Jessica’s Beach Vacation | Day 2 | More Brighton Beach and Stonewall Inn | 16 July 2019

On Tuesday morning, I woke up early to listen to Sandy Wood’s last Star Date show. She stepped down because of health issues; I have loved listening to her over the years and I wanted to catch her last show. Alex’s flat wasn’t air conditioned and I didn’t sleep well on Monday night. I wanted to start my day early. Alex is a rock musician (Infinite Spectrum is his band’s name), audiologist, health coach, and guitar instructor—I was grateful he had gluten-free oatmeal for the guests because trying to figure out what the Russian stores were selling was difficult since I don’t know Cyrillic. They did have GF Bob’s Redmill grits, but I didn’t want to buy a big bag.


I walked down to the beach with my DSLR and took photos before I went swimming. Alex only lived two blocks away from the beach, so going back to drop my camera off wasn’t a big deal. I captured a lot of beautiful photos and it was neat seeing people start their day in the water before going to work or prayer or both.

Later, I went swimming with my GoPro and went swimming with the fish. Brighton Beach was clear and it was so cool watching the fish float by and the crabs sneak by. I was able to capture the crab and bigger fish with my GoPro, but unfortunately, the minnows weren’t captured. Watching their rainbow bodies swim by, I will never forget watching those minnows. I also chatted with a photographer originally from the Ukraine and we were talking photography. He was telling me that he has to get special permission when he visits Russia and if he doesn’t, he will be jailed. He also recommended some cameras and lenses to me. He was interesting to chat with.


I swam from 9:30 until 1. I had borscht for lunch, as that was one of the few things I could eat at Tatiana’s Grill. I wanted to visit Nathan’s, so I decided to only order borscht. That’s what I really wanted to try and it was good—it reminded me of eating pickled beets with the juice, with added onion and fennel. I am going to try to make it. After, I went to Coney Island and only paid for the rides I wanted to ride. An hour and a half was enough and I had a blast. I chose some awesome rides that had me both screaming and laughing. The Brooklyn Flyer and the log flume were the highest rides I went on, I avoid coasters, coasters terrify me. However, the Cyclone did look fun, but opted for photos instead. 😀 As soon as I walked out of Luna Park, I ordered a Nathan’s hot dog without the bun and still paid $5! Someone said to me, “you should have waited until Wednesday, hot dogs are only 5 cents for National Hot Dog Day.” If I wasn’t leaving on Wednesday morning, I would have waited.


I went back to the flat and once I was let in, I heard Alex giving his guitar lessons. I met some of the students and when they were in Alex’s studio, I showered and got ready for my evening at Stonewall Inn. I was googling different places that were gluten-free near Stonewall and decided to ask Alex if he was familiar with places. I saw Archie and asked him, but all Archie could say was, “gluten what? Celiac what? I’m sorry, I’m Russian and we don’t have to worry about that. Alex is home and he’s the health freak, ask him.” When Alex finished the lesson, I asked him and he was very knowledgeable. He said most places in Greenwich Village are GF and I should be able to find something. We talked about nutrition for twenty minutes, he shared some keto recipes with me and showed me some of his travel photos. Oh, and I also asked him if he would be around at 12:30 or 1 AM so I could be let in. He said he should be and I headed out. I enjoyed talking to Alex.


I ended up at Keste on Bleecker Street. I know Bleecker Street is popular with musicians since a few artists I like play there frequently and the guys from Penrose that I went to camp with, always played gigs there too. I was excited to be on Bleecker Street and the GF pizza without sauce and cheese was great. They gave me spiced olive oil, regular olive oil, pepper and Parmesan cheese to top the dough with. It was interesting and I liked having pizza that way. Keste was a nice restaurant and I chatted with the couple next to me. I was asking them about the area and they gave me some suggestions, especially on how to get home later. Alex said it would probably be $50 from Stonewall back to his place, they thought the same, and thought Park Slope would be a safe and closer place to catch Lyft.


Stonewall! All I can say is that I felt so much love and joy there. I met Simone in the park and they agreed to a photo. They were a trip to talk to, but was all kindness. Once inside, I ordered a Shirley Temple and then met Sammy, a recent permanent resident to the US from India. His parents don’t know about his orientation and he wants to keep it that way. I asked him the ease of being queer in India and he said it really depends, just like here. Larger cities are more opened to differences than smaller towns. We were both there for Polish the Queen and he treated me since it was my first show. Before the show began, I met one of the queens and we gave each other big hugs. The show was great and it was so much fun. I never laughed so hard in my life and I felt very joyful. I loved Fifi Dubois and after the show I met Toxic Shock. Oh! Sammy wants to keep in touch, he thinks his job might move him to King of Prussia and was asking me some questions about the area. I plan on keeping in touch.


I ended up taking the subway all the way back to Brighton Beach. The B wasn’t running, so I had to catch the F to the Q once we got into Brooklyn. There were a friendly group of people riding the MTA that night and were helpful. I ended up getting back to Brighton Beach at 1:30 AM.

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “Jessica’s Beach Vacation | Day 2 | More Brighton Beach and Stonewall Inn | 16 July 2019”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    This series reminds me of Brighton Beach Memoirs, the Neil Simon play. 🙂 You took some wonderful pictures that morning at the beach. With the blue sky overhead it looks like it was a lovely start to the day. I admire those rock formations. I’m excited that you went swimming with the fish again and spotted minnows and crabs in the surf. You had borscht for lunch at Tatiana’s Grill? Mrs. Shady used to make borscht for us years ago. I will need to remind her, because I’d enjoy having some again soon. I wouldn’t mind munching on a Nathan’s hot dog either, because I’ve never had one. Isn’t that where they hold the hot dog eating contest? I’m glad you challenged your courage on a couple of rides there at Coney Island. I appreciate seeing the pics of the rides and your lunch. Keste on Bleecker Street was surely a place where the atmosphere is as great as the food. I’m glad you met that nice and helpful couple who gave advice on how to get from Stonewall back to Alex’s flat safely. The Queen show at the Stonewall Inn sounds like a hoot and I’m happy to know you met and befriended Sammy and want to stay in touch. if he moves to K-O-P he will be close by. I’m glad you found friendly passengers on the subway train back to BB. It was another great adventure and you have many excellent pictures to remember it always!

    Have a happy Monday, dear friend JM!


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