Category: Archive

Echo Opinion: All heat and no Hamptons: what’s a city girl to do?

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The heat becomes oppressive. The days drag on. And people flee in droves for the shoreline.
And you can’t blame them, really. I haven’t seen my roommate during a weekend since Memorial Day. Two hours in traffic for a chance to relax at a summer rental in a Hamptons town of your choice is nice if you can get it. Coming back to reality, however, many of us find that we will have to make do with what we’ve got. And a kiddie pool with some good company is nearly as good as any old 12-to-a-house summer share.
Of course, these last two weeks of August are prime time for vacation, and the city’s population seems decimated on weekends. Summer hours, anyone?
Late into the workday last Friday, I was out on a coffee run, waiting for a light to change on Madison when a cab pulled hoping for a fare. Yes, an available cab — during what could be described as rush hour. And did I mention this was in Midtown Manhattan? It’s official: things are bad.
There is no reason to be down on having to stay local, however. I tried to think of the city as my oyster — I would reap the rewards of thinning crowds, warm weather and general malaise on the part of everyone who took vacation earlier this year.
There is the heat issue, of course, and just because one’s local beach is not two hours away (unless you are taking the A train, that is) doesn’t mean it’s not up to par. New York City offers miles of surprisingly sandy shores, thanks to recent cleanup efforts and newly laid sand deposits. (Thanks for that, New Jersey. We owe you!)
I lucked out this weekend, scoring a prime spot with friends at Rockaway. Horror stories of needles washing up aside, the sea could have been bottled and sold, it was that nice. The key to a good beach day is getting there early, when the water is still pristine. Even the lifeguards, whom we were strategically positioned close to — and I assure you it was completely in the interest of safety — were incredulous. It was like the Gulf of Mexico and you could actually see your feet at the bottom of the water.
And, in true Irish-American style, I managed to score a slight tan. Now, I know, I know, it’s terrible, the sun. Awful even. But when I say tan, I do only mean a scant coloring. I was not going completely sans SPF, of course, but at least I can compete in the office tan stakes at the moment.
Besides, there is something that much nicer about sweating out a hot day on the sand as opposed to draping yourself over an air conditioner with the blinds drawn to keep even the faintest ray of sunlight and, by default, heat out.
That said, I suppose it’s only natural to try and cool down with a refreshing drink, as many responsible adults are wont to do. (And it’s perfect weather for Magner’s on ice.) Thinking that the dwindling population will have affected the outer boroughs as well, a bunch of us decided that a pilgrimage to the Mecca for the young and thirsty — Astoria’s Bohemian Beer Garden — was in order.
Interestingly, about 2,000 people had the same idea. The venue’s recently installed security force is slightly unnerving, but the mood was good and it maintains its status as a premier summer venue. Drawing people from all parts of the city, as well as every corner of the world, it was a reassuring sign that no, not everybody has taken off for the weekend.
There is another respite from the heat that city dwellers are well schooled in – the roof. While it can sometimes be likened to a commando mission getting up there if you are in a high rise (or your landlord keeps it on lockdown), it is well worth the trip.
For industrious New Yorkers, the roof is the makeshift backyard, storage closet, and, in some cases, kitchen when room runs out down below. Apartment dwellers have boasted about roof access for as long as they have felt comfortable grilling people they just met about how much their rent is, and sometimes for good reason. No matter how hot it seems, summer is just a little bit breezier, a little less humid, and a little more bearable up on the roof.
And access works wonders for one’s social life — bonus points for a skyline view!
In recent days, I had the luck of meeting up with a friend with access who suggested a barbeque. But first we went to C-Town along with half of young New York who apparently had similar plans for dinner. People are around on the weekends, I am slowly coming to realize — they’re just hiding in the freezer aisle with the door open, pretending to be interested in those frozen peas.
No sooner are we loaded up with the makings for grilled pizzas — which, if you ask any food editor in the New York metro area, are the new hot cuisine this summer — when we were sent one last parting shot from Mother Nature.
Sheets of rain were unceremoniously dumped on us, all of Brooklyn, and most likely, the entire Eastern seaboard.
It may have put the kibosh on grilling, but why argue? It was a welcome cool down for more than a few brave souls, judging from the leisurely pace kept by those who were caught outside. It’s all right, really. The heat finally broke, and we were on our way.

(Ray O’Hanlon is on vacation. His column will return Aug. 31.)

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese