It was my friend Adrian who put the scent in the air: “Fleche, it seems to me that you, like me, adore the subtle and intoxicating taste of smoked fish, well, I have just the place for you.” In Brooklyn on an industrial and sinister street, just a stones throw from here, is a factory that “produces” all sorts of good things like smoked salmon, smoked herring… anything that can be smoked (apart from weed) can be found in this incredible place; every friday morning they open their doors to the public. Me, when it comes to fish… I could survive on fish alone, morning noon and night. That’s how it is, I can’t do anything about it…it’s practically genetic.
You’d better believe that the following friday found me at the appointed place and Adrian hadn’t lied. It was the cave of Ali Baba of smoked fish, it’s really true, it does exist. Obediently I joined the line before shelves covered with all that magnificent fish for sale. Profound colors from pale pink to burnt sienna, dried or moist, divine perfumes; and a line of people dreaming of future orgies, drooling, their eyes shining with desire before this vision. One could hear furtive conversations in polish, in russian, in spanish, french creole and other unknown languages. One is able to taste all these treasures and order a pound of this, half a pound of that… feel the weight, imagine bliss at hand and of course, return home having bought far too much, at a price that defies competition.
Last week, sitting around a lovely bottle of cotes-du-Rhone with my good friend Alun, he related a story apropos of this magical place. A story that has since left me reeling: listen to this! The first friday of every month a group of crazy runners (of which Alun is a part) meet at McCarren Park in Brooklyn at 7:30 in the morning all wearing salmon colored tee-shirts. Why? Well this is where it becomes grandiose. This gentle band of poetic crazies have decided, on this “holy” day, to momentarily become salmons and run in the streets of Brooklyn against the traffic like salmon swimming upstream. After running three or four miles they end their run in the sublime factory of smoked fish and make the purchases that they will savor together at the edge of the East River.
Isn’t that a great story? Damn, I think I can even see myself taking up running…