Saturday, June 30, 2012

water sports

image via gothamist

yesterday i took mccarren pool redux for a test drive. i anticipated there to be an insane amount of people there so i decided the best thing to do would be to get up early and arrive at the pool around noon. obviously the main reason for my going was to swim, but i was also intrigued by the idea of being in the middle of a complete fucking mob scene. sure enough, there was a huge line to get in. i think i waited for about twenty-five minutes, but it was okay because in that amount of time i figured out how to work the lock i'd just purchased. i have always had problems with locks with dials. i wrote my combination on my arm with a fat black sharpie, just in case.

when i FINALLY got in, i chose a locker and got changed. i love the feeling of wearing a swimsuit under your clothes, especially when people can see the strings of your bikini creeping out of your shirt. i think it is a look that says, "here i am! i am ready for anything!" i am contemplating getting a camp towel and a jansport backpack and carrying the towel, my swimsuit, and my lock around with me all summer. baller! anyway, the locker room was airy and didn't feel all gross and sweaty and disgusting like most pool locker rooms do. it was a bit small, though. however, i'll take a small locker room if it means more room for a HUGE FUCKING POOL! which brings me to the next thing...

...the pool! i have only been to one public pool in the city, and that was the one in sunset park, which is kind of an awful pool. crowded, and waaaaaaaaay to many kids. like, the kid to adult ration was probably 7-1 or something ridiculous. anyway, in its newly-pristine state, mccarren pool looks spectacular. the bottom is painted a beautiful cerulean shade, and the very sight of it looks refreshing. there is tons of room for both lounging and swimming. i found a really great spot on these things that resembled steps that were big enough to lay out and sunbathe on. later that day i managed to score a shady spot in the same area. there was even a little potted plant right next to me for some added ambiance! FANCY! also, i was shocked to see that the crowd was not nearly as big as i'd expected. it was a pretty standard amount of people for your average public pool, i thought.

anyway, i had two swimming sessions and then sat in the sun reading air guitar for the rest of the time. i contemplated going in a third time, but by then the sun was wearing me out and i was starving. i love swimming. i always have. when i was a child, i learned how to swim nearly instantly. i was always the last one out of the water, the one who always begged to stay at the beach a little longer. as i gathered my stuff, kids were going psycho all around me and the lifegaurds were constantly blowing their whistles at all of the stupid and incredibly fun things they were doing. i thought about how i could never be that way again. for a moment i was sad as i contemplated the amount of energy that leaves you as you get older. oh well. i left the pool and ate tacos from calexico in the park. one kind of fun replaces another, i suppose.

i was saddened to hear that hours after i'd left, a lifegaurd was assaulted by a bunch of idiot kids. in the past few years, mccarren pool has become a symbol for urban regeneration, both in its incarnations as a concert venue and now a swimming hole restored to what people hope will be its former glory. i don't think that the pool will become what it became at the time of its closing. chill, people! the security in that place is pretty fucking tight. i don't think anyone is going to be dealing crack to five year olds there anytime soon.

in other water-related news, i partied until dawn and then streaked through an open fire hydrant on my street. i realize that this was an incredibly stupid thing to do but it was really fucking fun and i do not regret it in the slightest.

in conclusion, i highly recommend the refurbished mccarren pool. i also highly recommend streaking through an open fire hydrant. however, if you are not looking to get arrested (or worse), the former option is probably best. A+!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

ocean, oshin

coney island, 6/23/12

yesterday was fantastic, an absolute success. i have decided that the only way to live is to over-schedule oneself. i had made plans weeks in advance to attend the record release of DIIV, but then i learned that the mermaid parade was also happening on that day. BOOM, solid! i had been psyching myself up all week and was worried that june 23rd, 2012 would not live up to the hype, but it was everything i could have wanted. there is no better feeling than going to bed knowing that you have just lived one of the best days of your life.

i woke up and i thought to myself, my, what a gorgeous day for all of these activities i have planned for myself! then i realized, shit, i slept in way later than i wanted to. THEN i asked myself, "did i remember to take my ipod home from steffanie's house last night?" NO, of course i didn't. i didn't even look in my bag. i texted stef and she confirmed my suspicions. i threw on some clothes and exited my building at half-past noon with the intention of catching the bus to ridgewood to fetch my 'pod. however, i looked at the bus schedule and realized that i had just missed it, and there was no way i was going to stand around in the heat waiting for the damn bus. so, i decided to walk to stef's house, even though i had no idea which way to go. i thought the best plan of action would be to follow the trail of the b20 stops. i walked for about 25 minutes into ridgewood in my unsensible k-mart slip-ons and it was fucking great. i decided that i would not be adverse to living in ridgewood. in a weird way it reminded me of walking in LA. there were tons of two-way streets and trees everywhere and lots of little houses. everything was spread out and nothing felt stacked or crammed. i love stacked and crammed, but it felt nice to walk in an urban area that also felt airy.

i passed a 7-11. without warning, i felt the incredible urge to purchase a slurpee. it was an amazing phenomenon. i haven't drank a slurpee since 2007. it was the most random thing. i went with watermelon-lime in a medium-sized cup. it was delicious and i felt like kind of a weirdo because i was booking it to steffanie's and pounding this slurpee. for some reason i felt like i was in the early nineties, probably because i loved to drink slurpees in the early nineties as a sugar-crazed seven year-old.

anyway, i got to stef's, retrieved my ipod, and swooped out the door to the train station. the M was running as a shuttle bus. it took an ungodly amount of time for it to come and an even longer amount of time for it to dump me off at myrtle-broadway. at this point my slurpee was dunzo and i was worried that my entire mouth was stained red. WHY DIDN'T I GET THE PINA COLADA FLAVOR? i always wondered why my mom would only get pina colada flavored slurpees back in the day, and that is because it is the only flavor that won't make you look like you are five years old. ah well, the more you know.

the j train took forever. the f train took forever. i'm never going to get to coney island, i thought. i knew i had to be patient. i listened to the grimes record the whole way down and looked out the window. long train rides are better with scenery, so at least there was that. it wasn't that i was miserable on the train, i just felt like i was terribly, terribly late for everything. well, i ended up doing all right: i rolled up to surf and stillwell a little after 2:30, where i met ken and a friend of his on 15th street. ken had fashioned himself a lovely cardboard mermaid tail that he promptly threw away as we were leaving the parade. sad! oh well: the mermaid parade was wonderful like it always is. there were mayan mermaids, steampunk mermaids, occupy wallstreet mermaids, IWW mermaids (solidarity, holla!), mermaids from the titanic, and, of course, stripper mermaids. it was great. every mermaid parade is always such a wacked-out little microcosm of what's been going on in the world. i remember back in 2008 when everybody was protesting how astroland was in trouble and how all of the oceanfront property was going up and all that jazz. this year, we are all going to die when the world ends and atlantis has been occupied. wonderful!

the floats were boring and slow and ken and i decided to call it a day when the roving bands of weirdos on foot had passed. ken went home and i went across the street to check out the beach. i hadn't drank water all day because i am a goddamn fool, so i slaked my thirst at a public water fountain. i made my way down to the water, which felt perfect. a girl with a diana camera asked if she could take my picture and i said that she could. i bought an italian ice and stood in the surf while i ate it. it was getting late. i didn't want to use the boardwalk, so i just walked down the beach until i got to brighton. leaving the beach to return once more to the streets of new york city is always such a strange physical experience. the wind is in your hair, everything is golden and blue. then you know you must go and so you pull yourself out. or is it that you are being sucked out? on the train ride home you find yourself to be a complete mess: you are burned, your hair is everywhere, your lips are stained red and the heat has pushed you nearly to the point of delirium. it's like that feeling you get right after having rough sex with somebody you love so, so much. so there you go, completely fucked and completely exhausted and suspended in a state of jittery wonderment.

when i got back to my 'hood, there was a gigundo psycho block party happening on my block. i bought a brooklyn summer ale and smoked a cigarette on the roof. i jumped in the shower and drank my beer while showering. the time was approximately seven-thirty. i felt really nervous about going to the show. i always feel that way when i'm by myself and going to a SUPER COOL MUSIC VENUE even though my friends were the ones playing and that i would see people i knew eventually. my makeup was melting as i was applying it. i am not cool enough for anything, i thought, even though i knew/know that it isn't/wasn't true.

i got on the train anyway. duh! on the way to glasslands, i told myself that williamsburg is nothing but a glorified nerd fiesta. cool: party on, losers! i started to chill out once i smoked another cigarette and got inside the venue. glasslands is probably my favorite place to see music in brooklyn, i've decided. if you are alone, you can sit on the bench. if you are with friends, you can stand anywhere! and if you want to smoke, you can go across the street and sit on the sidewalk like a badass. the sound is great, the drink prices are not, but the drinks themselves do the job. the brooklyn lager tallboy was my drink of choice for the evening. i think it truly is the better deal.

vincent cacchione provided the opening DJ set, of which i caught the tail end. pc worship was warming up as the set was going on, and one of the dudes was doing the sound-check to the beat of the music. "check, check, checkcheckcheck. check. check. check. check. cheeeeeeeecccckkkkk. yeah. good. that sounds good. check, check, checkcheckcheck." awesome. shortly after they started playing, i noticed cole standing off to the side and i went over to say hello to him. we chit-chatted about the opening bands, all of whom he knows and hand-picked to play the release.

"i am so happy for you," i said.

"aw!" he replied modestly. then: "do i have anything in my teeth?"

"you are good to go," i told him.

pc worship was very cool, and so was forma. pc worship was very slacker-y, very pixies-ish, while forma had a staid, slow-building kraut rock thang going on. the pairing of the two for the show was perfect. i ran into gwen in the bathroom line and then i ran into andrew while i was outside smoking. as soon as andrew went in to start setting up, matt appeared, having just emerged from imbibing an alcoholic beverage in the van. we smoked and talked and i told him all about our fucked up union contract at my place of employment. we went inside and pushed our way up to the front of the room just as DIIV was about to start playing. i couldn't stop smiling. i felt so happy for them. the energy was amazing. they started playing and everybody went nuts and started shoving each other around. i thought about the first time i'd ever seen them at shea stadium, what, like a little over a year ago maybe? i instantly knew that this was something. it has been a pleasure to watch this band unfurl. 

i am not sure, but i'm pretty sure the set ended with "doused." the boys did not play an encore, but that was okay because you cannot imagine witnessing the comedic gold that was catching a glimpse of andrew spitting up a giant swig of veuve cliquot as the curtain to the backstage area swung open for a hot second.

gwen, matt and i went outside for air and smokes. andrew and cole and the other dudes were making the rounds, so we sat on the sidewalk and took discrete sips of booze. ("LET ME SEE THAT VOOOOOOVE!") "i am always looking for the DIIV band members," gwen said, referring to post-show round-ups. "it's like where's waldo. oh, look, there's andrew."

the men of the hour filtered through the crowd. eventually we went inside for a spell, and eventually each of us grabbed an amp, a drum head, or a case of something to put into cole's van. the bartenders informed us that they were locking up, and it was over. by that time, it was very late. i wanted to stay later, but i had to work in the morning and i knew that ending the day at that point would let it remain as it was: perfect. there was no bombastic ending. it ebbed away, never to return, just like a wave. today i felt sad that this day i had been thinking about for weeks was gone, but now, as i am sitting in my living room searching for an ending to this story, i know that the best thing to do is to let it go so that i can get taken by another one.