Monday, July 18, 2011

Fun Times in the Summertime

Us Western and Upstate New Yorkers like to moan about the winter, and rightfully so. But this brief period of warm summer days makes it all worthwhile.

I have been so busy!

I love urban living. Love it. You will NEVER get me back into the suburbs, where all the McMansions look the same and everyone shops at Big Box Stores and you have to drive everywhere. Or to the countryside, which in my experience has been synonymous with isolation. Here I have three farmer's markets (one of which was voted the Best Large Farmer's Market in the country twice), many wonderful boutiques, parks, coffeehouses galore, and a variety of events and festivals all within walking/biking distance. The houses here, including the ones divided into apartments (like mine), are all beautiful examples of early twentieth-century architecture with great emphasis on curb appeal. Nothing like a simple stroll through a lovely neighborhood topped with a stop for cappuccino at a funky cafe.

The pictures above (which are not mine) are from our annual GLBTQI Pride Parade. With the passage of same-sex marriage in New York State, this year's celebration was particularly special. If you have never been to a Pride Parade, go. The atmosphere is like Christmas: everyone partying with strangers and good will all around. It was right on my street and attracted the most diverse crowd of people I have ever seen anywhere. All ages, races, gender orientations, and sexualities just hanging out, drinking, blasting music, and cheering as the floats went by. Next day was the Pride Picnic in the park by the river. First held in 1972, the picnic has become a local institution attracting some 3,000 people over a six-hour period. There were vendors, tasty food, and a dance pavilion. I was actually there as a volunteer for a two-hour clean-up shift. I was supposed to change the bags that were getting full but took it upon myself to remove the recyclables from the trash and place them in the proper receptacles. (I care about the environment that much.) But still, it was a great time and the hot, sunny weather was absolutely perfect. I already can't wait for next year.

The only people not having a good time that weekend were the fire-and-brimstone protestors who positioned themselves mid-route at the parade and waved their silly little signs. They looked so lonesome and pathetic that most people just laughed. I wonder if it's ever occurred to them that they're just part of the attraction. ("Ooooh look! Christian whackos like we see on TV!") Parade veterans call it the "holy gauntlet."

Once that volunteering was finished I rode my bike along the river path and over the bridge and arrived at the co-op where some friends of mine live. They were about to leave for yet another festival, this one put on by the local independent coffeehouse chain. This is a smaller event held in the parking lot of their flagship location featuring artisans and live bands. From there we went to an authentic English pub for a birthday. Over the course of that weekend I ate 1 pint of ice cream, a funnel cake the size of a dinner plate, a large saucer of crème brûlé, a 16-oz. can of Mike's Harder Lemonade, and two rum & Cokes. But I walk and ride my bike everywhere so it's okay. Much apologies for the silence but it is so hard to sit inside and type when there are so many places to go and things to do. But I do get to read outside.

The season holds yet more festivals and joyfulness ahead, and not to mention general fun times. Oh how my winters will evermore be filled with the longing for happier days ahead.

Update: And Shakespeare in the Park! How could I have forgotten to mention that amazing performance of Othello, featuring a most Palpatine-esque Iago?


JoAnn said...

Sounds like you've found your ideal place! Never cared much for the 'burbs or real country, but I do love our little town. So happy with our legislators, too.
Nothing like summer in Upstate NY!!

winstonsdad said...

looks like a fun event ,all the best stu

Emily said...

Yay, it sounds like you're having such a good summer so far! We haven't had much truly summery weather here yet, but I definitely relate to the need to get outside and enjoy the brief yet glorious season when it finally arrives.

And good for NY State on legalizing marriage rights for all!

Amy said...

Definitely sounds like a great time, you live in a great place! And I agree, Pride Parade is always a ton of fun.

E. L. Fay said...

JoAnn: I ♥ New York! (Seriously, NYC people need to stop claiming that for themselves.) I actually wouldn't mind living in a small town, provided it wasn't too far from a larger city. Some place like Coatesville, PA would be pretty cool (although that's technically a small city).

Stu: This whole summer has been fun!

Emily: Yay New Yoooooork! Home of equality and good times!

Amy: I would love to attend a bigger Pride Parade, although I liked the more intimate feel of ours. I actually recognized a few people. Actually, I just found out that our whole Pride Festival is the second biggest in the state outside NYC.

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