Monday, August 8, 2011

NYC's Summer Secrets

Summer used to be my busiest time for ballet - I'd run off to an intensive (or 2...or 3) and dance all day long, everyday. Now, as a freelance professional dancer my seasons are reversed. This spring I was going nonstop, performing something new every other week. This summer, things are *quiet* for once.

I shouldn't complain - during the busy season (and upcoming Nutcracker season...) I'd kill for a day off after going weeks without so much as a free Sunday afternoon. And I do admit I'm enjoying the extra sleep. But...I'm getting restless. I've been back to taking class a lot, which I haven't been able to do basically since before my surgery a year ago. After my recovery I jumped right into performance mode and only took warmup classes or lower level classes because they fit my schedule. But I'm really enjoying focusing on technique for a little bit and getting feedback from some of the wonderful, knowledgeable, fun teachers I trust whom I hardly ever have time to take from.

Also luckily rehearsals start tonight for our Performing in NY Showcase at Ailey at the end of the month (which also means lots of admin work, since I'm assistant director of the whole shabang), but besides that I've been trying to find ways to enjoy the city in the heat.

I've seemed to discover 2 hidden NYC summer spots in the past two weeks that have been great fun without the crazy crowds I would've expected: Randalls Island, and Rockaway Beach.

I spent my birthday last Sunday playing mini golf at Randalls Island. It was a piece of cake to get there: a 10 minute shuttle van ride with no traffic. At $11 round trip leaving on the half hour most of the day, it was super convenient. And when we got there we didn't have to wait or anything. Being one of the few mini golf places around NYC (and only $7/game), I expected it to be packed on a sunny Sunday. Wrong! Why doesn't anybody know about this place? In addition to the mini golf with a fun waterfall, they have a driving range, batting cages, a ping pong table, old school board games (I won at Parchisi :), and a yummy restaurant/bar with comfy chairs that make you feel like you're enjoying your own private backyard. It was a great place to spend the day - so if you're bored in the city, go!

Then yesterday I spent a Groupon I had bought a while ago: roundtrip ferry tickets to Rockaway Beach in Queens. American Princess Cruises offers a 75-minute boat trip around Brooklyn on the weekends leaving from Wall Street. We took the 11:45am ferry out and there were not even 10 people on the entire boat. Amazing! And it's not a small boat, either (a little bigger than the water taxi). It was so nice to enjoy the sunshine and water with great views of the city. They have a cheap snack bar, too.

After passing the majestic Verrazano Bridge and cool Coney Island, we arrived in Rockaway. Because I was totally unprepared with directions, we ended up walking way out of our way before finding the beach, but good thing it was a nice day! There's not a whole lot around, though the beach itself is beautiful with big waves. It was my first (and probably only) trip to the beach this summer and even though I'm not a sit-in-the-sun person, I really enjoyed walking through the water. There's not so much as a hot dog cart for what seems like miles and miles, but if you pack a picnic it's great trip!

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