summer

So Long, Summer

ocean city lifeguard stand

My favorite season always comes and goes so quickly. But this summer flew by especially fast.

Now that I’m already looking forward to future summers, I’ve come up with two goals:

  • Buy a beach house.
  • Re-learn how to drive. (To get myself to said beach house.)

Obviously, both goals won’t happen overnight. Especially the first one. But they’re doable!

Here’s the logic behind both:

Mal, Peter and I decided that we want to buy our own beach house in five years, or so. It would prevent us from dealing with the nutty summer rental market. And it would take me eons to save for a decent-sized apartment, here in NYC. So it makes sense to look for a house in an area where my money would go a lot further. And as much as I love NYC more than any place on Earth, even I need frequent escapes from the city, for my own sanity—especially during the summer.

We’re planning to spend the following summers doing a few weekend rentals in various east coast beach towns, to get a sense of their vibes. Hopefully we’ll find one that suits us, and has property within our budget.

As for driving…I am the world’s worst driver. I have a license, but I’m so bad that it’s been seven years since I’ve really been behind the wheel. But over the past few months, I’ve decided that it’s time to relearn. I want the freedom and ability to get around in areas that don’t have public transportation—without having to rely on other people.

I’m actually hoping to check off that goal by next summer—so I can drive myself to our rentals. I figure a few hours of driving a month might get me there?

I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

(Photo: Ocean City, MD lifeguard stand)

Jones Beach

As a kid growing up in Queens, I always ended up at Jones Beach a few times, each summer. That and Long Beach were the go-to day trip spots for most people in our part of the city. I remember jumping through the waves there (before I developed my fear of rough water, which I still have today!), swimming in the shallows of Zach’s Bay and sunbathing in the ever-crowded—and sometimes scuzzy—Field 4.

This weekend, I went to Jones Beach with Mal and Peter—and realized it had been several years since I’d been. (Probably due to getting all my beach time in MD and DE, the past few summers!) The Field 6 parking lot was pretty crowded when we arrived at 9 a.m., but luckily, the beach wasn’t. We claimed a spot right by the water…and stayed for eight hours! The sand and water were actually cleaner and nicer than I remembered, and I had to drag myself away at the end of the day. But I was glad to have rediscovered that spot from my childhood—and am already looking forward to more days there!

Coincidentally, I stumbled upon this photo today. I couldn’t help but smile when I instantly recognized it as Jones Beach in the 1930s. The tower in the background is an unmistakeable landmark!

jones beach

(Photo by Willard Culver via National Geographic’s Tumblr)

Voice Tunnel

This looks super-cool.

voice tunnel

“Voice Tunnel” is the signature art installation at this year’s Summer Streets. (Three Saturdays when nearly seven miles of NYC streets are closed to cars, and open to pedestrians and bikers.)

Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer lined the Park Avenue Tunnel,В which runs from 33rd to 42nd Street, with 300 theatrical spotlights and 150 speakers. Pedestrians who pass through can speak into an intercom that records and loops their voices—and affects the brightness of the lights. The result will be constantly changing light and sound patterns.

I appreciate how understated the installation seems—how it utilizes the space but doesn’t completely take it over. Because for me, one of the coolest parts of experiencing it would just be walking through the tunnel.

Turns out, that was one of Lozano-Hemmer’s goals. As he puts it, in the video below:

I wanted to do something that would not be a big intervention because the tunnel, itself, is quite pretty—the beautiful sort of rock shapes, the metal cladding. You feel special just walking into it.

Will definitely have to check it out.

(Photo by Julie Hau via Summer Streets’ Facebook page; video by NYC DOT via Transportation Nation’s Tumblr. Summer Streets are August 3, 10 and 17.)

Off to a Beach House Weekend

beach

After spending practically every other summer weekend on the beach, for the two years Mal and Peter lived inВ Maryland, I kind of got used to that luxury! Instead of associating summer with steamy, NYC heat (which I do love), I found it synonymous with long days laying out in the sun and cooling off in the waves. (Which I love even more!)

So when Mal and PeterВ moved back to New YorkВ last year, I vowed to find a summer share so we could keep spending weekends on the beach.

That didn’t happen.

I got caught up with life (the new job, etc.). And before I knew it, summer was here. I had missed the summer share market by months.

As a consolation, I decided that the next best thing would be to rent a beach house for a weekend—and fill it with a lot of our friends. Luckily, our friends were game. The hardest part was finding an affordable rental!

The market is insane—especially if you start looking for a July rental in June. I spent a good two weeksВ speaking with realtors andВ scouring rental listings for every beach town in New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. (I’m not exaggerating! The places I looked at included Fire Island; Montauk; the Hamptons; Long Branch; Ocean Grove; Asbury Park; Lavalette; Long Beach Island; Avalon; Cape May; Ocean City, NJ and MD; Rehoboth Beach; Dewey Beach; Lewes Beach; Bethany Beach…and more.)

In the process, I learned:

  • No one rents for just the weekend in high season.В Unless you want to pay a ridiculous amount of money—as in, $3,000 for two nights for a house that sleeps eight.
  • Prices are crazy.В Everywhere I looked, most low-end rentals (small homes that slept six to eight people) generally started around $3,000, though most were at least $5,000—or more. Much more.
  • Most rentals are Saturday through Saturday.В I don’t understand that—because you don’t get a full weekend! One realtor I spoke to told me it’s because it’s hard to find people willing to clean the homes on Sundays. Um, ok.
  • Contrary to what I’d assumed, Sandy-affected areas were not offering steeply discounted rates.В In fact, a Long Beach Island relator told me that most owners aren’t lowering prices because they’re hoping to recoup some of their losses.
  • My new goal in life is to buy a beach house an hour away from the city.В Because it’s probably much more doable than buying an apartment in Manhattan. And it would be a great investment because I could always rent it out. And I’d never have to deal with the crazy rental market again.

I eventually found one home that was (miraculously) a Sunday to Sunday rental, available the dates we wanted to go. The price was low enough—shocking low, actually—that we were willing to sign a week’s lease, even though we’ll only be using it for four nights. (Hopefully, it’ll be in pretty good condition!) And it’s in Bethany Beach, Delaware—a town I loved visiting the past few summers, and home to our favorite blue crab restaurant.

But mostly, I’m looking forward to a few days on the beach surrounded by good friends.

Hooray for summer!

Hello, Summer!

leo caillard miami beach hut

I am thrilled that my favorite time of year has officially begun!

This Long Slog seemed especially endless. But now that it’s over, I’m looking forward to all my long-awaited, beloved, hot weather activities: Beach weekends.В Outdoor eating and drinking. (Even just having lunch outside on weekdays, among all the other suits on Park Ave., feels special!)В River tubing.В Sleeping in my un-air conditioned apartment with the windows wide open. Waking up to sunshine—and getting out of ballet at 9 p.m. and still seeing the remains of daylight.

Welcome back, summer—I’ve been waiting all year for you!

(Miami Beach hut photo by Leo Caillard; see the full series of them here. Found via Architizer)

So Ready for an Olympics Weekend

london olympics

TGIF! I am so ready for the weekend. The last few days were pretty nutty and I barely got to catch any of the Olympics. So I’m hoping to rectify that starting now! I’ve got NBC on as I type and will be squeezing in more chillaxin’/Olympics time over the coming days.

Enjoy В the Games, your weekend–and my favorite links, below:

LOL

Who’s up for an Olympics party?

Why every woman should travel alone

Tracking down the exact NYC locations of album covers

Flowers grown to look like rainbows

An around-the-world trip in one minute

Cute–and slightly creepy!–hangers

(Photo via the Mirror)

Olympics Ridiculousness

olympics

When I was watching the parade of nations on Friday, I couldn’t get over how incredibly attractive all the Olympians were. Beach volleyball players, runners, tennis players, divers, weight lifters, judo athletes, shooters–everyone, men and women alike, from every single country, was super good-looking. One of my friends even posed this question on Facebook: “Is it me or did the flag bearers have to pass a hot or not test to walk?”

Apparently, the athletes also find each other wildly appealing, as ESPN reported in a crazy/hilarious story about the debauchery that goes on within the Olympic Village. The place basically “turns into a frat party with a very nice gene pool,” according to one athlete.В When they’re not hyper-focused on their events, the Olympians are celebrating (i.e. drinking) like maniacs, prowling for hook-ups and engaging in lots and lots of sex. (None other than Ryan Lochte estimated that 70-75% of athletes hook-up during the Games.)

My favorite line from the article:

On the way to practice fields, “the girls are in skimpy panties and bras, the dudes in underwear, so you see what everybody is working with from the jump,” says Breaux Greer, an American javelin thrower. “Even if their face is a 7, their body is a 20.”В 

And even more Olympics ridiculousness that I’m loving right now: the U.S. swim team’s take on “Call Me Maybe.” Almost more fun than the Games, themselves!

(Image via Pinterest)