Author: Heather

I love travel, ballet, cats and my hometown of NYC.

A Bit of Summer in Fall

One of my favorite summer traditions, as of the last few years, is downing blue crabs by the dozen during trips to the Maryland coast. (I know I’ve certainly posted enough photos of them on this blog!) It’s one of those experiences that’s so quintessentially summer—and a ton of fun when you’re with a group. Mal, Peter and I joke that that was the best part of their year living in Maryland—easy access to crabs after a day at the beach.

Apparently, the best crabs come at the end of the season—after they’ve had months to fatten up. I never made it to Maryland during September or October. But luckily, this weekend, some blue crabs found their way up to New York—and Mal and Peter stumbled upon them in Fairway.
blue crabs

They purchased a few pounds and invited me over for dinner. Have I mentioned that they’re my favorite people in the world? (As well as good cooks—I don’t consider the dinners I throw together for myself to be real cooking, so eating at their place, where they actually cook, is always a treat!)

The crabs were big…
burg and blue crab

…check out the claw on this guy!

blue crab

The crabs sat on ice for most of the day, so Peter moved them to a box to bring them to room temperature before cooking—and make sure they were still alive. Then, he dunked them in water, and steamed them over water and vinegar. With lots of Old Bay sprinkled on, of course.

In the meantime, Mal and I fried hush puppies—our favorite crab side.

frying hush puppies

In my humble opinion, hush puppies taste better with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, so we dressed ours accordingly.hush puppies

We couldn’t get authentic wooden mallets and plastic crab knives, so we made do with nutcracker sets.

nutcrackerAnd the crabs were amazing—super-meaty and tasty! For the time we were eating them, it really felt like summer again.

blue crabs

Now that we know how easy (and fun!) it is to make a crab feast at home, we’re thinking of catching our own and holding a crab boil at our rental next summer. Something to look forward to in 2014…
crabs and hush puppies

Humans of New York

Sometime over the past few years, you may have stumbled acrossВ Humans of New York.В Photographer Brandon Stanton shoots New Yorkers wherever they happen to be when he runs into them: on the subway, in parks, on the street.

His photos are gorgeous, but the heart of his work is really in the quotes he collects from his subjects—they dispense bits of wit, wisdom, humor and poignancy.

I’m still waiting to come across a portrait of someone I know.

Or maybe myself in the background of one.

Today, theВ Humans of New YorkВ book comes out. I’m looking forward to seeing Stanton’s photos in the printed format and seeing what stories he’s chosen to feature.

Until then, enjoy scrolling through the Humans of New York blog—believe me, you can lose yourself in it for a while!

Here are just a few photos I really liked; be sure to click through to read what the subjects have to say:

We just finished singing Beethoven’s Ninth

I’m dealing with the aftermath of a really horrible breakup

Whenever I did a show in the park, Doris would

We’ve been married 31 years

It was easier than I thought it’d be

(Humans of New York photos by Brandon Stanton)

Skycats

This week has been pretty crazy (in a good way, though!), so I was thrilled to stumble across Gemma Correll’s genius “Skycats” series in the midst of all the madness. Her comics are so cute and witty—I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and smile at her illustrations.

Some of my favorites:

how long is this flight again? how long were you in africa for, exactly? who are you waving at? awkward

Check out Correll’s complete “Skycats” seriesВ and be sure to follow her Tumblr for more awesome illos!

(Images via Gemma Correll’s Tumblr)

Fall Fun: Chris Christie Corn Maze and Apple Picking

I’m never thrilled when summer ends. But a day of fall ridiculousness outside the city always brightens my spirits.

Last year, we “hit the hick jackpot” in Long Valley, NJ, a pretty area about an hour outside the city, with lots of farms and apple orchards. Though we didn’t set out to visit that area, specifically, we ended up nearby, this year, for one reason.

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Stony Hill Farm (just a few minutes from Ort Farms, last year’s destination) has a giant corn maze shaped like Chris Christie’s face. (And Barbara Buono, the Democratic challenger. As a liberal, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I couldn’t name Christie’s gubernatorial opponent until I read about this maze!)

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When it comes to fall ridiculousness, it’s hard to beat a political theme.

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Last year, we made it through Ort’s corn maze pretty quickly. So we were surprised when Stony Hill’s website said it could take three hours to get through their maze.

How hard could it be?

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Once inside, we soon learned. There didn’t seem to be an obvious way to the finish and we didn’t see many markers telling you whether you were on the right track.

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We walked around…

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…and around…

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…and around the corn for almost an hour, back and forth between Buono’s hair and Christie’s face. Finally, we gave up and went out through the entrance. (Luckily, Stony Hill’s awesome cider and donuts took the sting out of defeat!)

Afterwards, we drove a few minutes down the road to Stony Hill’s apple orchard.

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While the trees weren’t massively tall…

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…apples were plentiful (and cheap!) and we picked baskets full to bring back home.

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I’m still eating my way through several apples a day.

On this trip, I also found out that my dear friends, Karen and Steve, live just a few minutes away from this “hick jackpot.” I think they’re lucky to have easy access to such pretty farmland—and amazing cider donuts!

Foreign Words

With my trip to Buenos Aires just a few weeks away, I’ve rekindled my Spanish studies. I’ve dug out my notebook filled with conjugations, grammar rules and definitions, and resumed listening to the “Coffee Break Spanish” podcast, every day on the subway. I can feel my slight grasp on the language returning.

Studying Spanish every day has reminded me of this wonderful Maptia blog post I came across a few weeks ago. It contains 11 illustrations of words in other languages that have no English equivalents.

Some of my favorites:

Culaccino

goya

sobremesa

Iktsuarpok

The comments on the post are just as interesting! Readers have noted other fantastic words that we could use in English—like mahmihlapinatapai, which is “a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will offer something that they both desire but are unwilling to suggest or offer themselves,” in theВ Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego.

I’ll try to drop that one into conversation!

(Illustrations via Maptia)