Coney Island Whales and Jackson Heights Indian Sweets


FOR SUNDAY -- PHOTO BY Artie Raslich --WHALE STORY CAPTION: araslich-3.jpg - Jerry the Humpback whale Spyhopping Off NYC, maybe Jerry was checking out the Empire State Building? Photo Artie Raslich(photo by Artie Raslich)

Yes, that’s right–whales–humpbacks to be exact, disporting themselves around New York City, particularly just beyond Coney Island. We attended a Gotham Whale event sponsored by the NYC Sierra Club that proved it. There they were–60 foot giants breaching and gorging themselves on schools of fish called bunker almost on our shores. You can view them on four-hour whale and dolphin watching cruises on the American Princess.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 4: Humpback whale lunge feeding off NYC's Rockaway Peninsula with Rockaway Beach in the background on September 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Artie Raslich/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 4: Humpback whale lunge feeding off NYC’s Rockaway Peninsula with Rockaway Beach in the background on September 4, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Artie Raslich/Getty Images)

The mission of Gotham Whale, a research and conservation group, is “To study, advocate for, and educate about the whales and marine mammals of New York City, through Citizen Science.” The next NYC Sierra Club cruise is October 18 and anyone can go along and even register as a “citizen scientist” to help spot and count our local ocean mammals. The boat leaves from Riis Landing in Rockaway, Queens, and returns around 4 pm. It was good to hear that the waters around New York’s harbors are clean enough to attract fish and their predators–whales, dolphins and seals. Also white sharks, but don’t worry, the whales get rid of them for you.

While we were in the neighborhood of Jackson Heights, we took the opportunity to wander around the area on 73rd and 74th and 82nd Streets between Roosevelt and 37th avenues that caters to South Asians from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. jackson heights(traveltips.usatoday.com Here we found restaurants streetincluding the famous Jackson Diner –yes, it serves Indian food,Jackson Dinerclothing stores complete with saris and bridal wear, Indian saris and bridalsfine jewelry shopsgold jewelry 3and groceries. We wandered into the vast Patel Brothers food palace Patel Brothers outsidewhich offers condiments, packaged foods, fresh fruit and endless bags of rice.

rice 1But, of course, we were on a mission–dessert–and there are many choices. These desserts are very very sweet–fine with me.

large dessertsWe headed to Rajbhog where Simon directed us, and found ourselves in a little place Rajbog dessertswith a wide variety–Dry, Bengali and Rajbhog Special Sweets.Rajbog menuWe thought we had an obligation to sample a few from each category….Rajbog desserts 2Jackson Heights is easy to get to: take the number 7 train from Manhattan to 74th Street and you’re right there. It’s fun, it’s free (except for what you buy) and it’s New York.

#Gotham Whale

#NYCHumpbacks

#AmericanPrincesswhalewatches

#JacksonHeights

#LittleIndia

#patelbrothers

#Jacksondiner

Rajbhog

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