New York City Diary

Words and pictures from my interesting life in New York.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Brooklyn Pub Night & Coney Island Sunday

Yesterday afternoon I went to kumite class at 4:00 p.m. and it was excellent. Many good fights with tough opponents. Much fun and very cathartic. Great therapy.

After coming home and getting cleaned up Jenn had the excellent idea of taking a walk down to Bedford Avenue (the main cool strip of Williamsburg, Brooklyn) to go to a new-ish bar, Spike Hill. I had been there only once before.

We arrived at Spike Hill at about 7:00 p.m. It was mostly empty but with enough of a crowd to be comfortable. Spike Hill is a very nice, very Irish bar, for being so new and in a neighborhood that doesn't have too many Irishers (let's not forget the excellent Iona, though).

Jenn and I got a nice pair of bar stools by the front window, with a good view of the bar as well as of the pedestrian traffic along Bedford Avenue. It was a nice spot and I went to the bar to get some beers. I ordered a Delirium Nocturnam for Jenn (also here) and an Old Speckled Hen for myself, both draught, of course.

I ordered it and the friendly bartender acknowledged it as a fine order and starting pouring and a couple at the bar who had overheard me ordering said, alright, what the hell did you just order? And I explained to them what Delirium Nocturnam and Old Specklend Hen were like, and they were fascinated, and the barman said "This guy knows his beer," so thank you very much.

I delivered the beers to Jenn waiting in our nice corner with good views and we enjoyed our brews and had a chat. In the course of our chat we decided that we were hungry and too lazy to go to much trouble, and we both said, at the same time, in fact, that we should go to Spuyten Duyvil for some cheese and charcuterie. We finished up at a leisurely pace and then took the walk to Metropolitan Avenue to Spuyten Duyvil. Once there we got two seats at the bar and we each ordered great beers, though I can't remember exactly what they were, which is rare for me but it's a testament to the amazing selection of rare draft and bottled Belgian and other superb beers they have there.

The couple who own and run the place are really cool too, and the guy had my back in my beef with Fifty last Saturday when I was out with Justin (long story).

I love the Blind Tiger Ale House and d.b.a., with their extensive selection of draft beers. Those are two great great bars/pubs. Spuyten Duyvil is different. They will have a constantly-rotating selection of about eight draft beers and one cask ale, and then they have a "library" almost of Belgian and other artisinal beers.

But perhaps the best part is they also offer cheese and charcuterie (and olives, pickles, "phat beets," and other goodies) to pair with your beers. We got two different aged goudas and another cheese I can't remember. I got sliced sopresata sausage but Jenn doesn't eat the red meat. We got an olive plate and it all came with a big bowl of Italian bread slices. Superb again.

We didn't stay long there, either. We left at around 9:00 p.m. and bought the Sunday New York Times on the way home from Hana. At home we read the newspaper, surfed the internet, and watched TV. I bragged that I read the entire New York Times but I had actually just flipped through every page of every section, methodically. Still, that's something.

One of the things we decided on last night was to go to the New York Aquarium at Coney Island today. I woke up early, at 7:42 a.m. and started getting ready, made coffee, bought egg sandwiches from Kellogg's Diner, etc. We finally left the house and got to Coney Island, Brooklyn (via the L and Q subways) at 11:05 a.m.

It was colder than we had hoped. At least it wasn't raining. The aquarium was pretty good but it was also kind of disappointing. There were a few excellent exhibits, like the jellyfish and sea jellies (different things, I'll have you know) but there were also quite a few exhibits that were under renovation, and a bunch of "interactive" stuff that was broken. The fish and other aquatic life seemed pretty well cared for, though.

At 11:30 we shivered in this outdoor amphitheater to watch California Sea Lions getting fed. They were pretty cool, especially since they were kind of misbehaved, and ignored the trainers' commands a lot, especially this one older sea lion (40 years old). He was like "forget this," and he manipulated the trainer just enough to get his fish with minimal effort.

We saw one penguin in the penguin exhibit, we saw two beluga whales, but had only a brief glimpse, and we saw some sharks. Actually we saw a lot of things, but sadly the New York Aquarium suffered in my mind (and in Jenn's too, she said) by comparison to the excellent Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California and Birch Aquarium at Scripps in San Diego, both places Jenn and I visited a couple of years ago. Those are some nice aquariums. Poor Coney Island suffered by comparison, although it wasn't horrible, we did enjoy it and how many of you reading this can say you saw beluga whales today? Also I shot a bunch of cool digital photos, especially of the jellyfish. If you are really curious you can email me and I'll send you a jelly photo.

I like aquariums in general and think oceanography is a pretty neat field of study.

After we left the aquarium we walked along the Coney Island Boardwalk for a while and looked at the ocean. It was pretty cold and windy and we weren't interested in the fried clams or shoot-the-freak games so we headed to the Q train at Stillwell Avenue and took it back to the L train, which took us home.

At home I took a nap. Jenn did some work on the computer. I woke up and we got some Thai food. Now we're trying to get a few last-minute Sunday night things done. Happy Easter, everybody.


Blogger Jenn said...

Don't forget the seahorses. They were almost worth the price of admission--almost. Hopefully, the aquarium can use the $11 apiece we all paid to get in to fix the "interactive" stuff (and buy a few more penguins).
Happy Easter!

10:20 PM  

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