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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Like A South Street Cowboy

Fun and Free: two words that seldom go together. For family outings, however they are two elements that are a must. We kind of got that at the "Texas On Tour" event hosted at the South Street Seaport. Yes, it was free but the fun part came way afterward, at the beer garden. It had nothing to do with the event but it got us out of the house if nothing else.

The draw was virtual kayaking. I know, I thought the same thing: there are so many other activities and stuff that can be associated with Texas, why kayaking? But I figured, what the heck - the kids might enjoy it anyhow.

We got there and were kindly escorted to the "registration" booth where we entered our email to receive an electronic key card. Then we were pushed into a small movie theater to watch a commercial promoting tourism in Texas.

Not anything against Texas but the only reason I'd deliberately go there is to tour the "Tito's Handmade Vodka" distillery in Austin. We sat through the commercial anyhow, just to get out of the sweltering sun. Plus, they handed out free CD's of local music at the end. The boys love free gifts even if they don't know what it is.

Just two steps away from the theater we were lead to the virtual kayaking set up and that's when we decided it was beer o'clock. Although the kids may have enjoyed sitting in a kayak on a stage facing the South Street Seaport, there was no way they were going to put on the headgear to take them on a virtual tour. Instead, we watched Ryan Harkrider perform an acoustic ditty and went on our quest for a cold beverage.

It's been at least two years since we've been to the South Street Seaport. We wanted to avoid the tourist trap food court surrounded by overpriced Mall cuisine. We spotted a big sign for the "Water Taxi Beach and Beer Garden" and became hopeful. The boys are conditioned to feel giddy when they hear the words "Beer Garden" almost as much as their mom and dad.

It took some work finding the secluded spot, but it was worth it. As we sat at the picnic tables facing the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, the boys chowed down the rice balls I packed from home and we sipped our cold beer served by bartender with a hangover. There wasn't much going on, other than a juvenile crew from the New York Film Academy flapping their braces, a group of starch white girls in bikini's sunbathing on the man-made beach and the oyster shuckers creating a sculpture with a couple of lemons and a shrimp.

But if New York went on tour to Texas to promote tourism, I suppose this scene would be typical enough to be featured in a virtual walking tour.

A rice ridden Samu at the Water Taxi Beach and Beer Garden.

They're too clueless to understand that this photo booth requires 14 quarters to snap a picture, so I took one for free.

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