Volunteering in New York: Free Kayaking on the East River

The past few weeks have kicked off the summer season. Not only has it been extremely hot and sunny, but some fun outdoor activities have started again. My friend suggested that we try volunteering this year, and I was all for it. Brooklyn Bridge Park offers free kayaking throughout the summer months and of course they need a bunch of people to help them out. Free Kayaking is open to the general public throughout the summer months. Whoever feels like floating on the East River can do so for 20 minutes at a time.


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To Summer – The Fun Season

summer in dumbo rain

There is something strangely reassuring about early morning sports. Be it running in the park or doing a boot camp class outdoors – it’s a great feeling to keep myself fit. Even better to do so in the wilderness of nature or next to the Manhattan skyline.

Summer is here! Rainy lately, but here nonetheless! So far I’ve completed three boot camp classes already within the past week. Yesterday we worked out in the rain; it really did feel like a military drill then. People were on their way to work and must have wondered what we were doing: A group of ten athletes just jumping up and down and lifting heavy stones over our heads…

I am also ready for the beach. Have been there a couple of times already during this season. It’s just not super-sunshiny weather wise. The water was freezing cold when I dipped my foot in it. I hope things become warmer eventually.

summer in gowanus brooklyn

I snapped this picture while strolling through Gowanus and Carrol Gardens the other day. Oh how peaceful the sun rays look in the evening of a sparkling summer day. I don’t know what to do come October but currently I want this weather to last forever!

People say spring is a new beginning. I believe every season brings a new attitude, a new idea, a new creation into mind. Especially since spring only exists for a few weeks out of the year here in New York. So I devote this post to summer and a new life. And new hopes and new opportunities. Hello from the Big Apple!

Summer Stuff to Do Before Summer Ends in the Big Apple

Let’s face it: It’s August! It’s about time to wrap up the summer-is-so-awesome-posts and start sharing with you what exactly makes this time of the year so exciting. Of course it’s hanging out in the open, drinking sangria under the star-spangled sky, and sauntering the streets without having to be wrapped into a thick winter jacket. While I’d love to elaborate on the second point but don’t have much to say on the third, it is indeed all about the events I am eager to share with you today!

Open-air-concerts have by now been extensively shared and talked about in this blog. Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park still being among one of my favorites. Read more here to find out about the smaller version of the Manhattan event and high-class performers jamming it out onstage, thus making this fest so perfectly quaint. After bringing a Berlin friend here this summer, I was able to impress him after winning a free picnic blanket from Googleplay and introducing him to a group of ten friends who had all gathered around the lawn. While I haven’t been out there too many times this year, I can only recommend going to the Bandshell. A side note: Leave your professional camera at home, they might not let you in depending on the mood of the security guard!

Then, summer stage in Central Park is of course among one of these summer open-air goodies, as well. Music, performances, dancing – all season long and most are for free! But where you should really try to go, once you are in Central Park, are the Shakespeare plays around the Belvedere Castle. Great actors and actresses convey a cultural vibe on stage. The first play I saw was the Merchant in Venice. My friend and I had managed to sneak in at some point in time and followed every scene from the back row. It was great! It’s what you should get on Broadway, only it’s for free and under the blue sky. Make sure you get your ticket either at 6 o’clock in the morning or snag them online before 1 PM. If you go via the online route, you will be randomly chosen out of a selection of a few hundred. If not, make sure to get up earlier and be in the Park by 5:30 AM. Or pretend to be a German tourist, don’t speak any English and sneak in after the break. Hey, works (almost) every time!

Since you are already on the cultural side of life’s finest options, you could also just check out a recital of the Met Opera! For free! No kidding, the renowned opera house actually practices their good stuff before bringing it at a much higher cost to the crowds. And these so-called practices are now open to the public. Their summer round is almost over, but you can definitely still catch a quick peak at Socrates Sculpture Park in Queens on August 9 (today). For more info, go to their Web Site and check out their agenda. They usually run 6 free performances throughout the summer, so make sure to get the best out of it!

More music can be taken in at Madison Square Park. I happened to be there yesterday after work. Didn’t even know of their weekly performances going on until I saw the stage and the list hung next to it. Supposedly yesterday was the last day of their summer series but you can enjoy it all over again next year. The season started out with James Maddock and ended it with chimes from Bettye LaVette. It’s really a pity I didn’t know about this earlier, I could have just stayed late at work and gone directly from there in the past six weeks. I do know for a fact that they build up a huge screen during the US Open and make it viewable to the public. Also a nice event to watch, I find!

After so much music and culture, it’s good to just take a relaxing break and enjoy a movie. If you are up for it, go to Bryant Park around 42nd Street and make sure you bring a picnic blanket and five other friends. This is no joke but I saw a group of 12 people build up their very own Whole Foods picnic in the middle of the park while watching the Robin Hood feature film presented last Monday. If it doesn’t happen in New York, I don’t know where it does. And if you want to stay Brooklyn-bound, you can do the exact same thing every Thursday in Dumbo (yup, Dumb-o, we talked about it). In both locations the movies start when the sun sets, which is usually between 8:30 and 9 PM, depending on the month. They will continue on showing popular films until August 20 & 30, so you can still snag a few good ones before it comes to an end.

Bryant Park Movie Crowd

For further entertainment, please stay exactly where you are. Dumbo also offers free Zumba classes every Sunday afternoon during the months of July and August. Alma from the YMCA teaches it here. Remember my hard-sought fitness and the inevitable post on it? Well, this was also due to Alma and her kick-ass Zumba courses. She is a fun instructor and really likes to challenge the eager hobby dancers. Just be sure you make it there on time, because the class runs from 4 to 5 PM.

Oh and yes, every Monday they do have a reading! Readings are great – you get to know a book and the author in one session. All of this at no cost but taking some time out of your day and listening to the tender words of an aspiring young author. Find yourself at the steps on Pier 1 from 7 to 8 PM to get the most out of Books Beneath the Bridge.

There are so many more things worth mentioning. Union Square kicks off the summer season with a very special program. It features newcomer bands, offers morning yoga, and much more. Check out their Summer in the Square Series to get a full overview. I am afraid their options are almost exhausted, though, since they already start bringing out the really great acts in June.

And you’d think New Yorkers would eventually get bored with the tremendous amount of free fun, but it isn’t so. It’s rather the opposite: We just don’t know what to choose and where to be at what time of the day.
Because aside from all of the open-air events, we have the cultural highlights that are still going on at the side. Such as Restaurant Week. Which has by now fully extended its time frame. Lunch and dinner specials for three weeks straight, who couldn’t take advantage of this great offer? And then of course the all-time classics such as Governor’s Island Jazz Age Festival, which is running its 7th season this year!

You see, from all of these true jewels to choose it becomes mighty hard which one to pick. But I surely hope you will find your way to at least one of these!

This Is Devoted to the Couple Who Got Engaged in Dumbo

It happened down under Manhattan Brooklyn Bridge. Right there, in the place of a thousand tourists a day. By now a well-known location – not only because of pizza, ice cream and other overrated must-dos.

One of those rare magical moments in New York. Once they happen you are left smiling and feeling happy. And also thinking Ahaaaa!

I was out and about, wandering around the scenes, looking for the infamous steps in Brooklyn Bridge Park. A few days ago I had read that there are several readings happening here and I was anxious to see what they were about. For five minutes I got to hear what the author had to say about his most recent book and then the event was wrapped up for the day. While everyone hustled out, I stayed and climbed the now half-empty steps. Determined to get a good night shot and secretly cursing myself out for forgetting my tripod.

The night scene was gorgeous. The people were even more interesting. A group of teenagers snuck up from behind me and silently walked past down the steps as if it’s a normal occurrence to be dressed up half-nakedly like Cleopatra and other exotics. They were having fun with their own little photo shoot down there, such as so many others I had seen when walking past the crowds.

It also happened to be one of those days Obama was back in town. The entire East River was lit up by police boats and Manhattan’s banks were light-polluted thanks to the high amount of escorts.

The area close to the steps is not as well-known as the rest of the park. It is often well hidden to the lazy tourist eye. Most tourists don’t see much reason to go past the Ice Cream Factory once they make it out to Dumbo. You have a great view on both the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline so you’ve basically seen it all.

Wrong! You haven’t seen an engagement before! You’ve seen the Asian and South American wedding parties of obnoxious rich people who pay an arm and a leg for obtaining a 5-minute permit that allows them to legitimately shoot and annoy the crap out of almost everyone else there. But that’s pretty much it. You are missing out on the magic of Dumbo if you think that’s all it is about!

So, while I straighten out my camera on a random rock and desperately use the handrails as some form of stabilizer, a guy suddenly appears. He is dragging with him a trail of prints rowed onto a thread. Similar to the Tibetan flags, only the flags are pictures and handwritten notes. While he is moving up the stairs, swirling around me, almost tying up my feet, a girl shows up. She starts reading the pieces of handwritten notes, is intensely looking at the pictures. I realize they are all of here. “There must be some sort of love-game in process,” I think to myself, and then set my camera to a 30-second exposure of the skyline, hoping they won’t run into my picture.

The guy drags the thread over my head, so that I am not in the middle of the entire circus. He is nice about this. He then positions himself a bit awkwardly, pretending to be surprised when she is finished. A certain vibe of excitement is floating through the air, barely tangible. The thread is longer than he expected. He has to go down a few steps until she has read everything. She is already almost in tears, dropping her bouquet of a dozen roses when hugging and thanking him. He then goes down on his knees and nervously fumbles in his pockets. Presenting a case with a ring to her. She says yes and they kiss happily. Both cannot believe what just happened. I myself am still pretty stunned.

The romance of the situation, the beauty of the location. All pieces have neatly fallen into place.

I believe they could not have been much older than me. Beginning to mid-twenties. She looked like a student. I have seldom seen such a great picture.

Americans are all about the perfect moment. A nice dinner, a walk under stars, then popping the big question. But this was different, this was an original idea. They also just happened to be in the right city to have a great background for their scenario.

I therefore devote this post to the couple who got engaged in Dumbo on July 30, 2012. You made my day! Heck, you’ve even made my entire week!

So much happiness and love was conveyed to us passive bystanders that night and I am glad I was able to witness it. I told you my pictures turned out too blurry to even consider serious. But I am willing to post them on here. It might be the only memory you have of the night he proposed. Feel free to download them and please hit me up if you ever make it to this site!

I wish you all the best in your hopefully happy future together and I wonder where your paths will lead. Hopefully to a lovely home!

NYC Craigslist Ads and Other Scam Stories

This seems like a lifetime ago, but last year around this time I was new to the City, eager to try out things I had never tried out anywhere else, and I saw opportunities to do so right here – where everything is possible!
I had already acquainted myself with Craigslist because of my roommate search. So I decided to give it another shot. Craigslist has a category called Talent and another named Event, in which they advertise for every possible ridiculous job out there: runway models, hair models, waiters for a catering event, artists, people with certain body types or of certain ethnic descent … Pretty much anything you could imagine and beyond. After scrolling down past the ad looking for foot fetish victims models and the ads wanting waitresses who serve drinks topless and are willing to be “nice to the guests” (uhm, so you’re looking for strippers, guy, strippers!), I stumbled across a few links that were looking for models, preferably “fresh faces.” If you’ve gotten to know me a bit, you know I do have the body type, possibly the looks to be the next Heidi Klum famous face on the screen. This half-jokingely said, I do not have any serious interest in pursuing any sort of career in the industry of starvation, shallowness, and forced young looks. And that is basically all it is, unless you are a designer, then you would have to deal with the issue of eccentricism on top of this. However, I have always been curious of how these notorious model castings work and what it takes to grab the agency’s intention.

I responded to a few ads with some outdated pictures of myself and, sure enough, the next day I received a call from a Model Counseling Agency. The word counseling purposefully disguising their intents, I dare say. They asked me to stop by at their office in Midtown, right on Park Avenue and 50th Street. For all of you who do not know, this is a splendid area: It is 3 blocks away from the Rockefeller Center and a bustling crowd of suit-people blends in with the under-dressed tourists and over-dressed divas.

I didn’t have any plans for that day, so I decided to come and see what I might be able to write about later. Around 3 PM I entered a huge lobby and waited a bit, until a 55-year-old woman, who was desperately trying to look like 50 by means of Botox & Co, came down and led me up to their “office” laid out in suite-sized rooms. I wasn’t the only one waiting. Two other girls were hiding what a nervous wreck they were. One was about two heads smaller than me, but nonetheless extremely beautiful. The other was a burlier type of female with a few strokes of make-up too many on her otherwise non-exciting face. I was confirmed in my initial impression that this is only a scam. After the short girl disappeared, I tried to start a conversation with Ms. Make-up Queen. She was nervously glancing around and didn’t seem like the type to socialize with what she thought was her competition.
Then a beautiful Islander-type of woman with a tall figure, no doubt a retired model herself, fetched me and led me into a room filled with a serious-looking desk and a few chairs. I seated myself and couldn’t wait to start the circus. She first explained what her firm was about, and basically it seemed like it was doing the same type of work a normal model agency would. I was even more confused by the term “counseling.” They seemed to have tons, no, an innumerable amount of photo shoots waiting for them and their hot models in the Tri-State-Area and Connecticut. Boy, was I lucky to have met them the same day, for we could start working together by the end of this week. Then she started to ask me basics, such as if I was able to work in the US, where I was from, how long I had been here… This was a tough part for me, as she constantly sweet-talked me in such a manipulative manner, I didn’t know how exactly to react. First it was my gorgeous cheek bones, which made her ask if I had any Russian heritage. Then it was my tall statue, which would make it easy to snag a job. And my short, sexy hair, that would just stand out (I had a bob cut back then). Well, her spider webs didn’t manage to lure me in, albeit I gave the best impression they had. And I had also learned to become immune to sweet-talk from an early time on, so my alarm bells were constantly ringing. I was just waiting for the one unfortunate thing about this entire conversation. And sure enough, when I thought it couldn’t get any better, she stopped to take a look at my pictures and noticed I didn’t have any. What a pity! But we would have to shoot those first before we progress further. She already confirmed that there was a photographer waiting downstairs and all I had to do is pay her $200 for a professional session. My, what a deal! I was about to laugh out loud, but kept my serious face. I explained to her that my bank had not yet been set up and that I did not have a German credit card. How unlucky. I definitely did not carry $200 in cash with me, either. So I would have to return another day. I think I was quite convincing. She led me out of the door, further flattering words followed, and then the other woman appeared again, asking if I was doing the photo shoot now. She looked disappointed when I said I wouldn’t today. Gotcha right there! I fled this building as fast as I could and just shook my head about how gullible people are in New York – I probably included.
When I told my roommate about this, she told me a similar story had happened to her in the artist industry, in which they had wanted $100 dollars for such a photo shoot. She congratulated me for getting out of that one and I did so myself, too.

There are a few other comical events I witnessed. In August, one month before fashion show, I responded to an ad by the FIT. It’s the Fashion Institue-Technology, located in Chelsea. They were looking for runway models for an upcoming show – unpaid, of course. I first had to sign in with a guard who couldn’t care less but still had to do his job. Then I entered a huge studio – there is indeed no doubt that this school likes to splurge is worth its money. Because of the name the E-mail had provided me with, I was expecting a male designer, so I was rather surprised to see a fragile woman sitting next to a chubby man. The man introduced himself as a manager, politely asked for my name, and then wanted me to “perform” straight from there. Some funky music was played (nothing really professional), and I walked up and down the studio, with both of them watching every move. I think I couldn’t disguise my smile because they noticed quite soon I wasn’t serious. Hey, if you want a model, you better make sure she has enough time to put her 10 inch high heels, on, is all I have to say. We shook hands and they had enough manners to wish me good-bye. The next model was waiting to perform: A transvestite-looking, heavy female who could offer a glorious portfolio of no doubt severely edited and cropped pictures. Poor guy girl!

Lastly, I had a fun experience with craigslist scams, believe it or not. In May of 2010 I responded to a model ad for a make-up school in Dumbo. At first I had trouble finding it, as it was housed in an abandoned industrial building – one of the many in that area. I walked into a tiny room filled with 4 girls and the instructor. I think I was the only model they had during that session. A nice young woman with a belly indicating her pregnancy tended my face for over an hour. She said she was travelling every day from the Bronx all the way down to Brooklyn, just to take classes in the best make-up school on the entire East Coast. Then, she brushed powder across my face, shadowed my eye lids, pinkened my lips … until the instructor noticed my white eye brow and insisted on “fixing it up” with some color. So ten tedious minutes were spent on this and when I looked into the mirror at the end I was taken aback … in horror! My eye brow looked patched together, my face was covered with a white, mask-looking poweder, my eyes had never looked like this before – it was less than optimal. I didn’t know if I should pity the student’s lack of talent or the ruthlessness of the instructor for demanding money from her.

Vampire me! This photo does not show the full extent of how bad the make-up looked.

As a thank-you I received a make-up tool in form of an expensive-looking brush and pink, loose powder (eye shadow, I assumed) together with a coupon to attend a class at their school at a reduced rate or to purchase an expensive make-up kit at a not signicantly enough reduced price. What a lucky day! On my way out I was just thinking about all those poor souls that probably would never learn how to do someone’s face right and who paid hundreds of dollars just to get ripped off.

New York – it’s filled with incredible scams and it’s fun to witness!

“Digital Dumbo” or “The Sweetness of Open Bars”

I have been writing for a local online magazine for about a month now. It is Brooklyn-based and brings its readers closer to all the things going on in Brooklyn, which is a really neat idea when you are new to the City like I am and even happen to live in the borough.
Because of the magazine, I have been sent on a few assignments already. I have also redeemed my pay in ways of free events I was able to attend thanks to the editor putting me on the guest list.
Digital Dumbo was one of these. Last Thursday I made my way out with my coworker to an open bar event in the area around the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn. Dumbo stands for Down Under Manhattan Brooklyn Bridge, as I already mentioned in a previous post. We were told that the party over there would be from 6:30 to 9:30PM and that there would be an open bar during this time. Open bar simply means alcoholic drinks for free, with only leaving a tip for the bartender. Since I didn’t have a clue of how many people to expect and I had the impression that this was a more privatized event, I thought it would be okay to show up a bit later, say 7PM. As it turned out, this wasn’t the best idea I’ve had in the past few days. Indeed, it was a very stupid thought, considering that I have been living in New York for a while already and simply should have known better. An open bar event in Brooklyn? Who would ever want to go to this… mhmm, gimme some time to think…!

The crowd at Digital Dumbo

When we got there, we expected to be greeted by a friendly door guy who would check our tickets and then let us through to the bar where we could order a few cocktails and have a nice, relaxed evening.
I hate to give it away but things didn’t happen that way. Instead we couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw the row of people standing in front of the building – all eagerly pushing forward to get into this place. The Dumbo Loft had organized this event on their first floor and there were seven people of staff to welcome the incoming crowd. As we made our way around a winding queue, one of them yanked a black band around my wrist, while my friend got the same in neon-green. We wondered what this could possibly be for and they told us we should wait for more information. Then, when the line finally moved, it was our turn to show the tickets and sign in. Another staff person wrote our names on stickers and we were supposed to wear these the entire evening. Name tags, what a common party idea! At one point in time during the evening we decided to go back and rewrite our names and switch out our company descriptions into something funny. Our story was that we were working for a translation agency somewhere in Midtown (which we do not do, but who cares).
Then we headed over to the open bar and found out that the only items offered were Budweiser (American beer which tastes like cheap dishwash), Pabst Blue Ribbon (Canadian beer which tastes like expensive dishwash), gin mixed with lemonade (proudly presented as the house drink) and soft drinks (water and coca cola anyone?). Not too bad considering this was a free event with cheap but nonetheless drinkable alcohol. We first tried the gin house drink and were mildly impressed. We found that gin and lemonade are not a bad combination after all. We still didn’t want to run the risk of a bad hangover and stuck to PBR.

Open Bar
I with a PBR

After wandering around, we came across an area called the Photo Booth: A corner was decorated with an oversized American flag and various boxes contained wigs, masks, plastic guns, and other nice accessories. This corner was the hit of the party, as many people stopped by, covered their heads with a blond wig or a monkey mask and posed in some insane way or another. After downing a few beers we made our way back to it and got a nice shot of the Yedi and the Steal Man/Woman.

The Photo Booth....
... and its crazy inhabitants
Other crazies

I also got to meet the main editor of the Brooklyn publication and talked to her a bit about the magazine, tips on writing, and what she expects from the articles submitted to her online paper. It was a nice way to get to know my boss, even though it is just my boss of a side activity I engage in once in a while.

We met some very fun guys from a company called Zaarly and had a good time shooting a few pictures with them. Everyone at the party seemed to be related to some sort of digital forms of communication. Mobile texting companies, internet firms – hence the name Digital Dumbo! Finally, the mystery of the wrist bands was revealed as we witnessed a raffle-like game which divided people into four different groups. The groups were supposed to tweet as many messages as possible over the entire evening and the one that had the most tweets would win in the end. What a surprise that my group, the black wrist bands, won the “competition” but another girl took the main price home: A fancy boombox no one else really wanted to have . Congratulations to her!
The evening was meant for networking and getting to know people in the industry, and indeed, my coworker and I met an abundance of interesting folks from the digital sector. I’m not sure if it helped us networking-wise, as I didn’t get any lasting contacts out of this meet-up. But it was a great occasion to get to know a different scene in Brooklyn and it was worth going.

Zaarly's intern
Us and Zaarly's intern
The wrist bands
My coworker and a guy from New Zealand

Around 9PM we wanted to order our last round but the bar only had soft drinks left over. I guess when the alcohol is out the party is over and we found ourselves on the streets in front of the Loft. We ended this fun evening at a random bar in Dumbo with people from Senegal and New Zealand. Thumbs up to networking and more of those word-to-mouth-parties!

Pier 6 – My Quest to See More of Brooklyn

After being here for well over a year, I thought I had seen it all. I thought nothing in Brooklyn could be new to me. I didn’t’ expect to stumble across some exciting places that are so close-by to the ones I know so well. Well, Pier 6 in Brooklyn Heights is one of these spots.

Due to an article assignment I was sent over there last Sunday and I must say that I am very glad it happened to be me who ended up discovering it. If you’ve ever been to New York, you might have gotten the chance to walk the Brooklyn Bridge (Tourists who have only been here for two days don’t count. I understand that it is not your top priority to walk the bridge when you have a limited time in this city). Starting out in Brooklyn or Manhattan, most people explore Dumbo first or end up there when crossing the oldest bridge of the Big Apple.

Dumbo, such a funny name, isn’t it? Whenever I heard this term in the first few months here, it reminded me of the elephant cartoon which used to be popular in our childhood years. This Dumbo has nothing to do with flying circus animals, though, as it stands short for DownUnderManhattanBrooklynbridge. I guess the correct abbreviation Dumb or Dumbb was too self-explanatory or simple for even the most correct New Yorker, so a nice twitch was added with an additional “o”.

Dumbo-food outside in the summer

To get back to the story, Dumbo is fairly common to not only locals but also tourists. They stroll across Pier 1 and the parks in between both bridges. They stand in line for Brooklyn’s “Best Pizza,” which has a sanitary B grade. They buy $7 ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory because their tourist guide tells them to do so. They are simply being ripped off and they enjoy wasting their money on these things. Well, I used to be one of these creatures and I thought Dumbo and the parts of Brooklyn Heights from the High St Station to the water were all that was worth seeing. Wrong!

I should have known better. Occasionally I saw a group of people approaching me from the other end of Brooklyn Heights. “What train station are they coming from?” I wondered, “Am I missing out on something over there?” But yesterday, the day of enlightment, I actually read the signs right because I was on a search and I finally saw the pointer to Pier 6!

So I made my way past all the other piers, wandering around the green areas, always with the Manhattan sky line to my right. One of the most beautiful views you can have when heading off to a new destination, by the way. And eventually, after passing couples who were picnicking on side benches, Orthodox Jews who were posing for family portraits, and boys who were trying out their new skateboards, I made it. I arrived at Pier 6! I had expected another park, some people there, nothing out of the extraordinary. So I got confused when I approached and heard kids’ laughter, joyful screams and other soundtracks indicating a bustling scene. Boy, did I feel stupid! I couldn’t believe I had been missing out on this fun park for so long.

Pier 6 offers beach volley ball courts for sport nerds (doesn’t that exclude each other? Playing sports and being nerd?!), a grand playground for children, a fountain area for the entire family (I’ve seen them jumping into the fun and getting all wet!), a nice park, and a roof terrace with refreshments! No wonder some families choose to spend an entire Sunday afternoon over here! You also have a nice scene because ships enter and leave the port-like area (hence the name “Pier”) – something you will hardly find anywhere else in Dumbo made accessible to the public.


Beach Volleyball

I didn’t have my imaginary kids with me, and I had forgotten to bring my sportswear, therefore, I decided to go for the refreshment part. So I walked up to the roof to see what they had to offer. The walk up was designed in a square-like shape. Remember those circle-like entries that lead you up to a platform? Well, this was about the same, only in squares. I walked up, cornering the walls a few times, until I found myself in a quite exclusive area that was nicely shielded from the rest of the park but still offered an amazing view. A few picnic tables with umbrellas made sure the crowd did not overheat during the hot summer day. And a Bark Hot Dog stand offered … yeah, well, hot dogs (surprise!) with a variety of toppings and prepared in many different ways. Bacon Cheddar Dog anyone? Bark’s also had other types of food, such as sandwiches, fries, onion rings, and sausages. They deserve a huge plus because they offer something called the Veggie Dog: A vegetarian hot dog, unfortunately $2 more than a usual hot dog (why so expensive, there is no meat involved?). Aside from food, they had beer and soft drinks, making the beer garden atmosphere almost ideal. All of this topped with the New York skyline in the background and the proximity to the East River, which might ensure a cool breeze or two during the hot summer months.

Exploring Brooklyn: I am TOTALLY into it!