Many people who don’t live in NYC are surprised that there are beaches here and that some are even accessible by subway for the fare of USD 2.50 one-way. Today was my third time on Beach 67 in the Rockaways, Queens. There are a bunch of beaches in the Rockaways but I like Beach 67 because you don’t have to change from the A train to the Shuttle; it is quiet; it is a 5 min walk from the subway to the beach; and there is a pretty decent Thai spot right by the station for lunch and a lovely clean bathroom. There is no swimming but then again, why would you want to??? The water is freezing and not very clean looking (or smelling).
Saturday was a really gorgeous winter’s day in New York (it felt like a South African winter day) and since I have a friend staying with me, we headed out for an afternoon of shooting…starting out at Union Sq, making our way down through then East Village, then down to Chinatown, over the Brooklyn Bridge and then to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. The whole Chinatown/Little Italy area downtown sometimes seems surreal – you walk down one street (Mott) and you feel like you’re in Asia; then step one street over to Mulberry and you’re surrounded by Italian restaurants. Anyway while we were there was a parade going on – with drummers, Santas, snowmen – and Chinese dragons. It was a lot of fun to watch especially since we had no idea it was going to be happening.
I pride myself on being really good at getting to place without getting lost. Yesterday I really let myself down. After successfully waking up early after a rather big night out, and getting to Penn station on time, I managed to get Lesley and myself to miss the train from Secaucus in New Jersey to Salisbury-Cornwall and we had to wait a whole hour at Secaucus for the next train (there is nothing to do there). I blame this on the fact that the train itinerary says «Frank R Lautenberg Secaucus» but they only announce «Secaucus» on the train itself – something that I should have noticed but I am sure I am not the first foreigner who made this mistake.
Anyway the whole point of this journey was to go visit the Storm King Art Center upstate New York – and it was completely worth the train drama. Storm King is a large park/outdoor art gallery in a breathtakingly beautiful area, especially now during the autumn. It was such an exhilarating experience to walk through the park, breathing in the cool crisp air and watching the gold, orange and red leaves swirling and slowly falling to the ground. I cannot wait to go back in a few weeks and I also plan to get a membership as this gets you access during the winter when the park is usually closed. (Can you imagine a photo of that head and foot sculpture against the snow?)
The entire time while I was there I kept hearing the lines of one of my favourite Death Cab for Cutie songs in my head, whose songs have taken on so much more meaning since I have moved here.
«Upstate New York, autumn, brightly colored leaves
Oh, the hills were on fire, they burn for you and me»
We also had a rather amusing (read: frightening) experience on the way back – the cab driver who took us from the station to the center got into a fight with another cab driver who thought he was poaching us. As a result I have a brilliant idea for a new reality tv show which looks at cab company wars in small towns. The cab driver (who shall remain nameless since I am now in the land where anyone can sue for anything) was hilarious (read: frightening) – he drove like a madman and told us all about how the wheel came off his car a few weeks before and how he has a turbocharger on his own car. Next time I go to visit the center I will make sure he is not the one taking me.
These photos were taken during a walk over Brooklyn Bridge and in the DUMBO area yesterday. It was just an outing with friends but the locks on the bridge and the sticker saying «the best place to be in love» made me think of how this could have been the perfect setting for a romantic scene in a movie or a novel. And then I found this poem by Emily Dickinson and it seemed like the perfect mix.
The pretty Rain from those sweet Eaves by Emily Dickinson
The pretty Rain from those sweet Eaves
Her unintending Eyes —
Took her own Heart, including ours,
By innocent Surprise —
The wrestle in her simple Throat
To hold the feeling down
That vanquished her — defeated Feat —
Was Fervor’s sudden Crown —
Today I was 26 going on 12. A few days ago while trawling the interweb for things to do in NYC I came across a Backstreet Boys concert happening in Cantral Park. And while current me cringed, 12 year old me’s heart lept moon-high. The decision was made.
This morning I woke up at 4.30, pressed snooze 3 times and almost contemplated not going. Then I got ready in ten minutes, jumped on my bike (Emily) and realised there is actually an incline when going from 110th St towards 64th for a while. I got there and stood in the general queue until I heard another woman say, «who is here alone?». So I said that I am – and she smiled and told me to come with her – she had VIP tickets. This wonderful woman’s name is Tatiana – and this is what is so amazing about New York. You leave home thinking you are going somewhere on your own — and then you meet really cool people who are also here alone.
I am not even going to lie, no matter who judges me – the concert was so much fun. The crowd had a great energy and even though my voice is so awful, I sang all my favoutite tweenie hits to my heart’s content. The BSB sounded great and they had an actual band with them – which gave the pop music a bit of a rawer sound. They did all the dance moves we swooned over when we were 12 – even though these guys must all be pushing (or well over) 40.
In the end, there isn’t a price you can put on nostalgic memories.