FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Last Golden Day

by ALAN CABAL

The best time to visit the Jersey Shore is just after Labor Day, when the tourists are gone, the water is warm, and the shops on the boardwalk are closing out their inventory. The motel deals are better, and better still for regular customers. On September 8, 2001, I booked a room in the Owl’s Nest Motel in Somer’s Point, NJ, for me and my girlfriend. We drove down from New York City early Saturday morning, checked in, and drove over the bridge to Ocean City to hit the beach and the boardwalk.

I gave her a little cap that I’d gotten from John Strausbaugh, my editor at the time at NY Press, and the man who put that little rag on the map. It was from a solid non-Village Voice alternative weekly in Seattle called The Stranger, a true independent. It was black, with the words “I am a dangerous terrorist” written across the brow. People thought it was funny, this little 5’2″ kindergarten teacher of Danish extraction, wearing this hat. People smiled at her. We ate pork roll sandwiches and Mack And Manco pizza, to my mind the very best in the world. We drank Pennsylvania Dutch Root Beer. We body-surfed until we were exhausted by the magnificent warm embracing surf. We had a nice meal and walked the boards for a while, then retired back to our room to get drunk and stoned.

The next morning, September 9, we checked out and headed back over the bridge into Ocean City. The water temperature was in the 80s, nearly the same as the air. The surf was incredible. We bought a kite shaped like a flying saucer, and, with some effort, actually got it to fly. We ate Taylor’s Pork Roll sandwiches and Mack & Manco pizza, bought some houseplants for her classroom, and reluctantly headed back North on the Garden State Parkway, back to New York City. She had to teach her kindergarten class the next day, and I had to get ready to fly up to Boston to load out Cirque du Soleil.

As we cruised over the ramp leading to the Holland Tunnel, we were amazed to see the Twin Towers aflame in the glorious industrial sunset of Northern New Jersey. The various hydrocarbons, pollutants, and whatnot in the air over Jersey had produced a gorgeous golden-pink light, and it was reflecting off of those towers as if they were the source of it. Like most New Yorkers, we had always hated those things. Big stupid boxes, none of the elegant Art Deco charm of the true skyscrapers, and a direct insult to the majesty of the Empire State Building and the ineffably beautiful Chrysler Building. They were tacky, unimaginative monstrosities. But in that moment, that golden moment, they were beautiful beyond compare, two shining beacons of heavenly, otherworldly light. We were completely stunned by their beauty.

That was the first time we’d ever perceived them as beautiful, and the last time we saw them. That was the Last Golden Day before the End Of The World.

ALAN CABAL lives in Mountain View, California. He can be reached  at al_cabal@yahoo.com

 

ALAN CABAL lives in Mountain View, California. He can be reached  at al_cabal@yahoo.com

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail