Lens on August 2018

With this month coming to a close, I feel the wings of fall beating around the corner! Fortunately it is still blazing hot so I don’t think summer is going to let go without a fight. This month felt busy and quiet at the same time. I was so glad to have a long holiday weekend to relax and reset for the month ahead.

One new good thing this month – I started running (and bought appropriate footwear)! I joined a running group that does a small loop in Central Park every week and so far I have gone each week since the beginning of August! There has been some talk within the group about preparing for a 5K this fall, let’s see.


A relatively quiet month for eating out, with a few fun places on the list around the boroughs.

The Jeffrey (Upper East Side) – an affordable after-work spot with an outdoor patio! Delicious pretzels and plenty of drink options.

Steak with platano maduros (sweet plantain) at Beso

Beso (Staten Island) – My husband and I spent the day on Staten Island to celebrate his birthday and went here for our meal! This Spanish tapas place offers a delicious brunch deal with a drink and three course meal. I enjoyed huevos rancheros and sopapillas, a fried tortilla with sugar, vanilla ice cream and espresso sauce. My husband had the steak dish (shown above) and some of my meal too!

Lincoln Station (Brooklyn) – an adorable café just north of Prospect Park where I attended a book club. I had one of the grain bowls which was so large I saved most of it for dinner the next day too.

Beyoglu’s mezze platter with hummus, yogurt, spiced vegetables, spinach, eggplant and bulgar.

Beyoglu (Upper East Side) – This Turkish restaurant has lovely decor and even better food. I love their mezze platter with the warm, fresh bread! I ate the whole loaf. Really, I did.


A good month for visiting Parks outside Manhattan!

McCarren Park Pool (Brooklyn) – nestled within the popular McCarren Park, the pool is a beautiful facility in Brooklyn with a walk-in pool, recreation center, and art deco touches in the entryway!

Coney Island (Brooklyn) – a field trip to the boardwalk meant the opportunity to get Nathan’s fries for lunch (and Rita’s ices for dessert!)

From the boardwalk at FDR Beach in Staten Island.

FDR Beach and Boardwalk (Staten Island) – sitting under a gazebo on the boardwalk was a nice opportunity to see the water and people watch.

One of the many gorgeous walkways at Snug Harbor

Snug Harbor (Staten Island) – a beautiful (but seemingly understaffed?) botanic garden whose grounds also contain museums, a farm and a quaint Chinese Scholar’s Garden.

These old trees lined the path at St. Mary’s Park

St. Mary’s Park (Bronx) – a sweeping park in the south Bronx with a number of fields, a recreation center and beautiful tree-lined walkway.


Some fun weekend events and summer-in-the-city favorite perennials!

Weekend in Vermont – the month started out with a weekend trip to Waitsfield Vermont, for a cousin’s wedding. We stayed in a basement Airbnb, close to the venue. We went to the Waitsfield Farmer’s Market on Saturday to check out the local scene and get some bites.

Dominican Day Parade – this perennial parade which went up Avenue of the Americas, celebrates Dominican culture. It was a hot day but thousands were outside along the parade route waiting to see guests of honor such as the Mayor and Prince Royce!

Shakespeare in the Park – I won tickets to see Twelfth Night, and the Public Theater once again put on a great performance with wonderful music by Shaina Taub.

A woman in a blue skirt observes a painting from Picasso’s blue period at the Met Breuer

The Met Breuer – thanks mom again for the Met membership! The Met Breuer moved into the old Whitney building a few years back, but I hadn’t yet been to this extension so I was happy to go. We checked out the “Obsession” exhibit, with works from Klimt, Picasso, and Schiele (some pretty explicit) but with fascinating histories.

Crazy Rich Asians – my #1 most anticipated movie of the year! Having recently finished reading the third book in Kevin Kwan’s series, Rich People Problems, I had been so excited to see the movie. It totally exceeded my expectations! While some plot points were adjusted, it did not affect the overall effect. And to be honest, the ‘main’ character, Rachel, was much more relatable and more of a character in the movie than in the book. I laughed, I cried, I loved it! I can’t wait for the next installment!


It’s been so great listening to audiobooks that I feel like I’ve been slacking, but overall I did get through quite a few books this month.

How May We Hate You, Anna Drezen and Todd Dakotah Briscoe – a hilarious look into life as a hotel concierge, but relatable if you work in customer service, or live in NYC and see tourists. I had to stop myself from actually snort-laughing on the train.

The Financial Diet, Chelsea Fagan – a very basic look at becoming financially literate. I like reading the blog but the book was very beginner. I’d recommend it for someone graduating college (or younger).

The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro (Audio) – I really, really wanted to like this book. I was excited to read his take on an Arthurian-style tale as I do like tales of knights, dragons, etc. But sadly it fell flat. The writing style was a bit obnoxious, and even during the more ‘exciting’ moments, nothing happened. It was a lull-you-to-sleep type parable that just didn’t do it for me. I loved Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go”, but not his “Remains of the Day” and I think I won’t try another.

Stunning artwork on the cover of The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick – I had seen the movie based on this book, and the book itself was very sweet and with some beautiful drawings. A quick and fun read for an afternoon.

The Complete Maus, Art Spiegelman – the heartbreaking tale of a Holocaust survivor, through the son’s perspective. It was a sweet story of their relationship but also the wrenching tale of how the father survives his trials and tribulations.

Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik – I was excited to read another Novik book after Uprooted, thinking maybe the author might mature. The characters in Uprooted were a little undeveloped and flat, and in Spinning Silver Novik made a 180 and developed ALL OF THE CHARACTERS. There were too many to keep track and each chapter was a different perspective which felt like you were trying to pieces the story together with a broken mirror, but then you saw too many of the same reflection. I loved that the main character’s family was Jewish, and while that was an important part of their story, it wasn’t the main focus, but it absolutely enhanced the book. I loved the determined and strong Miryem but found some of the relationships a bit unbelievable (especially the main one). Overall a fun fairy tale but could have been half as long.

The Lost Years of Merlin series, T.A. Barron (Audio) – I am revisiting some of my favorite books from childhood. Sadly they don’t translate well for adults but it’s still fun to tag along on young wizard Merlin’s ridiculous adventures. I’m not a fan of the reader and his wild voices but it’s entertaining while on the subway.

Well, that’s it for this month. Hopefully on to cooler climes, I have had enough of this stifling hot weather! What are your recommendations for the fall?

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