In the middle of all the sturm und drang—a slow-to-grow economy, Sacha Baron Cohen successfully making everyone uncomfortable, again, the deaths of Neda, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Senator Ted Kennedy, and those endless rainy days—we still managed to savor every last drop of summer. The writers at offManhattan are sharing some of their fun discoveries made these past few months, while they look forward to that fresh coat of fall to arrive in all its comfort food and colorful-landscaped glory.
Discovered This Summer: Early Bird granola. At $9 a bag, it’s a bit of a commitment, but worth every penny. I discovered it one night when Nekisia Davis, the mastermind behind this granola like you’ve never tasted it before, was my server at Franny’s Pizza. Luckily, it’s sold at the newly opened Brooklyn Larder just a block away. I raced over to buy a bag at the “cheese & provisions” shop and have been hooked since. It’s the perfect mix of salty and sweet (try the cherry pistachio version) and great when mixed in yogurt. Also available at the Brooklyn Flea…
In Store for Fall: I can’t wait for a little leaf peeping, antiquing, and just plain small town charm in New Hope, PA. I’m also very much looking forward to all things pumpkin!
Discovered this Summer: Crescent and Vine in Astoria. A calm and intimate wine bar with delicious savories and sweets complimented with a manageable list of wines, ports, and beers. Great for a romantic evening or just good conversation.
In Store for Fall: Octoberfest at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden. Pitchers, bratwurst, traditional German bands, outdoors, good times.
Discovered this Summer: Papacitos in Greenpoint has an outdoor patio where you can enjoy light, authentic tacos and amazing guacamole with crunchy tortilla chips. Everything on the menu, which includes brunch, is incredibly fresh—my favorite flavor combination is the house pickled red cabbage atop the grilled tilapia fish tacos, with just the right amount of cilantro. (Take the G to Greenpoint Ave.) And Peters Kill Minnewaska State Park in upstate New York’s Ulster County is filled with beautiful trails and rushing waterfalls. The hikes are mostly through shaded woods, so they’re great on a hot summer day.
In Store for Fall: Riding the train up to Rhinebeck’s Beekman Arms inn, then doing Poet’s Walk on River Road in Annandale-On-Hudson, a hamlet of Red Hook. When the trees are all shades of red, yellow and orange, they create an incredible canopy over River Road. And if I’m in Red Hook, I’ll make a return trip to Mercato Osteria for their fall menu. Sunday night I’ll come back to NYC with delicious apples, autumn produce, and acorn squash from Migliorelli’s Farm stand.
Discovered This Summer: I was the venue hopper this summer, taking in films at the Bronx Mullaly Park, listening to the Philharmonic in Prospect Park, and wandering the endless Renegade tents in McCarren Park. While I enjoyed the outdoor patches of green it was the unassuming cobblestone courtyard at LaGuardia’s Performing Arts Center in Queens that charmed me at first sight. Its young trees show promise of a maturing al fresco space that will be great for sipping wine while waiting for the stars.
In Store for Fall: I’m in a haste to pack my weekender bag and escape to Breathe-Inn—a historic Victorian B&B among the plateau of mountains in the Catskills. Two hours removed from city living, I look forward to the rustle of a forest full of bright leafed-trees and tasting the local fare of organic beets, wild berries, and baked breads.
Discovered This Summer: Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies in Red Hook. The storefront looks like a little shack off the main road. They have a few tables out front next to a small garden with dense foliage and a fountain. The pies bring together a sweet, slightly tart filling with crumbly graham cracker crusts, which I think are pretty compelling reasons to wander off the island via the IKEA ferry after Sunday brunch. They also have small, chocolate-dipped pies on Popsicle sticks.
In Store for Fall: In the fall, I always crave hot apple cider so I’ll be looking for that at the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market.
Michael C. Neal
Discovered This Summer: To be honest, summer was a bummer. Nothing but rain, dead celebrities, and joblessness—a three-month excuse to day drink, and what better place then at Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The newly opened all-purpose eat and drink establishment has it all: good coffee, good cocktails, and a menu that includes muffuletta sandwiches. And if you’re lucky, one of the two outdoor bar stools will have your name on it.
In Store for Fall: I’ll be trying to keep those summer blues away from autumn at comedian and Park Slope resident Eugene Mirman’s Comedy Festival Opening Night Party, with special guest and fellow Flight of the Conchords co-star, Kristen Schaal. The Sept. 17th event will be held at The Bell House in Brooklyn.
Discovered This Summer: Free kayaking on the Hudson River.
In Store for Fall: Surfing at Long Beach, Long Island, where there will be good waves, no crowds, and the water will stay warm into the fall.
Discovered This Summer: P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City—it’s how I imagine MoMA to be on LSD. Leonardo Erlich’s Swimming Pool is a double-height masterful work that plays with your senses and the laws of physics. And then Jonathan Horowitz’s And/Or takes you through politics, pop culture, consumerism, and cinema, and thought-provokingly combines them all.
In Store for Fall: September is when I like to make New York new again as the crisp temperatures and changing leaves welcome in a whole new optimism. Fall also means co-ed touch football and a new season with old friends in Zog Sports. With leagues now in Queens, Brooklyn, and New Jersey, Zog Sports is hands down the best social-get-together-casual-or-serious co-ed touch football league in and off Manhattan. With all sorts of other sports offerings (like kickball, soccer, volleyball), volunteer activities, and post-sporting event happy hours where you drink for charity, “Zoggers” also have a tendency to meet dates and more.
Discovered This Summer: Zahra Saeed’s boutique on Walnut Street in Philadelphia is filled with exotic contemporary dresses and timeless ruffled blouses for the most reasonable prices. Speaking of money, I learned that when gambling—in Atlantic City and in general—it’s always good to quit when you’re $40 ahead.
In Store for Fall: Biking across Walkway Over the Hudson when it opens on October 3 in Poughkeepsie, NY, and making locally-sourced dishes from Laura Pensiero’s recently published Hudson Valley Meditteranean cookbook.
The co-founder and editor-at-large at offMetro, Lauren is a sustainable travel specialist and freelance journalist with frequent bylines in National Geographic, Bicycling Magazine and Shape. Follow Lauren’s adventures at @laurenmati.