Monday, July 18, 2011

Sporty Sunday

In keeping with my role as official Social Director to my group of friends, I bought tickets for a kayaking excursion on the Delaware river, followed by a wine tour, a little while ago through one of the many deals site I subscribe to. I figured that one can't really go wrong with kayaking and wine tasting in the same day and managed to rope in the Boy along with my friends CT and PF in to do it with me.

We all turned up at 11am in Hells Kitchen on Sunday, where the pick up point was, ready for action. I had bought 2 separate pairs of tickets but quickly realized that things might not quite go according to plan when the organizers said they only had me down for 1 pair. 

Regardless, the four of us got on the bus, along with around 40 other people. After we were told that the bus journey would take 2.5 hours and that they would probably not get us back into the City until 10pm (at which point I regretted being there in the first place!), the organizers approached us and said that unfortunately they couldn't accommodate the extra two people they hadn't accounted for. As CT & PF left the bus, the Boy and I looked at each other and both realized that we didn't want to be there unless they were ... and followed them out.

A little disappointed that we didn't go on our planned adventure (but secretly pleased that we wouldn't have to suffer through 5 hours of a coach journey in total), we quickly hatched another plan. 

We hired bikes from a spot just beside the Intrepid and set off north, cycling along the wonderfully appointed bike path all the way to the George Washington bridge at the most northern point of the island.

I couldn't recommend this ride more. While it feels very busy until you hit the mid-90s, after that point the bike path is pretty much clear and the scenery is wonderful. As you cycle past 110th street, the surroundings are much more wild and less city-like and we felt like we were truly out of the City. Entire families were out having elaborate and festive barbecues, the heady smell of grilled meat tantalizing our taste buds as we whizzed past them.

We sat for a while in a shaded area once we reached the bridge, admiring the City skyline in the distance on one side and the majestic bridge on the other. 

After cycling back down to our neighborhood, there was no better way to end such a great day than with a couple of drinks at the Boat Basin while watching the final of the Women's Football World Cup.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Governors Island

Governors Island is a just tiny patch of land located between the most southern tip of Manhattan and Brooklyn, but in the Summer it becomes a hive of activity.

The island was mostly used for military purposes in the 18th and 19th centuries - and still houses many former barracks - but it was fully converted into a public park in 2010.

Bike paths have been built and it hosts a myriad of food events, concerts and exhibits throughout the Summer - you can see the full schedule here. Free ferries leave for the island every hour during the week and every 30 minutes at the weekends and it takes less than 10 minutes to get there.

I first went there for Meatopia last year and returned last Sunday when the Boy and I went to a BBQ, Blues and Beer festival there for the afternoon. You can't really go wrong with these three things put together and we spent hours nibbling on pulled pork, mini burgers and hot dogs while chilling out and enjoying the laid back atmosphere.

I highly recommend visiting Governors Island as a cheap and very easy way to get that "out of the City" feeling if only for a day!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I organized a little Welcome Party for my friend JW last night, who just arrived from London on a 6-month global rotation program that our company facilitates. Needless to say that he is beyond excited at the opportunity to live here and all our mutual friends and I are determined to help him make the most of the experience.

For his first big night out in the City, I wanted him to experience quintessential New York. I wanted us to go a place where he will not be able to take his eyes away from the view and pinch himself that he is here, that it is real. And what is better than cocktails at Ink48 with its sweeping panorama of the Midtown skyscrapers to send a tingle of excitement down your spine.

While much fun was had by our raucous group of ten people, the evening was a little bittersweet as well however. As JW arrives, my close friends ES and KM are gearing up to leave the City later this summer (one back to London, the other to DC) further illustrating the transient nature of this place.

I am used to this, having already "lost" a few friends who after 2, 4 or 10 years felt burnt out and needed a slower pace of life. But for every person that left, someone else arrived. Ah, the great revolving doors of New York City ...

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 4th Weekend

I spent the holiday weekend in the Hamptons and I feel that the girls and I have settled into a soothing and deliciously predictable routine out there. 

As usual, we enjoyed ES's beautiful house, frolicked in the pool, sunbathed and indulged in far too many BBC cocktails at Cyril's.

I have finally come to terms with my love/hate relationship with the Hamptons. There are too many things I love about it to stop me from going back a few times this summer - namely the beauty of the surroundings, the quietness and the feeling that we are a million miles away for the bustling City.

What I hadn't planned on was a spectacular ending to such a great weekend. As we were riding the train back to the City early in the afternoon on July 4th, one of the girls said that she was going to watch the fireworks later that night on one of her friends' boat and invited us to join them. While we were all beyond exhausted, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

We arrived at Penn Station at 5.30 p.m. and by 6.30 p.m., we were boarding the 28 foot boat, laden with nibbles we got from Whole Foods on the way and wine.

The boat traffic on the Hudson was unbelievable and we even witnessed a couple of minor accidents but the view you get from the middle of the river is absolutely breathtaking. It is by far the best view point, especially since you can also admire the distinctive Manhattan skyline so well at the same time.

I had to pinch myself more than once that I was really living this ... that I was really lucky enough to experience this ... that I was there. If this doesn't further cement my passionate love affair with New York, I don't know what does.