What do New York City, Tomatoes and berries have in common? I can think of a few things off the top of my head like: each have a “seedier” part, and some people like them, some don’t. But what I really had in mind was that they are all things my husband and I enjoyed this last week.
New York City
Why is New York City called “The Big Apple” anyway. I didn’t see a single apple tree growing – anywhere. I had to find out so I turned to my favorite source of information: Wikipedia. It turns out that a writer for the New York Morning Telegraph, John J. Fitz Gerald, coined it in the 20’s and continued to use it repeatedly in articles. Other writers joined in over time and, there you have it. (See the Wikipedia article on it here).
I managed to find a great airfare sale and got tickets for New York for $450 round trip for both of us. We had visited back in 1999 and James had always wanted to go back. So, when the sale popped up, I snagged it. I really needed a break from a busy work schedule, so the short trip was just what I needed. We spent the first day with a car and headed south into New Jersey to visit the beaches.
We picked Sandy Hook to visit and weren’t disappointed. What an amazing place. It has the oldest working lighthouse in the United States. It also used to be a huge fort that protected the waters going into New York. The spit of land is very strategic as it juts into the lower New York Bay. All boats pass it as they head into the large city. There were quite a few bunkers, guns, and buildings all still intact. There is still a row of large officer homes, most in disrepair, that face the west and have lovely views of the water and beach. Some of the homes and buildings are now museums. We climbed up to the top of the lighthouse and even with a muggy, grey day, we had great views of Staten Island and Brooklyn which was directly north. You could faintly see Manhattan beyond that. Sandy Hook is part of a large park system called Gateway National Recreation area that is one of the largest on the East Coast. It covers three separate large areas of Brooklyn, Staten Island and Sandy Hook which contain a total of eleven parks. The vast bay separates all three areas.
The following day we took a shuttle into New York and found our hotel. We spent the next few days riding the “Hop on Hop Off” bus and catching the history and memorable areas of the city. We visited Times Square the most. We found out that advertisers are required to keep those signs lit up 24x7. There are serious consequences if they don’t stay lit, fines and repeat offenses can result in the ads being booted off the famous square.
My garden has been producing a LOT of tomatoes. Even with giving many away, I have way too many to eat, so I made home made tomato soup. Now that is a comfort food. Sautee some onions, garlic, add in a lot of chopped tomatoes, broth, basil (also from my garden), simmer, add in some cream and then blend up in the blender. As Rachael Ray says “Yummo!”
I still have more tomatoes, so I think I’ll make some spaghetti sauce next.
I live near a walking path that is rarely used and is LOADED with blackberries (with no sprays or intervention by man). We picked some about two weeks ago and made a home made cobbler. It was hot out of the oven and oh so tasty! I’ve decided that I need a lot more so I can make some jam. That sounds like a great way to store up fresh, organic preserves that will last the winter. I’ll probably do that today.
So I’m prepping for winter by getting myself rested on a nice vacation, putting up my tomatoes, picking berries, and oh yes, I almost forgot – I bought two big sweaters in New York.