late summer checklist
Late summer: the abundance at the farmer's market is almost too much; the air is thick; we are awakened by the shortness of the summer left and yet lethargic from the heat and empty streets, arms sticky with ice cream. June is long ago; now it is late summer in new york and time to take advantage:
Visit the Noguchi Museum: If you'd like to take a vacation, but not go so far from a brooklyn base, the Noguchi Museum fits the profile perfectly. Nestled up in Long Island City in Queens, the museum is dedicated to the work of Isamu Noguchi. (Fun fact! it was the first museum designed by an artist purely to display his own art.) Wander through courtyards of rock sculptures, and then through a room filled with his eponymous lamps. Instagram-bait, for sure, but also beautiful.
Make swordfish with nectarines and corn: Summer is for bright things, barely cooked. Get a great hunk of swordfish and sear it. On top, pile a salsa of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, and most importantly, tons of sweet corn and nectarine or peach, all drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice and plenty of salt. There's nothing more bright or satisfying, especially with a little splash of rose.
Speaking of wine, orange wine, orange wine, orange wine (or as the cool kids are saying "skin on contact wine"): Drink it. We were drinking it; then we went to Copenhagen and drank a lot of it; and now I won't say we're only drinking it, but we're drinking A Lot of it. Current favorites are Denavolo “Dinavolo” Vino Bianco and Ein Quantum Weiss 2017, from Austria.
Sunny's in Red Hook: I should start by saying the neighborhood of Red Hook is always an ideal August outing. Perhaps because it's just so damn far from everything (no subway!), or perhaps because it's now known for barbecue and beers and just an incredibly chill scene, it's the perfect summer place to begin with. And then on top of that, you have Sunny's, a dive that's been around since the late 1800s, and nearly closed after Hurricane Sunday and a family fight for the building (great article about the community claiming it as its own here). It's the closest I've been to a slice of New Orleans or North Beach in New York -- packed with everyone (everyone!), a band's playing in the back, drinks are flowing, you wonder why you ever go anywhere else. A total dream stumbled into on a hot summer night.
Eat burrata, with all the stone fruits: Current favorite is peaches and basil; before that it was plums and black pepper. Buy burrata, add slices of stonefruit, maybe an herb, drizzle with olive oil and a flicker of salt. Is it the exact same recipe I'm using for basically everything else (substitute the burrata for a piece of fish, above, or some greens or toast at this point); yes of course, but that's the point.
Get yourself to a farm: I have little experience with farms, but everyone now and then a city dweller needs to go a touristing and see some livestock, or at least sunflowers outside of a sidewalk. Close to heart is Brooklyn Grange, a rooftop farm where we hosted our rehearsal dinner, and I recently was able to take the work crew. It's hard not to sound ridiculous describing the pleasures of seeing kale sprouting or tiny berries growing or in this case, the starkness of the manhattan skyline from high in the air, but there we are.
Judge the Mr. Softee vs. Mr. Brooklyn vs. other offbands for yourself: Summer is for soft serve; the cart must have the jingle, it must pull over and you must wait in line with itchy small children and gleeful fifty-year olds alike. It is the great new york equalizer and I love it so whole heartedly it's a little sick. Some of you have been following along over the past year as we've faced the catastrophe of a local driver who does not take his turf seriously (no chocolate! how can there be no chocolate?! you have only two jobs!) and refuses to appear on the hottest of days. But even then, the search adds to the childhood freedom of August: wandering out past the Met and the shocked delight of a truck right. there. Or hearing the jingle and stalking four blocks to track it down, ears a tingling.
And when all else fails, there's bougie, bougie soft serve, because life is short, eat it all.