Tag Archives: summer

The Joys of Summer (Fashion)

I am a four-season girl.  I cannot imagine living anywhere where time cannot be marked by nature.  I do not, however, love all seasons equally.  I’ve never been much for summer.  This is not entirely due to the heat nor the humidity, but rather how those elements play havoc with the desire to accessorize.  It’s only after I embraced the joy of the enormous floppy hat, earrings, and heeled sandals, that I started to enjoy donning a swimsuit.  For years, it was not embarrassment which kept me from socializing in the equivalent of water resistant underwear, it was how incredibly boring the outfit was!  Where is the creativity or joy in pulling on two pieces of clothing?  A bathing suit cover-up doesn’t really count as the third piece as all it really conveys is that one has something they’d prefer to cover up.

So here it is, mid-August, and I have done my due diligence with a drawer filled with colorful shorts and flirty cotton skirts.  I have collected a bevy of attractive and highly functional sandals, and several straw hats.  I have handbags and even a few pieces of jewelry which scream Summer.  And I have found my peace.  Now this state should be its own reward…

But it is challenging to be putting concerted, and not necessarily intuitive, energy into an endeavor that clearly is solo.  Have you seen what is walking the streets of this city?  (“Street walking” is an apt imagery.)  It is not clumsy attempts of seasonally appropriate ensembles that have sullied my soul.  I accept that appearance is not a priority for all.  It is instead the promotion of private parts to public parts that leaves me horrified/dejected.  For months, I have seen every size and shape of breast, spilling out of “not meant as outerwear” apparel.  The summer top or dress is ostensibly a set of pasties.  I am not referring to décolletage or snug fitting cotton blouses.  I am referencing the custom of 50-75% of the area in question to be al fresco.  Why?  Do they really suffer such heat exhaustion, they can’t be covered?  Is it simply the epitome of lazy, to use ones own parts as an accessory?

In the interest of fair and balanced, I must point out that the population’s nether regions have had their fair days in the sun as well.  Oh, the things I’ve seen.  And on public transport!  No doubt these women are the same who sanitize a public toilet seat within an inch of its life.  The hygiene contradiction is boggling.  For those who do not live alone or whose mothers are still living, they choose instead to wear see-through clothing.  Most of the transparent garments I have seen are not haute couture, but instead very cheap off the rack clothing that is meant to be worn with underpinnings.  Some choose to disregard this intention entirely (oh my eyes!)  Others see this as in invitation to wear the boldest most incongruous mass-market under things.  This might be a good place to mention that if one is old enough to pull up one’s own pants, one needn’t have underpants festooned with imagery.

I will trudge through the next month, donning sundresses, wearing silver jewelry and white pants, and pedicuring like mad.  But I will do so while longingly eyeing my sweaters, boots and scarves, and reminding myself that biology will win out: private parts do shy from the cold.

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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Style


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Hot Town

Back of my neck getting burnt and gritty

When I was 6, we moved to Brooklyn on the 1st of July.  We were welcomed by the sound of illegal fireworks.  Day and night.  For a week.  That was my introduction to the very uniqueness of summers in the city.  My little suburban self knew nothing of italian ices, ice cream men, fruit men, and perhaps the most magical of all; the carnival ride man.  Actual rides (hopefully) bolted onto trucks would arrive on our block.  Real rides!  It was a step beyond awesome. 
On the more sweltering of days, a grown-up would open the hydrants for us.  The braver and older of us, would charge right into the spray.  The smaller and lighter-weight of us, played in the puddles.

We moved out of the city the following winter, but I still think of these city summer hallmarks.  They mingle with the images of people sleeping on fire escapes and sunbathing on tar roof, and the mass of humanity at Coney Island.

Yesterday I experienced a brand new (to me) summer in the city phenomenon.  It was about 87 degrees (not sweltering, but a breeze would have been nice.)  I made my way into the subway (at a location I had never frequented) and saw grown men (18-35 years) using the subway platform as a clubhouse.  Some had brought folding chairs.  Now what is still so puzzling about choosing to hang out on a subway platform, is that we were all of 2 blocks from Riverside Park.  What kind of bet do you think they lost?  Do they do this every day?  Perhaps only on weekends?  Did I mention that there wasn’t a cloud in the sky?  I’m so very puzzled.

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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Cultural Critique


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Get Ready For The Summer

It’s that time of year again.  Summer.  A season only second to Christmas in it’s forced hyped gaiety.  Do I sound like a bikini-clad Grinch?  Before I reflexively apologize, perhaps I should explain my resentment.  Unlike Christmas, summer delivers me no easy out of the frenzy.  I can’t exactly wave the religion flag as my get-out-of-gaiety card, can I?  Or can I?  Can I blame my disconnect to patriotism (Memorial, Independence, and Labor; the trifecta of summer flag waving) on being the spawn of sixties liberal reform Jews?  Doubtful, considering I love nothing more than a hometown parade.  But wait, what about the grandparents who scraped together the scraps of their working class paychecks for a week or two in the Catskills every year?  Don’t those incredibly dismal and depressing black and white photographs (with wiggly white borders) prove a genetic inability to conform to the seasonal culture of fun.  Puhlease.

My seasonal shortcomings are my own.  I love cultivated nature (botanical gardens, english box hedges and the like) but am most certainly about as indoorsy as they come.  That must be part of my “problem.”  And by “problem” I don’t mean to imply that I am anti-summer.  Far from it.  I enjoy an enormous straw hat and a strappy sandal.  I find nothing quite as lovely as the sight of the ice cream man (a man dressed in immaculate white doling out snack?!)  It is instead the notion (pummeled by magazines, television and the like) that I should be ENJOYING MYSELF!  This enjoyment should take the form of preparing/eating my meals out of doors (so much nicer in theory than in practice,) relocating to places remote or exclusive and/or adopting an entirely different life/persona for three months.
I love the summer in the city.  Just love it.  There is a quiet and sanity that feels (don’t ask me why) European.  But even as I sit at a cafe nursing a cappuccino, or at the Boat Basin, working my way through a mango mai tai and mahi mahi taco (say that really really fast!) I feel I am not living up to expectation.  What is most queer about this complex, is I have no idea why!  I do not succumb to any other media expectations (of which I am aware.)  Yet every year, at the end of May, here I sit, an involuntary Scrooge (in a stunning straw hat.)

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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Cultural Critique


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Zing Zing Zing Went My Heartstrings

I certainly have extolled the splendors of New York in the summer before.  However, I’ve shopped before too.

The weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day are just glorious.  The vibrancy of the city stays intact but the extraneous noise that affects our fine city’s livability seems to ebb rather dramatically.  Restaurants are available during peak time; at the last minute.  The streets are quieter and more manageable.The frantic sense of having to shore and gear up to navigate any external activity seems to fade as well.  What’s left is all the deliciousness that the city has to offer, presented in an appealing and manageable manner.

I watched the thinned workday crowd come up from the subway (another less than hundred people coming off of the train) on Friday morning.  I did this while sipping my cappuccino (from a real cup) and picking at an apple gateau in the atrium of Alice Tully Hall.  The weight of my demitasse and the taste of the caramelized apple transported me instantly to Paris.  (This is not an affront to my city, as we all know, Paris is really just New York in french.)  I was loathe to leave, but there were two tickets in my name at the Walter Reade.  Singing In The Rain was not going to watch itself.  Do you remember when movies were fabulous and filled with talent and movie theatres were lovely and special and going to the concession stand did not remind you of a bad night in prison?  Come to the Walter Reade (but not all at once, I like it partially empty.)  The theatre is immaculate and designed for viewing pleasure.  Imagine that!  The espresso(!) was $2 and the popcorn $4.  You know; what it’s actually worth!  I was tickled to see children in the theatre (there’s a sentence that should never be quoted out of this context!)  It speaks volumes about Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds that nary a peep uttered from these very small children.  See what actual entertainment (vs. dummed down corporate product placement) can do for a child.  The audience burst in spontaneous applause several times.  Seeing Mr. O’Connor scale the walls in Make “Em Laugh (on the big screen) was thrilling.

How does one top a morning like that?  By having lunch at Alice’s Tea Cup, that’s how.  Usually sheer madness at lunch when school is out, the wait was all of 5 minutes on this holiday weekend.  A pumpkin scone, a salad and a pot of tea.  Is there anything more wonderful?  Unless it’s the two EXTRA helpings of jam I insisted upon.

The next day was equally splendid and started with a walk/run along the Hudson at Riverside Park.  The breeze and beauty of the morning could only be topped by Judy and Vincent’s first movie.  The close ups of Miss Garland on the large screen are enough to warm even the coldest heart.  Sitting in the Walter Reade (thank you Lincoln Center 50th anniversary musical weekend celebration) and hearing the laughter around me, I was warmed all over.  MGM was magic to me as a child, but magic that I always experienced alone, on a black and white portable television.  How fabulous to discover that I am not alone.

On my way to lunch (in the West Village) I witnessed the shoring up of the West Side of my city.  The Macy’s fireworks were coming to the Hudson (Happy 400th Hudson!) and boy was it gonna draw the masses like salt leeching liquid.  By the time I traipsed back downtown for dinner at Balthazar (no waiting, no attitude, no kidding) with our dear friends, the throngs had started to descend.  At 8:30 (on our way to our own rooftop to view the fireworks) the streets were filled.  Lawn chairs and coolers littered the sidewalks.  Every cement surface held a human.  Looking down on the westside highway (from 39 flights above) I took in the sight of a blanket of humans.  It was a glorious show.  From our vantage point we could see New Jersey’s fireworks as well as all 6 barges on the Hudson.  Magic.

However no holiday that celebrates patriotism or dead war veterans would be complete without a picnic.  An empty Riverside Park, a couple of blankies, a basket full of Fairway and a Yankee Game on a genuine transistor radio!

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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Cultural Critique


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