Any man will tell you that to pack up and leave a city they’ve called home for more than a few years is, essentially, to leave that city behind forever. Changes, for the better and for the worse, will chip away at city you knew until eventually the memory is rather incompatible with the new landscape. All this I expected when I left Austin for New York: Dive bars would go bottom-up, restaurants would change hands, high rises would replace my mundane urban landmarks.
But the memories just couldn’t fade gently. Instead, mid-June, smack in the middle of the New York Times section A is a smattering of apparently world renowned BBQ joints cropping up in Austin, Texas. And I hadn’t heard of a one of ‘em.
A mere 500 feet of pale white sand make up what was named America’s Best Beach in 2010. No wonder then that Cooper’s Beach, in the town of Southampton, charges a cool $30 just to park on the other side of its dunes. Better to ride bikes in from town, as we did on this Saturday in August. Some time later, Long Island would catch a beating from Hurricane Irene. But today, children swam in the calm waves and the clouds swirled above the island in anticipation of small showers set to make landfall the next day.
Once West Side Manhattan’s freight artery, the abandoned 1.5-mile elevated rail line running between W 12th St and 30th St is undergoing a transformation into an urban park as part of a prominent NYC revitalization project. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, The High Line features not just elevated greenspace, but also stadium seating that overlooks metropolitan scenes. This view up 10th Avenue, with the Robert Adams photo installation on the billboard to the left, is one of the best.
A little after noon along Florida’s two-lane coastal Highway 30-A, a crowd of beach-goers floods the crosswalks leading from the beach to the small village of Seaside. The bulk of this sandaled exodus will end up at a cluster of aluminum Airstream trailers nestled around the post office in the town’s central square. These Airstreams, with their eclectic decorations and chalkboard-menus touting wholesome organic foodstuffs are the new culinary cutting-edge in this planned community* (and I do mean planned: Seaside provided the backdrop for The Truman Show).
The BBC World Service was apologizing for interrupting their regularly scheduled programming to broadcast (via iPhone) President Obama’s briefing on the death of Osama bin Laden. I was rounding the corner of 49th and 7th, hoping to catch a glimpse of P-Bo making said historic announcement on the monitors in Times Square. What I ran into instead, congregating under the ABC News ticker, was an impromptu frat party for America.