Old School Jersey Shore

I may be a die-hard New Yorker, but I’m always going to have a soft spot for the Jersey Shore.

When I was a kid, there was nowhere else I wanted to be, especially during the summer. Every year, I looked forward to vacations on quaint Long Beach Island and the lively Ocean City boardwalk. Occasionally, we’d hit up other towns, like Wildwood (with its funky tram car) and Atlantic City (which was way sleazier than it is now). In college, I spent a few days in pretty Lavalette (thanks, Karen!)—and a requisite night out in seedier Seaside. (Of course!)

This year alone, I celebrated my 30th bday in Atlantic City (somehow, I neglected to blog about that) and ran a great race in Long Branch.

Given my history with the region, it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed seeing images from “Asbury Park and the Jersey Shore, c. 1979,” a photography exhibition by Joe Maloney. The photos were taken a few years before I started going to the shore every summer, and they capture the gritty yet idyllic vibe of the time and place.

“View from Empress Hotel, Asbury Park, New Jersey,” 1980

“Boardwalk, Asbury Park, New Jersey,” 1980.

“Asbury Park, New Jersey,” 1979.

What summer destination has a special place in your heart?

(Photos by Joe Maloney via The New Yorker)

So Ready for an NYC Summer Weekend

I’ve always found it slightly frustrating that here in the five boroughs, we’re surrounded by lots of water, but our beaches are relatively small. And not exactly easy to get to, for many of us. (Like me, who lives way up in northern Manhattan.)

So we New Yorkers are forced to squeeze in sun time, in whatever space is available. Hit up any park in the summertime, and you’ll be surrounded by sunbathers of all ages, sporting varying degrees of coverage. If you walk around midtown at lunchtime, you’ll see hoards of suits perched on every ledge—men with sleeves rolled up, women with their heels kicked off.

I always appreciate those sights. As much as I love my writing and digital pursuits, I’m also a firm believer that humans belong outdoors, exploring and being active—not cooped up in buildings with circulated air, in front of screens.

Which is why I love this NY Times slideshow, “Concrete Beach.”В Photographer Ashley Gilbertson shot New Yorkers sunbathing wherever they could throughout the city—and his images are stunning. I’m not sure if these would be unusual sights anywhere else, but they’re perfectly normal here!

concrete beach 1

concrete beach 2

concrete beach 3

concrete beach 4

I’m excited that I’m going to an actual beach, this weekend, instead of just spending time on the “Concrete Beach.” I’ll be lounging in the Rockaways tomorrow, then headed to a BBQ birthday celebration on Sunday. (Happy b-day, Burg!!!) And going to my usual ballet classses…as well as my first tango lesson! I figured I could get a head start here before going to Buenos Aires.

How will you be spending the weekend?

(“Concrete Beach” photos by Ashley Gilbertson via NYTimes.com)

Official NYC Swag

You can find street vendors hawking NYC paraphernalia on practically every corner, but did you know that there are two stores that sell official NYC merchandise? I didn’t, but discovered that while I was going down an internet rabbit hole, the other day.

There are two aptly named CityStores, run by the NYC government: one at the Manhattan Municipal Building and one at City Hall. I’ve yet to visit either (maybe I’ll stop by the next time I get called to jury duty!). But their online shop shows that they’re selling some kitschy yet cool stuff.

Like this tote:

The Brooklyn Bridge Bag

and these coasters:

Set of 4 Manhole Cover Coasters

and this City College subway tile:

City College Subway Tile

and this sanitary grade onesie! (Of course, there’s a Grade Pending shirt, as well.)

Grade A Baby Onesie!

They’re also hawking those awesome Metro Cuffs I wrote about a few months ago:

metrocuff

Best of all, they have a number of wedding items—and fresh flowers!—for those who get married at City Hall. I especially love the Emergency Bow Tie.

(Images via CityStore)

NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette

I’m sure that in every city, there are unspoken but almost universally agreed upon truths and learnings, among residents. Here in NYC, we certainly have tons.

Like not standing directly in front of the doors after entering the subway.

And that the left sides of escalators are for walkers.

And that the city isn’t so hard to navigate once you remember that even streets go east and odd streets go west.

And that you can always identify tourists by their tendency to walk super slowly while looking up.

And so on.

Artist Nathan W. Pyle has taken to illustrating such wisdoms in NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette, his book that comes out next April. He’s sharing illustrations that probably won’t make it—and a few that will—on Facebook, and they’re spot-on and hilarious! I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at many of them.

A few of my faves:

empty subway car

passenger distribution

who should sit there?

close the door

trip zone

eating on the subway

Genius, right? I can’t wait to see what else Pyle will illustrate. I’m wondering if he’ll design some of my other peeves…like people who bring bikes on the subway…or people who don’t move after going through a revolving door…

What are some of your “favorite” NYC etiquette gripes?

(Illustrations by Nathan W. Pyle via the NYC Basic Tips and Etiquette Facebook page)

A Weekend of Summer Faves: Performing and Tubing

This weekend, I got to partake in two of my most anticipated summer activities: performing and tubing!

Despite battling a horrible cold, I still made it onstage for this edition of Kat Wildish’s “Performing in NY Experience” showcase. I felt pretty terrible for the Friday show. But—luckily!—was almost 100% recovered for the two Saturday shows.

My group performed the “Peasant Pas” from Giselle…

peasant pas

…as well as the “Pas de Premiers Wilis” scene from the same ballet.

giselle

I loved having the opportunity to dance such different pieces. The peasant number was lively and upbeat, while the Wilis scene was somber. The latter was probably one of my favorite pieces, of all the ones I’ve performed. Even though there’s a lot of standing around, I was lucky to have a small, featured role. Plus, I feel comfortable in Romantic ballets, and appreciate the intricate shapes we created with our movements. (Check out the Paris Opera Ballet looking just a tad more polished than we did. ;))

MyВ annual tubing tripВ in Frenchtown, NJ, was the following day. The weather wasn’t ideal—it was cloudy and drizzly, at times, and not particularly warm. But my friends and I went anyway, since it was the last summer weekend that worked for everyone’s schedules!

I was just glad to be out of the city, floating down the Delaware River—as evidenced by this year’s requisite Toms shot.

toms

pennsylvania

I didn’t even mind that I had to wear a wool hat and scarf the whole time…

tubing

…and drink a few cans of beer to stay warm. Have to take full advantage of the few summer days we have left!

modelo

(Performing in NY Showcase photos by Arthur S. Coopchik)

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)

So What Happened to Patagonia?

perito moreno

For the past month, I was fixated on going to Patagonia. Whether they wanted to or not, anyone I spoke to during that time had to suffer through hearing heard my plan:

LAN was having a fall fare sale, so I was going to fly into Santiago and spend one day exploring the city. Then, I’d fly to Punta Arenas in time to meet up with a group that would be hiking the Torres del Paine “W” Trek for five days; there, I’d see the picturesque Valle France, the massive Grey Glacier and the iconic, granite towers that give the park its name. (And since I was planning to go in October, the park’s shoulder season, the tour was 30% off.) After that, I’d fly back to Santiago and spend three days bumming around the coastal towns of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. Then, I’d take a red eye back to NYC and show up for work that morning.

Pretty sweet, right? So what made me change my mind?

The night before the LAN fare sale ended, I mapped out my trip: how much it would cost me, how much time I’d have at each place. Even with the discounted airfare, trek and staying at inexpensive hotels and hostels, the trip would cost about $3,000—more than what I was hoping to spend. But that wasn’t the dealbreaker. It came down to how I really wanted to experience Patagonia.

In an ideal world, I’d spend a month…or two…or three…traveling Chile from top to bottom.В Unless I quit my job (insanely unlikely, at this point), that’s not happening. So next best case scenario would be having a little over two weeks to explore southern Chile and Argentina—not just Torres del Paine, but also El Calafate,В Los Glaciares National ParkВ and the Perito Moreno glacier;В Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego; the lake district to the north, and more.

I may not have enough vacation time for that next year, or even the year after, but I think it’s worth waiting for.

In the meantime, I will be more than consoled with my time in Buenos Aires and the many other shorter, but just as amazing trips I plan to take in the near future.

(In case you’re wondering, I actually chose BA solely because it was another option on that LAN fare sale. I figured going to Santiago would remind me of what I wasn’t able to do this time around, but a BA trip wouldn’t have any of that baggage! And now that it’s booked, I can’t wait to go.)

(Perito Moreno photo byВ Jordi Oller MaciaВ via 500px’s Pinterest)