Bowling in Brooklyn

I ordered a beer. It came in a plastic cup from a bartender wearing a cumberbun. The Melody Lanes bowling alley is a place that time forgot.

See, the girls, a couple of their friends and I had gone out to Brooklyn by the Number Two train tonite. We met E. and W. at the Barnes and Noble on Court Street. E. drove through the Shlushpocalypse of Brooklyn to the bowling alley. In the car, we talked about kids’ ingratitude, unwritten books, blogs, plans to travel to France.

Right in front of Melody Lanes, there was a parking spot just waiting for us, as if we were rock stars. It looked crowded but we were at the front of the lane in no time. The woman behind the counter assigned us Lane 12. She reminded me of a beloved hall monitor from high school. Tough, but tender underneath. Brooklyn all the way.

We keyed our names into the electronic bowling screen. I chose my usual name Gorgeous. We girls enthusiastically cheered for one another if we ever managed to get a couple of pins down (and I’m talking the bumpers were up).

We ordered fries and nachos and burgers. Then I hit on the beer idea.

The bar was the highlight. Because the bartender, Pete, was schmoozing with someone. Just as I approached that irritation point, wondering, Is he ignoring me? There Pete was. Like he had ESP or something. It turns out Pete is very famous because there are 7 tips about Pete on Foursquare — the man is known for his cumberbun, his drink special and for being that “hilarious, eccentric, cursing bartender.”

The other highlight was on our way out, seeing a bunch of people dressed up like characters from The Big Lebowski, a movie I have never seen. But it looked good based on what the characters were wearing, especially the pregnant woman in the nude-colored body suit with the vines around her. She was Eve.

So that’s Saturday night in Brooklyn. None of us broke 100 (and again, we had bumpers!). I wish I had taken pictures to show you, but just imagine a 1950s bowling alley and then you’ve got the picture.

NYC and Snow

When I walk to work through Barnard College campus in the morning, the first day the city is covered in snow, it is quiet, soft and beautiful. The next day or two, the city snow gets sooty. After that, I don’t see the snow because I am too busy Googling cheap fares to Florida.

Snow is inevitable. But lately we’ve had so much so frequently! Oy! There must be a lesson here. Perhaps we are meant to pull together as New Yorkers — zip up, meet your neighbors, share the icy chill at the bus stop! Maybe the lesson is to hunker down with family and friends. Or seize the opportunity to beautify the home and clean the linen closet!

Maybe we are supposed to feel the aliveness of the moment when we step into the frozen wind of Riverside Drive.

Whatever the lesson is, I’m looking for it. My eyes are open. Yet my head is down and I am watching my steps. I am avoiding the ice. New Yorkers are intrepid in all kinds of weather. I wrote about New York, a walker’s town, in the rain.

Now I am looking forward to the rain. I am waiting for the Spring. I will love New York in the Springtime. They write songs about that. That and Autumn in New York. The Winter though? I am not singing the love song.

Central Park Skating

There may be a few places in the world as magical as Wollman Rink in Central Park right after a snowfall, but I’m not sure where they are. The last time I skated it was October — tee shirt weather. The Willow Tree was still full of long, green leaves.

Tonite the Willow Tree branches were yellow and bare, better to see the snowy hills of Central Park. It’s dreamy skating under the Willow Tree. If you look up at the branches as you glide beneath, you can have an out-of-body experience.

The thumping music really moves you at Wollman. The DJ plays mash ups, oldies and hip hop. He will take your request. At least, he always takes mine.

I knocked on the DJ’s glass door tonite (as I did in October) to ask, “Could you play, ‘We No Speak Americano!'” I love that song and it’s perfect for skating around and around while holding your friend’s or your child’s hand.

I don’t want to brag (too much) but I have yet to see any adult skate as much as me — not counting the real professional-type skaters who make skating look like dancing.

I’m not particularly good at skating, but in the words of Valerie Plame from the movie “Fair Game,” “I have no breaking point.” I never tire.

I never tire of New York City’s beauty either, especially the parks. Here’s an example. This was my view around 5 pm as I waited for the downtown M5 bus on Riverside Park. 

Every night on Riverside Drive there is a show. It is the sunset. I just have to remember to look West to catch it. Sometimes I do remember to stop and notice the show. I make my kids come outside to see the sunset too. Sometimes they thank me.