I swear that there was one New York summer in the 1990s during which we had rain every weekend. Something like 13 weekends in a row. (I’m trying to Poodle this, but I don’t want to spend all day on mid-1990s weather research, so just go with me here.) Even so, I don’t think I was rained on as much during that whole summer as I was this past weekend.
It could have been much worse, because when MrB and I went to see Paul Simon at Forest Hills Stadium on Friday there was a tornado warning in effect. While we weren’t whisked off to the Land of Oz, we endured a remarkable downpour. The ponchos I brought were helpful, but with rain bouncing off everything, water still found its way in.
Whenever we thought it couldn’t rain any harder, it did … and that happened multiple times. The surge would hit one part of the stadium first so we’d hear a roar from the crowd and be like, “WTF?” Then two minutes later, the increased downpour would hit our section. After 45 minutes, MrB was ready to give up, but I argued that we were already wet and no one had called the show yet. My faith was rewarded because the rain tapered off for long enough for the stage to be mopped and dried and the instruments uncovered, and the show kicked off after an hour and 20 minute delay.
Another thing I should Poodle is whether or not Simon has more references to rain in his songs than the average performer, or whether we were all more attuned to such lyrics due to the circumstances. At any rate, each rain mention got a big cheer.
The two shows Simon did at Forest Hill Stadium last week (there was one on Thursday as well as the one I went to) were a homecoming for him. Simon graduated from Forest Hills High School, and the neighborhood is where he met and began collaborating with Art Garfunkel. The last time he played the stadium was with Garfunkel in 1970, so this felt historic. (And, no, Garfunkel wasn’t there. Simon isn’t talking to him, which is understandable after Garfunkel gave an interview last year that earned the subhead, “Forty-five years after Simon & Garfunkel split up, the singer is still consumed with bitterness.”) Also, this was the last date of his current U.S. tour and in an interview with the New York Times last week, Simon hinted that his music-making/playing days were coming to an end.
After seeing this show, I believe Simon is done with music the way I believe Pete Townshend 100% hates touring. (When I need a pick-me-up, I rewatch my video of Pete beaming as he plays the opening to “Pinball Wizard.”) I’ve had trouble finding the words for what made this show so special, but David Browne, reviewing the Forest Hills concert for Rolling Stone, describes Simon’s performance eloquently here.
I dressed very practically for the occasion, abiding by the weather report even though it was hot and mostly sunny when we first got to the stadium. This photo was taken on the way home.
We were rained on during yesterday’s Fourth of July celebrations too, though it didn’t compare to the Paul Simon concert. Before the showers started, MrB took a photo of my traditional Independence Day sailor outfit by Castelbajac.
MrB, my gorgeous friends Stacy and Alyssa, and I were at the River Dock Cafe in Staten Island, facing Manhattan. The big red umbrellas on the patio provided good shelter, but as the rain beat down and the fog rolled in, we really wondered if the Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks would go on. Then the rain eased up, the fog rolled out, and we got our fireworks.
The cafe is a great place to watch the fireworks if you think they are best seen and not heard. I actually like hearing the fireworks, so I was glad when that Staten Island put on its own nearby display after the big ones were done.
The ferry between Staten Island and Manhattan runs frequently … and it’s free!
The ride takes about 25 minutes, and I put that time to good use by pondering why one random form of transportation in New York City is free. That time, I didn’t Poodle because I’d left my phone at home. Back at my computer, I found this amusing 1997 New York Times story saying that the ferry had become a free transfer after the introduction of the Metrocard for subways and buses. But nearly 20 years later, we didn’t have to swipe our Metrocards to get on the ferry, so more research may be required!
UPDATED TO ADD: You must listen to Paul Simon’s new song, “Wristband.” I love it.