Launching the S.S. Barracuda


One day last summer the Big Guy came home with a large box and two life preservers announcing we were now the proud owners of an inflatable kayak.

We took it out of the box and launched it only once last summer and then again a couple of weeks ago. I named it the SS Barracuda after the barracuda I caught in Jamaica last spring.

Orchard Beach has a lagoon with a kayak and canoe launch. Who knew? After passing the “toll booths” into the beach parking lot, make a left and head to the northwest corner. The launch is there.

The lagoon is actually quite calm and restful. We like to drift and watch the shadows on the trees cast by the airplanes on descent into LaGuardia.

The SS Barracuda is a two person kayak and we haven’t ventured out beyond this protected lagoon. It opens out into the mouth of the Long Island Sound after all and I’m a little chicken about mixing in with boat traffic and tides in an inflatable kayak. I can feel the current sloshing under my cheeks and that’s just enough for me for now.

Our paddling technique, though, is getting better, we spin around less. (Our paddle was too short, better once we extended it.) We met canoers who’d spent a couple of hours out. There are many small islands off the coast of the Bronx. One couple told us they went out to “the bridge”. I thought the Throgs Neck Bridge, but we think she was referring to the City Island Bridge, which would be a much safer trip.

The Orchard Beach Lagoon is one of five kayak and canoe launches in the Bronx on the New York City Water Trail.  A permit is required to put a canoe / kayak in the water (it’s accessible from the NYC Parks Department).
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Wish You Were Here…Postcards From The Bronx

Boating in Pelham Bay.
Boating in Pelham Bay. (I've done this.)

Lover's Lane in Bronx Park vintage postcard.
Lover's Lane in Bronx Park. It reads: Dear Eva! Thank you very much for the postal. Best Regards from Roger Olsen (I believe it says "postal", and not "pastel", which would be more romantic.)

New York Botanical Garden vintage postcard.
New York Botanical Garden. The women at left are walking along what is now called "Ladies' Border". The NYBG describes this area as "Southern beauties thriving in the North." And that's on the garden website.

Poe Cottage and Park.
Poe Cottage and Park. Former home of Edgar Allan Poe.

Van Cortlandt House.
Van Cortlandt House, which still stands in Van Cortlandt Park.

Orchard Beach Pavillion.
Orchard Beach Pavilion.

Camping at Pelham Bay Park.
Pelham Bay Park Campsite. It reads: Am camping here for a few weeks having the time of my life. Lou

This last one is my personal favorite!

All postcards on view in the entrance hallway of The Valentine-Varian House in The Bronx.

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Pancakes on Ice

Sunday morning I made pancakes and turkey sausage, filled our thermoses with steaming hot chai, packed it all up and we ate outside at Orchard Beach.  I wanted to see how the snow was looking. The Big Guy agreed, but he really did not want to go.  I could tell.  But the beach was so beautiful. All the tree branches were shimmering with ice.    I was reminded of that silver tinsel we’d hang from the Christmas tree for icicles.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen trees so silvery. Almost every surface was wrapped in a skin of ice. The pancakes were still warm when we unwrapped them and buttery and syrupy and cooling quickly.  What was most startling was the sound of the ice crackling and snapping over our heads — it was melting.  Soon we had an arc of squawking gulls and pigeons around us.  Skittish creatures. But their hungry distance was slowly closing  in.  Soon we packed up our plates and walked up the boardwalk a bit, then veered off onto the sand — crunchy snow covered sand.  The Big Guy was laughing.  “This beach looks like Mars.” We walked out of the snow into the ocean.  Our boots ankle high in the water.  We looked for horseshoe crabs.  We didn’t see any.   Actually I can’t think of a better start to the New Year.

Happy New Year Dear Readers!

p.s.  If you’d like the recipe for the pancakes (made entirely from scratch!) I’d be happy to email it to you.  Just contact me through the comment field below.