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Posts Tagged ‘summer’

COOPERS BEACH, SOUTHAMPTON, NY

The Rocket Scientist and I were lucky enough to be invited up to Southampton for the weekend of Juy 4th. A friend of mine – a native New Yorker who I know from Sydney – was getting married on the Monday and the friends we were staying with us insisted we stayed for the traditional July 4th parade.

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It felt like a real privileged to stay with a ‘real’ New York family up in Long Island. Sure, it would be fantastic to stay at one of the Great Gatsby-style mansions along the beach, with their separate servant accommodation and golf buggies to get around their monstrous grounds and $75k a week rental fees (I mean, you wouldn’t say no, would you?), but to meet actual New Yorkers who have been spending their summers in the Hamptons before the term even existed (East Hampton, Southampton, West Hampton were lumped together by real estate agents some time in the 80s) felt pretty special.

‘Ma’ was born and bred in the Bronx. ‘Pa’ grew up in Brooklyn. And it was fun to spend the week barbecuing and drinking Bloody Marys with them. The Rocket Scientist and I are always bowled over by the generosity of American families. We’ve had some of our favourite stay-aways at the homes of friends’ families.

How to get there & place to eat:

The best way to get to the Hamptons with a young family is via the Long Island RailRoad (LIRR). It doesn’t go as regularly as the ‘Jitney’ coach but, with kids, the air-conditioning, luggage space and ability to get around is worth the extra 30 minutes and $10.

The LIRR goes to Penn Station or Atlantic Avenue, handy if you live in Brooklyn.

The best places to eat in Southampton we found were La Parmigianali (excellent Italian), we liked the Golden Pear Cafe for breakfast. Scene-y 75 Main is good for a drink. And Barristers had cheapish cocktails and snacks if you don’t want to pay 75 Main prices for every meal.

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Swimsuit Time

This week the UK is going to experience a heatwave.

Not a heatwave by New York standards, indeed the 17 degree temperature (about 62 in fahrenheit) probably wouldn’t even register on a New Yorker’s idea of hot weather.

Nonetheless, in the UK (a country, which in the five early-summer weeks I’ve been back has experienced snow, hail, high winds and torrential rain), you have to take what you can get.

Since my parents own a (little used but heated) swimming pool and my photographer friend Chloe is not away on some exotic location for once and wants to come around for a dip, I’ve ordered a new swimsuit.

Buying a swimsuit is not most people’s idea of a good time so buying your first one after the birth of a child you’d think would take the trauma one step further.

However, my new body-shape needs make the selection quite simple: just find me something that covers up the area between my shoulders and upper thigh. No more  trying to figure out what cut of bikini makes me look thin; agonizing over halternecks or bandeau in the cold light of the changing room mirror.

I just want something that is vaguely pretty, vaguely cool and shows off my best bits (carrying around a 20lb baby makes for toned arms, and my legs have always been pretty good), and covers up the rest. Not black, not ugly, has padded cups but doesn’t make me look like an atomic Jessica Rabbit.

I’ve bought this one from The White Company. Pretty, non?

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Stealth Mosquitos

Not my actual baby

Despite our fly screens, I seem to wake up every day with more than a few craze-inducing lumps on my limbs (the H1B is sporting a few on his eyebrows, which gives him a perpetually quizzical look) so am naturally worried about our  baby – the defenceless creature with its tender newborn skin – being savaged while it slumbers (and then the mind goes mad wondering about the possibility of dengue fever in NYC…).

I posted a question on the ever-helpful Park Slope Parents website (a cliché, moi?) and got a few good responses:

1) Put a dryer sheet – like Bounce – under the mattress at the foot-end of the crib. Not sure if this is because of the fragrance or because of some insidious chemical

2) Lavender – bags, sachets, placed delicately around the Provençal bébé

3) Spray baby with Listerine. Err…

4) Use a mosquito net from Graco Pack and Play, which should fit the mini crib (Da Vinci Emily, if you’re interested – no room for a full-size crib in the ‘nursery nook’; a grandiose phrase for the ‘space behind the door’)

5) Use a fan to blow away the bloody blood biters

The fan and the lavender are the most appealing ideas. I’ll investigate the dryer sheets too.

I was also told that type O people are more likely to be bitten by mozzies. I can never remember if I’m type A or type O…. I think it’s O so that would explain why every bug in the tri-state area likes to sup on my blood.

Hopefully the babe will be saved from a similar fate with some rare but readily-available-in-an-emergency blood type.

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Redhook public swimming pool, Brooklyn

Am terribly excited. Red Hook outdoor pool opens tomorrow for the summer season. Wherever I live, a decent outdoor (or indoor one for that matter) pool is one of the first things I look for. While most people look for good transport or quality schools, my postcode priority is somewhere I can cut through the water, cleansing my soul of life’s dust and grime. (Am with Jesus on that one.)

In London, I used to take a train 30 minutes from one side of the city to the other to go to London Fields Lido (although, in truth, spent most swimming sessions in Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre).

In Sydney, I was spoilt rotten by the number of amazing outdoor swimming areas: the glorious saltwater pools of Bondi Icebergs and Bronte beach water hole (I weep for them in my sleep) or one of the many fancy lidos on the harbour… not to mention the ocean of course.

Best outdoor swimming pool in the entire world: Bondi Icebergs

My attempts to find a decent pool in NYC have been varied and interesting. When we first moved to Brookly, I googled what I thought was the nearest place to swim and ended up taking the subway east to St Johns Recreation Center, which is essentially in the projects. It was like a Soviet bunker and looked like it hadn’t had any public funding since about 1983. The actual pool was spotless but the rusting grate on the bottom looks pretty menacing and the falling down air con unit in the changing rooms and black indelible mould in the showers did challenge my liberal values somewhat.

Since then, I’ve been swimming at the local ‘Y’, on 9th Street. It’s pretty good but small, only three lanes and about 25 foot long. But it’s not often crowded and there’s saunas and steam to make the 25 minute walk worth it (I can get the bus there too). I do think it’s quite pricey, at around $60 a month; especially given that I make it there about once a week.

So, anyway, can’t wait to try out the Redhook pool, which the teacher in my pre-natal yoga class was also raving abou yesterday. It’s free – amazing – and massive, bigger than an Olympic pool. And they have all sorts of strident rules about only being able to wear white T-shirts in the pool area and no inflatables… but that means you are much less likely to have to swim through a bunch of 10 year-olds playing murder ball with a beach ball and getting hit on the head.

Today is 5 weeks until my due date (gulp) and I intend to spend A LOT of the next hot, NYC summer month in this public pool. At last, a visible sign of some good use of our tax dollars.

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