Thursday, October 20, 2016

Between the Bridges in Broad Channel


Between the Bridges in Broad Channel
by
Peter J. Mahon
October 20th, 2016


A VFW Rave + Yahle to Jail?

As the weather is turning cooler you might like to know that each Sunday afternoon, starting at 2 pm, the Broad Channel VFW Post will be preparing a single, home made, hot dish which will be available in the building's rear canteen (bar) area.  Now, just so there is no confusion, this weekly Sunday offering is not a formal brunch event replete with menu. Rather, it is more like a single item, weekly culinary indulgence, a true "bonne bouche" one might say.  For example, this past Sunday I thoroughly enjoyed a delicious shrimp, rice and salsa dish accompanied by conch fritters and chips! Admittedly, the repast was served with plastic bowls and cutlery but I can guarantee that you would be hard pressed to find a dish like this anywhere else in our area.  The in-house chefs at the VFW have taken pub grub to an entirely new level and it is certainly worth your time to stop by on any Sunday afternoon to check it out. A $5 donation is suggested to partake of this weekly culinary delight with all proceeds going to support the organization's myriad activities on behalf of our disabled veterans.   I would also personally recommend that you enhance your afternoon experience by purchasing a Bloody Mary from the canteen bar which is always prepared to taste - from "virgin and mild" to "get ready to talk to your sneakers screaming hot!"

After indulging myself with the afternoon's hot dish in the canteen, I strolled back into the VFW hall where the Broad  Channel Historical Society was holding its annual "Historical Day" exhibition.  The Historical Society was founded in 1994 and since then its members have worked tirelessly to both document and preserve the history of our small community in the middle of Jamaica Bay. It is always a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with the likes of Barbara Toborg, the society's chairperson and our town's resident Broad Channel centric author, Dan Guarino.  In addition to the hour or so spent enjoying the myriad of historical documents and other items on display I also had the pleasure of  meeting Mary Dady Clarity, author of Old Salt,  a memoir of her husband, Mike Clarity's, life growing up in Broad Channel through his years of service with the United States Navy.  I picked up a signed copy of Old Salt  while there and am looking forward to reading it this week.

While at the VFW I ran into Barbra Yahle who pulled me aside and explained that she has been having problems with the delivery of the Rockaway Times to her residence over on Beach 87th Street in Rockaway.  She explained that she lives in an old bungalow area where the property addresses are all the same accompanied by a letter designation (i.e.: "A", "B", "C", etc.)  It turns out Barbra does not have a computer but she states she is such an avid fan of the Rockway Times that she has taken to purloining her neighbors copy from his yard when the opportunity presents itself.  She asked me to pass this along to our editor, Kevin Boyle if he could look into this stating, "After all, I am risking arrest and jail time simply to get my weekly fix of the Rockaway Times!" 

Later that afternoon as I was sitting at the canteen's bar someone remarked, "Wasn't this a great day?  You come in the front door and you visit our town's past with the historical society and then you walk to the rear canteen and you're back in the present!"  Someone further down the bar replied, "Yeah, and when you leave, make a right on Cross Bay, walk down to East 14th Road and you can visit your future at Hillebrand's Funeral Home!" 

Broad Channel, why would anyone want to live anywhere else? 

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