The Verrazano Bridge – over the “Narrows” I kayaked across – “in the summer of 2016…”
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Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”
This blog is modeled on the Carolina Israelite. That was an old-time newspaper – more like a personal newsletter – written and published by Harry Golden. Back in the 1950s, people called Harry a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.” (For his work on the Israelite.)
Which is now my goal as well. To be a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”
For more on the blog-name connection, see the notes below.
In the meantime:
Yesterday I learned to unfollow on Facebook. I applied that knowledge to some fellow classmates from my high school “Class of 1969.” Here’s what happened…
Back in October I thought about going to my 50-year high school class reunion. SO, I got in touch with a number of “old” classmates via the Class of ’69 Facebook page.
It was then I learned how way too many of them had turned way too old, grumpy, frustrated, whiny and/or negative geezers. (“What happened to those bright-eyed youngsters, all full of hope and hormones?”) I ended up not going to the reunion, but still tried to keep in touch. (For one thing it was my Christian duty to try and “bring them back from the Dark Side.*”)
But then it got to be too much. I kept losing sleep, trying to think of snappy comebacks, ways to “reach those people” through clever rhetoric and Christian patience.
I did think of some snappy comebacks, but usually six or so hours later. By then “they” had posted even more negative items, which kept on coming, and coming, and coming. Of course I didn’t want to tell any new Facebook “friends” that I’d “un-friended” them. I still wanted to reach them, if possible. But on that same “yesterday” I did note – on Facebook – that I was taking a break from politics. And on that note I posted a “remembering” photo from my recent Camino hike in Portugal. (Featuring some bikini-clad lovelies on a beach north of Porto.)
So – in that same vein – I hereby offer up in this blog a similar meditation, on some happy times back in the summer of 2016, BT. (Before Trump.) Like the time I kayaked across the Verrazano Narrows, from Staten Island to Brooklyn, and back. I covered the story in “No city for Grouchy Old White People,” and “No city for Grouchy Old White People” – Part II.
The posts were about a visit to New York City, while staying in Staten Island and taking the Ferry back and forth to Manhattan. Their point: “New York City is a refreshing reminder that there’s more to this country than just the right-wing wackos so prevalent back home in ‘The Bubble.’” (To wit: my area of Georgia.) And speaking of Facebook, here’s what I posted about the trip:
Ever since last Saturday, September 17, we’ve been taking the Staten Island ferry into and back from Manhattan Island. So that’s eight times – twice a day for four days now – that we’ve seen the Statute of Liberty, off in the distance… And I don’t remember ONCE seeing a sign that said, “the heck with your tired, your poor,” those “wretched refuse … yearning to breathe free.” WE’RE GONNA BUILD A FRIKKIN WALL!“
There’s more in that vein in the Grouchy Old White People posts. But on Thursday, September 22, while the rest of the family left for further adventures on their own, I packed up and then kayaked across the Verrazano Narrows. (Mostly following the Bridge of the same name.)
So here – at left – is a photo I took, from the kayak, about half-way back to Staten Island. You may notice the waters are fairly choppy. And I can tell you those waters got WAY choppier than when I started. In other words, I seem to have started out – that fine Thursday morning – on pretty much of a neap tide.
It only took me 20 minutes to get from Staten Island to Brooklyn, and I like to do a full two hours of kayaking a week. So on the way over I toyed with the idea of cruising along the Atlantic side of Brooklyn for awhile. (And maybe even reaching Coney Island.) But I decided not to, mostly because I figured it’d be better to start back to the put-in side while I was still fresh.
And it’s a good thing I did. As I was paddling back toward Staten Island the tide started going in. Which wasn’t so bad, since at worst it would have swept me in toward Hoboken…
Long story short, with the change of tide and all, I ended up having a mere 13 minutes left of my two-hours-of-kayaking-a-week quota. That’s when I finally got back to where I put in, at Roosevelt Beach on Staten Island. (And got dunked “coming in for a landing.”) But it could have been worse. The tide could have been going out. (As in, “out to sea…”)
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My view of the Brooklyn side of the “Narrows” Bridge…
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The upper image is courtesy of Verrazano Bridge – Image Results. See also Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge – Wikipedia, including the link to the Narrows, the “body of water linking the relatively enclosed Upper New York Bay with Lower New York Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.” The image was accompanied by a New York Post article, “Did you know the Verrazano Bridge is spelled wrong?” The correct spelling is “Verrazzano,” with two z’s and two r’s. For a video of a similar adventure, see September Paddle: A Clockwise Tour of NY Harbor – YouTube.
Re: “Summer of ’16.” A familiar Meme, here alluding to such media events such as Summer of ’42 (the 1971 “coming of age” movie), Summer of ’69 (the 1984 song by Canadian musician Bryan Adams), and/or Summer of 84 (the “2018 Canadian horror mystery film“).
Re: “Unfollow.” See also How to Unfollow Someone on Facebook: 14 Steps (with Pictures).
Re: “Bring them back from the Dark Side,” and Christian duty. See Ezekiel 3:16-21, A Watchman for Israel: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.” Et sequentes.
Re: “Neap tide.” See Neap tide | Definition … at Dictionary.com, “either of the two tides that occur at the first or last quarter of the moon [or month] when the tide-generating forces of the sun and moon oppose each other and produce the smallest rise and fall in tidal level,” and also Tide – Wikipedia:
When the Moon is at first quarter or third quarter, the Sun and Moon are separated by 90° when viewed from the Earth, and the solar tidal force partially cancels the Moon’s tidal force. At these points in the lunar cycle, the tide’s range is at its minimum; this is called the neap tide, or neaps. Neap is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “without the power”, as in forðganges nip (forth-going without-the-power).
Re: “Swept out to sea past Sandy Hook Bay.” As noted, I thought about cruising along the south side of Brooklyn/Long Island for a while, and maybe reaching Coney Island, but luckily turned back. I could feel the tide changing as I paddled back toward Staten Island.
I took the photos including the “Brooklyn side” of the bridge, but not the Facebook image.
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Re: The Israelite. Harry Golden grew up in the Jewish ghetto of New York City, but eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. Thus the “Carolina Israelite.” I on the other hand am a “classic 68–year-old “WASP” – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – living in north Georgia. Thus the “Georgia Wasp.” Anyway, in Charlotte Harry wrote and published the “Israelite” from the 1940s through the 1960s. He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.” (He told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.” But what made him special was his positive outlook on life. He got older but didn’t turn sour, like many do today. He still got a kick out of life. For more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.