Thursday, September 12, 2013

Summertime, and the living is easy

outside the Staten Island ferry terminal
So, if it's not clear by now, I am absolutely loving summer in New York.  We're having the best time!  We started off August, and ended our Urban Camping adventures, with an overnight stay at Blue Heron Pond park on Staten Island.  This was our first time on Staten Island, beyond the ferry terminal, and it is lovely.  I'm not sure where its bad reputation stems from but I'm thinking it's like the naming of Iceland, self-perpetuated propaganda to keep out the riffraff.  Blue Heron Pond park was such a nice camping adventure and a great one to end with.

Voice Tunnel at Summer Streets
Among some of the other memorable events from August was definitely Summer Streets, a street fair on Park Avenue.  This year the showcase item of the event was Voice Tunnel, which shut down the Park Ave tunnel to cars for the first time in its history.  It was pretty cool.

One of the major treats of the month was having our buddy from Dundee come and visit; our first house guest since Seattle.  We got to play host and take him to our favorite bars, to a free Toni Braxton concert in Brooklyn and to The High Line.  He even came to watch me teach my ESL class at Columbia.  It was so much fun having him visit us we can't wait until he returns (he's promised he's coming back before we leave next year).  House guests are fun (especially if they don't care if they sleep on an air mattress in, basically, a corridor)!

enjoying The High Line with
our first NYC house guest
Speaking of free concerts, in addition to the awesome Toni Braxton one, we also got to see Huey Lewis and the News perform at Coney Island. They're currently touring for the 30th anniversary of Sports, playing the whole album from start to finish.  They were awesome!  We had so much fun dancing and singing like it was 1983.  At the end of the concert, after an encore, Huey Lewis says, "I'm Huey Lewis and you've just heard the news" and then lights went out and the show was over.  He's so cool!

Old friends in Southport, CT
There are a couple of other highlights from this summer that must also be mentioned.  One, our old friends from Seattle (the same ones we lived with prior to moving to the UK) were on the east coast visiting family and, because being on the east coast is much closer than where they're usually located, we got to see them!  We met half way in Southport, CT and proceeded to have a lovely evening, picking up almost precisely where we had left off almost exactly 3 years earlier.  New friends are amazing and fun but nothing beats the comfort and joy of being surrounded by old friends.  GD we've missed them!

Road Trip!
The other highlight was definitely our first mini-break since returning to the States.  Over Labor Day weekend we rented a car and headed north, into the Adirondacks.  We stayed in Lake George where we experienced rainy and cloudy days which allowed for lots and lots of scenic byway driving.  We spent nearly the whole trip driving around and exploring an area we've never been to before.  It was fantastic!

at the fair
On Sunday afternoon we made our way to Syracuse where we spent the day at The Great New York State Fair.  It's been so long since we've been to a good ole American state fair and we were really looking forward to it.  Our main reason for going was to see the demolition derby, though we enjoyed the farm animals too.  Unbeknownst to us, the demo derby also included Figure 8 races, which I can't remember ever having been exposed to before but which turned out to be our favorite part.  GD I love watching cars crash (when safety harnesses are in use and no injuries occur).  Merika!

Figure 8
And with that, now we're up to date.  Though there's hopefully still many more days of summer remaining, I can't help but acknowledge that my favorite season's demise is imminent.  I'm not sure how New York handles autumn but I'm expecting brilliant colors and crisp days along with the requisite griping about the weather and how short the summer was and can you believe it's already fall.  But, not to be deterred, we already have one day trip planned and purchased and we'll hopefully have at least a few more before the end of the year.  Now that we're able to afford them, getting out of the city is almost as fun as being in it and, if all goes to plan, we've got less than a year to explore this part of the country and we've already wasted 8 months.  We've definitely got to make up for lost time with no more time to lose.
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