Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Camping Trip (Camping Out)

Camping Trip (Camping Out)

            Not everything that is worth recording
Is recorded
Especially the not recorded that is
The backwards
            It would seem it is
            Until recorded.

            I go to New York City
            From Maine
            And ‘have been’ ‘for years’ (Decades).
            I go on camping trips
            I have been for decades.

            Let us see this correctly:
            A... New York City “Sport” comes
            To Maine
            On camping trips of
            Sleeping on the ground in a tent in the
            Rain with the ‘No Taxis?”
            No doorman
            No metro mash (intentional) transit and
            That kind of open space air where there
            Are those ‘things they call stars
            Up there” (in Maine)
            I understand.

            Reverse this and the expedition (camping trip) is obvious.  I wear my Bean Boots.  It rains.  I’m glad I did:  “They wear, like, these sneakers that are, like, totally wet”.  Okay so I didn’t wear my gaiters (Maine woods brush slash gear protecting one’s lower pant legs).  My pant cuffs ‘got wet’.  I never have wet pant cuffs.
            I can deal with that.  Umbrella too (two; I brought a ‘back up’).  On the street, in the apartment.  Up the stairs.  DOWN the stairs.  Look out the windows.  “Huh”.

            I am wildlife in a native habitat.  NO.  I am visiting wildlife in their natural habitat.  Now we have the understanding.
            Camp site?  On the floor behind the sofa.
            That leaves food.  There is lots of food
            To choose from.  I wear a jacket and tie.  With the Bean boots.  It’s raining hard.  Everyone is wearing ineffective footgear.  Except me.  “They like wet feet?”
            “OK:  Food”.

            The first meal is ramen.  Eight blocks walk.  Pouring ‘toad strangler’ ‘gully washer’.  Storm drains can’t handle it.  We are one minute early then:  “Ahhhh....” inside it is steaming hot wet packed soaked dripping vapor rising kitchen fast bowls of hot...
            I have Miso Ramen; thick gravy broth flamboyant ball of slurping noodles huge portion fights all pouring rain in single one on one combat with the elements.  The local patrons know this and never look up from their bowls.  Soldiers.  Shoulders and necks arch and cramp from the noodle slurping.  So fortified so fast so much the torrent outside is welcome.

            We keep Maine hours at our campsite.  Hike down seven blocks for hot bagels at before dawn.  “In twenty minutes the line will be up the street”.  The bagels are Maine ‘camping trail right’ HOT... soft... like you wanted at the top of Mount Washington
            In the fog that morning
            Last July.
            Still raining.

            We go downtown by bus figuring this time “WHAT?”.  Always pick something you can ‘do’ (actually study) at each visit to the MET.  JUST take not too big a portion; just do that, study that and then... go eat lunch.  This time I studied ...only... gold (jewelry) with garnet gemstones... only.  That’s it.  I looked at Roman and eighteenth century French garnet gemstones set in gold.  For the record one may find ‘a (Victorian) garnet’ ‘set’ in gold in ‘estate jewelry’ and... the jewelry dealers will be dismissive of it.  Victorian “G & G” (gold & garnets) is okay with me.  This day... the study of the Roman ‘G & G’...is supreme for the education (and sophistication) of my eye.

            We go to Shake Shack for lunch (Lexington).  I mean... really.  Its all phony.  Who cares.  Then we go back (window shopping ‘antiques’) to the MET on an American ‘silver hilted sword’ pilgrimage.  They are way off at the far end of armor; American silver hilted swords from the Colonial and Revolutionary era.  Ownership “of one” is a New England collector’s territorial dream.  The MET display is the best ‘clutch of ‘em’.  One can see ‘more of them there’ in five minutes than “you’ll ever see in your life.  Hence the pilgrimage (“visit”).  Also... no one bothers your viewing... at all (“wouldn’t know they were there to look at”).

            At five we hike down for Thai food crossing seven blocks south and arrive at opening minute.  Cheap, fast, good and... the place is jammed ten minutes later.  Everyone in the place (diners and wait staff) all know what’s going on; it’s “usual”.  The food was “usual” too but kept at a polished flare that assured the ‘know what they are doing here’ aura.

Part Two

            Christmas day:  “Any time you think you need to get away (from the American Christmas) go to Chinatown”.  So we did that by mid (Christmas) morning.  The closer we get the bigger the ‘crowd’ (retreating ‘skip Christmas’ army) gets.  By the eleven morning opening we are seated.  So is everyone else.  The Cantonese din is the only sound.  The line is already ‘down the (Mott) street’.  “I guess” I say to the grad student oral guide of best choices for bang and no buck and “THESE GUYS” (Mainland Chinese grad student dining researchers) have eaten “ALL OF IT” too so... “just hold on to the railing and eat”.  All Cantonese.  Be clear about understanding that.  Two steamed soup dumpling, one pan fried soup dumplings, tofu with ‘lima’ beans & preserved vegetable and sliced rice cake with pork (these both Mainland ‘nursery food’ ‘reminders of home’.

            The jerky shop won’t allow photos.  Beef or pork?  These are squashed (“pressed”) squares of “Smoked Meat”.  Soft, not chewy, they are not suitable for Maine camping trips but will quiet a child.  We ate ours (pork) on the spot.  If one mixes those bites with a half dozen soup dumplings “your ok” ‘on the trail’.  If you put the jerky in your  pack ‘for later’... forget it.

Part Three

            “Don’t you dare tell anyone you like rare books” is always the best mantra especially in circles where what pair of black leather boots one is wearing ‘cuts’, ‘bleeds’ and ‘snubs’.  So I keep my mouth shut about rare books until asked
            About anything in my universe I’d like to visit.
            “Okay” is the...
            And especially for it IS sophisticated and “probably” “not crowded”
            “Rare Books.  Right?”
            Library.  They have Thoreau’s Journals.”
            “Isn’t that nice”.

            We go there.  The sophistication and the crowd are “EXACTLY” as promised.  The walls are lined with enclosed bookcases of rare book that are... all there...
            “Spine ends out”.
            of ... “RARE BOOKS”.
            AND the collection is ‘comprehensive’ TOO.
            “Isn’t that nice”.
            Thoreau is no where in sight.  Nor are there any shopping carts to put the rare books (“spine ends up”) in...
            To buy.

            “I get it”:  The only way I have a rare book like these is one book at a time one copy of it once.  I’m not a rare book collector.  I am a rare book dealer.  I can DEAL with it.  Also:
            Guess what.  Morgan, the old change purse grub, included ‘G & G” (gold and garnets jewelry) in his hoard... ding.  Yes; French Medieval baubles of gold and garnets are displayed.  “Isn’t that nice... Dear”.  I advance my studies... and certify myself that I am now... ‘ready to find that’ (‘G & G’)
            Good luck at the flea market.  With that.  Oh you don’t think so?  GOOD!  And stay behind the velvet cord (of all ‘this’ antiques hunting)... please... too.

            We drop down and across a couple of blocks to Koreatown (32nd) for lunch.  “Yeah” Korean food.  I never “DO” ‘Korean barbeque’ so always tag the soup kitchen tables.  We; party of three, knowingly eat a whole spread of soup... with familiar ease...:  This is ‘especially now’ that one may ‘find it’ in ‘Maine” (out by the jetport... intermingled with Sushi ...for real).  (The Korean ‘soups’ are on the last page BACK of the menu).  Anyway... this is, again, cheap, authentic, fast, fine and hearty fare from and for the rocky mountainside landscape setting one remembers from just below the top of Mount Washington... in the cold fog and drizzle... last July.  So... like... it’s THAT KIND of “KOREAN FOOD”.  Don’t worry; it’s the “LAST” on everyone else’s ‘bucket list’ too.

            We entertain ourselves all the way home by hiking the trail “UP” Fifth and Madison “SHOPPING” the street scene, the store window displays (an industry and VERY SERIOUS design/art form) offerings and... occasional venture ‘into’ ‘a store’.  “Yeah can you believe the CRAP they sell.  I look for ‘G & G’... on the streets, in the window displays and... in the stores.  No luck with that.  “Probably at the flea market Dear”.

            All is not lost.  Though.

            IN... the New York metroplex food war... the desperately valiant foot soldier of the common ‘village family’ home style ‘Italian Restaurant’ (pasta and pizza) IS a ...foot soldier of dependable classic New York (City) dining and
            I know this and
            Frequent this and
            Look for this and
            GO THERE and
            And, to not my surprise... these “PLACES” are being stomped out as if cockroaches... TOO so... actually they do a better job of ‘staying power’ than one would credit and that is a
            CREDIT to them.  Just go to any area in the metroplex (Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey and ‘the city’) where there are no tourists ever and there  will be SEVERAL to choose from and DO...DO... THAT:  Choose one and eat there... often.  The family of the restaurant will love you.  The food (pasta and pizza) is classic ...style... REAL NY Italian... NO fancy funk and no funk for the wallet either.  One can tell a good one because it is always crowded with LOCAL  FAMILIES doing exactly what YOU want to do: EAT.  And... by eating around the menu over several visits one WILL ‘make discoveries’ of that particular’s ‘bests’ and ‘classics’.  Even a “great salad” ...I have “found” (find).            

            We walk to ours (local) and order two pizzas (‘white w/broccoli and onions’ and “prosciutto” and eat (79%) of them.  We take the remaining slices “home”.  This is not strip mall franchise pizza.  This is homemade family village pizza.  They don’t make this in Maine.  ‘Much at all’.  It is a good sighting of New York wildlife feeding in their natural setting.  Too.

Part Four

            Talk about natural setting.  The next morning we do the ‘come back right at you’ “I DARE YOU” Upper West Side... “Brunch”.  Color chalk board hawked fresh squeezed juices, lengthy description of ‘funny name for that’ Mainer in New York “ahhhh....”.  The waiter is attentive.... tip hunting attentive.  I feel sorry for the guy.

He’s not hunting ‘G & G’.  Or any fine art.  Decorative art.  ...Any art.  I mean “decorator” or “store window” ART... “too”.  He don’t know... yet he’s standing in the middle of it:  A real lot of really good real art... on the Upper West Side.  Just about anywhere I go there the ‘someone has art’ drops right in front of me.  And... there’s a real lot of ‘don’t know’ people who just ‘stand there’.  So... like... perfect working conditions.  OK so I’m not the only one who can spot a thread bare estate rug at forty feet but... if I’m there... you better be good... quick... and know good-quick too.  So we walk around the flea market (77th).  I can’t fail.  You can fail?  I... can’t fail.  There is just too much good old stuff in that area.  It is one of the ‘richest in the world’ and “everything hits the street”.  But you gotta know what your doing and understand that other people there “do too”.  At this flea market, for example; look for the old ‘were rich’ ladies selling their family things.  Oh you don’t think so?  Okay.  Perfect working conditions (“I have some more of that at home.  I’ll bring it for you.”) And:  Did I say ‘G & G’ again?  I ‘looked’ at the flea market but... zip.   I enjoyed doing that; looking for gold and garnets.  And the old ladies are sweethearts when they realize ‘you know’ and “buy”.

            Just understand that the ‘secondary market’ (all ‘used’ “stuff”) is always right there where ever one is.  JUST LOOK AROUND; you will find it.  Even in a strip mall in Kansas.  “Placement” of oneself in a “GOOD” (GREAT) setting of a secondary market is then understood to be... YOUR DOING.  Meaning.... go to where the good stuff IS and IS being ‘pissed away’.  In New York City, the LOCAL logistics of managing ‘finding stuff’ in the secondary market is, to a Maine dealer like me, a “WORKS FOR ME”.  Particularly as I am not seeking New York City museum grade ‘knock out’ “ART”.  No.  I want traditional NEW ENGLAND art; decorative art and antiques... quality.  Traditional classic NEW ENGLAND.  Example?  Tread bare (old) “oriental” “rugs”.  They are “too worn” “for New York”.  Got it?  “Chinese Export Porcelain” (1780-1810) as in Salem Customs House Hawthorne Yankee Merchant China Trade... “TOO COMMON”.  I find it all over the place... CHEAP... with “no one” “even looking at it”.  But... it is the logistics of ‘doing this’ that will ‘cost’ you.  What do I mean by logistics?  Oh... for example... a warehouse “THERE” and a (several) barns “HERE” (Maine).  And much more.  Like... “DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?” way around stuff.  Yeah... gonna have to master that.  You know... like... riding on the subway carrying a dark blue nineteen inch Staffordshire platter... under your arm.  One day I had to carry a “perfect” shield top slipper foot Salem (Mass.) Federal candle stand right up Madison.  No one said a thing and the sidewalks were jammed.  Don’t worry, no one knows what it is and ...if they do they do not think you’re an idiot.

            On the last night... we spent four days and five nights...: I make it clear that a ‘whole load’ may be ‘put together’ (a whole load of fresh picked NYC upper west side antiques for resale may be found and bought) in... less than two days (“OVERNIGHT”) professionally... so ‘we were taking it easy’ (the holiday).  I restate; a commercial full load of found antiques to take back to Maine to sell... I need under two days to ‘pick’ a ‘load’ and... can come back the next week and do the same.  I did that for eighteen years.  Around forty-two trips a year.  Now I poke it whenever I want.  I ‘retired’.  There is ‘no’ (very little) competition.  Why?  “They don’t know”.

            On the last night... we bountifully devoured a table top of Szechuan food at 105th street.  Starting with a fish and pickle soup and ending with ‘all gone’ we...  I know and it is very true; Szechuan is a dangerous table top to the  ‘they don’t know’.  Better take it easy on this.  Hint?  Don’t eat the spices; they are for flavoring the food and are a large part of each dish.  Don’t eat them.  Eat the food (fishes, mushrooms, meats, veggies).  If one does that well then it will all make sense after a few ‘tries’.  The same for pickers picking New England antiques on the Upper West Side.  Don’t buy the faux.  Just buy the real stuff.

            We hiked out the next morning.  Nice trip.  It rained a lot.  My feet didn’t get wet.

1 comment:

  1. I'm exhausted, but the trip was worth it.