S Train (Shuttle) to Beach 116 (Belle Harbor)

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S is for: Sand, Salt, Saturdays, & Spanning Time

Scripted by: Bonnie

Guest Photographer: Kevin Hagen

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Dear Tania, Atty, & Kevin,

This morning I put my shoes on to go to the deli for a cup of coffee. My French press exploded a couple of weeks ago and I needed a strong cup before attempting to write this post about our epic shuttle journey to Beach 116 last weekend. The shoes were the same that I wore on our End of the Line journey, and I felt the little bits of sand between my toes that I had collected when we walked along the beach. Most find this feeling uncomfortable. I find myself savoring the feeling as we move into fall. I find myself not wanting to dump the lingering sand out of my shoes in an attempt to cling to the last bit of what was an amazing summer for me.

I try to spend as much time as I can in the Rockaways during the summer. Not as much as some of our friends, but I try to make a trip out as often as possible, collecting sunburns and hangovers and the general salty sunny happy feeling. I spent a lot of time this past summer kissing one particular boy on a blanket at Beach 86. It was a beautiful summer of romance, which you all know I’m a sucker for.

When the four of us met up at the platform at Broadway Junction with the intention of taking the A Train to Far Rockaway, I wasn’t upset to learn that part of the line was closed for repairs. It meant we had to do some quick thinking, but the solution was to take the “S” Shuttle to the end of the line from Broad Channel to B 116, or Belle Harbor, and that sounded just fine. One of the goals of this project is to ride the entire subway system, so missing that chunk of the line wouldn’t do for us, even if we made it to the same end point. This meant a lot of shuttle busses for us because of the construction, but with company like the three of you, it didn’t even really matter, did it? We still ended up in the Rockaways, just at a slightly different point than the original plan with the A train.

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I’ve known the three of you for so long, and you’ve always been the type of friends that are down for whatever. This works great for me in a friendship since very often I operate on whims, and when people are down to ride the tide then they are something special in my book. In fact, during this journey we spent a lot of time recalling past adventures—of which there are many. Atty and I became friends at the time in our lives when adventures were almost a nightly affair. Though there was a lot more partying back then, the spirit of the adventure was always the same. We live and love with abandon. And pick up the pieces later.

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I’m thankful that I spent the day with you three, shuttling around, looking for a restaurant in Belle Harbor, finding a gem of a spot on the Bay, and then ending the day by dipping in the ocean, perhaps for the last time of the year. (Though knowing myself, it’s quite possible that’s not true).

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Our lunch, at a place called the Wharf, was extravagant. It included many Bloody Marys, clams cooked in their own juices (a private joke for us to think back on, one that the readers of the blog probably won’t laugh at if I try to explain how hilarious that was), baby back ribs, mussels, fish tacos, twice baked potatoes, garlic bread and shrimp cocktail. Our table was on a dock right over the water and the weather was perfect. We were all nursing various degrees of hangovers (some of us jetlagged, some of us mending from too much rum the night before).

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The quote of the lunch is when Kevin said, “This is a table full of people that have failed to settle down.” On one hand, that is true. We don’t have babies, we haven’t stopped playing. But I’d like to just amend the word “fail” because have we really tried? I think we just keep living life the way that feels right and natural.

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We’ve certainly come a long way since the early days in San Francisco. We’re all pretty much on the career track now and have accumulated various successes. We’ve all fallen in and out of love and while we may have some scars from the experience, we wear them proudly. We haven’t failed. We just don’t want to settle. We were a tableful of people that have failed to live like some might say we’re supposed to, but why would we ever do such a thing? If we did then we might not have ended up at the end of the line on a Saturday afternoon getting a little too tipsy on Bloody Marys with Clamato juice. We wouldn’t have seen that dude riding his bicycle on the sidewalk with the shirt that said “Beef Cake.” We wouldn’t have touched the jellyfish that washed up on the sand. And I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this letter of adoration to three amazing people with sand tickling me between my toes.

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That’s all I’m going to say about our adventure on the Shuttle to Beach 116 Street. Kevin took amazing pictures that day and I’ll let them flesh out the rest of the experience for our readers of End of the Line Dining. The rest of us can just hold on to those little memories and keep moving forward, refusing to settle down until it feels absolutely perfect. We’ll just cook in our own juices until then.

Love,

Bonnie

PS Lots of cool beach pics to enjoy…

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PPS Kevin in action. Hot damn! Thank you so much!

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