Friday, June 26, 2015

Project 365: Days 169-176

169/365: I won the lottery for a ticket to the Tony-award-winning musical Fun Home and walked to the theater through Central Park (the show was incredible).

170/365: I spent a rainy Saturday catching up on some photo organizing while I watched these two kids being taunted by the jerkiest blue jay I've ever met. You can watch the video here (warning: it's loud).

171/365: I hung out with my dude and all of the greens in Prospect Park.

172/365: I didn't do much to celebrate Meryl Streep's birthday, but I do my fair share of daily worshipping.

173/365: Francesca and I got lunchtime pedicures (my first ever!) and I caught the tail end of an A++ sunset outside of my apartment.

174/365: I love this manhole cover right outside of my apartment.

175/365: I finally got around to waiting for Shakespeare in the Park tickets for The Tempest. It was a lovely morning and a good production, although it did rain for about an hour, which was oddly fitting.

176/365: I met JMP for dinner in the West Village where we celebrated the so, so, SO good SCOTUS decision and the start of NYC Pride. We had nachos, margaritas, Big Gay Ice Cream and soaked up the love outside of the Stonewall Inn.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bartow-Pell Mansion

I've been sorting through all of my photos recently and realizing there are places I meant to write about, but never did. The Bartow-Pell Mansion is one of those things—Trent, Alisha and I toured it almost a year ago, before continuing on to explore City Island.

The mansion is located in Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx, and is (sort of) on the way to City Island. The estate dates back to 1654, but the current house was built between 1836-1842, sold to the city in 1888 and opened as a museum in 1946. To get there, you take a bus from the end of the 6 line, which is the same bus that, if you stay on it, will take you out to City Island.

When we arrived, we were a little early for the first tour, so the tour guide asked us if we liked cemeteries. Of course Trent and Alisha's heads whipped around to look at me, and I was already saying something resembling "YASSSSS." Turns out there's a Pelham family cemetery down a little path in the back of the house, so we spent some time there before our tour started.

Once we were back in the house, we basically had a private tour (pro-tip: always be early) and free reign to ask questions and take photos. I loved the clover-and-lion head carpeting that covered the beautiful spiral staircase, and most of the gorgeous furniture pieces had claw feet, which I want on everything I own.

As if a surprise cemetery wasn't enough, there were also two really wonderful pieces of embroidered mourning art hanging in the house that I fell in love with. The grounds were lovely and peaceful, with fountains, large iron gates and a stable house with carriages and (faux) horses. I love places like the Bartow-Pell mansion—far enough from the city to make you feel like you're in another world, but close enough to get to with just a little bit of effort.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

City Island: Part Two

Lately I've been thinking a lot about our trip to City Island nearly a year ago. I recently revisited the photos I took and have since brought it up multiple times in conversation—I can't seem to get it out of my mind. I posted about the wonderful signage on the island last year, but never followed up with a full recap. Before I go again—real soon, hopefully—I wanted to make sure I fully documented my first trip.

City Island is an island on the western edge of the Long Island Sound, and is part of the Bronx. It's a weird and wonderful place that feels part New England seaside village, part New York City and part like nowhere I had ever been or have been since. The main industry on City Island used to be sail-making, but now its probably tourism, and most of the operating businesses we came across were seafood restaurants. There's also a diner, several bars, a Nautical museum, seaside cemetery and adorable New England-style houses alongside a lot of run-down, abandoned-looking places.

The City Island Diner is completely adorable, and was our first real destination after walking from the northern tip of the island. The food was excellent, although they do close in the middle of the day so go early. Right down the street from the diner is the Nautical Museum, which was a complete delight. The museum guides were all incredibly friendly and adorable—and if I'm remembering correctly, three out of the four people we encountered were named Barbara.

Down the street and around the corner from the museum is the Pelham Cemetery, which has a wonderful, arching iron gate that was—much to my disappointment—closed and locked. The cemetery is pretty small, though, so you can see a lot just by walking the perimeter. It looked very well-maintained and has beautiful views of the water.

We spent the rest of the day exploring the island—dreaming of owning a cedar-shingled home, drooling over vintage signage, trying to catch a glimpse of the water over the fences that line the shore and peeking into cluttered junk shops. We creeped on a house that appeared in the Royal Tenenbaums, and found out that City Island is a pretty popular filming location for television and movies (A Bronx Tale, Butterfield 8, Margot at the Wedding, Law & Order).

I saw a few adorable (stray?) cats wandering around, ate fried shrimp for the first time at Johnny's Reef, drank at a bar for free with true City Island locals, visited a diner, museum and a cemetery (the holy trinity)—it's no wonder that I want to go back so badly.

City Island: Part One