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Invite for D’April D’Agostino MAGIC 2005 Party

Password is your singing choice of:
Love That D’Agostino, Love that D’ag D’ag Man
So please, Mr. D’agostino, Move Closer to Me

D’Agostinos started in 1932 on 83rd and Lexington Avenue, by two Italian immigrants – Nicola and Paquale D’Agostino. The small store provided groceries, baked goods, and home delivery – a very novel combo in those days. They became known as “New York’s Grocer” in the late 60s. There are now 23 D’Agostino supermarkets in NYC (and shhh, in Westchester), providing all sorts of food stuffs, including organic foods, regular stuff like milk that has a different expiration date in NYC than anywhere else – what’s up with that? What does it mean that our milk goes sour faster than in other parts of the tri-state area? Are we that cutting edge? - and all sorts of deli and meat and fish treats.

Fish. Sad. The Fulton Fish Market, which opened in 1835, will be leaving Manhattan’s Seaport in June, and moving to Hunts Point in the Bronx. Go check it out some morning at 4am, after a night of decadence and watch the end of an era. And then go home and bathe. You stink. South Street is the southernmost street in Manhattan and from 1815-1860 was the center of the port district. The original shoreline of the area was Pearl Street, named for the abundant oyster shells that washed ashore. During the 18th century, the shoreline was extended with landfill and a new shorefront was built – Water Street. This was followed by Front Street and then South Street in the early 19th century. From the late 19th century through the mid 20th century, the seaport area was largely abandoned, surviving only as a wholesale fish district and yachting dock. In the 1960s interest in the seaport was revived as lower Manhattan was becoming more commercial. After about 20 years of debate, the seaport was redeveloped using Boston's Quincy Market and Baltimore's Harbor Place as the models. The South Street Seaport Museum has one of the world’s largest collections of historic ships and ship models, as well as maritime art, and archaeological finds. Today the South Street Seaport is a tourist trap, but there is an awesome concert series every summer.

Don’t forget to Spring forward and set your clocks ahead on Saturday night/Sunday.

Ah, it’s Spring, my chickadees, and time to ask not what your city can do for you, but what you can do for your city. Just kidding - the city better be giving us something since they keep taking away. Spring is really a fabulous time to explore the place that seems to have no limits on exploration. There is an amazing, grueling, scenic, brutal, exhilarating, insane walk around Manhattan that I want to encourage you to do - it’s called “The Great Saunter.” It’s a (semi) organized 32-mile walk around the rim of Manhattan and it embodies the aforementioned adjectives, but in a much more exaggerated manner. It’s held the first Saturday of May (20 years running now), so May 7, and it’s really worthwhile. Like most natives, I walk a lot. And walking 5-10 miles on a weekend day is normal. I thought 32 would be harder, but most certainly doable, and a nice little challenge. So I did it last year with a few friends. I packed light – water, poncho, camera, sunscreen - I met some interesting folks, had a picnic lunch in Inwood Park, and joyously meandered the riverfront. About 20 miles in, it started to get rough. And painful in the right upper thigh. And make me question ”WHY WHY WHY?" As I compared myself to Jane Fonda in “They Shoot Horses Don’t They” (an interesting Depression era/dance marathon movie – likely combination). I plodded along because I wanted to finish what I set out to do. My feet weren't the problem, but rather I was over-exerting leg muscles that don’t really get used so extensively for such a continued period of time. Maybe I’m a wimp.

The walk started at about 7:30am at the South Street Seaport and was supposed to end there at 7:30pm, with a hearty brew at Heartland Brewery. But when my group (including a few fellow MAGIC GARDENERS) arrived at Heartland six hours behind schedule, at 1:30am, practically crying and definitely crawling, the haven of fine beverage was closed. We collapsed on the street. (We are convinced that nobody made it at 7:30pm – we’re young, strong, but we did start an hour late and have an hour-long shopping spree at Fairway on 130th to get the fixings for our two-hour picnic lunch at Inwood Park). We could barely make it into the Seaport, up the stairs, to use the bathrooms, as various parts of our bodies were in a state of such severe exhaustion. We were asked to leave the bench we decided would be our new bed by a security guard who thought we were homeless. We most certainly looked destitute, discombobulated, weary, and spacey and swore we’d never do something so ridiculous again. And so I got home and slept like a furry little Easter lamb and awoke with incredible pride and satisfaction and much less muscle ache than anticipated. Within a few weeks, I decided to do it again the following year. And so this year, I invite you all to join me and the few hundred other folks who either do it once, or like me, become somewhat fascinated by the idea of whether or not it will be easier the next year. It better be.

The group that sponsors The Great Saunter is called Shorewalkers: - they help to promote education and beautification of NYC’s waterways. It’s a $10 donation to join the walk ($15 on the day of). You can register on the website. Even though I may have made it sound like a hellish experience, it’s really not. It’s rewarding, fun, healthy, and a fabulous way to see NYC from a different perspective (much of these areas were off limits to strollers until very recently), and meet a bunch of weirdos, all while testing your endurance - of strength and weirdo tolerance. And then you can say “I walked around the entire island of Manhattan in one day.” Now some of you are probably saying, “I can walk around the island any time I want.” But you won’t. I’ll give more details as to a meeting spot in the next MAGIC GARDEN invite. But get prepared, invite people you think you can tolerate, and get revved up. It’s worth every ounce of energy that your urban soul possesses. And who knows what the Donald/Jets might be planning in the next year that will block access to the beautiful waterways of NYC.

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