The Islands treated us well. No luaus, tiki bars or exotic rides, but in the time of a pandemic, there
are still things like Nathan’s hot dogs, mostly reliable public transportation and the
latest post-lockdown craze – cocktails-to-go. It’s called Covid Plan B.
by Ann Fox
The Guidepost Galloping Gourmets were getting restless. Summer was waning and the travel possibilities were ever slimmer as Covid variants reared their ugly heads.
“Delta, Smelta,” I said, ” enough worrying about variants. Let’s go Island hopping.” Just as the crew scrambled to find passports, I told them all they needed was their metro pass. The disappointment was palpable.
I tried to reason with them. “So what’s wrong with Long Island, Manhattan Island and Little Island? Some people pay a lot of money to see derelict boats at low tide in Jamaica Bay and subway cars floating into a downtown station at high tide. To say nothing of the new 2.4 acre Island plopped on top of the wreckage of pier 55 at any tide.” They still hoped the Little Island was an offshoot of the Big Island in Hawaii. After promises of food and drink, we finally took off on our local excursion.
In New York you can spend dreary moments in a noisy, dirty subway and pop up out of the gloom to a magnificent, uplifting view. Little Island is a perfect example. Once out of the underground, you’re face to face with Manhattan’s delightful new island park set atop 132 funnel-like structures referred to as “tulips.” Actually, they looked more like champagne goblets, but then it was hot and I was thirsty. An elevated walkway from the shore takes you under the tulips onto a lovely path through lawns, flowering bushes, and trees. The tulips range from 15 feet to 62 feet which allows for heights and breathtaking vantage points. From the highest point, you can see the Statue of Liberty hailing boats to the south, the 1889 brick New Jersey Terminal tower clock with the wrong time to the west and northward, sailors battling the current toward the George Washington Bridge.
Some old pilings from the original pier were left standing as a nod to the place where the Carpathia docked in 1912 with the survivors of the Titanic and where the Lusitania departed in 1915 on her fateful last voyage across the Atlantic. With such a history, I was hoping the engineers knew what they were doing when they placed 2.4 acres of soil, 350 species of shrubs, 114 trees, concrete paths, a theater and space for up to one thousand visitors on top of 132 tulips.
There’s always a stiff breeze on the Hudson, so standing on Little island, you can smell the brackish water and almost imagine Algonquins paddling canoes near the Palisades, and George Washington making a hasty exit after his loss at The Battle of Long Island. Nowadays, you can even spot an occasional whale making its way toward the bridge.
The Gourmets had worked up quite an appetite taking in the views and walking around hordes of tourists, so we headed to Chelsea Market, within walking distance, since the Guidepost Chief Financial Officer frowns on taxis. The Market was once the Nabisco factory complete with exposed steel beams and bricks with the occasional mural of an oreo sandwich cookie still visible on some walls. It’s the only building that had a train line go through it, now part of The High Line.
The eats are eclectic: overpriced lobster mac ‘n cheese, artisanal chocolates in Lego shapes, and Thai-Italian fusion. Fun nonetheless, but my go-to meal is still the menu del día at the corner bar in Lavapies.
The Islands treated us well. No luaus, tiki bars or exotic rides, but in the time of a pandemic, there are still things like Nathan’s hot dogs, mostly reliable public transportation and the latest post lockdown craze – cocktails-to-go. It’s called Covid Plan B.
>Featured image collage: Little Island/Jim Henderson, CC BY-SA4.0. Long Island/AITFFan 1, CC BY-SA4.0. Manhattan/Gryffindor, CC BY-SA3.0. Frame supplied.
>Quote mark/Oakus53, CC BY-SA4.0
>Big Island/Kris Arnold, CC BY2.0
>RMS Carpathia/American Press Association, PD
>Chelsea Bridge/dconvertini, CC BY-SA2.0
>Menu del día/Isaacvp, CC BY-SA4.0
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