April 14, 2014

Dead Horse Bay

    On one of the most gorgeous days we have seen this year, Jason and I had a bit of an odd adventure in Brooklyn. We went antiquing in Dead Horse Bay. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the name fits this place perfectly.

    During the 1850’s -1930’s there used to be glue factories along the beach where, yes, glue was manufactured mostly from horses and other animals. By the 1930s, all the glue factories had been closed and the marsh was instead used as a landfill and capped in the 1950s. The landfill cap eventually burst and trash spilled onto the beach. As a result, today, not only can you find horse bones littered along the beach, but also there are glass bottles, dishes, shoes, toys, silverware, tires, and lots of other assorted nostalgia, some treasures being over a hundred years old.

    Dead Horse Bay is sort of a secret place that many people don’t know about. There are no signs or paved paths to get there and asking people who live in the area for directions will only cause you embarrassment. To get to Dead Horse Bay, we drove to Brooklyn and parked our car at Floyd Bennett Field. We walked for a mile until we came to the last traffic light before the Marine Parkway Bridge and then turned left on a dirt trail that led to the beach.

    Jason and I weren’t really sure if this place was going to be a hit or a miss, but we were immediately elated once we reached the beach and saw it covered in glass bottles sparkling in the sun. Jason immediately picked out horse vertebrae lying in the surf like seashells. As we admired all of the interesting things, our creative juices started flowing. Jason decided to collect glass bottles and I started picking up pieces of porcelain from dishes. You wouldn’t believe all of the different colors and designs that I found on the beach. I’m planning to create some sort of collage with all of my pieces, but I’m not totally set on an idea.
Another man's trash is another man's treasure
Dilapidated Doll's Face
Horse bone, he just had to touch it
oh, a homeless woman picking up trash from the beach
Message in a bottle
The handless gentleman and headless wife
Super old Pepsi-cola bottle
    When Jason first told me to bring a garbage bag, I thought he was out of his mind to think that we were going to bring anything home from this filthy place. To my surprise, we found so much broken bottle treasure that our bag was coming apart from the weight of all the items. The search for new pieces of dishes brought me farther and father from where we started and I eventually swung the bag over my shoulder. This only resulted in the bag slipping through my fingers and it crashing to the ground in what felt like slow motion. I was so mad that I slammed a glass bottle that I held in my other hand down onto the sand and boy, did it shatter. If I didn’t feel like I was destroying a piece of history, I would have done it again because it felt so great to get my anger out that way. Anyway, I broke two bottles that were inside the bag and while I was digging out the pieces with my bare hands, I suddenly stopped and was like, “Oh shoot, my hand is bleeding.” It was really just a small cut on my finger, but lucky for me I had Band-Aids in my purse. Later, while Jason was helping me find broken dishes, he cut his finger too, but it was really only a matter of time before Jason hurt himself. We really need to a sturdier bag and gloves the next time we decided to dig for glass in the sand.
These bottles were everywhere along the beach
We're definitely going back
    We finally decided that we had collected enough junk for one day and decided to pack up and leave. On the way back, we saw a beautiful uprooted tree on the beach with colorful glass bottles hanging from it. So much of Dead Horse Bay is like a modern art museum with art pieces left by people and the best ones made naturally from the tide. Once we got back to the main road, I found a bench to sit on while Jason walked another mile to get the car and pick me up because our bag was totally ripped to pieces. After we figure out what we’re going to do with this junk, we will surely be back for more.

Ice-Skating on Jason's 27th

    After a lot of contemplation and bouts of frustration from rainy weather forecasts, Jason insisted that we must do something for his 27th birthday. I couldn’t disagree and I think that everyone should be allowed to do something fun on your special day. Since everywhere around us was experiencing the same rain as New York, we just decided to go into the city and check something off of our bucket list: ice-skate the Rink at Rockefeller Center.
We made it to the Rockefeller Rink
    Jason has been dying to go ice-skating in the city, especially at the Rock. The last few times we planned on going ice-skating in the city, something has always stopped us from going and Jason expected the same thing to happen on his birthday because of the rainy weather. Much to his chagrin, the Rink at Rockefeller was open with only a handful of people ice-skating. We didn’t have to wait in a long line and immediately strapped on our skates and slowly slipped onto the ice.
Almost falling
Ice-skating in a raincoat is the only way to ice-skate
    I can’t even remember the last time I went ice-skating, but I can assure you it was kind of embarrassing needing the supervising ice rink guy to help me on. We held the guardrail a bit before we both got the hang of balancing ourselves and were able to glide around and around the circle with ease. It was fun being in the center of Rockefeller Plaza in an ice rink that we’ve often walked by and watched people ice-skate. I wanted so badly to be like the figure skaters we watched at the Sochi Winter Olympics and try to skate backward to set up a triple axel, but there were too many people around to try. After a while, Jason decided he did what he came to do and that he was ready to rest his aching feet.

    We walked around the NBC store inside the Rockefeller and laughed at the television paraphernalia of our favorite shows. Then headed to Potbelly for sandwiches and La Masion du chocolat for some dessert. We ate chocolate ├ęclairs for then and bought macaroons for later.
Some birthday deliciousness

    We finally decided to get out of the rain and go home. Later that night, we went to the Cheesecake Factory and ended the night with a cake, decorated by moi, and opening presents. I’m so happy that Jason considers his 27th to be one of his favorite birthdays because it sets the bar higher for him to make my 23rd birthday (April 15) extra special.

April 2, 2014

new croton dam

     When I came home from a long day of work on a Saturday, Jason was just dying to get out of the house and have an adventure. We decided to drive 45 minutes to Cortlandt to visit the New Croton Dam. I didn’t really know what to expect from this place; I mean, it’s just a dam right?
The first sunny day in a longtime
Watching ducks walk on the ice
     When we arrived at the beginning of the bridge, you couldn’t see much past it, but you could certainly hear a waterfall. We didn’t realize until we started walking on the bridge that we were actually on the dam. It was a very beautiful scene to look at the waterside of the bridge because most of the water in the reservoir was still frozen from the winter. 
Ducks and geese gathering on the edge of the ice
Man-made waterfall from the spillway
Trying not to blink in the sun
     Closer to the spillway, ducks and geese gathered on the end of the ice to watch the water fall 297 feet below. We also had fun watching the geese play chicken to see who could float closest to the edge of the spillway before flipping their feet really fast to get out of the water before barreling down the falls. Our eyes popped when we looked straight down the spillway and saw a flipped rowboat on a flat space in the dam. We hoped that it was just a boat that got loose and not a romantic paddle gone wrong.
I don't want to know what's under the rowboat
In a pensive mood 
New Croton Dam 
New Croton Dam
Such a beautiful sight
New Croton Reservoir
     Going to the New Croton Dam was the perfect trip to get out us of the house and make us feel like spring was on its way.
Jason has a death wish to see what's over the edge
All 297 feet of it
We need more beautiful days like this in New York

March 11, 2014

monuments & macaroons.

     Jason and I finally took some time to go to Alexandria, Virginia to visit our good friends David and Melissa. One of the days we were there, of course, we couldn’t pass up on visiting Washington DC. In our travels, Jason and I have found that traveling with different friends can bring new perspective to a destination. In the case of our foodie friends, they always know where the best food spots are in the city and Washington DC was no different. This weekend’s obsession was macaroons. I’ve always admired this vividly colorful cookie, but never had the actual pleasure of tasting one.

     We took a taxi to Georgetown and for lunch ate delicious pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso. Continuing down M street we unexpectedly ran into a sign for Olivia’s Macaroon and headed down an alleyway to the small, cute shop. Once inside, Jason and I picked three macaroons apiece. David and Melissa, however, chose six apiece—they do not mess around. 

This poster outside of Olivia's was enough advertisement for me to come into their shop

     Georgetown is a historic neighborhood in Washington DC that is lined with all kinds of boutique shops. We loved looking at the beautiful stone and brick architecture and peeking into some of the unique shops. We wandered into Gorin Bros. Hat Shop and I had fun channeling my inner Downton Abbey character, Jason on the other hand, channeled his prohibition gangster and even tried on the “official” Heisenberg hat from Breaking Bad.

We love the colonial look of some of the buildings around Georgetown
No caption needed
Is this the look of the Heisenberg?
Call me Lady Mary
If a Spainiard see's a Zara...
     We continued walking up Wisconsin Ave. admiring the fancy window displays until we found a second macaroon shop: Bee’s Macaroon. After choosing more treats we found a place to sit and finally enjoyed some pastries. I took small bites to savor every bit of macaroon deliciousness and Jason finished them off in one bite. We all agreed that Bee’s had the better macaroon, but Olivia’s had the better display.
We love how each place is seperated by a different color - Bee's is the Yellow one
The official "Jason Approval"
Enjoying our macaroons
My favorite thing about the macaroons may have been the pretty colors
Cool old sign of Georgetown

     Before leaving Georgetown, we passed a frozen Chesapeake and Ohio canal and walked along the Potomac River. There was a great ice skating rink just on the edge of the river that looked intriguing, especially with penguin guides to push to help children skate, but it was still too chilly for us to enjoy.
How many penguins can you spot?
The Potomac River
     Taking a taxi from K Street, we headed to the Washington Monument. Last summer when we visited Arlington, Virginia the Monument looked like a spaceship from all the scaffolding to repair damages from an earthquake a few years ago. Unfortunately, there is still scaffolding around the bottom of the structure, but lots of progress has been made and we still enjoyed looking at the 555-foot tall obelisk.

The Washington Monument
Best Buddies

     We then made our way to the National World War II Memorial. Of course, this memorial is so much more beautiful in the spring and summer when the fountain is running, but we enjoyed having it to ourselves. It was fun finding all of the states we have called home. The states of Michigan, California, Idaho, and New York have been good to us, but who knows where we’ll end up next.

Although I'll probably never go back, I'll always be proud to be a Michigander
It's much prettier with the fountain on
I still forget I live in New York
Aw, come on guys, we have so many fond memories of this place!
     We continued down a long path adjacent to the empty Reflecting Pool to one of my favorites: the Lincoln Memorial. It’s always a surprise to walk up the steps to the Greek-like temple and then out of the shadows see the gigantic statue of President Lincoln sitting on a chair. We were grateful that David was able to take many pictures of both of us with one of our favorite US Presidents.
The road to Lincoln
Outside the Lincoln Memorial
He's so big!
The great view from the Lincoln Memorial (I always think of Forrest Gump)

     Our final sightseeing stop was the Korean War Veterans Memorial. Jason loves this war memorial and how expressive and lifelike the sculptured soldiers appear. It makes you feel like you are in the actual battlefield with them. A 164-foot long black granite wall stands nearby with photographic engravings depicting images of people and weapons involved in the war. It was very touching to look at the detail of the engravings and reflect on the people who gave up their lives in Korea.

Korean War Memorial
They just get to you
The etchings on this wall are incredible
     All and all, we had a fantastic time visiting David and Melissa and we were so happy that they were able to take time away from their busy schedules to show us around Georgetown and DC. Hopefully they can come up to New York soon so we can repay the favor, but until then, we wait anxiously for our next foodie adventure.

It was so great to see David and Melissa!