Brighton Beach | 27 August 2022

This weekend was my Labor Day since next Friday I am getting a wisdom tooth out. I plan on relaxing and recovering next weekend.

The digital train schedule is growing on me. Still miss the old fashioned train schedule.

On Saturday I took a day trip to Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York. I left the house at 7:15 am and was at 3oth Street Station by 7:50 am. I overslept and didn’t get a chance to have gluten-free Wegmans rice krispie cereal before I left, so I stopped for some hash browns and an iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts. I made my way to the bench, ate and started talking to a guy with a Pink Floyd shirt and another guy waiting for a train to Daytona. Interesting people, to say the least. The Pink Floyd shirt guy was nice.

Once boarding was called, I met Chi Chi and family, who are from Arizona and were in town to drop one of their daughters off at Lafayette College in Easton. My cousin graduated from there in 2011 and I told them it was a great school. They were visiting New York for the day and they agreed to a selfie with me before we boarded the train.  I had Chi Chi’s husband take the selfie, since he had longer arms.

Chi Chi and family.

 decided to mask while riding the train. It was an uneventful ride and I made it to Manhattan in 90 minutes.

I had to walk to 34th Street, Herald Square, to catch the Q to Brighton Beach. The B, the express train, only runs during the week and had to take the local. I had fun sight seeing while walking to the subway station and fortunately, the Q arrived quickly.

In 40 minutes, I made it to Brighton Beach. En route, a homeless man hopped on at Prospect Park and he asked for $5. Before I gave him $5, I asked him to take a photo for me. He did and was grateful for the help. It was also nice to see the Brooklyn Bridge out the window while entering Brooklyn.

My $5 photo. He was actually a great photographer.

When I arrived to Brighton Beach, I stepped out of the air conditioned train, and humidity hit me. Graffiti greeted me, seagulls serenaded me, and the sea smelled heavenly.

Stepping in Brighton Beach is like stepping in Russia, no passport required! I decided to check out the 99 cents store, to get something to drink for the beach. I wanted to see what kind of Russian candy they had and the only candy that seemed to be gluten-free was from Poland. I assumed it was gluten-free because the wheat was crossed out, the rest of the bag was in Polish. I don’t know how I would have felt about chocolate covered plums and for $5.99, I didn’t buy it. But, I did take plenty of photos and plenty of photos of the other products. I bought a bottle of vitamin water and headed to the beach.

The water was perfect. It was 91 degrees on Saturday and the water was cool. It was a great way to cool down. As I was walking up from the beach with my camera, I heard a dog yapping. A little wiener dog greeted me and I asked the Russian family if I could pet her, as well as take a photo. They agreed and Neena loved the attention. Her owner came back, and she took some photos of me with Neena. So grateful.

I swam for an hour and a half and saw a kite flying. The kite was gorgeous and I saw a Ukrainian flag flying from one of the windows. Brighton Beach’s population isn’t only Russian, it’s also Ukrainian, Uzbecki, Slovakian, Czech, and Polish. It’s really Little Eastern Europe. I digress, as I was taking photos, I saw a guy sitting near the kite. I asked him if it was his kite, but it wasn’t. We talked for a good 15 minutes, Tarik lived locally and he agreed to a photo with me. The guys sitting next to him agreed to take the photo with my DSLR; he ended up taking several since he was a photographer. I gave Tarik my number to keep in touch, he called, but my phone was on airplane and the one time my phone doesn’t tell me when someone called while it’s in airplane, it’s someone I wanted to keep in touch with! Hopefully he texts. Oh well. The photos turned out nicely!

I had a very Russian lunch at Tatyana. Cold borscht, salad, and vodka with cranberry. It filled the spot and kept me satisfied for the rest of the afternoon.

When I got back to the beach, I decided to write in the sand. I wrote this, but I didn’t send it to Brian. I was a bit nervous. Yet, I could send him a selfie where I’m hanging out with vodka in my hand, bikini photos, and other beach photos. I remember when I did this for Lucky Logan last year and he didn’t really say much. I was probably nervous about that happening again. Ah, well, this will be for my sn@pbook.

I sent Brian this one instead. It was well-received and he sent me some photos of Nashville.

I drew this, for scrapbooking purposes. I took it at different angles.

I went back to the beach for another 2.5 hours. I met Mark and his dad who were having a water gun fight. His dad threw the water gun to me because he wasn’t feeling the water gun fight. Mark and I got into a water gun fight. Another little boy had his water gun and joined us. His mother, Jasmine, introduced herself, then Jacob, and Joanna, his sister. Jacob and Joanna joined in the water gun fight and we had a lot of fun for an hour. Mark, his dad, Jasmine, Jacob, and Joanna had to leave, so I gave Mark back his second water gun and thanked him.

I met some others and had fun swimming with them for another hour. They were local and gave me some great restaurants and supermarkets to check out. They agreed to a go-pro selfie and it was priceless.

I needed to take a water break and when I went back to my tent, I had a surprise waiting for me. As you all know, I love pigeons. There was a pigeon waiting for me, sitting on my towel. I was verklempt and I thought, “my child has come to visit!” Yeah, I love pigeons just as much as cats. Unfortunately, my camera and cell phone were behind him and I didn’t want to disturb. Ah well, I have my memory. 🙂

Brighton Beach is my happy place. I left the beach at 4pm, after 4.5 hours there. I did apply sunscreen religiously, but still got some sun. I packed up and I walked the Riegelmann Boardwalk to Coney Island. It was a hot walk, but I did visit Brooklyn Beach Shop and bought a small Brooklyn pennant I’ll use for the sn@p album. I took some photos of the boardwalk and met some people who took my photo, then agreed to a selfie. They were visiting from Ohio.

I left Coney Island/Brighton Beach at 4:30 and made my way to Manhattan for dinner. I was going to go to Friedman’s at Harold Square before I headed home. For some reason, the Q heading to 96th Street was delayed and then detoured. It took me an hour to get to Herald Square, and I made it to Friedman’s by 6pm. My train left at 7:53 and I was happy that I had plenty of time for dinner.

When I got off at Herald Square, there was a popup that looked strange. It was an obstacle course of sorts. It made for great photos. I also noticed a lot of gals dressed up, looking like they were going to an anime convention. A K-Pop pop-up store was near the obstacle course, so it could have been.

At Friedman’s, I sat with a group of other gals. They were dressed up like they were going to an anime convention and I asked the one why everyone was dressed up. She wasn’t friendly, but she did mention that Harry Styles was playing at Madison Square Garden. When she left, a nicer group of gals came who were also seeing Harry Styles, but they weren’t dressed for an anime convention.

Nia was my wait staff and they were great! Nia made sure my meal and dessert were gluten-free. Nia was a great conversationalist and once I mentioned that I scrapbooked, they were overjoyed to hear that and shared that they also scrapbook. I asked Nia for a selfie, for the scrapbook I’m going to make, and they agreed. Nia said, “I’m non-binary, I use they/them pronouns.” Noted. 🙂

The friendlier gals I sat with, Meghan and Rebecca, from D.C. They were a joy to chat with too. Selfie for the scrapbook. The gluten-free Rueben was to die for. I ate it all. I haven’t had a GF Rueben in so long and I was looking forward to it. Friedman’s also had delicious GF chocolate chip cookies.

Madison Square Garden, where Harry Styles was playing, is right next to Penn Station. Before I went in to wait for my train, I had to take photos of everyone dressed up for Harry Styles.

I left NYC at 7:53 pm. On my way home, I sat in the quiet car. As I was placing my bag and beach tent in the rack above me, an African American woman walked over to me, tapped my shoulder, and asked, “How was your day? I hope you had a great day at the beach! I’m so glad to see you because I enjoyed talking to you this morning on the bench.” I smiled and I told her that I did. I asked her how her day was, her day was wonderful too. Hmmm… I probably talked to her in Philadelphia before I met Chi Chi and family. Wow, I guess I do leave an impression on people and they remember me. Maybe I do touch lives.

I made it home at 10:15 pm. I showered and went to bed. I was exhausted. I can’t wait to go back – Brighton Beach and New York City in general are my happy places. I met so many wonderful people and as one of my friends said to me, “you seem to bring out the best in people.” I’m thinking about going back for the polar plunge on New Year’s 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.

One thought on “Brighton Beach | 27 August 2022”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    I knew you said you were going to BB this weekend and I was worried when I read the breaking news:

    “Gunfire erupted on the Coney Island boardwalk late Saturday night, leaving one person dead and four more hurt. It was the second shooting to injure at least five people on the boardwalk this summer. The first happened in July…”

    When I read that, I hoped you were nowhere near the violence, and it reminded me of your close call on South Street Philly a few months ago. I’m very happy to know and to see that you had a great time all the way.

    Yessum, you surely do bring out the best in people, and you have a knack of engaging people in pleasant, friendship conversation that inevitably leads to picture taking. People remember you, and when they do, their reaction is positive. You met a particularly large number of friendly, chatty, kind and helpful people on this daytrip and collected dozens of great pictures, many of them posing for selfies with those wonderful people (and that cute wiener hound). My favorite dog during boyhood was a Dachshund. I would love to taste the Reuben sandwich that eatery served, GF or not. Do you remember the old hit song of the 50s by Pat Boone about writing “Love Letters In The Sand”? Looks like the water at the beach was cool and placid, just what you needed for a relaxing day away from it all. Although you couldn’t snap a pic of the friendly pigeon that dropped by to see you, your mind took the picture, and I’m pretty sure you will remember your fine feathered friend always.

    I hope during this outing that you made some new contacts that stick and grow into solid friendships.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend JM!


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