13 June 2012

Cycling By A Graveyard

After the rain stopped, and I'd downed a lunch special from Fatima Chinese Restaurant (a Halal Kung Po Chicken with Hot and Sour Soup), I hopped on Tosca.

My late-afternoon ride took me through some areas that are very familiar to me:  the industrial areas that line Newtown Creek from the Queens side of the Koszciusko Bridge.  Even on weekdays, there really isn't as much traffic as one might expect--and, because much of it is truck traffic, it's sporadic.  

Railroad tracks rim the creek on the Queens side.  Next to the tracks are warehouses and small factories that line Review Avenue.  I've been trying to find out how that street got its name:  It doesn't look to me like very many things ever got reviewed there.

Across the Avenue from those factories and warehouses is a cemetery.  Actually, you can't see the cemetery from the street, as it's on higher ground.  So, what you see is a stone wall.

What's interesting about the stone wall is the graffiti:  It's from a more innocuous time, at least in terms of graffiti:

Also, it's much simpler, in composition and color (Do I sound like a pretentious art critic, or what?), than what we see today.

The style and the content of the graffiti tells you that it's older.  Plus, I've seen the graffiti on that wall for the past 25 or so years.  In fact, I even recall seeing some of it, including the piece in the next photo, during my early adolescence, when my family passed through the area on our way to visit relatives.

It makes me wonder where Joe is now.  He's well into middle age, or possibly even an old man, if he's still alive.  I suspect I could say the same things about Al.  As for Marty and Janet:  Did they stay together?  Get married?  Or did one of them go away to college, or war , and never see each other again?

I also wonder whether any of the people (men, mostly) who work in the area have ever noticed the graffiti on the wall. If they haven't, I guess the job fell to a cyclist.  It makes sense:  Cyclists, in my experience, tend to be curious people.  I wonder why that's so.


  1. Speaking of curiosity, I'm curious about Halal Chinese food. That seems odder by far than Halal burgers.

  2. Steve--As you would expect, there's no pork. So, you can't have ribs in a Halal Chinese restaurant, and the soups that normally use pork will use beef or tofu instead. Other than that, there's not much difference between

    The food in that particular restaurant is very good. The ingredients seem fresher than at other Chinese restaurants in which I've eaten. Also, the quality of the meat is better. As a matter of fact, when I buy chicken, beef or lamb, I buy Halal because, at least in this part of the world, it doesn't cost more than non-Halal and it tastes better. It may have something to do with the way Halal animals are slaughtered; also, I'm told that many of the chemicals that are used in processing meats aren't allowed, or aren't used, by Halal processors.

    Aside from the quality and tastiness of the food, Fatima is interesting because it offers more vegetarian dishes and "mock" meats than other Chinese restaurants I've seen. Plus, they will substitute brown rice for white at no charge. (At least,they do it for me.)

    Interestingly, the owners and employees aren't Chinese Muslims. (There is a province of Western China that is mainly Muslim.) They are indeed Chinese, but they came to Halal food because they worked in hotel restaurants in Hong Kong. From what they tell me, nearly all such restaurants make Halal food, and there are many Halal Chinese restaurants there, because there are a lot of Middle Eastern businessmen and professionals living and working there.

  3. On occasion, comments are even MORE interesting than the post that prompted them. Justine deserves "two thumbs up" for pulling such a feat off.

  4. When I was a student an occasional treat would be a carry out dish from a local Chinese restaurant. I found a dish which I stuck too because it tasted like nothing else and was just so good. They got closed down when illegal meat was found hanging in the cold store...

  5. Coline--Once, a few years ago, a couple I know and I went out to a favorite Chinese restaurant in their neighborhood. When we got there, it'd been closed down for health code violations. It gave me visions of what you mention in the last sentence of your comment!