I visited the neighborhood I grew up in today. Yep, we did a spontaneous trip up to Inwood with the kids and hit the Dyckman House and Inwood park and stopped at Dichter's pharmacy and Soda Shoppe for hot chocolate before going back downtown. I walked past the school I went to from 1st to 8th grade. It looked so small even from the outside. I was dying to get inside, but it was locked tight. I stopped into the church I went to as a kid and that really looked smaller than I remember. I visited the 9/11 memorial garden there, that honors all the good folk from Inwood who we lost that day. We took a minute to feel that memory.
I hoped to go into another 10 shops that haven't been there for one, two, three, or four decades, but I still kept looking for them, I still kept hoping to see them as I walked the streets of my youth, bursting with memories. I remembered the smells and sights of all those ghostly shops despit the passage of time...Sundrops, the hippie store that used to be next to the Dyckman House; the weird store that used to be a few doors down from Harlem Savings Bank, which sold cosmetics and knick knacks, and use to have crazy great vintage cosmetics from the 70's; Fanny Farmers (who could forget that smell); White Towers, the delicious White Castle knock off. It was nice to see a few of the old places that remained. I adore Inwood and would have ran around visiting various important spots if I didn't have the kids with me, as they tend to have a smaller window than I do, before they turn back into pumpkins. I was dying to get into Ellen McM's building and see the elevator that I remember to be very tiny and Parisian, I recall the orangish bubble the lit up when you called it, and the very specific smooth flat buttons for each floor. Was it an Otis? I also wanted to climb the rocks! We will have to go back soon.
In typical A train fashion, we were leaving my hometown, going down the stairs to the subway as we heard the ding of the train closing its doors, and as we hit the platform, one second away from boarding, those doors did indeed close and we were left on the empty platform to wait for the next train to arrive and of course be swept clean before leaving again, and taking us home.
The problematic A train started running on the F train track after w 4 th street, so we used it to our advantage and stayed on for a stop and ended the day by going to downtown to Great Jones Cafe for dinner, it has been at least 20 years and possibly 30 since I have gone there and it was so delicious...blackened catfish, shrimp in garlic, pulled pork....the only thing missing was whipped sweet potato, which I thought I used to get there, does anyone remember if they used to make that, fluffy creamy sweet potatoes, somewhere between mashed sweet potatoes and whipped marshmallows? Anyway, we got the sweet potato fries instead. Perfection none the less.