River Tubing

Every year, for the past three Julys, a group of us has gone tubing on the Delaware River. It’s really the perfect summer tradition: lazily floating downstream while surrounded by pretty scenery and sipping a beer. In my book, there are few better ways to spend a hot afternoon.

The first time, we went though a company,В in Frenchtown, NJ, that provided tubes and a ride back upstream to the starting point. But then, one of my friends realized that you can just buy cheap inflatable floats, park at the Frenchtown boat launch, travel along the same route–and bring drinks and snacks along. Let’s just say that the next year was way more fun.

On Saturday, we made our annual trip. The afternoon was bright and sunny but not too hot–perfect weather for our nearly 6 mile float between Jersey and Pennsylvania.

delaware river tubing

tubing

mal, peter, doug, alex

The current was slow, so we had plenty of chillaxin’ time as our makeshift flotilla bobbed downstream. The guys even made BBQ brisket sandwiches right in their tubes!

peter tubing

mal tubing

heather tubing

doug tubing

Along the way, we saw another group of tubers launching themselves off a rope swing. I was too short to reach the rope (boo!), but Alex and Peter went for it.

alex and rope swing

alex on the rope swing

delaware river tubing

Next year we’re thinking of trading up our round floats for wacky ones like thisВ or these–gotta up the ridiculous factor a little more every time!

(P.S. – On the way home, Mal and I had dinner at the Lovin’ Oven, a super-cute place with great food, just a minute away from where we launched our tubes.)

What’s your favorite summer tradition?

Off to a Buoyant Weekend!

river tubing

Clearly, I’m not heading to the Maryland coast this weekend. But I do have another fun, summer activity planned: river tubing! Every July, a group of us head to the Delaware River for a few hours of lazily floating downstream, enjoying the pretty scenery–and drinking lots of beer. (No high diving involved, though.) It’ll be a great way to relax after helping Mal and Peter unpack!

What are you up to? And please enjoy my favorite links from the week:

Trash, illustrated

Enviable backsplashes (so much nicer than my painted cement kitchen walls!)

Want to rent Obama’s old UWS apartment?

A cat was elected mayor of an Alaska town–for the 15th year in a row!

And speaking of cats: photos taken at just the right time

(Photo from Slate, via {joycreation})

A Big Welcome Back to NYC!

ace hotel chalk art

About a year and a half ago, Mal and Peter moved to Maryland from NYC. I went from living and spending time with them every day to wondering what my life would be like with my two favorite people so far away. (Coincidentally, my best friend left for a six-month work trip abroad right at the same time. It felt like all my loved ones were fleeing New York at once!)

But clearly, I survived–and I feel like I became a lot more self-sufficient, too. I moved into my own apartment and found that–surprise!–I actually love living alone. I started taking more ballet classes, reconnecting with other friends, taking myself out to dinner, running, writing this blogВ and, as of late, going to Spanish lessons. And, of course, I made lots and lots of trips down to see Mal and Peter, especially during the summer.

And while I’ve realized that I can more than just deal with them not being in NYC, no one is happier than I am that they’re returning. I’m looking forward to weekend BBQs at their new place, late dinners out with the two of them and girly manicure and shopping trips with Mal. I’m so excited that whenever I want to see the two people who know me best, I can just hop on the train–and not take a 6-hour bus ride!

Welcome back, Mal and Peter! NY–and I–are thrilled to have you here again!

(Photo by Dana Tanamachi via Sadie and Dasie)

Fireflies on the Water

YAYOI KUSAMA’S FIREFLIES ON THE WATER

How pretty is this photo? It’s an image of the exhibit “Fireflies on the Water,”В which is at the Whitney through September 30. The artist, Yayoi Kusama, created a seemingly endless space using strategically placed mirrors and tiny yellow and blue Christmas lights. Visitors enter the room alone and experience the effect standing on a small platform over a pool of water. (I imagine it must be beautiful and surreal, enchanting and a little disorienting. I’m hoping to take it in sometime during the coming weeks!)

I hadn’t heard of Kusama before, but she has a really interesting story. She was born in Japan and came to NYC to make a name for herself in 1958. She became part of the avant-garde NYC scene in the ’60s, hobnobbing with Andy Warhol and the like. Then, in the early ’70s, Kusama packed it in, returned to Japan and checked herself into a mental hospital, where she still lives and produces art today. I thought that sounded a little, um, weird, until I read NY Mag‘s feature on her, which contains this explanation:

But whatever you make of her retreat into a psych ward, her mantra was always “self-obliteration”—to lose herself in the work, or to the work, to save herself. “I fight pain, anxiety, and fear every day, and the only method I have found that relieves my illness is to keep creating art,” she wrote in her autobiography.

Who can’t relate to that desire to lose yourself in an activity that allows you to escape your troubles? (Even if we don’t go to the extent of institutionalizing ourselves?)

(Photo via the Whitney Museum of Art)

Dancing Around the World

I’m a big fan of the “Where the Hell Is Matt?” videos. The first one, which Matt Harding, then a backpacker, put on his blog in 2005, shows him dancing in different places around the world. His signature move is delightfully amateurish–it looks like a goofy mash-up between a flailing Irish jig and running in place. But he’s so exuberant and the backdrops are intriguing and the soundtrack is infectious. You can’t help but grin when watching. Not surprisingly, it went viral.

The В two follow-up videos he made (thanks to a sponsorship with Stride gum) are even better. One, released in 2006, is similar to Matt’s first video:В He dances in iconic place after place around the world. The second, released in 2008, is even better:В Thousands of locals from each destination join in with the same running/jig-like moves.

Matt’s latest video, which just came out, still manages to top that one. It follows the same format, but with one big difference: Instead of Matt doing his trademark moves, locals teach him dances native to each place. This time, he created it without a sponsor and it’s clearly a labor of love. Check it out–and be prepared to smile:

Off to My Last Maryland Beach Weekend!

OC parasailer

I’m heading down to Maryland with the rents. It’s Mal and Peter’s last weekend before moving back to New York. So we’re going to help them pack up their place, but also fit in plenty of beach time and, of course, enjoy one last blue crab dinner. I’m sad to say goodbye to my “summer share”–I loved having a place to escape to on the weekends. But I’m even happier to have Mal and Peter nearby!

Have a wonderful weekend! And enjoy my favorite links from this week:

Gorgeous photos of Norway (they make me want to go back!)

A disturbingly accurate portrayal of what happens every time “that Goyte song” starts playing in the car. This was literally me and my best friend on our drive to and from Maryland a few weeks ago. Multiple times.

Colorful towns from around the world

Why can’t the Bronx be more like Brooklyn?

Nutty, yet brilliant: New Yorkers can rent a backyard by the hour on the LES

Could you live in a 300-square foot studio? (I don’t think I could!)

There’s going to be an Internet Cat Video Film Festival. Seriously.

The best fish tacos in NYC. (I really don’t know why we don’t have better Mexican food here. Sadly, some of the best fish tacos I’ve had in the city were ones I’ve made myself. But I can vouch for Fonda Nolita’s being among the better ones!)

Love and Hate in NYC

Constellations of Love and Hate

How awesome is this graphic? John Nelson, a UX and mapping manager (and clearly a super-cool guy), mapped out all the tweets that contained the words “love” and “hate” in the NYC-area over the course of a few weeks–which essentially created a pointillistic map of the city.

I love the clear outline of Manhattan, especially downtown, which, not surprisingly, seems to have the densest population of Twitterati. It’s intriguing to see how densely the tweets run along Broadway–you can easily spot the diagonal cutting across the island–and how there’s a gaping void right where Central Park is. Plus, I was amused that a bunch of negative tweets were in the LaGuardia airport area. (Who actually enjoys going through airline security!?)

But most of all, I appreciate there were almost 75% more “love” than “hate” tweets. Here’s to positivity in NYC!

(Photo via IDV User Experience; found via Travel and Leisure)