The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival began this past Friday and I’m completely jealous of everyone who will be able to attend. The line-up includes the likes of Ludacris, Gillian Welch, and Harry Connick Jr., plus local favorites like Rebirth Brass Band, Galactic, and the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars (regarding the latter, I can say from experience: you’ve got to see it to believe). Also, Joss Stone plays, hosts a private event, and volunteers to build homes for musicians uprooted by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
I’m all about taking surveys. I can’t get enough of answering questions. I actually arrive at the doctor’s office embarrassingly early so that I can devote as much time as I want to filling all the forms out. And so when Travel + Leisure magazine and CNN Headline News launch their America Favorite Cities survey on April 30, you can bet I’ll be at the head of the line waiting to take it.
This morning I heard some disturbing news on the radio. The Coney Island amusement park (AKA the Astroland Amusment park) has been sold to a real estate developer, at least according to the NPR story I woke up to. Everything save the cyclone, an official landmark, will be torn down and made into…What exactly? That is the question.
When I first heard the news I was blurry with sleep but this got my blood pumping. It’s sacrilege to tear down Coney Island! After all, I have yet to go on all the rides! I’m thinking what – more luxury rentals by the sea? Is there no one else who wants to see some things remain the same? Ugh, I feel old. It’s an ugly thought this early in the morning. But what about preservation of an icon?
I grew up in a place no one visits. To be fair to the people who never go there, there’s not a lot of draw in Fargo, North Dakota. While a growing number of quality of life studies underscore plenty of things about Fargo that lure folks to live there, there’s not much average tourists (excluding Roger Maris fans) would go out of their way to see, as they might for, say, the Great Wall of China, or Machu Picchu. (Although, have you seen the Hjemkomst Center? Okay, so maybe it’s technically in Minnesota – but you can see it from Fargo if you stand in the right spot…I know, I’m grasping.)
My worst international dining experience can be summarized in a frozen moment: I’m sitting in an Andean restaurant jaw dropped as a waiter walks to the next table over with a guinea pig on a plate, spindly rodent feet and all. Probably not the most appetizing way for me to begin a posting on food, but I bring this anecdote up only to contrast against the total glory that is being a cheese-loving vegetarian in Italy.