My recent birthday week in New York included many special meals, but one especially special one was to eat lunch on my birthday with three generations of my cousins who live on Staten Island.
Staten Island is a suburb within the city, not having seen major housing development until the 1960s when the opening of a bridge from Brooklyn sent Baby Boomers just a little older than me streaming there for new homes as they started their families. Getting there from Manhattan takes some determination. A large contingent of my cousins live there today as do their children and grandchildren.
My trip started with a subway ride to the Staten Island Ferry terminal at the tip of Manhattan. The ferry ride to Staten Island followed. Take that ride when you’re there, it’s free and offers great views of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty and lower Manhattan on the return trip.
Once off the ferry, I had about a 40-minute bus ride to a stop where my cousin Evelyn met me with her car and drove me the rest of the way to her house. The entire trip took me a bit less than two hours one-way. But it was more than worth the time.I wasn’t sure what we would be eating for lunch. My cousin cooked it all and was sure to make one healthy choice after another.
She made very thin chicken cutlets on a grill-like pain over two burners on her stove, a great way to cook them without frying. She also made salmon in the over and served grilled eggplant slices and green beans as sides. The flavors of every item were so full, who needs salt on such a great meal?
I brought along our one splurge item, cupcakes I had bought at the Cupcake Cafe near our Hell’s Kitchen hotel in Manhattan. I bought the small rather than the large cupcakes at the shop, and we cut them in halves and quarters so as not to splurge. I could have eaten the entire plate.
Meals with extended family have been a rarity for me every since I left New York many years ago. That made this meal and the visit that went with it just so, so extraordinary. Thank you Evelyn for making it all happen! And thanks to Joyce and Eva for coming, as well as to my third-generation triplet cousins who are so amazing in their own right. Wow, I’m still just so happy about that meal and that day.