The Deep Fried Oreo Festival

This past weekend there was a festival on Ditmars - our block, 37th Street, was one of the main centers of the festivals featuring a giant saint, San Antiono, decorated in a box decorated with lights, flowers and....money.

From doing a Wikipedia search on San Antonio I found that this man lived a very humble life, he was incredibly poor (maybe that is why they clipped money to the statue of him - giving him what they think he deserved?), but he was poor by choice.  He took the Bible very literally and sold every possession he owned and gave everything away.  Some consider him the first monk.  Then the article went into detail about his death by being tortured by demons and some not so happy things...but I digress.  The festival was put on by a local men's club and it was in honor of this saint.

When we heard about the festival I kinda knew what to expect.  I've been to several NYC Street Fairs in the past - various vendors and food, maybe a kiddy bounce house.  But this one was a tad more elaborate bringing in a few carnival rides and games...including one called "Soak the Bloke."

This guy would tell silly jokes and tease the crowd.  His face was done up in black and white paint, so he looked a bit like a skeleton, and he had the most memorable laugh...and not memorable in a pleasant way.  It was a method to get attention-and it did.  Unfortunately, the laugh was amplified and could be heard in our apartment less than half a block away, when we weren't running the fans and A.C.  Joe and I also made the mistake of mentioning how we didn't like his laugh and would mimic it as a joke.  However, Henry took this as we didn't like the guy and then became fearful of the guy...to the point of waking up at night crying due to a nightmare that he was in Henry's room!  Poor baby.  Lesson learned for Mommy and Daddy!  Thankfully we straightened it all out on day 3 of the fair and Henry decided he now liked the Soak the Bloke guy, he was funny and nice and really got a kick out of watching him get soaked.

We spent one evening walking through the fair, it was a fun evening and it was interesting to observe some of the differences between what you find here versus a typical Minnesota fair. 


The street decorations draping across the light poles are always there, but they were lit up for the festival - and I noticed a few days before the festival one of them has a saying on them that basically translates to "Long live Saint Anthony".  (i think...)

Funnel cakes, lemonade and deep fried Oreo's.  Pretty typical Minnesota.  We deep fry everything!  Candy bars, hot dish, spaghetti, cheese.  You name it, we've fried it.

A fire station is just a few blocks from our home, so we often see firetrucks, Henry never tires of watching them!


Okay, here we have some interesting stuff.  Pork Braciole?!  Excuse me?  Whaaaaaaaaat?  Never heard of it.  But maybe I live under a rock.  Here is a recipe for it.

Rice balls?!  And who is Pannelle?  Ya, I think I do live under a rock.  This article tells me Pannelle (correct spelling is Panelle) and rice balls are two different things.  Both sound tasty.

This is not something you'd see at a normal MN fair either - giant sausages being cooked.  We generally stick to brats and hot dogs.  Everything smelled amazing.

Shish-ka-bobs.  Yum.

 There was a raffle for various prizes, including that car.

I haven't a clue what Sausage Broccolli Rabe is either.  However, I'm continually amazed at how "professional" signs and printings are spelled incorrectly.  I wonder if I'll ever get used to that?  Sausage Broccoli Rabe sounds pretty dern good though--recipe here.

Giant smoker-o-meat.  Not too strange, I've seen similar in MN.

Corn on the cob and Maiz Asado.  I get the first part, not the second.  But it sure looks good!  I tried to Google it, but all the pages are in Spanish that come up...looks like a corn pancake to me.  Yum.

What did Henry spy?

Nope, not ice cream (that's later).

$3.00 lighter...

He was so, so, SO excited!

He kept looking back to the kid behind him, I was standing next to that child's grandmother, we just laughed about it.  It was like Henry was making sure he was following him or something...very cute.

What did you think of it Henry?

Yep.  He was over the moon!  It was a long ride, they made it worth your $3.

However, this little bubble gun - while very cool - was not worth the $8 price tag that it had on it!  I've gotten similar contraptions from Target and the dollar store.

Now what did I spy?


$3 baby!  And after I had picked it up, the vendor said, "2 for $5".  You don't have to ask me twice!  I love me a big crazy ring.

Then Henry saw the ice cream truck...and yep, he already knows the name of it, "Mr. Softee."  He thinks the ConEd truck, the Verizon truck, and the FedEx truck are all Mr. Softee...

It was hot, so ice cream was necessary. :)

Henry's choice, a Spiderman.

Joe's choice, a shake.

My choice?  "Let's walk to Dunkin' Donuts for an iced coffee."

On the way Henry munched on his ice cream and became blue on one side and red on the other!

He got a bit messy...and naturally Dunkin' Donuts had to be out of napkins!  Thankfully there was a prepared mother (unlike myself) at the table next to us who was so kind to offer her wipes.

Amazingly we didn't use her entire pack on that mess!!

Walking back through the festival area I noticed one more oddity...

Regretfully we weren't hungry while we were at the festival - and we weren't in the mood to try new things.  Looking up all these recipes now though I'm wishin' for some rice balls.

Thanks Astoria for another fun evening!


We have a couch!

We thought we would wait another week to purchase a couch...but we didn't.  There is a furniture store down the street and they had a nice one at a decent price, so we took the bait and bought it.

It fits PERFECTLY in our little space.  Plus it folds flat to be a full sized bed.  And....


The entire couch has storage in it.

Due to the storage its not quite as soft and cushy as I like, but I'm already getting used to it.

It's amazing how perfectly it fits into the space we designated for it.  It's the exact depth and width that we had hoped for - plus it has a chaise.  Something I have always wanted.

Here is a glance at our living room a bit more organized.  We originally had the couch and the tv area swapped, but this works out much better and creates a bigger look.

One last thing...check out the store's business card:


...math nerds, this is the place for you! ;)


The Great Bridge Adventure

"What should we do tonight?" I asked Joe.

"I want to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge." he replied.

"Then we can go to that pizza place!"

And it was set.  That is what we would do.  And "that pizza place" is specifically Grimaldi's (click for more information).

We quickly set out - the N train to the 5 train and we emerged at the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop.

Now THAT is a building my friends!  Wow.  What an amazing work of architecture!

Onward to the bridge.

Both Joe and I...and even Henry...have done this walk before.  It doesn't take long and provides breathtaking views, as you'll soon see.  It's a lovely way to spend a warm evening in New York City - you get a great breeze off the water.

Almost to the beginning of the bridge, it was rush hour, so plenty of cars for Henry to marvel at.

Joe's office building is the building furthest back in this picture.

This view NEVER gets old!  So, so, so pretty!

Stealing Sarah and Shaun's idea here with the holding hands shot.

My thought at this moment, "I can't believe we live here."  Each day Joe and I talk about how we still find it hard to believe this is HOME.  We both love the City so much- it's completely surreal and awesome!

Henry was in awe of how big everything was.

Love it.

He's 1.5 Brooklyn Bridge stones tall.

Holding onto Mommy "very tight!"

Little boy, big bridge.

Me and H walkin'.

This makes my heart happy.

Henry spotted a "big boat!" in the water.

Joe's office - the building you see the most in this picture - and that wee little thing poking up on the left is the Statue of Liberty.

Hugging the bridge.

Here Joe makes it obvious what building he will be working in. :)  He'll be on the 48th floor.

The Manhattan Bridge.

Henry had a good time running around in this little section.  He got a real thrill out of the cars driving right under us and watching the boats in the water.

Gettin' schooled about the bridge.

No thank you!

We made it!

My old neighborhood in Brooklyn.  I paid a LOT for rent.  Nice place though.

View from the street in Brooklyn.

We found it pretty easily.  We also found a line!  I didn't even think about having to wait in line just to get inside, but sure enough...  So we joined the line.  Joe and Henry visited a tourist shop next door and within under 10 minutes a guy pointed at us and said "Three!" and thumbed us in.  We were pointed to a teeny little corner table that was really fit for two, but apparently Henry's butt doesn't count at Grimaldi's.  They knew we would fit, and we did just fine.
There are benches along the walls with tables in front of them, a chair on the other side.  In the middle are long tables - so chances are very high you will be seated next to a stranger.

 We quickly reviewed the menu and knew what to order.  A large pizza with sausage and onion, 2 Diet Cokes and a milk.  (my stomach just growled as I typed that...)

The wait was NOT long at all.  Very quick in fact.  There was just enough time to snap a few pictures and wash my hands.

Henry enjoyed watching them.  They have quite the assembly line process going.
Before we knew it our pizza was here.  We demolished this thing.  I ordered a large thinking we would take some home, but -ahem- there were NO left overs.  We couldn't stop eating.
 Henry learned how to do a "thumbs up"while we sat there and appropriately gave one when Joe asked how it was.  Me too man.  Delish.  ZERO complaints.  It was hands down the best pizza I've ever had.

As we exited the restaurant we realized it was raining.
Wait, scratch that.  It was POURING.

I quickly put on Henry's rain cover for his stroller and we stepped out.  We did not have an umbrella with us, so we became drenched before the block was complete.  When we got under the BQE we stopped so I could wipe my glasses off on the 2 centimeters of dry material I could find on my skirt.  It was then we realized we had ZERO clue where the closest train was.  A nice guy observed our predicament and pointed us in the right direction.  It was still pouring, but we were soaked anyway, so we off we went.  We found the train without any problem and got to the platform just as a train let passengers off - many groaned when they saw us and asked us how bad it was raining - obviously they had forgotten their umbrella as well!  We boarded the very well air conditioned train and froze our way back to Queens.  Thankfully Henry was completely dry.

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and eating at Grimaldi's is something I have wanted to do since 2002.  I loved doing it with my two favorite boys in the world - and certainly will never forget the experience.  We were soaked to the bone, but it was memorable!