Dear I Almost Died in New York

18 Oct

As a west coaster, you hear a lot about how your pizza is terrible, and just wait until you get to New York and eat New York pizza. I’ve seen Sbarros in New York, which means they haven’t gone out of business, which means someone is willing to eat there, so…there’s that.

Saturday I went to Coney Island and it was a relentlessly bright, sunny, amazing day. You know what’s psychologically disturbing? The incredible discrepancy in my mind between how FUN amusement parks look to me and how much I actually enjoy them (not a bit). As I looked out the window of the Q train, the park rides came into view and I actually SQUEALED.

You know what happens when I actually GET ON a roller coaster? I spend the entire time thinking “At least my family will get a huge settlement if I die.” This works best at Disney-owned parks. Also: “Where can I puke so it lands on the least number of people?” This doesn’t work at Disney-owned parks, which are statistically the most crowded places on earth, right after Justin Bieber concerts and China.

Cultural expectations of flashing lights and tinny music– what a bitch.

So we get off the train and we ride the ferris wheel and play skeeball and eat french fries on the board walk and ride the kiddie roller coaster, whose hills are so small I mostly don’t even think about death or vomit. And little kids were chasing seagulls and the rides were being started just for us and the skeeball machine kept breaking so I kept getting free games.

It was really just spectacular.

Then we stopped for pizza on the way back home, and specifically got off the train to go to a particular pizza place (of course) and they were CLOSED. There was a rope hanging across the open doorway saying they would reopen at 7. We stood there looking forlorn and sort of hopefully/idiotically staring in the direction of the kitchen, hoping someone would come out and say, “Just kidding!” No one did.

We stood there some more, looking at the people happily scarfing down their pizzas, ignoring our sad and hungry faces, licking tomato sauce off their fingers and dripping cheese down their chins. So rich in their glories they didn’t have a thought to spare for us.

And then. Then a middle-aged man with a round face and a solid Eddie Bauer jacket and Dockers came to the door and held out a plate with a solitary piece of pizza on it, saying, “We aren’t going to finish. Do you want this? We really can’t finish our pizza, you should have it. Please, take it.” And he brought us paper towels and his daughter who he was probably visiting gave us sort of a smile. And oh, man, I took it and I ate it and…

to be honest, it was kind of cold and the toppings were weird– peppers, pepperoni, pineapple, and onion– ?

But. Still. How great, right?

People kept walking up to the door and looking at the sign and doing exactly what we had done, staring like damn fools as if that would change something. And then they’d look at me and go, “Where’d you get that! DID YOU BUY THAT! HOW DID YOU GET THAT!” 

I have never felt unsafe in New York until that moment.

And if you want to know what the pizza place was called or what stop it was by or what neighborhood it was in, I have no frickin’ clue. But I do highly recommend it. Because if you’re lucky it’ll be closed and you’ll get to stand on a street corner by a trash can shoving cold pizza with weird toppings in your mouth and feeling very, very happy about the world.

You know? You know.

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