Thursday, May 12, 2016

Grass & Concrete

There is a small outdoor bar near the Brooklyn Bridge shut in a little grove of trees and shrubbery with only pockets of sky and river and bridge and city to peer in like voyeuristic neighbors from a distance. The green encapsulates and invigorates while the dusty brown of long-spent brick and mortar stares at you and reminds you that you are in New York and not some other place with sandy beaches.

The booze is too much and the food even more so, but I can kind of see why some would pay such unseemly prices to have lunch here--the place is set up like a beach-side cabana in some British or French-owned colony from the 1800's still populated by dark-skinned natives. It's a bit other worldly--if you stay long enough to go blind to the inane New York squabble from tourists, locals and babies, not to mention the shouting of class-trip children who march endlessly South past the bar towards the higher Piers and then back again an hour later, still squabbling and screeching but with less energy, having been filled with chea ready-made sandwiches of PB&J, egg salad or chicken salad, or maybe makeshift burritos filled with brown rice and pinto beans. Who knows? I don't make lunches for grade school kids.

The whole of Brooklyn Bridge Park is laid out over 1.3 miles of river side, but really grass only inhabits the first third--the rest is mostly concrete and pretends to make sense in a beach-community kind of way if someone who was born in the middle of the Bronx was to describe a two-home island off the shores of Nantucket during a fever dream. Most of what I assumed were water features, including a closed boat ramp and a swirling water area I forgot to write down but essentially looked like a closed, windy boat ramp, seemed to be untouched since the year prior and most of the trees were too young to be of any good for shade. However, despite it's clear lack of understanding of whatever it was going for, Brooklyn Bridge Park still manages to have a few moments of the surreal honesty that a lot of new York parks seem to pull of. It is a weird sensation that starts with the thought "only in New York," as a detriment, the aforementioned boat ramp and spiral boat ramp being obvious notes toward this idea. Namely only a New Yorker would think that someone would launch a boat there. Only a New Yorker would fence in a lawn on a manufactured hill that runs for 200 yards and have one entrance on one side and expect no one to hop the wire fence, and only a New Yorker would not hop the fence when that gate over there is clearly open. But over time, and the further I got away from actual trees in favor of marsh-grass and concrete tide pools and is that supposed to be a beach? it started to feel more legitimate, more proper, more like a fenced in beach that just needed time to grow into its new shoes. You've got to give this stuff time, Wes. Relax a little.

Suddenly someone puts music on and though it doesn't ruin the mood, we could do with something more timeless than whatever it is, something sweet and quiet and uneccesary but I get it--any music will help keep the bubble going, keeping the place to it's own even when the sky gets dark and the tiny bulbs strung across the patio wink on and shed their orange glow.

The guy who I assume is the proprietor is a gruff, sunglasses-indoor kind of guy with an Irish cap and gym shorts and high socks in running shoes and despite his toolish exterior I have to commend him--if he's owned this place more than 12 days he knows what he's got here and hopefully won't fuck with it too much. Part of me wishes he was twenty years older and wearing a straw hat with a white suit jacket , drinking endless mojitos at the end of a nonexistent bar but the other part of me know that would ruin it--it's as if I like that this place has an other-worldly vibe but doesn't try too hard to pin down whatever world that is. No straw on the tables, no giant margarita bowls, nothing served in coconuts. It is already perfect without these things--no pretentions and no need for concrete whirlpools. It is the precise place to get a drink on a quiet Thursday afternoon while your legs rest, a breeze wafts in from down river and the problems you've had over the last few days feel mostly out of sight, over there on the other side of that little grove of trees.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

Post a Comment