Saturday, August 2, 2008

Kimbap and calamari on the Fourth of July

On the Fourth of July (yes I am behind) a bunch of us decided that after three years of talking about it, we would try to catch the fireworks from the Long Island City piers, reportedly one of the best spots available. RT had gone the first year he had moved to New York, and described the view as being amazing. "They look like they're falling on your head," were his words. Year after year we had foregone the piers in favor of something else, but this year, it was time.
We arrived early to stake out a spot, which was unusually good planning on our end as later on the piers were closed to keep from overcrowding. Only with bracelets could we come back in and out.
For food, we picnicked Asian style: with a huge load of kimbap that GQ and JL went to pick up in Flushing beforehand (the above is only some of the spread). We also brought hummus, grapes, crackers, and a giant tub of cut-up watermelon. I don't know where they got it from, but the kimbap was pretty damn good, with the spicy tuna version (bottom) being the best.

Unfortunately the weather wasn't very cooperative that day, and soon after we ate the first clouds started rolling in. As the sky darkened around us and the drops started falling, the eleven of us packed up our food and cuddled up against one another under umbrellas. The rain came and went, never pouring, but never quite stopping, either. If it hadn't been so warm out still, we might never have stuck it out.

Four hours and two games of Mafia later, the fireworks began. And this was our magnificent view:
I shit you not. Unannounced to practically everyone, the fireworks this year had shifted forty blocks south in order to better showcase the New York City skyline. The hundreds of people standing on the piers clearly had no idea; we certainly didn't. And after everyone had waited for so many hours in the rain, let's just say that after our inital shock there was some slight bitterness around.
All was not lost, however. After shuffling through the hoards of people leaving the piers after the show ended, we ducked into Jackson Avenue Steak House for some drinks and a break, where plates of calamari—salty, hot, and crisp; tender and greaseless; and paired with a perfect, chunky, clearly house-made marinara—made practically everyone happy. It wasn't fireworks, but for hungry people on a rainy, frustrating day, it was pretty spectacular.

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