Hello friends! How was your weekend? It was the longest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere and the Hubs and I did our best to celebrate all weekend long! It started off on Friday with a half day thanks to summer Fridays! The Hubs and I met halfway between our offices in sunny Bryant Park to eat lunch at the Bryant Park Cafe. It is all open, outdoor seating and is kind of like a little oasis in this big crazy city.
The food was really really good too! We got an Israeli couscous salad, brie + tomato open-faced sandwich, gazpacho and watermelon with mango and chili to share. Everything was perfectly light and refreshing. I highly recommend this spot if you get a chance.
Saturday started bright and early for me with sun salutations to welcome the summer solstice. I’ll have a full recap for you later this week, but let’s just say it’s an event I look forward to every year!
On Saturday night I finally got to check off something that is not only on my 99 Days of Summer list, but is generally on my must-do in NYC list. The Hubs and I headed to Central Park for Shakespeare in the Park. It was incredible!
We started the night with a little picnic in the park before heading into the Delacorte theater, which is a full-on outdoor theater in the middle of Central Park. Note- If you plan on going here and you are pregnant, there is only ONE bathroom outside of the theater and open to the public. The line is very, very long. But I’ll save you from another pee story.
Back to the play. We saw Much Ado About Nothing, which is actually not a Shakespearean play I am familiar with despite taking an entire Shakespeare class. I knew it was a comedy but it actually turned out to be much funnier than I thought and translated very well for a modern audience.
One of the highlights of Shakespeare in the Park (besides it being free *if* you are willing to wait in a long, long line the morning of, which we were not…enough said) is that famous actors are always starring in the various plays. On the night we attended some of the highlighted actors included Hamish Linklater, who has been on several TV Shows including “The Good Wife”, “The Newsroom”, “The Crazy Ones” and “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” I didn’t really recognize him from his TV appearances but his acting was absolutely fabulous as Benedick. He was so funny and delivered his lines impeccably. Other noteworthy actors included Lily Rabe, who has been on numerous TV shows and I vaguely recognized. She too was amazing as Beatrice. Pedro Pascal, who I totally recognized from “Homeland” and John Glover, whom Pete recognized but I didn’t really.
(We weren’t allowed to take photos, sigh, so this is courtesy of the SIP website.)
Overall it was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in NYC. I’m so so so glad we had the opportunity to go! Oh, and if you’ve ever watched the TV series “House”, Peter Jacobson, one of the doctors on the show, was sitting in front of us with his family. He even used the compass on my iPhone because they were having an argument as to which way was North (darn if I know, that’s why I’ve got the smartphone!). So cool!
After a round of tennis on Sunday morning, the Hubs and I decided to check off another thing on my 99 Days of Summer list and headed to Governor’s Island. I honestly cannot believe this is the first time I’ve been there! Even though you are on an island off of Manhattan and can literally see all the tall buildings, you feel like you’ve been transported in time to a historical community.
There were all these old houses on the island, which was used as a military outpost and also a coast guard base for many years. The houses are now actually used for museums and for tours. The island is now a huge park with tons of grassy areas, trees, art installations, soccer and baseball fields and, my favorite, food trucks.
We settled on a grassy area where, coincidentally, we could see a big TV screen set up for viewing the World Cup and then we hit up the food trucks. Oh my gosh! The food is sooooo good! I got sweet chili chicken with mango salad from Sweet Chili, while the Hubs got pork buns from Momos & Buns and maple roasted brussel sprouts with sausage.
Holy moly! I’m drooling just writing this. The sweet chili chicken was the perfect mix of spicy and sweet with a nice heaping of Sriracha on the top while the pork buns are always a winner in my book. The brussel sprouts were INSANE! I was trying to figure out the recipe the whole time we were eating them because they were so delicious. I also really loved trying out Brooklyn Soda Works, which I’ve heard about on a few occasions. We tried the Lemon + Thyme and Apple + Ginger. Both so refreshing and unique.
A walk around the rest of the island revealed some more interesting buildings and art installations.
Plus, a place where you can lie on hammocks. How cool is that!?
And a great view of the Statute of Liberty and Manhattan.
There were so many people on bikes and I really really really wanted to rent one but we decided it probably just wasn’t worth the risk for me.
I have to say that there were a lot of people there, but it never felt overcrowded like other parks on Manhattan can feel. Not bad for a $2 ferry ride!
I honestly cannot believe we’ve lived in NYC for 5 1/2 years and have never been to Governor’s Island. It was relaxing, fun and had such a great atmosphere. Another must see!
Readers, have you seen a Shakespearean play before? What’s your favorite thing about your nearest park? How did you welcome the first official day of summer this year?