The Unbearable Banishment: Melancholy holiday

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Melancholy holiday

Atlantic City is a much sadder, slower place in the winter than it is in the summer. It makes me melancholy and blue. But it's the good kind of blue. It's not the kind of blue that drags you down. It's the kind of blue that makes you sit up straight and appreciate what you have. It's the kind of blue you get when you listen to B.B. King play his guitar or Billy Holiday sing. I like it just fine.

I certainly don't mind navigating the summer masses that choke the boardwalk. If crowds bothered me, I wouldn't have stayed in New York City all those years. But there's a certain sad allure to strolling on a cold, snowy, almost empty boardwalk.

The beaches are deserted and clean. The lines where sky meets water and water meets sand aren't broken by a gaggle of noisy tourists. By the end of August, the sand will be disrupted and large metal drums filled with trash will dot the shore. Occasionally, a treasure hunter with a metal detector will come into view.

He'll stop, bend down and dig furiously. His efforts will be rewarded with a bottle cap or a key.

Though chilly, the sun can be quite bright and sitting outside is comfortable. The broken, the lonely and those brought to their knees by their bad luck in the casinos claim a bench and stare out at the ocean.

The oul dogs wonder where it all went and what's left.

There's a colony of feral cats that live under the boardwalk. They've been there for as long as I can remember. Local volunteers have built shelters for them and drop off food in the winter time.

You can see them napping in the afternoon sunshine. Nobody bothers them.

They don't seem to have any fear of people. They will almost always jump up on your lap if you invite them. And, like us, they enjoy a good scratch in the right place.


Anonymous daisyfae said...

makes me want to visit. as do all of your 'NYC Users Guide' posts...

and not just to smack the 'metal detector dude' in the head. what does he expect to find? a freakin' Buick?

February 25, 2010 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Barlinnie said...

Billy Holiday, and a poets soul.. you indeed are a rich man my friend.

February 26, 2010 at 3:07 AM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

Makes me want to watch Louis Malle's Atlantic City again

February 26, 2010 at 5:56 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

I love out of season holiday places... and that old gent my have been contemplating what to do with his winnings!

February 26, 2010 at 6:55 AM  
Blogger savannah said...

nothing better than visiting favorite places in the off season, sugar! we used to have an off season here and it was wonderful to just be in our little town without crowds of tourists! i love the pics of the snow so close to the ocean...

February 26, 2010 at 7:26 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Daisy: All that traveling you do I'm surprised you haven't made your way up to this quadrant. One day I'll take you for a walk up Broadway to Central Park. Just not when there's so much SNOW!

Jimmy: I do a phenomenal amount of bitching on these pages but I really do realize how lucky I am. Bitching feels good.

Nurse: Lemons!

Scarlet: I thought he might have been quite happy just enjoying the sunshine and sea but that didn't fit in with the theme of the post.

Savannah: Atlantic City really does seem other worldly with the mounds of snow up and down the boardwalk. It's so contrary to what that place is all about.

February 26, 2010 at 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absence of throngs of humanity: my most favourite tableau.

February 26, 2010 at 10:07 AM  
Blogger mapstew said...

You are edging me closer and closer to the ticket desk my friend!

Great pics!

Now I must did out my Billie CD's.

February 26, 2010 at 10:17 AM  
Blogger mapstew said...

'dig' not 'did'!

February 26, 2010 at 10:18 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Rob: I, too, love the solitude and absence of humanity. But the mad throngs stir my blood, as well. I'm such a flake.

Map: My mind is constantly changing. Is it Billy or Ella? One had grace and tone. The other had style and feeling. It depends on my mood, I suppose. Re: your typo. I could keep a SEPARATE BLOG to track all my glitches and wrongs. Be Zen. Let 'em go.

February 26, 2010 at 10:28 AM  
Anonymous Sally said...

This post could be a tiny picture book. I mean that in good way.

February 26, 2010 at 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome post, good pictures. So different from when I have been there; thanks for the different perspective...validates my reason even more for wanting to retire as close to the ocean as possible. Maybe some day!

February 27, 2010 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger A Free Man said...

I love deserted beaches, no better place. That's one of the reasons I like Australia. Lots of deserted beaches.

February 28, 2010 at 9:48 PM  

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