Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lucero's Gone to Governor's

We've already been to Governor's Island to check out some free art. This time we went for the free music.

With our friend Jo Anne in toe, we headed to Water Taxi Beach on Governor's Island (which is really more of a sand box) to check out Lucero, J-Roddy Walston and The Business, and Johnny Corndawg.

We arrived early expecting it to be crowded but the threat of rain seemed to keep people away. Fortunately, the only rain we had were the sprinkles when we arrived! The small crowd made for a relaxed atmosphere, maybe even like a day at the real beach. The food prices at the beach aren't terrible for a concert venue but they aren't cheap either. I'd recommend bringing your own. We found a picnic table in the sand and soaked in the atmosphere. We stayed at our table for Johnny Corndawg and enjoyed his cutesy country music but then moved a bit closer for the next 2 acts.

J-Roddy Walston was incredible. Sounding like a southern rock mix of Billy Joel and Meatloaf they completely blew away the crowd. Everyone needs to check them out right now.

The headliner of the show was Lucero, whose hollow-bodied guitar meets singer-songwriter style was on full display. Songs about love and drinking seemed to fit the mood on a cool night on the river and the show often turned into a big sing a long. After a lovely, long set we headed back to reality. After a nice day on the Island.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A day at the Meadow

Over the long July 4th weekend the Mets were playing my hometown Reds so we thought we'd head up to Flushing Meadows and explore before checking out the game that night.

Flushing Meadows has a long history and a ton of activities inside!

First up, the Queens Zoo. This zoo is a lot like Central Park and Prospect Park Zoo, with several exhibits set up in a ring around a sea lion pit. The zoo was small but fun.  The focus is on animals from the Americas. There is also an aviary inside a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome. The structure was originally part of the 64 World's Fair (more on that later).

Flushing Meadows has been home to 2 World's Fairs in 1939 and 1964 and there are still remnants of both events. The Queens Museum of Art is housed in a building from the 1939 World's Fair. Though the building was closed when we were there, it is worth checking out. It fits our budget ($5 suggested donation) and houses temporary and permanent exhibits including the New York City Panorama. The Panorama is a model of the city, originally built for the 1964 world's fair and it includes EVERY building in the city built before 1992, at 9,335 sq ft and with 895,000 individual structures (and airplanes!) it is absolutely worth the trip.

The 1964 World's Fair introduced us to Tomorrowland (presented by GM) helping pave the way (heh heh) for the automobile domination of much of the country. But transportation planning philosophies aside, the 64 world's fair also gave us the Unisphere!

The fountain has been out of use for awhile but that should change soon with the restoration project currently underway.

Unfortunatly, another relic from the 64 World's Fair has not aged as well...

It seems like every world's fair has a signature overlook tower. Seattle has the Space Needle, San Antonio has the Tower of the America's, and Knoxville has the Sunsphere. New York has 3 towers, all built as part of the New York State Pavilion. While I believe the other towers mentioned are all currently servicing tourists, the New York State Pavilion looks like this:

Which I mean looks kinda cool, but in the worst sort of way. I think the city is supposed to be fixing it up but I don't think there is a time table.

After wandering around the park, we thought we might try the Queens Botanical Garden, which was started for the 1939 World's Fair and moved for the 1964 World's Fair. After a long walk under some highways and across a pedestrian bridge we found this:

Looks pretty closed huh? We thought so too. Upon further review of the garden map, it turns out that this is the "Meadow" section of the park and the entrance is on the opposite side. Someone needs to work on signage around this place. If you want to try your luck the admission price shouldn't break your small wallet ($4, $2 for students). If you've been there in the past you should note the new admission price since this is the first season they've charged. During less "green" seasons you can still get in free.

So after a long day exploring Flushing Meadows we headed over to Citi Field. On a holiday weekend, with the first place Reds in town, there weren't a lot of available tickets on resale sites (Stubhub, etc) and the scalpers weren't really in the mood to do business with me and my cheapness. We resigned to buy the cheapest seats in the house:

And then move down to here:

And then we watched the Reds win with help from a controversial call that pissed off all the Mets fans! Fun times in Queens!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How to Properly Celebrate America's Birthday

There are a lot of good ways to celebrate the 4th of July but there are really only 2 essentials: Cook outs and fireworks. So our day started with a trip to Prospect Park to celebrate with our Brooklyn friends.

Here's Kevin working the grill.

Here's Robert enjoying the picnic.

Here's Brian soaking up the sun.

Here's a Petanque game in action!

After about 8 hours of food, naps, and Pentanque it was back to the island to check out some fireworks. It turns out there was a pretty great view from my roof.

Happy Birthday Uhmerika!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Movie Night!

We keep updating the Summer Movie Guide, filling in the holes in your summer evening schedule. Unfortunately, try as we might, we just can't find a free outdoor movie every day this summer.

Fortunately, KGB deal and AMC theaters (which we usually only visit during their morning matinee) are offering the next best thing:

A $4 movie ticket!

Finally, we can have a proper movie date night like all the big spenders!

Hurry though, there's a limited supply of discount tickets!