Open line | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 27, 2006

Open line

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2006 at 7:52 PM

What about it? Politics? Movies? Dinner? Pet peeves?

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Indulge me in a brief travelogue: If you find yourself in NYC with a half-day to kill in a cheap and unusual way, take the elevated subway out to Queens and get off at 61st and Roosevelt Avenue. You can stroll about two miles along Roosevelt and rarely hear a word of English. (When the subways come rumbling by overhead, straight out of an "NYPD Blue" episode, you won't be able to hear yourself think.) Soak in the smell and sounds and sights of Peruvian, Colombian, Ecuadoran, Uruguayan, Mexican and other cultures. We snacked in restaurants of about four different countries for pennies and got a street-level view of the American dream robustly at work. Then we strolled over to 37th Avenue for a couple of miles in the opposite direction. More of the same, but it also offered a taste of the lingering old-school Queens culture, including historic apartment buildings and some "American" places lingering from the old days, with doddering old ladies slowly edging into coffee and bagel shops on their walkers. It's a cheap thrill that I'd recommend  to anyone who likes to go exploring. Be sure to buy an arepa, a griddled corncake, sometimes sandwiched with creamy white cheese, at many of the bakeries and grills, or  a serving of the fat fried kernels of corn with the soft centers that are like Corn Nuts, only much, much better. If you stumble across the Uruguayan restaurant, order the chivito, an enormous steak sandwich (pictured) piled high with provolone, lettuce, tomato, olives, fried eggs, ham and french fries. It's enough for two for under $10. Get in the spirit of things by paying an extra 50 cents for a Quilmes beer, straight from Argentina.

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