summer

So Ready for Delmarvacation 2.0!

Speaking of favorite vacation spots—this pretty much sums up what I’ll be doing for the next few days:

delmarvacation

I’m going back to Delmarva for another long weekend. (The Delaware + Maryland + Virginia peninsula = Delmarva, according to the locals! Peter has dubbed trips down there “Delmarvacations,” and since this is our second of the year, we’re about to embark on Delmarvacation 2.0.)

We rented another house in Bethany BeachВ north Ocean City, this time, but with a much smaller group—just Mal, Peter, his brother Paul, and me. I’m looking forward to everything in the photo above: boardwalks, blue crabs, beer and especially long days at the beach! And maybe a few drinks at Seacrets

Enjoy your last summer weekend!

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)

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)

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)