When the sole official, standing atop a raised platform, addressed the impatient hoard of intoxicated, costume-wearing youths with the phrase: “show’s over, go home,” the initial retort was one of boos and laughter. No one at the Electric Zoo festival, not even the blue-lipsticked, angel-winged chick standing next to me, believed that it could be cancelled for the second year in a row.
But my Spidey Sense was tingling; something was awry. The entry had been slow, the wait taking almost two hours, and I had been separated from my friends. A vibration in my shorts pocket confirmed it.
“Flash Flood Warning in Your Area” read the text message.
“Oh shit,” I responded.
We were on Randall’s Island, approximately zero feet above sea level. I took a step back from the definitive bro pack I had befriended and started to retreat slightly, cautious of the massive collection of 50,000 drugged-out YOLOers and what insane mistakes they might make given an emergency situation.
Then bolts of sheer electricity tore through the sky and massive wispy gray clouds rolled in like malevolent demi-gods and the inundation began. There was a mass migration, starting as a depressed walk and quickly evolving into a light sprint; the sky faucets were on full blast. We thought we would remain dry under the massive bridges, but the rain turned sideways and the water level began rising. I gauged the water level by how much of the car’s tires next to me had been drowned in the rising water. When it reached halfway, my intestines twisted.
The buses evacuated, carrying the lucky few of the thousands gathered, and transportation became far more sparse. The masses became restless and the storm further picked up, so I hopped a fence out into the no-man’s land farther under the bridge, and waited for some terrible event, a stampede, a tidal wave, a ritualistic sacrifice, something to occur.
But it didn’t. The storm died down and I found myself soaking wet and shoeless (I had lost my sandals in the insanity of it all). It took an hour to regroup and locate my friends, using a rainbow duster I had purchased at the dollar store. There, my companions fastened me a pair of makeshift shoes from some plastic bags we located on the street, and I proceeded to walk two and a half miles, through the island, over the bridge, and finally into Harlem, trying to avoid the scattered broken bottles and used condoms along the way. Once I arrived on 125th street, I was greeted with a fair amount of looks that read: “What the damn hell is wrong with this plastic-shoe wearing boy?”
Three minutes later, I encountered an unbelievable act of kindness. While arguing with an employee through a glass window at a Payless about re-opening the store for me, a woman about my mother’s age came up and said. “Sweetie, I’ve got a pair of old sneakers in my trunk if you want them.” I almost hugged her. I ultimately declined, but was refreshed by her benevolence. Soon after, I located a dollar store around the corner, where I bought a pair of sandals, next to a rack of rainbow colored dusters.
It took me writing this entire story down to realize that there was no real point to any of what happened, just a series of bizarre occurrences and some very banged up feet. But like any other New York story, the important thing is that we survived, which is sometimes all you can ask in this wild town.
Week 35: Egg
With a menu featuring offerings such as duck hash, beef neck, and scrapple (a smashed up hybrid of pork scraps and cornmeal), Egg is a monument to all things obscure and delicious. Its interior is simple, clean, and every table comes with paper placemats and a canister of Crayolas for the bored child or aspiring artist. Very rarely do I love brunch, or even enjoy it, though my last two posts have been about this phenomenon, and both have rocked that brunchy sandwich in the best way possible.
This week, I sampled their knockout fried oyster sandwich. Along with a side of French toast and a mountain of fries, it was the starchiest meal I’ve had since Untamed’s gumbo sandwich. But it’s a glorious meal, the oysters are deep-fried in cornmeal to perfect, dotted with a dash of spicy mayonnaise, and lettuce to round it out. A bit small, but a delicious way to start your afternoon, you hungover clown.
Nothing much to say more than that, it’s great. Egg is great. Check it out.