I have been friendly with Barry since I met him at my first poker game in the late 70s. During the time both of us were ‘between wives’ we hung out took together… even took vacations together. Though we live far apart I still consider him one of my best friends.
I should add, going on vacation with a dentist is a learning experience. I seem to remember his swishing mouthwash at least a half dozen times a day. And, you’ll be glad to know, no one has cleaner hands!
We weren’t able to see Barry in Atlantic City, but knew he and his wife would be passing through on their way to a wedding in Rhode Island. Originally we were hoping they’d come to the house for bagels and lox, but time didn’t permit. So this morning we drove into New Haven and waited for them at the Greek Olive.
Their trip took a little longer than normal because of traffic on I-95. There are choke points here in Connecticut that slow any trip down – and they hit them all. It is especially true around the Greek Olive which is next door to the new Ikea, itself a destination for thousands.
It’s always good to see old friends. You can catch up on their lives and then trash everyone else you mutually know.
Barry and Sheila were my first friends to become grandparents. It was fun for them, sobering for me. Having contemporaries with two generations below them isn’t something you think about while growing up.
They left, leaving Helaine and Steffie the opportunity to walk across the lawn to Ikea. If you’re not here in Connecticut, you have no idea what a big deal has been made of this store. We had stories on the news. The newspaper splashed it across its “A” section. It’s an especially significant event for New Haven which has had almost no new retail activity in years.
The parking lot was even more crowded than when I went with Ann earlier in the week. Outside, a New Haven firetruck stood in front of an ambulance. Both had their emergency lights on. I figured it was a shopper who had bought something and only then realized he’d have to find a way to get it home and then assemble it!¹
The crowd inside the store would make you think they’re giving something away. It’s been a long time since I bought furniture, so maybe they are. I’m unqualified here. I do know it’s simple and spartan. Some of the items are so simple they resemble the milk crates we used for furniture in my college dorm.
I left Helaine and Steffie to walk around and returned to the car. Since I had my camera, I wanted to take a photo of the former Armstrong Tire (then Pirelli Tire) Headquarters. Built 35 years ago and designed by Marcel Breuer, the upper floors of the building float above the rest. It’s abandoned now, used mostly to hang billboards. There are rumors it will be reworked into a hotel or other commercial space.
As I walked, I caught glimpse of a few of the cameras that have gone up since Ikea was finished. Most of the surrounding intersections have four fixed cameras to see what’s going on. I think, since they’re on the same pole as the traffic lights, that they go back to the city.
Helaine and Steffie met me at the car. Steffie had bought an ice cream cone, the second food related purchase made by my family at this furniture store. In fact, with my earlier trip, we’re 0-2 in furniture.
¹ – I am only kidding around because a fireman told me someone who had fallen and wasn’t serious.