Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Who's Going Chicken Huntin'

Without fail, every single time P goes on a road trip, we get some natural disaster here in Brooklyn.  He is somewhere in the distance,  unaware, unconcerned, frolicking happily.  As far as I can surmise, it is accidental.  There's no way he could know. There have been rare tornadoes, threats of hurricanes, Nor'Easters, you name it, all when he goes away.   Many areas of the city flooded, not from the storm surge but instead from heavy amounts of rain which caused the locations to vary widely.  Subways turned into waterfalls and unfortunately illegal basement apartments became tombs for unprepared residents. who drowned before they could escape.  A horrible new tragedy.  
But before all of that madness took place, I was in innocent bliss preparing Chilled Cucumber Soup with lots of fresh, vibrant herbs.  A perfect girly lunch! I blended it, then set it in the fridge to chill whilst I set out on a voyage to find what I call the Chicken House.  A hunnerd years ago I took a walk and discovered a cool old house with a fenced in front yard chicken coup with a bunch of gorgeous exotic looking chickens.  I've not been able to get that house out of my mind since.  At the time Brooklyn was full of chickens.  I always worried what would become of all those poor birds once the thrill was gone of housing them.  Whatever did happen is a mystery, but now they are all but gone completely.   So, I was determined to find this magical house to hopefully visit the last survivors.  I knew it was within a mile vicinity, but several previous attempts to locate the house proved futile.  
Chilled Cucumber Soup

But today, I struck gold.  There it was, just as I remembered, but this time with only one solo chicken in the yard.  However a few small ones were elevated in a pen.  
This house was hard to forget.  It is a stand alone, which is uncommon for this area.  I Googled it to see who the chicken owners were because a man with a dog emerged as I was outside gawking, trying to get the darn chicken to pose for my camera.  The dog and the man seemed very friendly and warm, another oddity.  It turns out the house has another unusual bit of history.  Built in the 1860s, one of the owners was Tollner of Cage and Tollner, what was the city's oldest restaurant and another major fascination point for me.  That grand restaurant was tucked away in the seedy Fulton Mall yet seemed to be a very high end place with gorgeous interiors, filled with interesting people.  Then it was sadly turned into a TGIF one day.

The house has been everything from a majestic farmhouse built at the intersection of two old Indian trails, to a lavish party house, to a crack den and deviant center and now home to a bunch of millennial housemates with chickens in the yard and organic gardens in the back.  It's known for it's mysterious underground tunnel that apparently doesn't lead anywhere but has everyone perplexed as to it's original use.  They claim in the article several folks were violently killed inside those walls.  I don't claim to be officially psychic but I have to admit, I get major vibes from this house.  Before I knew any of this history, I have been so drawn to find it again, to stand facing the house, and to see those darn chickens. 

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