After a grueling winter, it felt like summer was reluctant to appear. A couple weeks of chilly rain, interrupted by a couple of random 90 degree-plus days was hardly what I had been waiting for for six months. Finally, as if sensing a holiday weekend approaching, the skies opened up and bestowed a soft warm glow upon Manhattan joined by a cool breeze to whisk away all of those delightful city smells and leave only a rustling of trees in its wake. That laid-back summer feeling I had been so desperately longing for is here at last. I’ve been allowing myself to drift in and out of daydreams of my childhood summers, that beautifully undisturbed time in my memory when everything was at it should be. Languorous days spend at the pool topped by Papa John’s pizza and a steamy afternoon thunderstorm provided a perfect excuse for a movie night with friends and a bottomless bucket of chilled watermelon to drip down my chin. Sun-induced naps in the hammock with a book splayed across my freckled chest, it all just felt so easy, like life would always be like this. While summers in the city are definitely different than the Floridian summers of my childhood, they are no less special. The crisp, lush smell of trees in Central Park, evenings spent on rooftops with friends, and just the sheer anticipation of the mere hope of summer makes this season feel like an annual months-long festival where everyone is invited. And of course, one of the best things about New York in summer is the chance to get away. Day trips to the Hudson, afternoons at the Rockaways, weekends in the Hamptons; most people love New York City summer because it means they won’t be in New York. Though I generally prefer weekends spent in the city, ambling through West Village and generally exploring, weekend, Rob and I decided to hop out of town just for an afternoon to New Canaan, Connecticut. Funny how our idea of a getaway is a no-frills suburb where most people who live there commute into Manhattan. But the uber-preppy interior design shops, Colonial-style homes, and a gelato shop to satisfy my sweet tooth was just what I wanted on a sunny day. Four hours in, though, and we were happy to be heading home. I’m finding that maintaining a balance of getting out and seeing new things really does make coming home that much sweeter. Yesterday, though, I couldn’t have been happier to enjoy an overcast, cool day listening to classical music, reading books and baking my favorite strawberry tart for the day’s 4th of July festivities. A recipe found on one of my favorite cooking sites, it’s super easy and makes a lovely presentation for a neighborhood barbecue. Hope everyone made some wonderful summer memories this 4th of July!
Sometimes they say the best plan is to have no plan. That certainly worked out for us yesterday when a loose plan to go down to the Hudson to watch fireworks ended up in an evening spent twenty stories high at a rooftop party thrown by my sister’s friend. Burgers, beer, patriotic cupcakes, and fireworks, the night was every bit the proper salute to 4th of July that I could have imagined.
The party’s first success was the spectacular panoramic view of the city, including scenes of the famed Chrysler, Empire State, Credit Suisse, and new World Trade Center buildings. From up top, it’s hard to comprehend that this is the same city experienced from ground level. The metropolis has this insane density and diversity of architecture and sound that gives it a sense of breathing, pulsing life that I haven’t experienced anywhere else. Sometimes you need to be above it all to feel and appreciate it all. The pink painted skies at sunset also made us feel like we were at the center of the universe, providing a bright light show before the actual show. As the sun went down, a red moon rose, upstaging any brilliance a firework show could display. Truly awe-inspiring.
Aside from the scenic setting, the adjacent parties taking place really provided great sartorial sight seeing. Stripes ruled the night; from tank tops, bandannas, printed shorts, to dresses, we were all feeling the nautical/national pride. There was definitely a kitschy vibe to a lot of the looks, hinting at a playful twist on traditional preppy dressing, which made it all the more interesting to note how people put together different variations on the same theme.
Now I’ve covered setting and style, it’s time to get down to the headliner of the night–the fireworks! We were lucky to have been invited last minute, as we were sort of dreading dealing with the crowds down by the piers, though we know we would have done it regardless. It just isn’t the 4th of July without fireworks. It’s like a birthday without a cake, it doesn’t count. So the location of our friend’s building on 23rd street set us up for some pretty prime viewing of the show, a couple residential eyesores notwithstanding. Every year, Macy’s sets up four barges along the Hudson between 22nd and 43rd streets to give New York the best damn firework show this country can muster. It definitely didn’t disappoint and I noticed that every time I see fireworks, I can’t help but be reduced to a five year-old ooo-ing and aaah-ing for every big explosion.
So now we’ve got fireworks and cupcakes, I guess it’s official. Happy Birthday America!