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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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In Which This Is How We Do It

One of the most classic pieces ever to appear on This Recording follows. With the pending nuptials of Scarlett and Ryan Reynolds in sight, Ryan would do well to follow this advice.

A Wedding Guide for Grooms in New York

by Andrew Zornoza

Yogi Berra is one of few baseball players whose fame somehow eclipsed his actual playing ability. He was the ultimate bad ball hitter, threw out quite a few runners despite an average throwing arm, and had a penchant for quotations.

In an abstract sense, Yogi was very similar to Zsa Zsa Gabor. Zsa Zsa managed to sleep with a battalion of rich men, took them for all they were worth once divorce proceedings started, and also had countless interesting things to say about the sport of her choice.

Zsa Zsa on marriage: You never really know a man until you have divorced him.

And: I know nothing about sex because I was always married.

And: Husbands are like fires—they go out when unattended.

Getting married in New York is daunting. Everything is expensive, there are headaches, crowds, subway closures, $6 bottles of water: your ego will undoubtedly be tromped upon.

What follows is some advice for the curious bride, the gentleman looking for sartorial advice and, most importantly, the NYC groom.


Plopping down $300-$10,000 on a ring is scary. Especially when it's likely your fiancée is simply going to return it and pick out her own. This may lead you to choose one of the larger chain jewelry stores. Even if she does return the ring, picking it out from a classy and chic boutique shows you have style.

First thing to do is get your girlfriend's ring size. Use guile and cunning (sleeping gf works well).

Second, analyze the jewelry she wears already: is it quirky? sleek and contemporary? does she favor gold over silver? classic or postmodern?

a classic ring

Picking a metal is not everything, but it will narrow your choices. Platinum is everywhere these days—but that doesn't mean you have to go that route. High quality 18k gold comes in white, rose, and yellow tints; any of which may better complement her skin tone. And gold is cheaper than platinum.

Decide on your price range, decide on a metal, and then hit the stores, looking for shops that match her aesthetic.

Here's some specific suggestions for pleasant jewelry shopping:

Karen Karch on Mulberry Street tastefully steers away from schlocky designs. Eponomously named, Mrs. Karch crafts rings out of a variety of 18 carat golds and platinum. Many of her rings are hammered or hand textured; purposeful irregularities give them a wonderful handmade aspect.


"One Pure Thought" - Hot Chip (mp3)

They can seem slightly gothic—forged in Mordor, if Mordor was a place filled with artsy hobbits rather than orcs. The store displays may seem underwhelming— there's not that many rings to choose from; if your fiancee likes sleek, clean lines you may also want to skip Karen Karch.

Karen's rings are understated and elegant, with just a touch of funk. Bonus: after popping the question you can name drop stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson who've been seen wearing Karen's work.

If you need help charming the skirt off your fiancee—take her in arm down the cobbled streets of Soho before the crowds start, ring the bell of a tiny studio at 63 Burberry, and then enter Jelena Behrend's quaint and cute jewelry workshop.

Everything about this store cries Parisian farmhouse chic—but no, that's my mistake, Jelena is Easter European, from Serbia, and she will help guide you to pick a suitable ring, or craft a unique design from scratch.

Beware, you can't just stop by: call for an appointment. Jelena's designs vacillitate between delicate and sturdy—pin-thin interlocking rings of gold sit next to a over-wide band of platinum—but all her styles show a wonderful handmade attention to detail. Jelena's rings can get pricey, but that's up to you: if you want a simple ring with a handmade flourish, you may be able to squeak by with something for under $500.

yao's wedding

If your girlfriend likes clean, no-nonsense, high-quality, almost German design—and if you have a little more cash than the average Joe (well maybe just a little more that the average reader here) you may want to give Stuart Moore on Mulberry a try. Their sales staff is annoying, but if you're patient and willing to ignore them until you're actually ready for help...well, after that, they can actually be helpful.

In Brooklyn, Debbie Fischer on Court Street is a nice store with a helpful, non-aggressive staff. There's a lot of beadwork and not that much wedding-worthy jewelry—but the designs are unique and there's some good quality here. Even though the work is Indian/East-Asian influenced, if your bride-to-be has a bit of Taos in her, a bit of new age look...well you may find the perfect piece at Debbie Fischer.

And if you're in the area, definitely drop by Swallow, a few blocks away on Smith Street. In the back of Swallow (it seems as if you're entering a verboten studio zone) there's a small upright box with some rings. If your budget is small, and your girl just needs something pretty and non-classical (say, a delicate hoop ring with a single ruby), Swallow has a nice selection that may set you back less than $100.

Erie Basin deep in Red Hook also has some cute and affordable alternatives. If the girlfriend is a little less serious, likes her jewelry simple and unobstrusive, then you may easily find something special in this small shop. There are some great rings here for less than $200 and a beautifully youthful Philip Crangi diamond ring is a gorgeous steal at $385. And if the ring gets returned, she will undoubtedly find some earrings to be happy with.

Located in mid-town, on 54th street, Aaron Faber has a good mix of vintage and new stuff. A good store to get you started, with a wide range of prices and designs.

Also north of Union Square: New York Wedding Ring. If you're a take-cooking-classes-together, do-yoga-together type of couple, this may be for you. Here you can make your own rings, in a supervised studio with private workshop instruction. There are a variety of metals to choose from and prices range from $1075 to $2250.

If you're not ready to make your own and looking for a vintage look with a bit of a rock and roll edge, try Catherine Angiel in the Village. It's another store with excellently crafted rings.

A couple notes: first, jewelry design is a billion dollar businesses, but swamped with bad designs. Don't feel bad going into jewelry stores and feeling like everything is expensive and god-awful. Even the good stores will have their share of Nefertiti inspired turqoise.

Second, I steer away from shops with desperate sales staff. I don't need to be sold a ring—I'm shopping for one, and it's going to be an annoyingly large chunk of my monthly pay (er, my annual pay)—if sales staff starts putting pressure on you, just ignore them.

Not a fan: Dinosaur Designs (designs look fun, but should be extinct), Fragments (ugh), Me & Ro (smacks of cultural appropriation, if you like Madonna and the first floor of ABC's furniture store on Broadway, you may want to give them a try).


The most important thing about your wedding is that you, the Groom, looks good.

Some quick tips: at Barney's and other big stores, bring a best man. And bring a camera. Also, think about what you might want to splurge on. In my case, it was the tie—and a hot dog vendor at our pre-wedding softball game. For you, it might, be a pair of tricked out wingtips, a snazzy tailored shirt, a belt with your name on it in faux diamonds, some silk Zegna boxers, or (if you have plenty of cash) a bespoke suit.

If you have more than $5000 to spend on your attire you can splurge on everything. If you have less than that (and you can look fantastic for $700—head to foot), pick one item that'll give you some extra mojo on the big day.

Also, when you shop, bring what you've got with you. If you know what shirt you're wearing, but don't have a tie, bring the shirt along. It will make a world of difference when putting colors together.


Go to Barneys. Barneys has one of the world's greatest men's departments. And some great sales staff. Be unafraid and use Barneys kindly but mercilessly. At Barneys you can try on a jaunty Brit-style Paul Smith jacket, compare it to a sleek Italian Armani suit and then try on a Brooks Brothers All-American blazer. Then you can try on a $1400 pair of shoes and a $200 Brioni tie. This is clearly more fun with a friend.

Together, corner a highly experienced Barneys employee and get him to help you try on a few ensembles. Try the tux, try the white cowboy suit, try the raccoon fur underwear. After that, pat your sales helper on the back, take his business card, slip it behind your wallet, promise to return, and walk out the door and take your buddy to Prime-Burger—across from St Patrick's Cathedral.

You may very likely end up buying something at Barneys (I purchased my matching groomsmen's ties there), but it is more likely you won't. It's much more likely you will get the double Prime-Burger with fries. But at Barneys you can get a great idea of what looks good on you, what styles you prefer, and what colors you're looking for.

Finding a good sales guy is paramount and one of the great perks of Barneys. Always keep your eyes open for an employee who seems to be a part of your karass. If you get stuck with a Lenny Briscoe type who's showing you nothing good—move on, trade him for another.

brady quinn at sis' wedding

"Kids Don't Know Shit" - Islands (mp3)

"Pieces of You" - Islands (mp3)


Charles Tyrwhitt, on 44th and Park, is making one of the best value shirts in town. The shirts retail at $99 but seem to be permanently on sale for much less. Metal collar stays, decent stitching and good fabric put their shirt a notch above Pink, Brooks Brothers, and the horde of other shirtmakers found in the department stores.

If your paunch is less than, say, Phillip Seymour Hoffman's, try to go with the slim-fit shirts. Always have someone size you up in the store. You want to have as little fabric as possible bunching up. Trust me, I'm large. But baggy doesn't help, especially under a suit.

If you're semi-splurging on a shirt, across the isle is Paul Stuart. For $150 and up, you will get a fine piece of tailoring. And if yours is a Tuxedo Wedding, Paul's has a nice selection of pricey but well made evening wear in the back of the store (expect to pay $1700-$3000, though).

Remember to get French cuffs. It's priceless having your sloshed buds trying to figure out how to put cufflinks on you 45 seconds before the ceremony. If your father or grandfather has some of their own ancient cuff links to lend, you can add a nice touch of history to your outfit.

Bespoke. If you haven't heard that term, bespoke means custom made. A tailor measures every little crook and cranny of your sweet self and then picks a fabric and makes a suit just for you.

If the idea of this intrigues you, go to Seize Sur Vingt in Soho. A sales staff that manages to be a deadly combination of slightly snobby, slightly cliquish and slightly hipster, isn't quite bad enough to turn customers away from this excellent shop. They will make you a sweet suit for $2000 and up.

That may sound like a lot, but a Zegna, Canali, or Armani will set you back just as much—and to be honest, a lot of the big names aren't that good these days, you're often paying through the nose for just decent (if not mediocre) quality. Seize Sur Vingt also always has a few interesting ties—and they make one of the best dress shirts in town, for $200+. Another good reason to check out Seize Sur Vingt is the off-the-rack suits they have left over: excellent quality and a good value. There's also Saint Laurie on the West Side.

If British-Jaunty is the style you're going for, make sure you check out Paul Smith near Union Square. Boxy jackets, pipe cleaner pants—his suits look good and are filled with interesting pimpish details: colorful liners, useful fasteners, interesting lapels. His shop is also an excellent place to shop for fun cuff links for you and your best men. A Paul Smith ensemble can be had for close to the $1200 mark.

If your wedding is super casual, or if you want some snazzy clothes for pre- and post-nuptial activities, I highly recommend Watts on Smith street in Brooklyn. Watts carries Penguin, Ben Sherman, Modern Amusement and all the other usual hip and not too expensive labels. Items go on sale often and the clothes are well chosen.

If you want a roughed up cordoruy sports coat, a fun seersucker jacket for the beach, or a smooth pair of slip on Vans for your feet: Watts is your place. Dogs are allowed in the store, if you're bringing your true best friend along. Watts is great for rehearsal dinner outfits.

If you need a good formal suit, but are trying to save some money, there's one clear winner: Linus. Linus is hands down the best menswear store in the city if price and quality are weighed equally.

The store is the size of a large closet and there aren't more than a dozen design to choose from, but the suits are of impeccable quality with nice proportions. And they can be had for $300-$500. Really, these German-made suits and tuxedos are superlative. If you were thinking about getting something off the rack at Men's Wearhouse, do yourself a favor: don't. Linus also has a nice selection of ties.


About ties. If you want to wear the fanciest tie in the world at your wedding, go to the ultra snobby Brioni outpost on 54th street. Pink is a good place to shop for ties, as is Barney's—both for the breadth of selection. Monochromatic, matching ties can really make your groomsmen look good—if, as with many wedding parties, they arrive wearing a hodgepodge of slightly different colored suits.

"I Feel Evil Creeping In" - Islands (mp3)

"Vertigo (If It's a Crime)" - Islands (mp3)


As for that outpost of New York City thrift, Century 21, my advice would be to skip it. Unless you need shoes. You can get some nice leather designer makes at C21 for less than half what you'd pay uptown. I also highly recommend staying away from Men's Wearhouse for most things, but it is also a good place for shoes—and belts. It's possible to get a perfectly acceptable pair of Johnstone Murphy cognac colored cap toes there for just over $100.

Remember that black isn't necessarily the best option when it comes to footwear. Any good Italian will tell you that. Black terminates your look—if you're not wearing a black suit, consider brown shoes.


If you have a guy on St. Marks who you trust, save your moolah and go to him. If not, I highly recommend making an appointment at John Allen's. This mini-chain has several locations in the city, although I favor the Trinity Place version. It's fifty bucks or so, but . . . well, how to describe it? There's beautiful women. There's beer; for free (well, it's included in the price). There's a pool table. There's ESPN. There's massages and manicures from the above-mentioned beautiful ladies.

If you missed out on a bachelor party, this is a great way to spend some pre-wedding time with a couple of your friends. And if you're by yourself: you'll be one happy little piggy.

What else? Remember to book your wedding location as far in advance as you can. Popular places like the parks and museums get booked way ahead of time. If you have a favorite place in the city, don't be afraid to ask.

Some restaurants like Frankie Spuntino's will host small wedding parties. And bars are often amenable to being taken over by 100 paying customers. By staying away from the usual suspects, you may save thousands.

And the wedding cake. Any time you drop the word wedding, stores will tack on an extra couple hundred dollars. A good caterer can turn a plain birthday cake into a marvelous wedding cake. Same goes with the flowers: avoid using the word wedding.

You've been warned.

And here's some parting words worth remembering from Zsa Zsa: Macho doesn't prove mucho.

Andrew Zornoza is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is in hiding. His first book, Where I Stay, is forthcoming from Tarpaulin Sky Press.


Pablo is This Recording's Fashion and Dance Consultant. He is a contributor of color. He is a Spanish Water Dog.


We totally wrote our name on that old tree but you never see.

Molly beat the meatles.

Rachel rags on Hampshire.

Science Corner changed all our lives forever.


In Which Craigslist Loses A Great Deal of Late-Night Business

Missed Connections, MTA

Part I

by Will Hubbard

No Age - "Eraser" (mp3)

At long last there is a way to anonymously shout-out the L-train girls without fear of public humiliation. It's true, my roommate Dan did pretty well giving out copies of Donald Barthelme’s 40 Stories with his name and phone number scrawled inside. But this can’t work for everyone. The new Subwaycrush.com allows users to post their fleeting, jolty, underground infatuations quickly and easily, redefining forever what it means to miss a connection on the New York subway.

D. R. Hooker - "The Sea" (mp3)

D. R. Hooker - "The Truth" (mp3)

My first foray into the medium was, like probably 85% of the posts, a joke to humiliate an overly-amorous friend. From now on, when someone tells you she “fell in love today on the train”, or “saw my future husband on the subway platform”, you are virtually obligated to concoct a bogus, unrelentingly revealing dispatch to them from the mysterious traveler. Mine was titled “Blue Barbour Coat, Weary Green Eyes”, but you will have to wait for Dan’s imminent post to learn how my little ruse turned out.

El Guincho - "Palmitos Park" (mp3)

I suppose it is a tremendous gift that I have trouble remembering faces. Like most people, I travel the same subway route everyday at nearly the same time, stand at the same place on each platform, enter the same car through the same door, and sit in the same section of seats. In New York there is always someone of aesthetic interest in your vicinity, yet for me there are no constants, no possibility of developing a rapport over time with a subway crush. Perhaps, like the great Sharon Olds, I have prosopagnosia, or face blindness.

Tower Recordings - "Moon Rocks Off" (mp3)

That is, at least, what I thought until a lovely redhead started transferring to the downtown RW with me at least twice a week, knowing, like me, the exact door to stand by for easy access to the 8th Street exit stairwell. Combined with the unconscionable perviness of approaching someone during their morning commute, this woman’s intimidating beauty causes me to avert my eyes to the floor. In doing so I sometimes catch a glimpse of her shoes which strangely, beautifully, are never the same.

Tower Recordings - "Intergalactic Housing Don't Bother Me" (mp3)

My first draft (“Redhead on the RW with Protean Footwear”) was delightfully problematic: “We transfer from the L to the RW together in the morning. Once I caught you watching me play Brickbreaker on my phone and smiled. I’m the guy with chronic red morning-eye who always carries the green murse.” I considered adding “Buy you breakfast next time?”, but realized my morning grogginess would make this unpleasant. And anyway, the chances of her reading it, being single, and sharing my attraction are about as good as my chances of falling in front of the train with her locked in my peripheral vision. More likely, one of my friends at work would read it and show my boss.

Will Hubbard is a writer living in Brooklyn. He is the contributing editor of ThisRecording, and editor of CapGun Magazine. His blog is TheLovedOnes.


Molly came to the defense of Diablo Cody.

Alex finally came around to Bon Iver.

Will kinda came a little on Jane Birkin


In Which We Examine The Dervish We'd Become


A Bruise

by Claire Howorth

Once upon a very recent time not so many weekends ago, my spirit suffered a bruise. An emotional hematoma. Steve Winwood's oeuvre on repeat did little good. Screaming into my pillow until hoarse was fun, but it felt far too pathetic and extreme an effect.

I wandered listlessly through downtown, chain smoking, looking at my reflection in store windows to see if I was as visibly depressed on the outside as I was within. I probably just looked incredibly vain.

And then it occurred to me: it was going to take that hackneyed excuse to buy when you're bummin'. Good old fashioned retail therapy. But a couple great steals at the Bendel's sale weren't going to cut it.


My plunge into unhappiness was sudden. Resurfacing was going to have to be forceful enough to give me the bends, meaning only: really, truly, heartbreakingly beautiful — and duly expensive — shoes.

Not just the average pump, but specific ones—a duo the cobbler could only have made with me in mind, a pedestrian representation of everything I needed to feel like again: sanguine, sexy, polished, and simultaneously unyielding and delicate. With 5-inch heels on which to rise to any occasion, stand tall in the face of gloom, for a girl who would be strutting on faith.

Once my mind conjured the remedy, the shoes radiated there, a constant, crystalline vision in smooth red wood and slick black patent leather, the twinkling toe a come-hither wink, a narcotic to my funk.

I set up on Broadway, a sartorial sniper with 49th & Fifth in my sights. Stopping just once for coffee, I was a woman in motion, hustling through yellow lights, weaving madly through the Union Square greenmarket, knocking into tourists' armfuls of shopping bags.

Forty-odd blocks later, the dervish I'd become paused at the door to Saks and sighed deeply in anticipated relief, a junkie about to take needle to vein. I looked down at my scuffed Chucks and pressed through the doors. The gush of warm air and overfragrant makeup ladies weakened my knees and my palms began to sweat.

Lancome, Estee Lauder, Givenchy… The Chanel counter loomed, mid-floor, another obstacle... Wait, wouldn't that shiny Black Satin nail polish be such a compliment to the gleam of patent leather clacking on my feet below? But a prelude to a kiss. Twenty-some dollars poorer, new lacquer in purse, I headed up the escalator.

There, in its own zip code, lay destiny. Perched at every angle were rainbows of color, infinities of styles, toute la couture les pieds! And there in the middling chaos of New Jersey fur and Park Avenue botox were my shoes. My soles. My soul.

The saleslady must have recognized the zealous expression on my face and came right over. I gave my size, holding my breath, hopeful. She frowned and apologized—that's the most popular size. Dilemma! But she could order them for me?

No, I was Veruca Salt and I wanted them now. Right now.

And I knew the place.

Thanking her over my shoulder, now feverish, I floated down the escalator and ran across 50th to Madison, heading north. I ticked off the blocks, annoyed I couldn't move faster.

Twelve minutes later I burst through the revolving doors of my favorite department store.

Breaking a sweat, I plowed through the sale area millers-around toward the sweet oasis of new inventory. There they were again. My shoes. Deliverance was a credit card swipe away. I glanced at the three Italian women on the sofas and ottomans surrounding me. Their smooth, tan hands fluttered over box upon box. How could they, blind takers of any and all, possibly understand my frantic quest?


"Renegade" - Eminem ft. Jay-Z (mp3)

My shabby Saturday garb was clammy and my furrowed face must have betrayed a practiced façade of calm. Hand shaking, I snatched the display heel and held it up to the salesgirl. Two words and a number: A 41, please. She nodded and disappeared behind a curtain.

While waiting, I stroked the display shoe, forlorn looking without its mate. I tugged at the heel strap, a slingback slingshot to propel me back towards joy. I slowly ran my fingers along the bottom, from the heel tip up to the arch, and back down the slope to the ball — one fluid, gorgeous sole, running blood-red to the glossed onyx top.

The salesgirl was headed back, box in hand, smile on face. Nestled perfectly in cardboard coffers was my salvation. I gently pulled them out and slipped them on, pulling the backstrap up over the curve of my heel, my foot arcing, faintly orgasmic in the way a Barbie doll's feet remain perma-poised in Stepford-like expectancy of sex.


I stood up, vaulted almost a half-foot taller, assertive, and with newfound reserve. I took a couple of kicking, sassy steps.


"Shine a Light" - The Rolling Stones (mp3)

I took a deep, compunctionless breath, blinking one long time as the girl wandered off to process my purchase. As I pranced and danced around the East Village that night, several cups past tipsy but ever careful not to jam the precious heels in sidewalk cracks, my life no longer stood a loaded gun.

Claire Howorth is a contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in New York. She last wrote in these pages about lyme disease and country singers.


"Shine a Light (live at Royal Albert Hall)" - Spiritualized (mp3)


Jennifer Beals' taste in photography.

The web exposes all.

Inability to comment on anything of substance.



In Which Nobody's Around Right Now I Don't Know What They're Doing I Think Surfing USA

images courtesy the bridge & tunnel club

Surf City USA

by Brian DeLeeuw

Sometimes the genius of a place is found not in its surprises, but instead in its more or less exact confirmation of your expectations. It’s gratifying when this happens, because it marks a rare intersection of how you think the world might be and how it actually is. The place takes on a sort of defiantly singular existence: it not only is a certain way, but also can’t even be imagined to be otherwise.

In precisely this fashion, if you were to envision a surfing spot lying within the borders of New York City, Rockaway Beach in far Southern Queens is pretty much what you’d be forced to come up with. Near the most popular surfing area, at Beach 92nd Street, wind-stripped bungalows and ominous project towers jostle up against the ocean. Police cars join the joggers and dog-walkers in a slow cruise down the boardwalk. There are rumors of locals duct-taping knives to the undersides of their surfboards to settle disputes over wave-etiquette. At high tide, the snaggle-toothed remains of scrapped piers lie concealed just beneath the water’s surface.

"What a Wonderful World" -- Joey Ramone (mp3)

"Shook Ones Pt. II" -- Mobb Deep (mp3)

"NY State of Mind" -- Nas (mp3)

Maybe most New Yorkers don’t feel a particular need to entertain any specific idea of a hometown surf-spot. But for me, after twelve years of being a surfer who lives, but has never surfed, in New York City, my first visit to Rockaway Beach was more or less an exercise in a perverse sort of wish-fulfillment: in all its grimy juxtapositions, it was exactly as I thought (and hoped) I would find it.

Even surfers like me often forget that their city is unequivocally a coastal town, that the rivers and harbors and bays that encircle and subdivide the five boroughs are not just scenery and props, but the fingers of a very real and very unpredictable Atlantic Ocean. After passing underneath Crown Heights and East New York, then rising above ground and hooking south on Rockaway Boulevard, the A train shudders across a series of bridges spanning Jamaica Bay. Here, low-lying marshlands and wind-whipped inlets are bisected by elevated subway tracks and two-story strip-malls, and the city’s familiar concrete and metal infrastructure maintains an uneasy balance with the encroaching waters.

On a cloudy and raw mid-October Sunday, the clatter of the train pulling away from the over-ground Beach 98th Street station fades and is replaced by the whistle of a gusty north wind. It’s about three blocks south to the boardwalk and another six blocks east to the only spot that, on this day of minimal surf, is showing any signs of life. Tiny sets trickle in next to the jetty, and about a dozen wet-suited long-boarders scramble for anything that moves. On a solid south-east swell this particular line-up is said to offer a thick left bowl, but on this afternoon the waves are knee-high at best. And yet even today, the flat and chilly ocean is the most appealing thing in sight.

In most areas of the country, proximity to the ocean bears a direct relationship to property prices – but apparently not in New York City. Ever since Manhattan’s tycoons abandoned the Rockaways for the North Shore and East End of Long Island in the early part of the 20th century, the area has encompassed a heterogeneous cluster of working and middle class beach communities. Even the Bell Harbor and Breezy Point neighborhoods on the western end of the peninsula, nicknamed “The Irish Riviera,” are hardly Amagansett and East Hampton, and, as Surfline.com warns of the east end, “the surf in the area between 30th Street and the mid-40s can be perfect, but don't expect your car to be there when you get out of the water.”

"Blitzkrieg Bop" -- The Ramones (mp3)

"Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" -- The Ramones (mp3)

Today at 92nd Street, I don’t spot any car thieves, just a group of teenage skateboarders busting kick-flips and tossing around a Nerf football. Rusted orange trashcans dot the beach as the silhouettes of massive tankers motoring in and out of New York Harbor punctuate the horizon. I sit on a graffiti-covered bench, freezing, waiting for something to happen in the water, but, as the tide drops and the waves pretty much disappear, even some of the diehards are calling it a day.

Crossing Ocean Promenade on my way back to the subway, I’m overtaken by a jogging surfer wearing only a dripping wetsuit. He carries his board under one arm and his car keys in the other hand; he’s sporting sunglasses despite the gloom.

Keeping his head low against the wind, he dodges a few cars and hustles around the corner, the soles of his bare feet flashing a startling bright-white against the gray concrete.

Although it was flat today, he probably already knows that the remnants of Hurricane Wilma are creeping up the Eastern Seaboard just as another extra-tropical low-pressure system spins off the North-East coast. Wednesday morning, the surf reports say, is shaping up to be solid overhead with favorable north winds, and, with its dead-south swell window and relatively sheltered wind exposure, Rockaway Beach, Queens, New York City, terminus of the A train, home of the Edgemere House projects and the NYPD’s 100th Precinct, may just be the best spot to go surfing on the entire East Coast.

Brian DeLeeuw writes regularly on travel, fashion, and food for CITY magazine (www.city-magazine.com), and has also recently been published in Tin House and the New York Press. He is at work on a novel.

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