This past Sunday in celebration of Labor Day Weekend and to acknowledge that summer is ending and if I were still pursuing higher education I'd be going back to school now (thankfully, I'm not—and thus my brain continues to rot), I arranged a gathering/picnic/impromptu frisbee game on Governors Island. In particular, picnic point, aka, "the farthest point on the island you can possible go to when you get off the ferry." My friends who didn't have bikes were ecstatic to hear that (especially Tristan, my limpiest friend).
But it's the best place to have a large gathering since it's just a big lawn with lots of picnic tables, benches, and hammocks that happens to be in view of the Statue of Liberty. Nice. Perhaps the only downside is hearing a random song/art piece ever 15 minutes or so (or more, or less), but it's hard to tell after a while because you're like, "WHERE THE HELL IS THAT SONG COMING FROM AND CAN I DESTROY THE SOURCE BECAUSE IT'S DOING FUNNY THINGS TO MY BRAIN THAT I FIND ALARMING."
Why is Governors Island cool? Because it's a world away from New York City but only takes about a five minute ferry ride to get there. What was once a military base for the US Army and Coast Guard is now a mostly car-free (and more bike safe) weekend getaway spot featuring colonial buildings, historic forts, acres of grass and trees, and awesome views of Lower Manhattan (...and Jersey City). Wikipedia has way more history if you want it.
If you've never been to Governors Island before or heard of it, you have until October 11th to get your bum over there. The island is open on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., although there are extended hours for the next two weekends because of the New Island Festival. The ferries from Manhattan and Brooklyn are free, so you can't complain too much when you have to wait for 40 minutes to get on one. That would be my warning: you may have to wait for one or two ferries to go by before you can board. The Manhattan ferries are larger than the Brooklyn ones. I've only taken the Brooklyn ferry though (taking my bike on both times), so I'm not sure if Brooklynites are necessarily better off taking the Manhattan ferry.
But enough of this boring information stuff—time to bring on the useless photos and commentary.
The star of the picnic were the gazillion banh mi sandwiches from Saigon Banh Mi, lovingly transported by Greg, Kathy, and friends. I forget how many there were, but as you can see...bucketloads of em.
I went with the basic spicy pork—the one filled with multiple kinds of pork (roast, ham, pate), loads of pickled shredded carrots and daikon, cucumber sticks, and glorious cilantro. The whole sandwich was only $3.75 and provided two servings. That's some crazy cheapness. I felt food coma-y after just eating half of it.
Other foodstuffs in the sugary category included Sugar Sweet Sunshine cupcakes from Cheryl, homemade peach iced tea and lemon bars from Lisa, homemade gluten-free black bean brownies from Sarah (yes, such a thing is tasty!), and egg custard tarts from Diana.
Some of us moseyed over to the nearby snack stand since I sort of forgot about bringing adequate liquids (note to you: bring liters of something when going to a bodega-less island). The beverage options were iced tea, lemonade (sadly not from real lemons), and $2 bottles of water. Colin acted as a guinea pig by asking for a large cup of 75% lemonade with 25% tea. We passed the cup around; "Oh god, this is too sweet," was the general consensus. I went for a 50/50 blend, which was still a smidge sweet, but mellowed out as the ice cubes melted.
So whatever you do, do not get a cup of just lemonade or else you'll get diabetes.
There was a Blue Marble truck nearby, but I wasn't hungry enough to try it (besides that I've had Blue Marble ice cream before and give it two enthusiastic thumbs up). Not hungry enough for ice cream? WHAT HORROR IS THIS? Just fullness from banh mi.
WE DID MORE THAN EAT! There was bubble-blowing action. (Bubbles so nicely provided by Kåre as part of a lovely birthday party kit he mailed me from Norway.)
And "Greg, get the fuck off my boppy-sized bike" action.
And frisbee-throwing action, which resulted in a few near-hits with the young couple lounging in a nearby hammock...with their baby. I hope they didn't hate us.
Many of us came with dSLRs in hand—more specifically, Canon cameras.
More of us should have brought ukuleles, but Marcine was the only one who thought to bring hers. Note to self: learn how to play my ukulele.
And after the "let's take photos of each other" and "let's pretend we know how to play Marcine's ukulele" options ran out, we just hung around, getting closer to nature. I mean, suffocating the grass with our butts.
We headed back to the mainland when the clouds rolled in and brought some chilly gusts with them. A part of me thought, "NOOO I STILL WANNA STAY HERE," but then I realized it would be better to get the "wait in line for the ferry and bike 4-ish miles home" part over sooner than later.
I capped off my awesome afternoon in a most opposite way: by staying home for the rest of the night and eating instant ramen for dinner as feelings of insecurity swirled in my head. JUST ANOTHER SUNDAY NIGHT.
But my Sunday afternoons are not usually filled with huge groups of friends just hanging out and eating food. I need to remind myself how grossly lucky I am to have these people in my life. Many thanks to all of my awesome friends for showing up: Greg, Mel, Lisa, Cheryl, Grace, Veronica, Winston, Foster, Tristan, Jason, Claire, Jim, Diana, Tam, Al, Marcine, Sarah, Lee Anne, Ken, John, Colin, Itty, Kathy, and Shann. I'm not sure how else to show my thanks besides attempt to link to all your non twitter/flickr/livejournal/etc. websites.