Monday, August 23, 2010

Gigantic Pool in Red Hook

So there's a gigantic pool in Red Hook with hardly anyone in it. And there are only two weekends left in the summer to take advantage of it. Get there! Bike (6 miles from the West Village via BK bridge), take the NY Water Taxi or hop on the F train and get off at Smith - 9th street.

I'm not sure that I've ever been in a pool this big, at 330 x 130 ft ... of course it wasn't this empty, but it didn't have that "taking a bath with 500 people" feeling you get from other NY public pools.

There were actually even a few plastic lounge chairs that freed up towards the end of the session. Make sure to bring a lock and flip flops. Trust me - you do not want to walk around in that locker room without them.

Afterward, we couldn't resist a repeat of The Lobster Pound and Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pie. The Swingle is just too good to pass up. Another option is the Red Hook Ball Fields across the street from the pool for authentic Latin American food - vendors line the fields under tents selling empanadas and tacos on Saturdays. Delicioso.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lobster Quest Part 2: Newport, Rhode Island

My quest for lobster and chill music brought me to Newport, RI for the Newport Folk Festival. Newport is an awesome little town, attracting a lot of New Yorkers, Bostonians and bachelorette parties. My friends and I journeyed there via Amtrak from Penn Station, armed with plastic cups and bottles of wine. The 3-hour train to Kingston enabled us to avoid stressful getting-out-of-NYC traffic, and as we approached the stop we called a local cab to take us to Newport ($50 plus tip)

We stayed in a weekly rental, which is allegedly illegal in Newport, but vacation rental websites like VRBO or Homeaway offer plenty of options. Our house was right by the Cliff Walk, a seaside walking trail which I highly recommend. View from the Cliff Walk:

The Cliff Walk passes by many of the famous mansions in Newport, such as this one featuring our regal dachshund:
Next to the Cliff Walk is a beach with decent waves for boogey-boarding and even surfing at times. Plus… the beach snack shop offers twin (that means two) lobster rolls + fries for $10! Surprisingly good for the price. Can’t promise those prices when the lobster glut is over. As far as other meals, we ate at Scales & Shells – I highly recommend the grilled lobster and my friends raved about the clams. One night we purchased lobsters for $7 per pound from Aquidneck Lobster Co. and boiled them in pots at home. This was truly some of the best lobster I’ve ever had.

The festival itself was a ton of fun, and fed my Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros binge (seen them 3 times in 15 days- Webster Hall, Newport, & Lollapalooza!) They are magical and perhaps slightly cultish (Lead singer Alex could start a compound in Waco, TX)

This short little video featuring the Avett Brothers gives you a good sense as to the Folk Fest space – it’s at the Fort Adams park on a peninsula with water surrounding (per the definition of “peninsula”). Boats & yachts anchor near the shore to listen in.

Some advice about getting to/from the festival – I’ve heard traffic can be bad but we lucked out. We arrived early in the day via car– around noon – and left about halfway through the final act with little traffic. There’s also a ferry to/from downtown Newport– next to The Moorings restaurant.

A final note on the nightlife in Newport – the Cooke House rooftop bar is chill and breezy and makes you feel like drinking a rum cocktail and listening to Jimmy Buffett. In the basement, the Boom Boom Room is full of rowdy bachelorettes and wealthy looking older men supplying them with vodka sodas. Toss in a few cougars and you’ve got the Newport scene down pat. But seriously, Newport is not as pretentious as people believe – it is very un-Hamptons-like and everyone is laid back and ready for a good time.

PS If you know someone who knows someone with a yacht, the cruise around the harbor is stunning. And who knew… rum & grapefruit juice is surprisingly delicious!