for the past 3 weeks, i've been living out my much needed, oft-fantasized time off between work and school. this "interim stage" has been a blur of days--who knew that unemployment during the final heated weeks of summer could be so exhausting...and fabulous? we should all quit our jobs and just let loose. we should all also win the lottery in order to fund such a pseudo-luxurious lifestyle.
unfortunately, my attention span is as long as a standard 30-minute sitcom, without commercials (dude, i flip during commercials)-- meaning i barely stay put for 20 odd minutes. without work to constantly fill my time, i thought i'd surely go crazy suffering from a mix of boredom and/or daytime tv hell. fortunately, i concocted a "to-do" list crammed full of fun nyc-related jaunts that provided more than enough daily stimulation...it also helps to have a group of crazy friends game for indulging in many alcohol-driven get-togethers at the drop of a hat. thanks, friends....i'll see you at AA in 5 years...haha. oh so sad but true.
so. the real problem has been the LACK of time. go figure. now, as summer (and my time off) winds down to its inevitable denoument, here are a few recaps, reviews, and recommendations...
Go to Hell...or just Go to The Hamptons
six years in nyc, and this was my very first summer in the Hamptons. my friend cbear and i did what any restless new yorker would do to avoid the city's oppressive humidity: we got ourselves a share house. four glamourous weekends out east? more like four weekends living out the frat house days we never had in college. um, yea. wanna challenge me to a flip cup duel? i'm your girl.
without mincing words, the house was a charming l'il shit hole in westhampton. great pool. kick ass tennis court. no air conditioning. and flies everywhere! by the end of the weekend, it became a health hazard to use one of the bathrooms. yea, this was a classy joint. what the house lacked in amenities was surely made up for in the varied personalities of our house mates. twenty pseudo-strangers partying like rock stars (or r&b stars, as we actually saw usher one saturday nite at a club) and drinking as if it were our last days on earth. our livers may never be the same, but we certainly generated enough dramatic material for a reality show cbear and i would like to pitch to fox-- Share House: Hamptons. can you see it now?...it can be franchised into many variations like, Share House: Aspen. we like to keep things seasonally-agnostic.
for me, my favorite hamptons share weekend was weekend #3. cbear and i rented a car and headed out butt-early one friday to explore east hampton's fabled Main Beach--regarded as one of the top beaches in the U.S. its stretch of sand was crowded with other early weekenders-- but walk a little ways down away from the central section near the parking lot, and you come across rockier stretches, where you can steal a look at some of the finest mansions as well as a view of the cute surfer boys (emphasis on boys) catching waves in the chilly waters. fantastic beach time can only be matched by lunch at the famed Lobster Roll in Amagansett where we had, what else? but lobster rolls! fresh and chunky pieces tossed in mayo and over-stuffed into a toasted hot dog bun. how do you spell H-E-A-V-E-N?
after two-days of more craziness at the house...we capped off the weekend with an afternoon at Montauk-- the eastern most point of Long Island. here, you can stroll up to the famous lighthouse or just perch yourself on a rock and stare out at the massive Atlantic. me? i plan to head back in winter, run on the snow-covered beach and seek out my future dream home a la Joel and Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
summer may be ending, but i have enough brain cells left (i hope) to wax sentimental over kegs, karaoke, taboo (diamonds!), and endless hot tub shenanigans.
Certified and Ready: May I take your drink order?
having worked for 6+ years plus the various intern/retail/babysitting stints i've had since early high school, the mere idea of unemployment doesn't sit well with me. so what else besides phone sex and prostitution could make me loads of money, yet not forcing me to sell out or sell my soul? bartending baby!
my friend dan and i always said we'd wanted to get some mixology skills. i mean, we like to drink...we mine as well get paid while doing it! ha. or so we thought.
we enrolled at the New York Bartending School, and though the class was filled with a mix of young kids rearing for a good time (literally, KIDS, at least five of them were under 21)-- we soon realized that bartending school was not going to be as easy as we thought. class was fun but at the end of it, you started to wish the bottles were filled with things OTHER than colored water. it was a two-week 40 hour course that sucked up our nights and caused some minor distress as our final test was to make 20 drinks in under 6 minutes. two shots of qualude and two shots of sicilan kiss? What the Fuck? who the hell orders these things? well...now, dan and i do...purely for shits and giggles. but still.
i scored a personal best of 4 min and 20 seconds on my speed drill and dan and i leveraged our extensive years of training (read: quick road to alcoholism) to speed through the written test as well. now we just need to get behind a bar, strut our stuff, and make some good tips. any takers?
I Heart NYC
people can say what they will about obnoxious new yorkers, the smell of the subway, or the supposed lack of beauty that is the nyc skyline. but ever since i was a kid, nyc was the ultimate destination to make things happen. sure, the city has its idiosyncracies-- its bad habits that i could certainly live without...but for every moment of wanderlust that stirs me to travel abroad or just out of state...i always return home back to nyc. THIS love affair, unlike so many others, is going to last.
what i love most about new york is its many secrets--the hidden gems tucked away in corners of manhattan or brooklyn or queens that you don't often see, but stumble upon by accident. the first thing on my nyc to-do list was a visit to the fantastic Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). typically, people tend to head straight to The Met (which is definitely amazing and expansive) but not everyone ventures uptown a few more blocks, past 90th street (if even) to roam through museum mile's other cultural havens. asides from the MCNY, you can visit the Cooper-Hewitt museum, housed in the exquisite Carnegie Mansion. its a personal favorite of mine; meander through the rooms of exhibits (Cooper-Hewitt focuses on design so its permanent and rotating collection features everything from drawings and prints to glassware, books, and furniture) and then relax on the lawn of its beautiful private garden.
en route to the MCNY i took a detour into the north end of Central Park. as with many new yorkers, our ritualistic exploration of the park stops at the resevoir-- there's a tendency to forget that the park extends upwards to 110th street where both the landscape and pace are markedly different from its more crowd-centric mid and lower sections. i entered at 110th and Lenox as my eyes were quickly drawn to the expansive Harlem Meer-- the second largest lake in the park--and perhaps the prettiest section I've ever seen. it's perimeter is surrounded by a canopy of trees dotted with uncrowded benches, making it a perfect spot to sit, be quiet and just reflect. a few blocks south is the Conservatory Garden, the only formally planned garden in all of Central Park. this is truly a hidden wonder. once you pass through the gates, you're in a virtual oasis filled with a diversity of plant life-- flowers of all kinds, trimmed hedges, twisting trees--all set along immaculate pathways leading to lovely fountains, positioned as the garden's natural focal points. there are actually three distinct gardens here--each representing a particular european landscape style-- english, french, and italian. i took my time, sat by the fountain of the Three Dancing Maidens, and let the sound of trickling water wash over me, allowing all my neuroses to slip off and just float away. moments like this are so rare, and reminds me of why nyc is such a special place.
other NYC highlights in the past three weeks:
the aforementioned Museum of the City of New York-- go see the New York Changing photography exhibit. you will marvel at thetransformation this city has seen in the past 70+ years...and perhaps be saddened by the loss of architectural wonders from a bygone era.
take a guided tour of Governor's Island, a 90 acre land mass nestled between lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. it's a former military post but also contains layers of American (and New York) history dating back to American Revolutionary days. you can only take a guided tour on weekdays-- and I highly recommend it as you walk through the two forts and learn about the island's function as a former military community-- with everything from old victorian style homes, an old hospital, prison, church, and synagogue. the cost for the ferry ride over is just $6 and it makes for a lovely 2 hours.
and when the cultural endeavors are done with, what's a better way to cap off a day than with a nice cold beer? how about nice cold $2 PBR tall boys (24 oz baby) and an awesome view to boot? forget the beach and head to Long Island City, Queens for the Water Taxi Beach Bar. this is by far the most relaxing, laid-back bar in the city. they've set up sand and benches on the edge of the Water Taxi terminal on the east river...and you can down cheap beer and munch on close to cheap burgers and dogs while watching the sun set over the manhattan skyline.