Brighton Beach / NYC / Stonewall Inn | Day 4 | 20 August 2021

I woke up on Day 4 and saw the sun shining into my room. No rain was forecasted for today, so I could enjoy the boardwalk and the aquarium. I quickly ate breakfast, got dressed, and as I walked towards the boardwalk, I had an idea.

Tattoo day meant no beach beforehand since I didn’t want to get burned. I visited the playground and enjoyed the swings for an hour. I watched children and their caregivers come and go. A few children and a few teens sat on the swings beside me. I kept pumping my legs and was able to almost touch the branch of the maple tree. A tree really does grow in Brooklyn.

At around 10:45, I made my way to the New York Aquarium. The walk was gorgeous and I asked a Russian bicyclist if he wouldn’t mind taking my photo in front of the mosaic.

My ticket for the New York Aquarium was for 11am and spent 2.5 hours there. Unfortunately, the one video I took of the shark tank didn’t process, but I do have photos.

I saw the seal and sea lion show first. Now, that was fun and they were so adorable!

I enjoyed the rest of my stay and loved taking photos of all the sea life. I love fish and aquatic life.

I decided to go to the gift shop before I headed out and they were playing Spongebob. I love the classic Spongebob and I had to watch two episodes.

But, before I left New York Aquarium, I had to get selfies and photos with the hibiscuses. They were too pretty to pass up, even though I stepped in a big wad of gum.

After, I had lunch at Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs, enjoyed Coney Island Beach, and walked the boardwalk to the end, where I was able to enjoy the carousel.

As I was walking back to my Air BNB, I encountered two Orthodox Jewish boys. They were praying with an elderly couple, and then playing the Shofar for them. Unfortunately, that video didn’t quite capture either. Google said the file was corrupted.

Shabbat Shalom! ✡️ I wished them both and they gave me a pack of candles, with the Russian instructions. I had to light them at 7:30, Shabbat would begin at 7:30. He also played the Shofar for me.

I chatted with them for a bit. They were traveling from Crown Heights for Hebrew School and prayed with others. These two were 14, made their bar mitzvahs and that’s why they were dressed in the coats and hats. Their younger friend didn’t make his bar mitzvah yet and he wasn’t wearing the coat or hat. I learned a great deal from these young men.

I decided to go back to the playground and other Jewish boys were in the park, praying with the elderly residents. I stayed another hour. This playground was so peaceful and I enjoyed the Shabbat prayer session.

I went back to my Air BNB, charged my phone and changed into my Pride outfit for Stonewall Inn. As I wrote about the other day, I was tattooed first:

Once I arrived at the New York University station, I saw this funny sign in the hallway. I had to get a photo, of course.

I got to the Stonewall Inn and a queen led me upstairs to where Marti Cummings would be performing the Diva Show (in drag). I was seated and ordered a Shirley Temple. The show began and more people started arriving.

Marti was awesome! They performed Green Day’s Basketcase and they’re also part of the Free Britney movement, so of course they had to perform “Oops, I Did It Again.”

I had the joy of hanging out with Edna and Jasmine during the Diva show. What lovely women and the laughs we shared.

Ironically, I wanted to get a photo with Marti after the show at Stonewall Inn. Marti was so happy to see my bandages, they love getting tattooed and thought I was daring for getting two in one sitting. I showed Marti the same photo and Marti loved them. I love my pieces too!

I made my way downstairs after the show because I wanted to buy a t-shirt. I was so happy to see the ace pride flag hanging with all the other pride flags over the bar. I bought a Stonewall baseball tee and after, I started talking to a woman visiting from India. She was torn between the baseball tee and other shirt. I told her she couldn’t go wrong with any of them, we chatted a bit, agreed to a selfie, and as soon as my stomach began rumbling, we parted.

When I made my way outside, I saw the queen that sat me and asked them if they wouldn’t mind getting a photo of me in front of the Stonewall Inn window. They loved my Pride skirt and loved how I got into the spirit about coming tonight.

After the photos, this couple loved my Calvin and Hobbes tattoo, plus my skirt! The Calvin and Hobbes tattoo started a 20 minute conversation about travel. I was so hungry that I forget their names. They were awesome though!

I was starving after the Stonewall Inn and decided to have gluten free pizza at Two Boots, which was located across the street. Yum and personal size too! Perfect!

This was taken at 10:30 pm. I finally made it back to my Air BNB around 12:30 am, took a shower, washed my tattoo, and I couldn’t sleep a wink. I think I was anticipating my return home the next day.

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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.

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