After six and half days of the gloomiest skies in New York's history, I saw the ☼ promise on Monday's forecast and pinned my hopes on an inaugural visit to the beach. Because of the contagious nature of New York's moods- 8 million people suffering or swooning from the same climatic swings- some of my nearest, dearest and most inspiring were doing the same.
Within ten minutes of disembarking the B53, even before setting eyes on my beloved sea, I see two of the most inspiring women I know walking towards me off the boardwalk and knew the day was kismet. Khara Ledonne, locket painter, magic maker and aspiring seafarer, and Heather Feather, star gazer, underwater life explorer and ace storyteller, had just powered up at Rockaway Roasters and were taking the shoreline back to Arts In Parts. I tag along and listen to some of Heather's sage advice. The only person I might think to compare Heather to is Gertrude Stein, host of the Parisian salon where artists and philosophers who defined modernism would meet (Picasso, Hemmingway, Matisse, Fitzgerald and the rest). Heather is not only a champion of horseshoe crabs but also of art, freedom and anyone living honestly in pursuit of these things.
I confide in her that the last week of grey had compounded my frustration with plans to make suits again. Heather is an expert in not only astronomy but astrology as well. As we share a birthday, she lets me in on a secret about Sagittarians: we are symbolized by an archer indicative of our nature. Pulling the bow back, we align the arrow to hit our target. Because we aim for the biggest of dreams, we can can become caught in the act of aiming and miss the moment to take action, or, in my experience, develop a fear of it. Too much tension; not enough release. The best intentions intimidated by actualization. Tell me if I'm alone on this, but when I hear things in astrology describing my most obvious innate traits, I want to think there's something to it after all.
Exiting the Arts In Parts house of dreams, I make my way up to the beach, feeling calmed, activated, encouraged. Passing the movie-set-in-progress, I tuck into a slope on the sand and set up camp. Dip toes in icy waters of still-45 degree ocean. Dare to strip to my swimsuit top. Settle back onto my purse-pillow and pull out my project for the afternoon. Sand intermittently pumices my skin and belongings, swept across me by stiff afternoon winds.
The rest of the afternoon is a continuation of the dream. Running into old friends and beach dwellers, giving me confidence in the summer season to come. If you make it to Rockaway this week or in the coming ones, stroll down Rockaway Beach Blvd to check out the exceptional shops that have sprung up there over the last couple of years. Not to be missed, the minimalist beach vibes of Off Season at 92nd Street and the eclectic treasures of Zingara Vintage at 91st, both open Wed-Sun. Also open seven days, exactly what we've been praying for, Surf Club and Tacoway-- forever the best fish tacos-- at Beach 87 below the train. If you're lucky, maybe these two groms'll be inside ordering you a margarita when you arrive, too ; )