In and Out

It was a truly wonderful weekend here in New York. Spring has been taking its sweet time to fully arrive, but it sure made an appearance over the last few days.

Weekends like this seem to last forever, creating a refreshingly long escape from the workweeks on either end. We fill up every possible minute of the two days, whether dashing outside to catch the last hours of sunshine or ducking back indoors to avoid the cool night winds, trying to forget that real warm temperatures haven’t been hit yet. I spend my weekend doing my fair share of both, and had a great time both in and out.

Friday followed up an especially gorgeous Thursday, so I decided not to take a jacket to work with me. By the end of the day, however, with the setting sun settling behind some clouds, the winds had picked up and I was regretting my decision. Lucky for me, Michael and I had a date that evening which brought us inside, to a place called Milk & Honey. After reading about M&H in the Times, we made a last-minute reservation. Cozied into a candlelit corner by the bar, we watched the bartender whip up custom cocktails for us and our fellow patrons of this modern-day speakeasy. Michael opted for bourbon drinks while I chose gin. With drink names like the “Bee Keeper” and the “Sunflower,” Spring was channeled into liquid form inside Milk & Honey that night. Old time jazz played as we sipped our drinks of choice and made friends with our waitress. I dared not take pictures, though, for fear that it is a faux pas to bring out a camera inside a speakeasy.

On Saturday, my parents and youngest sister came to pay a visit to Brooklyn. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day! It seemed all of Brooklyn bolted outside, happy to feel the sun on our faces, to finally be free of winter’s grip (or at least we all hope we are). We strolled through the neighborhood over to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, where the cherry blossom trees are in full bloom. The garden’s paths were filled with admirers, ogling at the colorful beauty and taking the air on the Cherry Esplanade.

We walked on to Prospect Park, where the Long Meadow lawn was full of sun bathers, kite flyers, picnickers, runners, and ball players all enjoying the glory of the day. After lunch we tried to treat ourselves to some cones of salted caramel ice cream from Ample Hills, but the line of folks who already had the same idea trailed out the door, sadly preventing us from doing so. When my family had left, I ventured back to the park to join the people reclining in the Long Meadow grass, perfectly at leisure to soak in the last rays of the day’s warmth.

Today was the perfect Spring Sunday for splitting time in and out of doors. Sunlight streamed through the cracks in the curtains to wake us up and the breeze filled the apartment with a crisp, fresh feeling. Michael and I went, yet again, to the area between the park and the Grand Army Plaza Arch. Every Saturday, all year round, this space is filled with the farmers and vendors of the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket. And now that the warm weather months are upon us, the Food Truck Rally has returned. On the first and third Sundays of each month food trucks from around the city converge to serve up delicious meals and treats. Today Mike had a cheesesteak from Phil’s Steaks and I had one of my all-time favorites, a falafel sandwich from Taim. There’s no better way to start a day than to delight in an outdoor meal, in my opinion.

After a long stroll back through the neighborhood to take in the early part of the day outside and try a second time for an Ample Hills treat, we headed to MoMA PS1 in Queens for a bit of time indoors. A contemporary and experimental art space and affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, today PS1 was showing a performance arranged by an Icelandic artist called A Lot of Sorrow inside a large, domelike tent. This piece consisted of one of our favorite bands, The National, playing their song “Sorrow” in a loop for six hours straight, from noon to six. It may sound unconventional or “out there,” but it was an extremely interesting experience. The song itself is calming and hypnotic, with a driving beat that kept the band going as the song would end and start right back up again. It didn’t at all feel tiring to hear one song again and again (though I can’t say with certainty that the band felt the same way). It speaks of the title word pervading the narrator’s life – from “when [he] was young,” to the present, in his honey and in his milk. It was soothing and poignant and light-hearted all at once. The band members had high spirits and must have had legs of steel as their music swayed the crowd and mingled with the breeze from the open doorways.

Back outside, in the fading daylight, The National’s song continued to run through my head. I expect that it will for some time, perhaps even until I see them again in June. But that’s how all good weekends should end, with their events replaying in your mind as you wind down on Sunday night, lulling you into a contented sleep. The past week is long gone, the week ahead will come in due time. The weekend has given you its all. For now, everything is perfect.
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