Fun and Frivolity on the 4th…

watermelon salad 2

As Huey Lewis and the News sang, “Picture This” scenario… I am up by 5:30am, dressed in my spinning finest and on my bike by 6:15am. I am feeling mighty fine about myself and then reality hits and definitely sucks. In walk a tall blonde and a lanky brunette in lululemon workout bikinis.  Jesus, can’t they even start class with a top on?! They both have long, straight hair and seductively braid it as the music envelopes the spin room. Talk about a “Bitch Slap” for the frizzy set.

They mount their bikes and the blonde informs those in the environs that she is not a natural…I know she is in ‘marketing’ mode, but how short do her short pants need to be?…way too much information! Not only am I envious of their perfect 20 something bodies, but I am equally offended by what they might leave on the seats as they dismount without sanitizing…their skimpy bottoms don’t sufficiently cover their personal equipment thus jeopardizing the integrity of the bike seat!

Next time around, there has to be an in vitro app where I can input a request for Scandinavian parents with long thin legs and narrow hips! Thankfully, a ‘normal’ woman hits the elliptical outside the spin room in a too-short top and bottom, also displaying too much information. Is this what they call information overload? Her haircut looks like a beaver took a big bite out of the back and her highlights put the Housewives of New Jersey to shame…bless you and order is restored.

Ahhhh, that was a good vent so don’t hate me because I am honest. The following is the core of today’s blog, suggestions for how to enjoy a fun, stress-free, 4th without having to wear a bikini if you don’t want to. Additionally, I do all the advance work.

New York City:

NYC on the 4th of July offers a cornucopia of activities, highlighted at night by the Macy’s 4th fireworks extravaganza, hosted by Nick Cannon and featuring Mrs. Cannon, Mariah Carey. The all-star line-up features, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez and Tim McGraw.

Access points for prime viewing are at 24th, 26th, 27th, 29th, 33 and 34th streets, 40th, 42nd, 44th, 50th, 52nd, 54th, 56-57th. Usher produced the soundtrack which accompanies the 40,000 fireworks which will bombast during the 25 minute display. The Red, White & You show starts at 8pm. A visual must, the Empire State light show during the last 5 minutes of the Fireworks finale.

If. like most of us, you don’t have or know someone with a summer home in the Hampton’s, upstate NY or Connecticut, then head for the Punk: Chaos to Couture exhibit at the Met which runs through August 14th. Take a leisurely stroll on the Highline and stop for brunch before or after in the Meatpacking district. Suggestions are, Pastis, the Standard Grill, and Dos Caminos. Outside dining available at all these establishments. Pick up a book and find a seat at Hudson River Park. Best lounging is done between 59-68th street. Grab lunch on the esplanade along the Hudson River. Quench your thirst with a lemonade, beer or sangria wine at the Pier i Café at 70th Street and Hudson River. The LaFreida burgers and fries are quite tasty.  

As previously mentioned in my blog, rent a bike and pedal down to the Statute of Liberty on the impressive Hudson River Park bike path with amazing Hudson River views.
FLASH, the Statute of Liberty on Liberty Island is due to open up after re-modeling on the 4th. Take the first ferry at 8:30am if that’s on your wish list as wait times can be in excess of 90 minutes for later boats. (By the way, Ellis Island is still closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy).

Explore Central Park, have lunch at the Loeb Boathouse, rent a row boat and paddle the lake or walk up to the conservatory at 105th and Fifth Avenue and escape to the country with a plethora of seating and glorious blooming flowers featured in 3 separate gardens, each with a distinctive style: Italian, French and English.

Batter up with the Mets at Citi Field as they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks at 1pm.

Los Angeles:

If you want to remain sane, avoid the beach in LA on the 4th because it is a sequel to” Escape From LA” as everyone streams to the Santa Monica beaches, pier and Promenade. Go to a movie at Century City or view the Helmut Newton exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City, admission is free. Brunch at  the Ivy, Asia de Cuba in the Mondrian (amazing view) or the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge and then stroll Beverly Hills, Melrose or Beverly Blvd. in WEST Hollywood.

Visit the Lake Shrine self-realization center in Pacific Palisades to enjoy the scenic beauty and serenity. The 10 acre site features gardens and a lake, inhabited by swans, ducks, koi and take in the lovely gardens. Bike to Manhattan Beach on the Santa Monica bike path and have breakfast or lunch at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House, established in 1961 with unsurpassed ocean views.

Drive to Vegas and see 98 Degrees, New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men at the Mandalay, be enraptured by a Cirque du Soleil show or hustle over to oggle Ian Ziering (90210 fame), starring in the Chippendale’s review…relive your youth, gamble, dance, drink and forgot about everything.                                 

If you are in charming, historic Boston, drive to Rockport and stop at Woodman’s in Essex for a fresh, succulent lobster lunch near Wingaersheek Beach.

In San Francisco, escape the city and hike Mount Tamalpais Watershed in Marin County and have lunch at Half Day Café on College Avenue in Kentfield. Drive to Point Reyes and have a casual lunch at the Station House or pick up Cowgirl Creamery cheese in Point Reyes and fresh bread and have a picnic at secluded, Limantour Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore …it’s worth the hunt. Dogs allowed on the left side of the beach. Don’t be surprised to see horses roaming, as well. This beach is phenomenal and a well-kept secret, until now.

Whatever you do have a ball…it’s a day (weekend) off with family and friends!

Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad

– 3 cups freshly cut watermelon

– 1 large heirloom tomato-the mixed colored (red and yellow) tomato is the sweetest

– ¼ cup Feta cheese

– 1 tablespoon fresh mint

– Balsamic vinegar

– Fresh ground pepper

In a large bowl, mix in cut up watermelon, diced heirloom tomatoes, fresh mint and generously sprinkle feta over the top. Add balsamic vinegar (to taste) and fresh ground pepper. Let chill for at least 15 minutes before serving.

This is an amazing sweet and savory simple salad. Impressive, easy and refreshing! I modeled it after a similar salad I had at Jean-George’s Columbus Circle restaurant, Nougatine.

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