They say that the moon brings the man to the woman, “La Bella Luna”, if you will. But, what on god’s green earth brings the man to the man? …Pheromones, I guess? Still trying to figure that one out. Anyways, if you live in New York and you haven’t reenacted Norman Jewison’s Moonstruck in some facsimile, you just aren’t living. Of course, I didn’t fall in love with my fiance’s brother whom I screwed underneath “La Bella Luna”, but let me tell you–I did eat some damn good pasta and stand outside the Castorini house at 19 Cranberry Street in Brooklyn Heights. That’s gotta count for something, right?
My mom was ill-informed that Queen Ann Pasta, of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, was used as a movie set for the 1980s classic Cher film. Let me tell you a thing about Bensonhurst–if a town could get tuberculosis, it would look like that. But, it is the craziest comingling of culture this side of Ellis Island. Chinese, Italian, you name it, they find a home here. Queen Ann pasta was featured on Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods, which… is like, chipotle ranch levels of bizarre. It’s just spicy ranch in the end. So Bensonhurst is New York’s second little Italy, and is home to incredible gems like Leoni’s Italian Heroes where you, I kid you not, can purchase a 10 pound sandwich, and of course, Queen Ann. Get the Artichoke ravioli with homemade mozzarella. For the sake of my mom, I’m going to just say that Moonstruck was filmed there and that the Cammareri Bros did not go bankrupt from their original location in downtown Brooklyn NOR IS THAT LOCATION A PURBIRD NOW. It’s Queen Ann or bust. The sanity of one small town Finnish girl depends on it.
Besides putting our pasta pants on, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to get our Moonstruck on. My mom has the biggest fear of heights, but she made it, celebrating her tiny victory with her old friend, Marlboro.
Back to re-enacting a low budget Moonstruck. And no, we did not go to the Opera. People with money go to the opera, and I can’t seem to get a job where my paychecks clear to do pretend I’m stable. Not even affluent, I legitimately cannot feign stability. Loretta and Nicholas Cage *I forget his name in any role, as he is Nic Cage* clearly come from the deep, deep throngs of inheritance, so seeing La Boheme and randomly having a steak in your fridge are just normal things. My fridge has LaCroix in it. Unfortunately, the LaCroix isn’t even mine. My comes not from a can but comes from upstate NY instead–do you know what’s in upstate NY? Prisons. Yum yum, Orange is the new Aquafina.
We did howl at the wind where Grandfather Castorini did. No moon. We’re too old and tired to be out past dark, he says, after realizing that the grandfather had more wrinkles than most redwood trees have rings, signifying his laps around the sun. My mom says she saw him in Central Park, and for his sake, I hope so too.
When in Dumbo, there are certain places you have to go. Yes, I too was surprised to find out that Dumbo is more than just a flying elephant, but also as expensive as hell neighborhood. I think I’ll have seen about everything, when I see affordable rent. Everyone and their grandmother is going to tell you to go to Grimaldi’s Pizza and the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Do that if you hail from Italian money a la Loretta Castorini. But, if you’re in the comfort of Minneapolis, go to Black Sheep Pizza. It’s honestly better.
My favorite NYC Slice is at Ignazio’s in Dumbo, just down the street from the Grimaldi family shoppes, and actually sells pizza at an affordable(ish) price. It’s 4 dollars a slice and 24 for a whole pie. The crust is thin and crispy, with abundant tomato-y sauce. I’m a sauce whore, like every woman in my family. We’ve gotta be a whore for something, and tomato sauce is what we play at. My mom and brother ate a combined 4 slices from them, and really should have just gotten a pie. I, on the other hand, deemed it best if I partook of a healthier fare at Luke’s Lobster, and got a shrimp roll… which was good, but sort of felt like garlic bread made with a hot dog bun filled with cold shrimp scampi. Good recipe inspiration, let me tell you, but recipe inspo is where the buck stops.
I sit here as my family packs their bags, sort of watching The Frankenstein Chronicles, I remember the days we spent fondly, freezing our asses off in the blustery winds of Mother Atlantica. Yea, though we hail from the frozen Midwest, wind is wind no matter where you go. Today, the weather actually resembled spring… I joke that my mother brought the winter with her. And she did. Actual Elsa the Scandi-Ice Queen.
I’ll miss them dearly. When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s familia.
PS: Oh look, menswear! Tip for this spring season—don’t be afraid to clash patterns. Note I’ve paired cross print socks with a plaid top and animal print shoes. Find a color story and stick to it.
Polo, Shoes, Belt, Bag: Coach 1941
Jeans: Levi’s Made and Crafted
Hat: Kit and Ace
Jacket: Urban Outfitters
Disney Souvenir Jacket: Uniqlo (it’s on sale!)
Socks: Dr. Martens
Pins: Grandma’s Brooches, in honor of.