Port Jervis is not Miami. Port Jervis is not the Hamptons. Port Jervis is in New York State but its so not the Hamptons.
In fact its probably the most un-Hampton place in NY State.
So. You may ask yourself. why is Barbi in Port Jervis? ( called PJ for short, which some locals take literally and wear their Walmart PJ’s to the supermarket, liquor store, gas station, gun and ammo shop or while lounging on their porch). Port Jervis lies on the Delaware river in a forgotten corner of NY, about 90 minutes from NYC. It became a destination when the D&H canal which ran down the Delaware river and transported coal, lumber and other raw materials and the railroad were built. But now Port Jervis, like so many industrial US towns, is a shadow of its former self with hopes to become the next Hudson creating artists lofts, galleries and coffeeshops, a dream that diminished as soon as the recession hit two years ago.
It’s the car.
PJ has the only dealership close-ish to Milford which will fix specific GMC related issues, like that stupid back handle coming off the stupid hatch door.
This car, which husband calls HIS car, instantly becomes OUR car when one chump is needed to sit waiting at PJ GMC … for an hour which becomes two or more….
And so here I sit, my MAC secretly plugged into an outlet under the seventies oil stained nylon couch (my battery is lazy nowadays) wearing my Marc Jacobs skirt, Loomstate Tee, orange espadrilles in a casual isn’t this just the perfect place to blog, kinda way.
I could go across the street to Homers, the oldest diner in Port Jervis, which was established 1807 or thereabouts, and has not been renovated since. The old geezers sitting at the bar, morning after morning, are the kind for which David Lynch writes entire movie scripts. I usually sit on the other side in a sickly green booth with vinyl seats that are held together by ducktape that’s held together by duck tape that’s held together by duck tape that sticks to my legs. Faded, no not sepia, pictures on the walls show them good ole days when PJ was booming, with proud men standing by a steam engine or a canal boat full of huge logs. They look independent, strong and ever so American. White haired relatives of those strong souls now carefully count their nickels and dimes as they pay for their eggs, bacon and white toast all for $2.99. I had breakfast at Homers last week, when I brought the car in for its “evaluation”. I cant do Homers again, not twice in one summer.
Over the last eight years, between driving the kids to school in Glen Spey NY and keeping my horse at New Hope Farms, I used to pass through Port Jervis several times a week.
New Hope Farms is the best horse boarding deal in New York State (if you don’t mind traces of cultishness). Its an Olympic sized complex, built in the seventies by the Reverend Moon. Yes him, Sun Myung Moon of the Moonies. Turns out one of his 16 children, a daughter, was an equestrienne on the Korean national team. Moon was sure she’d do better if she trained on American soil and so he built her a complex all to herself. No expense spared. New Hope Farms is probably the only thing in PJ that can hold its own against the Hampton. One wonders why he picked this spot. Was it cheap acreage? Was it inconspicuous? Was it complete ignorance about USA horseyness? (I mean Kentucky or Virginia come to mind) It’s a mysterty but there it sits. 3000 acres with an Olympic sized arena surrounded by three long barns with about 150 sparsely occupied 100 sq ft stalls.
The place is run by a Moonie, now officially called a member of the Unification Church (which may make her a Unifier?) a bi-polar woman who one day acted like she loved me and my horse at New Hope and the next threatened to evict me for leaving the tack room light on while grooming.
One very cold winter the local pony club moved in so the kids could ride in our arena. The huge, big enough for Olympic trials, arena. Unfortunate;y the young riders knew no arena protocol. They just rode like crazy little Disney ponyclubbers wherever their ponies fancied trotting. These crisscrossing little ghostly creatures (why were they all white?) made my large black Oldenburg very nervous.
I was doing an extended trot on the diagonal and suddenly there, right in front of us, crossed one such white pony. Lubek (my horse) jumped to the left while I headed on the diagonal as planned, causing us to part, me flying to the ground, and landing hard on my lower back.
Echoed across the cavernous arena bouncing of the 4500 aluminum spectator benches. Flags of every country in the world, which hang dustily in the rafters, fluttered in shame.
F U C K !
I shouted again. Adding:
FUCKING PONIES EVERYWHERE!
I got up but my back was not cooperating. Instead I stood bent in a downward-facing-doggish pose waiting for help.
(Little did I know that saying FUCK within Unification-Church grounds was a crime punishable by death)
A dozen (mothers of those out-of-control pony clubbing girls) mouth’s hung open. Their riding instructor passed the reigns of my horse to me as if she just handed me the gun with which I’d shot one of her white ponies.
The energy turned to shun, and quite possibly stoning to follow.
I stumbled out of the arena, handed my horse to one sympathetic friend, grabbed a handful of snow, shoved it in a plastic bag, shoved the snow bag into my breeches and drove myself to the emergency room.
I was flat in bed on a cocktail of muscle relaxers and Vicodin, a lovely vacation-like combination, for a week.
As soon as I returned to New Hope I was summoned into “the office”.
A lecture followed. A lecture about using “that word”. A week later I was called into the office again and got a second lecture about using “that word”. A week after that I got my third lecture about using “that word” (you get the picture). Was she giving me the Moony brainwash and repeat after me, again and again – bad word – bad word – bad word – treatment?
It didn’t work. FUCK is still my favorite word. So there Mister Moon, Mister Moon…
Anyway I’ve digressed. But as you can gather, my car is still not fixed, so I wandered down my Port Jervis memory lane.
Now, if you don’t mind, I wander back to the Hamptons for a minute, while I’m still waiting.
Because I’m pretty sure that you can’t say FUCK in Hampton boarding stables and arenas either. I’m sure Kelly Klein never says FUCK when she falls off her horse (she may mumble it and then claim she said muck).
For a fact.
In the Hamptons you can say FUCK-OFF when some asshole in a vintage convertible Mercedes (red) steals a long awaited parking spot at the Citerellas parking lot. I’ve heard mothers say FUCK YOU ASSHOLE when a Porsche going 50 miles an hour brushes her Peg Perego stroller in the middle of the Newtown Lane zebra crossing, gay guys say SHUT THE FUCK UP when someone dares to speak in the movie theater. I’ve heard a fat new member say WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY SPOT at the Devon Yacht club, and anyone will tell you that it was FUCKING awesome to run into Naomi Campbell at Scoop who was on her cell saying what a FUCKING asshole her driver turned out to be. Retailers will complain that their rents are through the FUCKING roof and realtors say that the market is FUCKED compared to three years ago. Not to mention that the traffic is always FUCKING awful and the local corn the best FUCKING corn in the entire world, make that universe…
The car is fixed, and I’ve somehow forged a blog about FUCK, Port Jervis and the Hamptons
So. I’m done.
I’m outta here.
So long PJ…
In case you think I’m just bitching here a few links to the most desirable places in PJ:
Samaki, for the best smoked fish in the north east.
The Blue Parrot, the coolest restaurant at 17 Front Street
The Creamery, a real old style dairy bar on the river
Bowling in one of the most authentic alleys still around
and of course the antique shops on Front Street.