A Summery Day in the Skies of NYC

view from les roof

Here in New York City, no matter how relentlessly hot, devoid of green space, or loud traffic is, sidewalk tables and rooftop decks are sacred. Every year, I sit with friends, sweat rolling down ticklish spots of the body and ice cubes disintegrating into drinks, swearing I’m having the best time of my life. And I mean it with all my heart.

It’s a particular brand of madness we cultivate in this city, and it’s begun again (cicadas be damned). As if a switch were flipped, almost everyone I knew was either hosting or attending a rooftop party this past weekend. Honestly, the only person I knew who didn’t go to one was busy learning how to steer a brand new sailboat (she’s a very fancy friend).

I managed to finagle my way onto three rooftops around Manhattan on Saturday, and I won’t lie: it was one of my proudest accomplishments as a New Yorker.

pool

The day began with prosecco and music poolside atop a luxury building on the lower east side. The deck was, umm, decked out with large round loungers and cushioned armchairs, and everyone looked like a successful actor or model. In the visible distance, we spied the golden roof of the Met Life, the Empire State, and the Chrysler buildings. My friends and I sunned ourselves silly for a few hours, taking turns napping or dipping into the pool to cool off. When we got hungry, sushi was delivered directly to our beach towels, as was a large patio umbrella to ensure we dined in comfort.

In the late afternoon, I reluctantly gathered my things to leave this lap of luxury in the sky, meet up with another friend, and move on to rooftop party #2 (I know, it’s a hard life). It was a quick commute up to Chelsea (although I’d gotten so spoiled at this point that I wondered why no one was fanning me as I traveled).

chelsea view

Once there, we pushed open the door to find a more typical urban rooftop, flat, covered in blacktop and framed with a concrete ledge and railing. The view was quintessentially New York: leafy green treetops filtering golden sunlight in a way that made it sparkle, pre-war buildings with intricate stonework facades, and streets filled with yellow taxicabs and blissfully sweltering pedestrians (they would be complaining by August but for now, they welcomed the heat).

In one corner, the host had set up an oasis of large umbrellas, a sisal rug, a full living room set of chairs and coffee tables, and a buffet of food, wine, and gin punch. We generously helped him finish all of it before traipsing (somewhat unsteadily) onward to rooftop party #3 in Chinatown.

chinatown view

The sun had set on our way to the last party, and the air was more gently warm. We clambered up six or seven flights of stairs to a blacktop roof in the dark, this time with no railing (but outlined in colorful Christmas lights).

It was a luau theme, as evidenced by tiki torches tied to curved metal pipes and an inflatable palm tree that cradled icy cans of beer and a bucket of tropical pink punch. Logic dictated that I drink water at this point, but I decided more alcohol and climbing up on a railing-less ledge to get a picture against the lit-up skyline was a better idea. Hey, it was a day of living large, what can I say!

Image

Some experiences can make you stop and pay attention to things that are usually just in the background of your life. I live in a city where we’ve stacked ourselves in little cubes reaching high into the sky, in order to all fit onto a concrete island floating between different lands. And yet, when summer emerged, we found our ways up and out into open air to greet the sun eagerly.

Spending the day above New York, yet thoroughly immersed in its limitless energy, made my heart swell with love for this great city. At last, summer is here!

The Real Failure of GoogaMooga

The cancellation of Sunday’s GoogaMooga festival sucked. Not just for my personal, selfish reasons like not wanting to stand in line for an hour in the rain BEFORE news of the cancellation traveled grapevine-style down the line. That was unprofessional and thoughtless and the work of people who clearly do NOT want any business in the future. But hey, I’ll live. (And if I die of pneumonia from my hour standing still in the chilly rain, somebody hit the organizers and make them stare at good food without offering them any. Yeah.)

googa 1

You know who may not live? The small businesses that had stands at the festival. To prepare for this shit-show-ganza, the hard-working, talented people behind those businesses had to hire extra staff, buy and prep a ton of food, transport it all to the middle of a field, and set up in advance of the crowds. I know because I saw this from behind a chain link fence that separated me from Handing My Money To Them to buy that delicious food. I know because while the chain link fence prevented my body from getting through to them, the tantalizing aromas of what they were cooking could still waft through and sway me into thinking that I’d wait just a little bit longer.

All of that preparation costs money. Major major money that should be going toward rent for their restaurants, gas and parking for their food trucks, and possibly a couple drinks for their hard work GODDAMIT!!

googa 2

Yes, to some degree, this is my hunger rage speaking. After all, I am a spoiled Brooklyn foodie who was attending this event after working out extra hard so I could eat more. #firstworldproblems to the max. I get it. But I’m SO damn angry on behalf of those small businesses because this goddamn fuckface of a festival was supposed to be a good thing for them. Expose them to new customers and help them turn a profit. It’s hard enough to do that under normal circumstances, especially in this economy, and Googa is going to make it even harder??

One of the organizers, Superfly co-founder Jonathan Mayers, is quoted on Gothamist saying, “Um, well, our intentions are to have a celebration, to hold something in an iconic park to promote all the amazing local businesses. So coming from that place, I feel really good about the work we do. We tried very hard to make people happy, but not everyone is going to be happy.”

Excuse me, Mr. Co-Fuckface, but I’d like to hear more about what you’re doing to make sure that you haven’t put those “amazing local businesses” OUT of business through your team’s inability to plan ahead or even communicate well when it became clear that a cancellation would occur.

The whole success of GoogaMooga (if the word success can be used) was based on the draw of these local vendors. Now they’re the ones getting screwed over. I can handle an hour out of my day (although not without screaming “fuuuuuck yooooou” into the rain a few times). These people can not handle losing tens of thousands of dollars.

Please, if you want to support local business, and make sure that amazing talented chefs and restauranteurs won’t disappear from our amazing city, go eat at their restaurants. While the Greatly Disappointing Googa shared their list of food vendors to be “helpful”, I went ahead and made a Google map with their actual locations. Because I fucking care. And because, honestly, when it’s not MY issue but I want to help… I need someone to make it as easy for me as possible. So here, it’s easy, just look up whichever awesome restaurant is closest to you and GO EAT. And if there’s a crazy-looking asian chick sputtering F-bombs in between every savory bite, come say hi. It’s probably me.