songbird's crazy world
life in and around NYC is insane
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Say that to any Long Islander, and they know what you mean. Point your car to the intersection of Long Island Avenue and Wellwood Avenue, in Farmingdale. You will find a small, seldom-used railroad station surrounded by ... Pinelawn Memorial Park, the Long Island National Cemetery, St. Charles Cemetery, New Montefiori Cemetery...
It was rainy and cold on Friday, when our little group gathered together. Our destination was the National Cemetery. Drew's father was never one for religious ceremony, but his service in the United States Army during World War II was something he held dear. And so Drew chose the National Cemetery as his parents' final resting place. It was a simple funeral, 14 of us gathered beneath a canopy near the columbarium. The honor guard, two soldiers in dress uniform, played taps, and folded up a flag to present to the family. Then each of us spoke a few words about Drew's father and mother. And then the funeral director placed the ashes in a niche, and it was over.
It was, as Drew said, exactly what his father would have wanted.
The story involves a friend of a friend. Let's call her R. She is an older woman, never married, socially conservative. You might say straight-laced. Very old school. R lives alone. Her brother J and his family live in the house next door. J is retired from a position in law enforcement. Over the years R has come to depend on her brother J for many things.
So when it came time to decorate for Christmas, of course J did R's front yard as well as his own. R notices that one of the inflatables, a Santa figure, is facing the house. She doesn't know why Santa is facing the wrong direction, but she figures J will fix it eventually, and she doesn't give it any more thought.
But she starts to notice that all the cars in the neighborhood stop in front of her house to gawk at her decorations. Not admire, gawk. So one day she's outside, and someone stops to look at the lawn decor. So she asks him, "why is everyone staring at my decorations?"
And he says "It's because of Santa."
"Santa? what about Santa?"
And he points out to her that Santa has his back to the street.
He has his back to the street for a reason.
The reason is, he's mooning.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
The lure of felafel could not be overcome.
This is a storefront, meant primarily for take-out, with a handful of tables if you choose to eat there.
The felafel sandwich is very filling, no need for a side dish. Felafel was light and crisp, salad was fresh, pita was soft and warm. Next time, though, I will have to ask for extra tahini -- there simply wasn't enough on this sandwich. Broccoli cheddar soup was thin, not creamy, and had large chunks of broccoli. Not bad but not memorable either.
They also serve souvlaki, burgers, etc. Hummis sounded tempting.
It's no Souvlaki Palace. But it's a nice place to grab a bite when Greece starts calling your name.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I am a woman of many talents. I play many roles -- mother, daughter, lover, friend, employee, volunteer.
But the most important function of all?
I know how to open a can of Fancy Feast cat food.
Or, at least, that's the thinking of three of my admirers.
Three feline admirers, as you might have guessed.
Mr. Kitty and Redford have a lot of people who feed them and take care of them. It's no wonder they expect food from me, I've fed them often enough.
But Duchess? She's a kitten. She's Drew's kitten. When he first brought her home I didn't want to feed her because I wanted her to bond with Drew.
But last weekend I gave her a can of Fancy Feast.
And now the little demon asks me to feed her. She wraps herself around my ankles as if to say "Welcome to the staff."
What can I say? I live to serve.
Repeat that address to any Long Islander of a certain age, and we immediately know what you are talking about.
It was the Amityville Horror, the scene of a vicious murder and a famous haunting.
On November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed his parents and four siblings. The DeFeo family had lived in the house on Ocean Avenue since 1965.
George and Kathy Lutz purchased the house and moved in in December 1975 and lived there for 28 days, claiming they were driven out by paranormal activity in the house. In 1977 they published a book, and in 1979 that book became a movie.
Swarms of flies. Glowing red eyes. Greenish-black slime on the stairs. Pig-like demons. Native American burial grounds. Scary stuff.
Was their tale real, or was it a hoax? I don't think anyone really cared.
And hordes of curious teenagers came down Ocean Avenue to gawk. A quiet, dead-end street in a quiet suburban town became an impromptu tourist attraction.
It got so bad that the owners remodeled the house, altering its distinctive Dutch Colonial style, and even asked the local government to change the house number.
I never went to gawk. Nope, not me. Never. Absolutely not.
Well, that's not quite true....
The movie was remade in 2005. Jen was 14 at the time, and really into horror movies. And one day we found ourselves in Amityville. She asked me to drive down Ocean Avenue. And she is convinced she knew which house was the "horror house".
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
From July 1976 through August 1977, he terrorized the City and its suburbs. He was preying on girls with long, dark hair, mostly in lover's lanes. He was known as the .44 caliber killer for the type of gun he used to shoot and kill his victims. Later, in letters left at the various crime scenes and sent to Daily News columnist Jimmy Breslin, he referred to himself as "the Son of Sam." His ramblings were psychotic, but his aim was deadly. He killed six and wounded many others, all on the orders of the voices in his head, which he attributed to his neighbor Sam's black Labrador. He was caught because of something so simple as a parking ticket, which put him and his car in the vicinity of the last shooting. Ultimately he pled guilty and was sentenced to six life sentences...
I was 17 in the summer of 1977, going out with boys who actually had cars and were able to drive on our dates. Although all the shootings had been within the five boroughs, our parents were terrified that the shooter would make his way to Long Island, and cautioned us against "parking". Of course we "parked" anyhow, but the idea of the shooter out there lent an element of excitement to our encounters.
We never expected to become victims of the Son of Sam, but we scared each other with stories, with urban legends. Even after his capture, we told tales about how his next target was supposed to be in our Long Island neighborhood...
It kept us scared, at least until September, when we became distracted by another horror -- a book called The Amityville Horror ... but that's a tale for another day ...
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