July Diaries

Dear Diary,

New York in the summer is so much fun. But I think I need a vacation.

July 4: Dinner with friends at the Molly Wee, followed by fireworks near the Hudson

Photo: Fireworks over the Hudson


followed by dancing (i.e., flailing, plus avoiding drunk men) at the monthly Basement Bhangra night at (Le) Poisson Rouge.

July 5: Having passport photos taken at local hole-in-wall (where I am advised by younger woman to have children before it’s too late); visit to lawyer in lower Manhattan to deliver photographs and other documents, and then a walk to the Village during which I pass spots like






(plus being hailed by former student who insists on buying me a drink at the restaurant he manages—I choose Moroccon mint tea). Then dining solo on crab cakes followed by libations with friends at the speak-easy-ish Gin Palace.

July 6: Taking first belly dancing lesson at Belly Queen (courtesy of a Groupon), followed by lunch on the street at an Arab American festival


and an attempt to do some writing at the Housing Works café. Then a birthday picnic for a friend at Sunset Park (including tacos from the El Bronco truck),

followed by libations at a bar with a koi-pond. Crashing on friend’s couch so I can get more than 4 hours of sleep before starting another day in Brooklyn.

July 7: Trooping over to a colleague’s home in Greenpoint to head out for a day at Riis beach in the Rockaways with her and some of her friends. First dip in the Atlantic. Sand everywhere. Everywhere.

July 8-10: Taking the Amtrak to Baltimore for three-day professional development seminar (on the Acela, which is filled with Very Important Business People who talk loudly about profit margins and trips to the Bahamas).

Stuffed with food and pedagogy. Awed by beautiful historic hotel.

Photo: The Roman Strada at the historic Tremont in Baltimore

Photo: Ladies lounge at the Tremont

Enjoying wandering through downtown Baltimore at dusk




hanging out with colleagues, taking water taxi to Fell’s Point


getting taken for a ride by cabbie to Hampden, eating crab cakes on the train back.

July 11: Sitting on couch, mostly feeling hung-over without benefit of alcohol.

July 12: More couch sitting, but get myself off couch to attend Masala Bhangra exercise class in the evening. No, I did not make that up. That’s an actual thing.

July 13: Picnicking with former professor at Bowne House in Flushing

Photo: Picnic with one of my favorite former professors at the historic Bowen house in Flushing

followed by dinner at Coppelia in Chelsea and hanging out at sultry Washington Square Park with friends. Bow out of going dancing again at the Latin Alternative Music Conference closing party. I should wear my trousers rolled.

July 14: Renewing commitment to la liberté on quatorze Juillet. Attending matinee of friend’s musical in the NY Music Theater festival, followed by lunch with theater-going colleagues, followed by meeting with old friend from the Midwest (and her old friend from India) in Central Park for open-air theater. After finding the Richard III production acoustically unfeasible, meandering through park


and then down 5th Avenue. Stopping into St. Pat’s to light a candle and downing margaritas with nachos grande at Blockheads. More walking to the Empire State followed by long lines to get to the 80th floor (plus climbing 6 floors). It takes over an hour. By then, almost more fascinated by their way of organizing queues than by the views.


July 15: Attempting to write, with minor breakthrough. Celebrating by meeting visitors for dinner after we stop by Times Square for mandatory photo-op. Queen of Sheba serves us great Ethiopian food and honey wine and even moves us away from a mysterious heating vent to a non-steamy area of restaurant. Yeah, a heating vent was on in the midst of a heat wave.

July 16: Time out.

July 17: Returning to Coney Island.

Photo: At Coney island

More Atlantic bathing. Sun bathing. Eating of fried clams. Sand, sand, sand.

Compensating for fried clams by going to a Zumba class on the way back. Undermining the exercise by getting fried food for Iftar.

July 18 and 19: Working on my writing at the work-inspiring New York Public Library reading rooms and researching things like


Melting in the heat wave (the literal one).

July 20: Nodding humbly when exterminator lectures me on cleaning dead roaches.

July 21: Inadvertently stumbling onto a Colombia Day parade in Jackson Heights. Too tired to photograph all the energetic people.

July 22 and 23: Writing and feebly attempting to do home maintenance.

July 24: Helping get new stove installed in the apartment. Well, mostly watching new stove get installed in the apartment. Negotiating new lease with landlady so that we are both on the same page (i.e., 10 more dollars per month is not the same as raising my rent from $1350 to $1450). We finally agree after she sees it in writing. I think.

July 25: More writing as deadline for submission draws near.

July 26: Half day of finishing the writing draft, followed by epically long Antonioni film at Film Forum. 143 minutes of some great Sicilian countryside, plus stylized making-out, and predatory Italian men with distressing quantities of Brylcreem in hair.

July 27: Meeting with book club at Paquitos, where many margaritas are consumed. Many. Like, bring-the-joint-into-the-black-for-the-month many. Like, “here, have some free shots from the grateful management” many.

Riding the train to Central Park’s Summer stage and watching a Danish band sing some easy-listening pop, followed by cross-dressing artist who blows our mind with her voice

Photo: Amazing band I've never heard

and then a very competent British headliner to round out the evening. Searching for a pizza place that is open past 11 somewhere near Central Park. Scarfing down carbs with prosciutto and basil slathered in cheese at Angelo’s at midnight. In Midtown.

July 28: Enjoying an unlimited mimosa brunch followed by a visit to the Long Island City flea. Decline a free red nose offered by a cajoling clown on stilts. No, I am not drunk on mimosas. It was a real clown. On stilts. Who tried to emotionally manipulate me into taking the free red nose. I do not make this shit up.

July 29. Writing draft done, aided by vanilla tea, Indonesian fried rice, a good mocha, and a slice of banana bread at Kopi Kopi. Get off my derriere at end of day to attend dancersize with teacher who is fit to lead Navy SEAL Hell week. Come home to email from lawyer asking me to fill out more paperwork. Answer questions like “Do you intend to practice polygamy in the United States?” It’s like Immigration doesn’t even know me…

July 30 (and 31). Planning to submit article one day before deadline. Booyah! Heading to Jersey to hang out with distant family.

August, bring it.

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