Happy Memorial Day! While we are spending the holiday working and getting ahead – in Sandy’s case – and in my case, desperately trying to make sense of the array of personal belongings I have spotted and hid throughout Sandy’s office, we did spend Sunday visiting our friends – Heather and Larry – in Long Beach, Long Island.
Heather I’ve known for a decade now. We met during college – she liked to party with my old best friend, at a time when I had stopped partying, so we only became acquaintances. However, when I showed up to law school in 2009, during my sole semester, it was reassuring to see someone I knew. Us “nice girls,” public – not private – law hopefuls, quickly became friends in a world of competitive, cutthroats at a law school in which all of us scholarship students were placed in one class to edge each other of our scholarship funds should we fall below the top third of our class, which inevitably would happen to 2/3 of the class by the end of the year. We learned about this condition towards the end of the first semester, during which we had to make decision as to whether we would commit to the next year of study. I promptly dropped out, but kept my friendships with the nice girls.
In the intervening years we have both married and become a part of a girl’s brunch group we look to get together a few times a year.
Where is Long Beach?
Long Beach is an island a little to the southeast of NYC. It’s a little under an hour train ride on the LIRR from Penn Station to three Long Beach station. Known as the “City by the Sea,” it truly is its own separate city – with its own government, own fire department, an East and West End, and its own police department (which Larry gripes are often overpaid and I reaffirmed in reading that the average salary is $125,000/year, double the national average salary of police officers. The Long Beach fire captain making triple the amount of the police officers there).
We began with lunch at Wild Feast, my friends’ favorite restaurant on the island. They love sidling up there over the weekend, or ordering delivery on a touring weekday, and I can understand why. The restaurant emits warm vibes and is host to good, simple ingredients and hearty dishes.
Sandy and I were happy to find ourselves able to choose between grilled veggies tacoes, a quinoa veggie burger, and a salad. A lot of their food is locally sourced, and at about $11 per brunch or lunch entree, reasonably priced.
As you can see in the pic above, one receives a lot of food with their plate. I found myself leaving the restaurant with half a sandwich in my tupperware. Looking back on that meal, I am so happy I quit my Raw Till 4 Diet a few days ago or else I would have been limited to a pretty plain salad or baked sweet potato chunks.
Oh and they have the nicest bathroom with following moss hanging in glass orbs.
Afterwards we headed back to the apartment, which I had yet to see. The last I visited them in Long Beach was three years ago, and at the time they lived in a fairly dark, crowded apartment. Now they have a beautiful, large beachfront 1-bedroom apartment that fills with light and offers an ocean view.
I had never walked the beach before, and with full stomachs amongst us all, we decided to go for what started a simple stroll, and eventually led to a 5+ mile walk from the west to the east end of Long Beach.
It’s fun walking with these two as they provide trivia about nearly every building we pass on the boardwalk. Larry has lived there since 2008, and knows how old buildings are, what they were before they all became apartments and condos. Heather recognizes some from when they were apartment hunting two years back.
Neither Heather, nor Larry, they’re in the market up buy a place, but Heather knows exactly which two buildings would be her dream. One of them happened to be hosting an open house that afternoon. Shy of buying, Heather and Larry were a bit hesitant to visit, but I insisted that we take a quick look. I figure this never hurts and it builds perspective for eventual buying. I know that I saw a year of open houses in Hoboken before buying there, and as a result I knew when I saw a good deal with my condo there.
Who Lives Here?!
The condo was a fairly nice duplex one bedroom apartment selling at $625K. Simple enough to look at, except for the clothing that was exploding out of every corner, and the endless trays of makeup.
I tried to envision who it was that owned all the stuff, and the realtor noted it was the girlfriend of the owner who had just moved in, and promptly took over 2/3 of the space with her belongings. Incredible.
In the elevator of the building we ran into the largest Pug I have ever seen – Mickey!
Not only did his scruffy 35+ lbs overwhelm his body, but he was tall too got a pug. “He must be fed a couple slices of pizza a day,” I remarked to the man walking him, who only Leroy repeating “Mickey” and “Not my dog.”
We reached the end of the Boardwalk and immediately grasped the difference between West End and East End in Long Beach. East End is lined with high-rises along the beach, with $1 million+ homes behind them. West End is composed of one and two story ranchers and bungalows. The West End is also littered with crowded bars featuring Jersey Shore-like revelers.
iNaturalist on Long Beach
Sandy enjoyed searching for lichen for his brother to identify on iphone app iNaturalist.
At this point in time, while years have passed since Hurricane Sandy damaged much of this part of Long Beach, all houses on this end are required to be lifted to prepare them for future flooding. Seeing this construct makes me feel better about Heather and Larry not owning their home. Best not to buy in a flood zone.
All in all, we had a wonderful time visiting Heather and Larry. I couldn’t believe it’s been three years since I’ve visited them, especially as they are always making the effort to come into Manhattan or Brooklyn to visit us. They are true friends – ones I always love being around – and I need to make more of an effort to see them.
It’s silly, but sometimes living in Manhattan makes you lazy. It’s so convenient you don’t have to leave the ten block radius of your home. I know that from our base in Chelsea we can easily access a Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, the best of the best in terms of thrift stores, the water, a track to jog around, my favorite fruit stands in the city, etc. It’s wonderful, but I have to be careful not to get mired down in one place because truly, as this trip shows, there are so many wonderful area nearby to explore.
It’s only a matter of time till we visit them again. We love you Heather and Larry!