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No BBQ, No barbecuing sign, No BBQ Jackie Robinson Park

These signs line the sidewalk across the street from my apartment.

I love my neighborhood. Being an awkward, white chick makes me a minority here in Harlem-Town and I find that refreshing. More notably, residing here makes for an always interesting, colorful, and generally easy-going lifestyle. Here you can find the most beautiful brownstones in all of NYC, African grocery stores, Louis Armstrong’s ghost, Starbucks, the occasional backpack-wearing drug dealer, several historical landmarks, and a couple of dumpster diving raccoons (story for another day). What you can’t find is a legal sidewalk Barbecue.

That’s right, it is illegal for a person to pull out the ole’ grill, throw on some meat, open a beer, and enjoy this fun-filled style of cooking. Having this rule is both hilarious and an injustice to all Sugar Hill dwelling citizens. I have to ask- What happened here that caused the city to not only create such a rule but also invest in signage to enforce it? Was there a BBQ gang outbreak in the area? Who was the person that approved this sign and did they not notice how ridiculous it was? HOW can one host a proper neighborhood block party without the key ingredient!?

Sure, being a southern girl might cause for some bias when it comes to this issue (my brother was actually on a traveling BBQ team whose whole hog won them the title of “World Champions” at Memphis in May), but that doesn’t change the fact that the preparation of a culinary delight on a public sidewalk should NEVER be denied. I was under the impression that living in Harlem meant occasionally watching neighbors fire up the Q on the sidewalk as their children played in water shooting from a nearby fire hydrant. Sure, this assumption could be questioned as being a Harlem stereotype, but that’s kind of how I imagined all NYC residential areas thanks to various books, movies, television programs.

You’ll be glad to know that all summer I witnessed kids creating these hydrant sprinkler systems and it made me very happy every time. 

Barbecuing on a sidewalk, NYC barbecue

See how fun and safe sidewalk BBQing can be!??

I’m not saying the city of New York doesn’t have reasons for this rule. Jackie Robinson Park is on the other side of the fence shown in the above picture. So, there is a bit of foliage close by that could possibly catch on fire and start utter chaos. However, I think that it is just as likely for a person tossing a cigarette to create such a dilemma. Why have they designated Barbecuing as the only enemy? I’d much rather there be no smoking allowed and, honestly, there are far more people who smoke on that sidewalk than would grill up some meat. On top of that, I’m pretty sure JRP has more concrete than trees.

In the end I will never contest this law or approach any local politician who might actually be able to do something about this absurd rule. That would be a waste of time, partly because I will never actually attempt to BBQ across the street. On top of that, I’ve come across several BBQ rebels over the last few months who said “Mutha’ F**K the NYPD and that stupid sign!”  So, knowing that those who really need their Barbecue outlet are willing and able to get it gives me all the peace of mind I need.

Post Summary: “No Barbecuing” is a stupid rule that was probably made by a miserable human who should be slapped. 

Something Squirrely

Because I partied like a rock star in DC last weekend and don’t have the bounce back rate of my early 20’s former self, I’m still completely worn out and being lazy. So, I’m keeping things light and picture oriented today. Also, I think it should be noted that blogging should be tackled as a marathon, not a sprint. I’d hate for readers to tire of my overly wordy ways, at least before they’re hooked. 

Last week, before leaving for my fun-filled mini vacay, I enjoyed a rare experience. Because the little monster had been sent off to New Jersey to stay with his godparents, I was able to eat my morning breakfast wrap on a park bench all by myself. At least this is what I thought for the first few minutes.

Feeding NYC Squirrel on a bench, Stalker Squirrel position 3

This is but a glimpse of what it looks like to have your stalker come at you closely, quickly, and in the very neighborhood where you reside. Note his unapologetic, open-mouthed approach.

In reality I was in a situation every parent fears for their child living in the big city. I was being stalked. Lucky for me, my stalker was fuzzy and the most precious, tree-dwelling fur rat I’ve ever met. Yes, a squirrel was watching me at close range, then progressively got closer and closer….until THIS happened…

NYC squirrel, park bench, feeding squirrel

See how the stalking squirrel strategically positioned himself far enough away so his target (me and my breakfast wrap) wasn’t alarmed, but close enough to know how much risk his mission held.

Feeding Squirrel, NYC Park bench squirrel, stalker squirrel

See how content Stalker Squirrel appears after successfully completing Mission Breakfast Wrap, a task that required the animal to take a small amount of food that was being handed directly to him.

Post Summary You should always be aware and informed on any potential stalker. Stalker Squirrels are precious and take any food handed to them directly. 

Warning: A Wizard has been seen roaming Central Park during daylight hours.

Yesterday afternoon I had an encounter that could only be described as “magical.”  For the 2ND time since living here,  I came across a wizard smack dab in the middle of New York City.

Over the last few months I’ve become quite the Central Park patron. My canine companion, Schubert, and I have our own spot in one of the dog-friendly areas. Our routine goes something like this- I lay out a blanket, detach the leash from Schubert’s collar, and let him around like the wild dog he was born to be. At this point I usually open a book and do some half-ass reading. Yesterday’s trip was no different until dusk came around and we made moves to exit our little nature-escape.While walking down a gravel path something purple caught my eye…there, in Sheep’s Meadow, was none other than the wizard I had seen strolling through that same area a few months before.

Here you can see the wizard walking through the populated meadow as if it were his natural environment.

Now, what got me about this wizard sighting was not his nonchalant attitude to practicing magic during the day. It was the other park-goers and their indifference to his presence that rubbed me the wrong way. Not a single person was taking a picture or looking at all confused. As you can see, I snapped a shot of this mystical moment during my first sighting (due to my little monster’s aggressive leash habits a decent photo was not captured yesterday).

Do New Yorkers really see so many different people, personalities, outfits, and oddities that not even a wizard walking around in front of them summons a reaction!? I felt like one of the tourists in Times Square, but instead of being amazed by giant LCD screens and advertisements, I was taken aback by a purple clad sorcerer. This difference between myself and the other park rats brought me to a solid conclusion- I will not live in NYC long enough that a wizard walking around Central Park doesn’t surprise me.

Post Summary: Seeing a wizard in public should always make you ask “what is going on?”

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