Tuesday, 15 June 2010

#18 The grass is always greener.

Fishing Pier, Lemon Creek Park, Staten Island, 2010

I've whinged about Staten Island on these (*ahem*) hallowed pages before. Let's recap: an apartheid-era wasteland of poor black communities abutting rich avenues of pristine, clapboarded, white middle America.

Well, there are nice bits, too. Take one of the tangle of bus routes from the ferry terminal (Staten Island's only, tenuous link with the rest of New York - it hangs precipitously below the city and is for all intents and purposes part of Jersey), and you are transported - at length - to some lovely beaches. BEACHES WITH HORSESHOE CRABS!

I freaking love horseshoe crabs. They are nature's survivors, having hung around for 500 million years to see the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, Rome and Adolf Hitler. They are generally physiologically fascinating (the 1967 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded for studies done on horseshoe crabs' peepers). But much more importantly, they have really, really, really silly names, in that they look absolutely nothing like horseshoes at all. My elbow looks a lot more like a horseshoe than a horseshoe crab. And they don't look anything like crabs, either, nor are they related to them. Only when my dog - ghost white in hue, and incapable of finding chicken in a KFC - received the name 'golden retriever' was the horseshoe crab outdone in the silly name stakes.

So Staten Island was off to a good start when I arrived on its - lets be honest - bleak, barren shores. It was the sort of moody, overcast morning that made me feel right at home. (Oh Lyme Regis, how I've missed you!) The crabs were dead, but intact, which is the ideal crab state for an enthusiastic but wimpish explorer like me. I took some snaps (to follow), then proceeded to go fishing.

I'm not big on fishing. I sort of don't agree with it both of welfare and environmental grounds. However, the park rangers assured me I was almost certain to catch nothing, and the acid yellow rubber bait backed them up. I waggled my rod around for a bit (oh shush), caught some seaweed and an empty clam shell, and headed home contented.

The Staten Island Ferry is also a lot more fun when you don't have to catch it daily. And it's a nice day. And you have company. And iced coffee.

That's all, folks. Some snaps are attached for your delectation.

Staten Island Ferry, 2010

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