a bit noisy unless you enjoy morning birds singing. The gardener is gone, everyone else is asleep in the house.

Planes from nearby JFK keep soaring above the house every so often with no apparent pattern. My daughter says they only do it when I'm here.Right...She doesn't care.. she sits out here, staring at the water and feeling the breeze. Watching the sunset in the summer and the ice cover over the water in the winter. Being my daughter, she is intrigued by the history of this idyllic spot down the road from a bird sanctuary. She wandered down to Bayswater park and found out the park had been a mansion owned by a man named Heinsheimer who at one time owned a good part of land here.

In a time before JFK was just across the Bay. Before people from Queens bought small little bungalows along the Bay to play and relax during the hot summers in the city And, the pier like structure or what looks like the remnants of a pier at the base of her yard is in fact all that remains of the once beautiful Bayswater Yacht Club. It sat like a white jewel floating on the Sapphire Bay where people relaxed, partied and felt the breeze of the water. People actually had Yachts here in this part of Norton Basin where you occasionally see a sailboat glide by today. Seems they came out here and spent their time like Lords of the Castle in England hunting and fishing and the emphasis was on hunting as the forests nearby inland on Long Island were filled with game. People like Cornell lived here where today it's a mixed communicty of locals who love the nearness of the water. Hard to imagine. But, back then when F. Scott Fitzgerald went out to Hamptons,  both East and West he wondered on what it looked like to Dutch sailors.

This is what artists do... we wonder. Painters paint, writers write, we look at an object and wonder what the object has seen before we ever stared at it and pondered. My daughter is an artist, she works with gold leaf, she teaches hooping to little girls in summer camps and her husband is one of the best mechanics in Boro Park. They moved from the heart of Brooklyn all the way out to Bayswater and so this is where I sit and wonder on Dutch sailors and storms and history.

It's quiet. It's a sort of perfect place if you don't have to go into the city every day to work and yet people here do and would argue they come home to the view, the water, the breeze and the ligths of Manhattan sparkling off in the distance at night. They relax and breathe before going back to work again. The drive into the city by the way is also beautiful as you drive along and across the Bay each day.

No longer is the hunting grounds for rich men with make believe titles who shoot at ducks and hunt for deer. No longer is it a make believe Riviera for immigrants from Italy and Ireland who come and spend a few months a year in the summer by the sea. No longer are the near by benches in Long Beach by the boardwalk a haven for Immigrant Jews at the turn of the Century. It's all a mish mash now the way it should be in America. It's like gefitle fish sushi or deep fried pareve oreos in Crown Heights. It is America.

People used to walk on boardwalks, now they go into Manhattan to walk on the High Line.

New York, New York... 
..It's a wonderful town

Back in Bayside the neighbors on one side speak perfect English, the neighbors on the left speak pefect Spanish and often out on this deck you hear Yiddish phrases or a Southern Drawl. It all depends. It's about as American as Coney Island and the Statue of Liberty. People in search of their dream.. even if for some the dream is watching the water and ignoring the contant take off and arrivals of planes flying into JFK.  The birds sing through it all as expatraiated chassidim make BBQs on the deck with their friends sipping Coronas.

The one consant out here is the weather, the water, the winter and hurricanes. And, yet in those times when hurricanes hardly ever happen people think that Irene and Sandy were random acts of Global Warming or as the news anchors said "unprecedented" but as we know these days news anchors love to lie or embellish often.

What does change here is the people, the form of transporation from horse back to buggy to Model T Fords to street cars to cars to boats to planes to helicopters. Transporation is always evolving, weather is always happening.

The one constant IS that hurricanes will happen as they have since time began, since before we recorded them or understood there were hurricanes. There have been so many hurricanes here oer history on this spit of land that sticks out into the Atlantic catching the backside of huricanes that ran up the coast from Cape Hatteras since before time began. Sounds like a bit of a stretch of fancy for me to write that but...........look at the history before.

Hurricanes you never heard of like Daisy and Esther and some that didn't have names other than the name that said it all "Great Long Island Hurricane of . . . "

The 1930s were mean and lean for Long Island

The Yacht Club was either burned up or blown away or possibly both at different times. Hard to find out as there were so many Yacht Clubs on Long Island and so many hurricanes. People find bits and pieces of silverware on the bay bottom yet that could just have easily floated out of a house during any other hurricane.

The "game" is gone as are the rich people with summer homes yet the waves, the tide and the sound of the song birds remain. Currently I can hear the subway train far off in the distance crossing the bay and a plane takes off from a different runway at JFK. A helicopter was out a while ago either doing a rescue somewhere or practicing a search and rescue.

You know what will be here years from now? Well one thing I know will be here is HURRICANES.

In the 1950s Hurricanes went to Long Island as if they owned it as their own late summer home. So many came that some years there were 3 different hurricanes making landfall or brushing by with strong weather. You know those ones that Bastardi waxes poetic on, the three sisters. Connie, Donna, Edna, Hazel the list goes on and on... Irene, Sandy and a weather poet can only wonder what name will be the next to go down in tha annals of hurricane history fame. The list is always being updated on Wikpedia about as often as hurricane trackers hit reload on satellite images hoping for that next wave to develop and buck the odds and form into a hurricane in an El Nino Year.

I'm on vacation this week in New York. I was in Chelsea Market yesterday, a totally incredible place below the people strolling on the High Line up above.  It is a visual feast for anyone who loves photography or people watching. I got orange juice at Sarabeth's which to me is funny as to be Sarabeth's is a Key West restaurant.

And, that is New York.
Always evolving.
Central Park
Prospect Park
A park on top of old elevated train tracks.

There are waves and trofs and development elsewhere not in our basin.

The tides in the basin play peek a boo with me like the waves in the Atlantic. Since I began this article the tide came in and the ghostly remnants of the Yachtclub are covered over, hidden again for a few more hours... til the tide goes out.

If you are in New York and want to imagine what it all must have been like long ago, take a drive out to Long Island (not far from JFK) and take a walk through the park.

If you are in Brooklyn and looking for artisanal kosher hamburgers to die for... a new place opened across the street from Basil NY. Check it out... and enjoy the desserts.  As it's a meat place all the desserts are dairy free. Love it!

Besos Bobbi

Ps... peek at the deep fried oreos we all shared with ice cream! Pareve Ice Cream! Yup, on vacation in the Big Apple but there's no apples in site... just waves, sailboats and they built a boardwalk in the City on top of the Elevated Train Tracks.. gotta love it!


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