The N line through Bensonhurst is surrounded by a series of privately owned gardens. It was here that I met Vinny, the proud owner of a garden that looks almost wild. Every single day since his good wife died of breast cancer a number of years ago he has worked his land. He asked if I had a boyfriend, and warned that some men can be very bad. I ate good portions of his arugula and mint, both delicious and refreshing in the heat. His garden is at about 62nd and 12th, say ciao.
The population of this area is quite diverse- Asian, Italian, Caribbean, and Jewish. East of New Utrecht are a few warehouses, otherwise much of the land is suburban.
I stopped twice to eat- once for two mediocre meatballs and once for gelato. I’ve been preparing my entire life for the single scoop of half coffee half chocolate (a Clio Goodman favorite) at Cafe Italia. My table partner, Sol, explained that the ten or so older Italian men in the back smoking cigarettes and playing cards wager only the various offerings of the restaurant instead of dollars. Cappucino, espresso, gelato, juice, or tea. Also, he told me that yes, sometimes there are other women that come with their husbands to debate just not today, to be careful when I take the subway because his friend was recently mugged while transiting to a brunch in the Bronx losing his watch, phone, and wallet, and that I should probably also stop at the gelato shop on the corner as well because that is a little bit more tasty.