Free, flying summer

While on the topic of this summer-gone-by, I would like to mention a few more fun (and free!) adventures in which I was able to partake amidst all the studying.

There was one day when I biked out to Gina’s house in Marine Park and joined her and her in-laws for an excursion to Riis Park Beach in the Rockaways. At the risk of repeating myself, this is the best NYC beach! Just inconvenient enough to get to that it is not covered in trash but convenient enough that it is an excellent choice for a day- (or even an afternoon-) trip.

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Gina’s mother-in-law Pat Shannon is after my heart, as she is an excellent cake-maker and pre-event food planner. When I arrived at Gina’s, Pat Shannon had the makings of a beach picnic spread across the kitchen table. I assembled my sandwich with smoked turkey, honey ham, roasted red pepper, tomato, mustard, and a sandwich thin:

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This sandwich + grapes = perfect beach lunch.

Later that same week (I think), the Beach Boys were playing for FREE at Coney Island:

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Gina, Kate, Erin Gunn, and I made the loooong subway trip down to see them, primarily motivated by the presence of a special guest star. He’s right there in the middle of this picture, the only one wearing black. Can you guess who??

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How about now?

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It was John Stamos!! Uncle Jesse in the flesh!! He apparently joined the Beach Boys for their tour this summer, and this was his first night with them. He spent the night running around the stage and playing every instrument, clearly super excited to be up there. We certainly did not mind seeing him!

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And neither did these zillions of people in the audience with us:

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A little bit later, John Stamos took the spotlight to sing his famous ballad from Full House days, “Forever.”

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It brought tears to my eyes, let me tell you! Remember this?

I was not the only one moved, either:

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Awww, Full House. That used to be my favorite show!

Because the spot was so crowded for this show, we never had a chance to hunt down food. One the way to the train after, though, I sniffed out a nearby Mister Softee and made sure to get a cone before we got on the train! A girl must have priorities.

As the final free event of the summer that I will feature today, Gina, Kate, Kate’s cousin, and I managed to snag a spot on the lawn of the Elevated Acre for a free showing of The Muppets Take Manhattan. This movie scarred me as a child, but I was willing to give it another shot as a “grown” 28-year-old.

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Let me just take a moment to gush about this location, a lush green (albeit fake) lawn nestled on top of a downtown Manhattan building amongst the skyscrapers:

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A short walk up a few stairs …

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… takes you to THIS view:

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While waiting for the movie to start at sundown, these two serenaded us with some smooth instrumentalizing:

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I ate a hefty portion (cough, two bags, cough) of the free popcorn provided at the event … plus the rest of the food I had left from lunch: veggies, wheatberries, ground turkey, pesto:

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Finalmente, the sun began its descent …

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… and the movie was able to start!

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I must admit, the movie was not nearly as sad and heartbreaking as my internal 4-year-old recalled. In fact, I loved it!

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As much as I complain about having lived in New York for toooooooo long, it’s pretty unbeatable for free and accessible summer events! Now that I have no homework/classes/studying taking up all my “extra” time, I should start devoting more energy to finding fun free winter things. I can’t believe I am thinking about winter already! Once again, 2010 has been the year of the vanishing summer. I probably know the answer already, but tell me … did your summer fly by as fast as mine??

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