I’m madder than my editor after I recycle a column from last year and he’s forced to edit it while he’s on vacation in Cape Cod over the fact that I can’t think of anything to write about, so I’m going to cough up another one of my patented “thing I wrote about last year, so I might as well write about it again,” columns.
Look, you all know that ol’ Carmine is a creature of habit, and as such I tend to do a lot of things over and over and over and over and over again (hence, the creature of habit thing). So it wouldn’t surprise you to learn that, just like last year, I went to an invitation-only, catered party during this year’s Mermaid Parade.
So, to save all of you some time (and to save my editor some time), I’m going to tell you all about it by playing Mad Libs with last year’s column that is about the same thing. Here goes:
I hopped on Tornado and the two of us rambled down Cropsey Avenue to the office of Community Board 13 on Surf Avenue between W. 12th Street and Stillwell Avenue where that board’s president, Eddie Mark, treated me presidentially.
What? You want me to define “presidentially?” I can do that in one word: free food!
That’s right. Mark, who has attended every meeting of my esteemed Bensonhurst West End Community Council since he assumed the chairmanship of CB13 from Marion Cleaver, knows the Big Screecher has a big appetite, and, more to the point, happens to be a great cook!
So I was not surprised when I got there to find deep-fried turkey, hot dogs in bacon (oh yes he did! Hot dogs and bacon! Two great tastes that taste great together. Hey, that sounds kinda catchy!) and other concoctions that kept this fattie glued to the table for a while.
Heck, I even tried the Coney Island Lager. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Carmine, whenever you mention food, you only talk about how good it is. Well, I’ll admit that that’s the case 90 percent of the time, but I can tell you this: the other half of the time, I’ll tell you when something is bad. And that beer was much too bitter for my taste. And after scrutinizing the pretty label with Steeplechase Park’s famous Funny Face on it, I decided not to finish it — not because it was bitter, but because it was bottled in upstate New York, and not Brooklyn. The nerve!
But I digress. Back to the food: no one can go to Coney Island without having a hot dog, so, naturally, I partook of that tradition and ate one, er, two, er, three — let me stop here before my lovely wife Sharon gives me a beating for being such a hog.
Look, this was the first time (actually the second — as I said I’m rehashing last year’s column!) I watched the spectacular Mermaid Parade and, thanks to trusty Tornado (who got his own charge up in the office of CB13), I saw it up close and personal.
I was able to scoot up and down one-way streets via the sidewalk, pass lights, maneuver around the immovable traffic along the Boardwalk, and get the closest I’ve ever wanted to be to a g-stringed man. This kaleidoscope of merriment, color, and abandonment that happens right here in Brooklyn’s backyard, fabulous Coney Island, is truly a sight to be seen.
Now don’t get me wrong — I don’t personally wear a g-string, or have ever been as close to one. But take my word for it: I missed seeing this parade for most of my life and darn it if I’m going to miss it again (and I didn’t. Did you already forget that this is from last year’s column? Jiminy Crickets!)
Now’s the point in the column where I give you a little bit of the history on the Screecher, just because it’s my column and I can do whatever I darn well please with it.
Stop me if you heard this before (or just stop reading!), but as a boy from Little Italy, I rarely visited the amusement areas of Coney Island because I had a season pass to the Ravenhall Baths, where, in my teens, I worked as a lifeguard.
So I don’t know much about the rides they had there then, or what it was like outside that pool where I used my dashing good looks to, well, let me leave it at that.
But from CB13’s office on the third floor, at the desk of District Manager Chuck Reichenthal, there’s a panoramic view of the new rides and the ocean, the Boardwalk, and it is a sight to behold.
My thanks to Eddie Mark and Chuck for inviting me. WARNING GUYS! Better put me on the top of the list for next year’s Mermaid Parade or be prepared to feel the wrath of Zorro’s blade!
Re-Screech at you next week!