To me there is nothing like spring weather to get out in jeans and jean jacket - meet a friend and revisit the place I spent part of my childhood - Brighton Beach sandwiched between Coney Island (ages newborn - 11) and Manhattan Beach (ages 11-20 and back). In the far background you can see the red parachute jump a symbol of Coney Island.
It had been three decades since I walked on the boardwalk and it felt good to be back. Friends from that timeline - if you are reading this - you can't help but notice the beautiful apartment buildings, homes, condos and co-ops that line the streets and gentrify the neighborhood - construction everywhere. As you glance down an exit from the boardwalk to the street you sometimes see WWII pre-war buildings or older. Diffuse cultures - different energies - all seeking the serenity that living along the ocean provides.
Brighton Beach, as most people know, is predominantly Russian and yet that goes back to my European heritage almost a continuity of the Jewish community I grew up in dozens of years ago. Am I really that old? 78 ... I guess so.
As my friend and I walked past several people seemingly in my age group, I wondered if they were classmates from Lincoln High School who had remained in Brooklyn, though most moved long ago and now reside in ... you got it ... Florida remaining along the eastern seaboard.
On a day that lessened restrictions on mask wearing - my friend and I strolled along the boardwalk in sunshine mixed with clouds - a cool sea breeze brushing against our cheeks, blowing through our hair and invigorating the soul. There is nothing like the pull of the ocean. Sometimes the simplest pleasures in life are the most profound - a lesson many learned during covid.
For those of us who grew up and played on the boardwalk at Brighton Beach - it was so sad to see what had become of it. Seniors walking along had to hold on to someone - or their walkers - so they wouldn't stumble.
We walked out onto the beach to watch the children play while
others parked themselves close to the water and went for a swim.
Restaurants along the boardwalk included Tatiana's and Garden of Joy (sounds sexy).
We decided against them and went in search of salads.
We found a salad bar and deli along the way - with hot and cold food - then drove back on the Belt Parkway which runs parallel to the Atlantic Ocean. I am home.
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