Campout!

Tonight we’re heading out to (my favorite) Floyd Bennett Field (which is actually part of Gateway National Park and contains areas of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge) for an urban camping adventure in honor of Sweetheart’s birthday. Among the rich swaths of wooded paradise covered in honeysuckle and queen anne’s lace you can catch glimpses of the Marine Park Bridge, and as the breezes blow the wheeling seabirds, you can see the Empire State Building in the far distance. Oh adventure! In the mean time, I hope everyone has a weekend of unexpected beauty.

Baseball+Wanderlust

This Just In. The official theme of this summer is WANDERLUST+BASEBALL. But, really, is this anything new? Ever since my guilty twinges at not having seen a ballgame by June reached a frenzy, I’ve thrown myself into the American Pastime (more on the New York Gotham’s later this week). Last night on a wild hair, Sweetheart and I sped on the wings of the new G>7 in-station transfer out to CitiField. The Mets were taking on similar-perennial-underdogs-in-a-pretty-tough-division Orioles, and tickets were $5.70 (it was a No-Han special- in honor of Johan’s- #57- no hitter). It was, in essence, a perfect night. Bewhiskered cartoon-hounddog knuckleballer R.A. Dickey pitched a one hitter complete game (back to back on his other one hitter complete game), Sweet Ike Davis broke his epic dry-spell with his first-ever grand slam- we gave him a much deserved curtain call-, and it was 65 degrees and breezy. Also of note: Dickey’s “come to the plate” music is the Game of Thrones theme song. I don’t think I could love him more. If you build it, we will come.Images via instagram here and here.

Kitten Caboodle

Seriously considering getting Mr. Nipsey Russell this New York Apartment friendly under-the-chair cat hammock. On my pros list: small, doesn’t take up extra space, would fit perfectly on the Danish modern. Cons: could it possibly live up to the majesty/warmth of perching atop the record player receiver? could it replace the fortress of the cardboard box? We shall put it to a vote and see. In the meantime, a girl can dream.

Thanks to Smills for keeping her eyes peeled for me.

Early Summer Offerings

Today I took my first cup of cold brew coffee out to the backyard to survey our small domain and water our little container garden and I was positively struck with early summer wonder. First off: the simple joys of homemade cold brew are not to be taken lightly and it is ever-so-much more enjoyable than I thought possible to drink it with a cuppow mason jar top. Right now there is a ton of (fabulous-yet-frustrating) construction going on in the backyard as our awesome landlord Bernie and his yappy yorkie Zeus put up new fencing, plant big lovely boxwoods, lay down a patio, occasionally spar at our window with Nipsey the Cat, and make a big mess everywhere including in the cucumber pots. In the midst of the construction chaos, ground strewn with power tools and trash, our little garden is still thriving. Is this a New York parable? Our Early Girls are putting out their first little green maters, late breaking broccoli is rearing its head, zucchinis are blossoming, nasturtiums are up, all of the little hot peppers are putting forth blossoms (the big one already has two peppers on it!), the first strawberries are almost ready to eat, and all of the herbs are thriving. It’s always the little things that matter most.

Found in Nature

On our way out to spend Memorial Day at Sweetheart’s house in Rockaway we drove past Floyd Bennett Field. I’ve always had a bit of a love affair with the old airfield (see here and here). How interesting, then, to discover this amazing photographic series “Found in Nature” by Barry Rosenthal: collections of items and objects found out at Floyd Bennett Field. This weekend, on that brilliant, sunny, fresh-hot birth of summer day, they had a carnival set up: a Ferris Wheel, a funny purple roller coaster, big fat circus lights and cotton candy. How many new contributions must have been left behind…

Read more about Barry Rosenthal and his art here and thanks to Things Organized Neatly for the heads up (man I love that site).

A Moveable Feast

This weekend we had our first ever moveable feast– a progressive dinner moving from course to course, cocktail to cocktail, between our five Brooklyn apartments. It was so very, very lovely… We feasted: prosciutto wrapped asparagus with peppadew sauce and lemon honey gin fizzes, roasted pear and arugula salads with cucumber gin tonics, pork carnitas tacos with home pickled onions and fresh tomatillo salsa with micheladas, cheese fondue (!!!) paired with funkily perfect hard ciders, and cool, rich tiramisu with cognac. We walked: from Bed Stuy to Clinton Hill to Fort Greene. All of the ladies rocked the flower party crowns I made. The night was warm the light was perfect, we started under a maple tree in the slanting early summer sun and finished on the roof under the stars watching at the twinkling lights of not-yet-finished One World Trade. All we kept saying was how we live SO close to each other, and how most of us had never even been to each other’s apartments. Here we were- opening our homes, laughing, breaking bread, toasting bubbly, and simply enjoying each other. How marvelous, how easy, how truly lovely.

Infinite thanks to the brilliant Oh Happy Day for the progressive dinner idea (yes, I’ve been thinking about doing this since last November, and yes, follow Jordan’s very helpful tips).

Also from Oh Happy Day- the ahhh-mazing flower party hat tutorial! I can’t recommend this little project enough. It only took me three episodes of Girls, a glass and a half of wine, and $13 worth of supplies from the dollar store to make 6 headbands (with tons of paper left over). Note: I used tissue paper instead of the crepe paper recommended in the tutorial because I couldn’t find any folded crepe paper in the hood, and the tissue paper worked fine.  Also- in a moment of divine inspiration, I picked up a loopy stainless steel pot scrubber that I cut up and used for fun shiny/textured centers, you really can use your imagination here… I want to wear a flower party crown everywhere I go- and I think I just might.

Coney Island Love Letter

On this rainy Brooklyn day, what could be better than a little Coney Island Love? I’ve been a believer ever since Sweetheart’s dad bought me my first chow mein sandwich (a bizarre Brooklyn food tradition proffered by a third generation Brooklyner? Perfect.*) after two rounds of re-rides on The Cyclone a few summers ago. Maybe it’s the continued (de)construction, the shuttering of classics like the El Dorado Bumper Cars, or just a pang of tangible nostalgia for a history I’ve only brushed up against, but this lovely love letter seems just the right amount of bittersweet.

 

*reminiscent of the time Sweetheart smuggled a Yonah Shimmel’s kasha knish into the Sunshine Cinema on our second date. Eating my first knish in the dark, it was sort of like the blind men and the elephant… until he handed me the mustard.

 

gorgeous video from the brilliant geniuses at Land of Nod. I dare you not to watch, like, all of their videos right. now.

Damn Yankees

Where I’m from, people still talk about the Civil War, or, as we like to call it “the late unpleasantness”. O Sweet Virginia, capitol of the confederacy, birthplace of true gentleman Robert E. Lee and dashing horseman J.E.B. Stuart, home of Stonewall Jackson back when the commonwealth stretched all the way out to Kentucky in one great big genteel expansionist yawn, and where, as children, we’d would leave bourbony Hornsby Family Christmas Parties in Yorktown to go play in redoubts and earthworks from the peninsula campaign that are still standing 150 years later. It wasn’t that long ago, your war of northern aggression, and it still comes up. Down there. No one talks about it in New York. Unless it’s in passing to mention the atrocities of the draft riots. They talk about the Revolution, they celebrate their Yankees (perhaps this further explains my antipathy for the Bronx Bombers), and they love their gilded age. But there’s no wistful Shelby Foote letter-reading over the strains of Ashoken Farewell taking place in the borough of kings. Or so I thought. Imagine my surprise and delight to get the invite to hear my friend speak about the exploits and adventures of the Illustrious Brooklyn 14th. In full regalia.

The Brooklyn 14th originally was a social club, a carousing and toasting outfit for the well-heeled sons of Brooklyn’s elite, men of venerable families, privilege and education. When they were called to duty in 1847, they were ready. The regiment fought at most of the major, bloodiest battles- Antietam, 1st and 2nd Bull Run, Fredricksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, Gettysburg. Like the hipsters they begat, they looked fabulous. Enamored of the pantaloons of the Zoaves (ed. note. pictures coming soon of me dressed as a zoave blockade runner for Miss McKay’s birthday), the men of the 14th wore red and blue vests with bright gilt buttons and bright red pants, which led Stonewall Jackson to give them them the name “Red Legged Devils” after their dogged assault at the first Bull Run. Each soldier also wore a flat topped red hat called a “kepi”. Kepi. Yiddish for head. These Brooklyn sons were probably the only regiment that might have had jewish mothers at home telling them to “watch your kepi, bubbelah” when sending them off to war. They were led by Gen. Edward Fowler, a beloved commander who moved to my neighborhood after the war and became an accountant. There’s a statue of him just a few blocks from my apartment, I’ve passed it without knowing every time I go to BAM.

This history is fascinating, not quite hidden, but certainly not on the tip of everyone’s tongue… let’s talk about it, let’s celebrate it, and while we’re at it any New Yorker who got married under the Marriage Equality Act, or any Californian who has a medical marijuana card should certainly understand making a stink about state’s rights. A very sincere thanks to Matt and the rest of the Red Legged Devils of the 14th for a wonderful talk (and I can’t wait for Matt’s book on the subject).

ps. the lecture was at Pete’s Candy Store, part of the OCD: Open City Dialogue lecture series, the next one is about the Tiny House movement, which is totally fascinating.

 

Fowler image from here.

The Real March Madness

The real March Madness takes place at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens. And, apparently, there might be nothing in the world better than eight year olds playing basketball. They have the swagger and skill of the little men they’re becoming, but they still sometimes cry if they’re called traveling or sustain a rather nasty foul. Luckily, though, they’re of an age where any ill can be cured by pizza.

Subway Mandate: We Want a Better World

My train stopped right here, deep downtown, practically under 1 World Trade, let everyone out and the paused for a moment with doors open as if it were sighing, and then continued to trundle its way along down the Brooklyn bound C local track.
Such a simple message. We Want a Bettter World. Was it written by the Occupiers? A blunt reminder of how far we’ve come (and how much is still lost) in the last ten years? A mandate in time for Christmas?  Whatever it is, it feels bittersweet, but it also feels hopeful. We Want a Better World. Me too.