Category Archives: excursions

Liberland (a post by Lee)

Scoped out Time today, and saw this article.


I mean, there are some obvious problems (the leader will resign if he’s given a position of power in the Czech Republic; taxes are optional which means no one will pay because altruism ain’t gonna get you that far, honey; with no standing army, there will be less men and women in uniforms, and Lord knows I love folks in uniforms), but Life Is Negotiable.


A Valentine’s Day To Remember (a post by Anna)

Nothing says love like sewage plants and government facility tours on Valentine’s Day.

Anne and I rolled into Greenpoint bright and early, and the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant was a madhouse. People on the waitlist and others who hadn’t even registered, all hoping to get a coveted spot on the Valentine’s Day tour. The staff, dressed in 50 shades of pink, handed out Hershey kisses and commemorative pins in the shape of a manhole covers.


After a riveting talk about the sanitation process and how wastewater physically makes it to the plant, we headed out and up the giant digester eggs. These bad boys double as the set for chase scenes in a bunch of big thriller movies.


Our quickly beloved tour guide was the Deputy Supervisor of the plant, and I’ve never met a man with more passion for wastewater treatment. He told us the plant cleans 1.5 million gallons of wastewater a day. He told us baby wipes were the single worst thing that has happened to the water system. He told us that they speed up the process during heavy rain. I asked if anyone had ever proposed here; he said no.


At night, the place turned purple. Lighting design is by Hervé Descottes, who also designed lighting for the High Line.


Thanks to treatment plants like this, NYC’s river water is the cleanest it’s ever been. So it should come as no surprise that they’re planning to install a floating public swimming pool in the East River in 2016. Now let’s all go drink some tap water!!

PS. If you want a real recap of our tour, Anne wrote about it on Quartz!


The Oscars Were Alright Alright Alright (a post by Anna)

Lines, crowds, and commitment are a few of my favorite things. And they all converged for the annual Oscars movie marathon!

I can’t even pretend like this wasn’t my second year of madness. Sammie Sweetheart came in from Boston again just to sit in a movie theater for 24 hours, and I somehow gathered 11 friends for a day of non-stop movies. We met at the Times Square AMC with 400 others and scrambled to find a row to call our home for the day.

The order of the films is clutch when you’re watching eight in a row. They decided to order them by length this year, which would’ve been fantastic if I had seen any film other than Boyhood in advance. There was no rest for the weary. Watching every film in a sold-out theater was especially fun during fake baby scenes in American Sniper.


My first year I showed up with merely a granola bar and a tiny blanket, while the pros around me had bags of Trader Joe’s snacks and pillows. Lesson learned! So, this year I brought a bunch of food I didn’t eat!

Also, the Times Square theater has a vertical layout, where you go up at least eight escalators to get to the theaters. The whole day was an escalator party!


During breaks, they hosted movie trivia like you’ve never seen it before. The questions all required naming the Best Picture Winner in specific year. And somehow, film buffs knew every answer. They had to call a tie between the two finalists because they only had 87 years to choose from. Who are these people!?

Many people stayed the whole night for their own pride, others for the free “I Survived!” t-shirt. My greatest accomplishment was this selfie of only my forehead.


Even though the awards ceremony proved to be the most boring awards show of all time, at least now I can say I’ve endured a marathon.

Par for the Glow Golf Course (a post by Anna)

One time I was reunited with my bestie Cary on the same day I completely lost my voice. It was torture to not be able to talk his head off all day, but I found a remedy: Glow Golf.



Now you may be asking yourself: what exactly is Glow Golf? It’s glow-in-the-dark putt-putt inside an arcade on the 2nd floor of a Greensboro mall, situated next to a Ruby Tuesday. Naturally.


Check out that St. Louis Steamer!

First, we had to figure out the complicated token/gumball/golf ball machine. You must use a one dollar bill to get a token, which is needed to get a golf ball, which is needed to get a putter from the 16 year-old staff standing idly next to you. This is the only way to play Glow Golf.

Glow Golf Balls

Straight out of the 80s.

Finally, having conquered the token machine, we moved on to the real deal. Glow Golf, we came to learn, did not have a particularly clear theme; the golf course mixed dinosaurs, windmills, and the Lincoln Memorial.


Swing, batter batter.

The creators of Glow Golf couldn’t dig out holes on the 2nd floor of a mall, so they built the course on top of the floor. Each hole was designed with the impossible challenge of being surrounded by a little hump. It was also extremely dark, except for the few black lights on the ceiling. As you can imagine, I was great at glow golfing!

Id rather be glow golfing.

In heaven.

Between my voicelessness and the giant dinosaur, the experience was speechless in more ways than one.

Monkeys Riding Dogs (a post by Anna)

When I lived in Texas, I learned that monkeys riding dogs was a thing. There’s a guy who refers to himself as “Wild Thang” and trains costumed monkeys to ride around on dogs. During my three years in Texas, I attended rodeos, barn dances, and hootenannies, hoping to catch a glimpse of said monkey/dog duo. I never fulfilled that dream.

This is real life.

The Dream

Flash forward to when my pal Patrick invited me to see the NY Giants. It was my first professional football game, and my knowledge of the sport extends no further than Tim Riggins and various terms I picked up from my young adult book club’s fantasy league.

The day started at Penn Station. We met up with our Belgian friends Reggie and Victoria, who’d bought Giants t-shirts and read up on American football on Wikipedia. We had a lively discussion about European soccer on the way to the game.


The stadium was mayhem, but we entered through the VIP entrance and headed to our private suite, which belonged to a charter jet company.


The staff in our suite asked us what we’d like to drink and mentioned that if they didn’t have what we want, they’d run out and get it. I ate three plates of buffalo chicken mac and cheese and a dozen chicken fingers.


I learned that Giants fans are intense. To our rear sat an over-served woman who provided constant commentary. If not for her, I probably would’ve had no idea what was going on. We cheered in sync with the crowd.

2014-09-21 14.10.49

I was sitting there, taking it all in, when lo and behold — halftime arrived. And then I got blitzkrieged with… MONKEYS RIDING DOGS. It was unreal.

Wild Thang and his monkeys and dogs

Wild Thang & Team Ghost Riders

I’ll end this story with this:

monkey gif

Finger Lickin’ Good (a post by Anna)

I’ve got this good friend named Bentley McBentleson, and he’s a self-proclaimed Colonel Sanders enthusiast. His loyalty for KFC knows no ends. And by that, I mean he has a KFC tattoo.


photo by Bentley McBentleson

Not long after KFC re-released the Double Down, Bentley McBentleson entered the Double Down Dare. If you aren’t familiar with the KFC Double Down, it’s two fried chicken fillets that sandwich cheese and bacon. Bentley submitted a series of videos for the KFC challenge. A week later, he was named the Double Down Dare Super Fan and awarded $500 and a party at any KFC location. He chose the charming East Village KFC.

Said KFC party just so happened to fall when Cary was coming to visit. Whether Cary wanted to go or not, I dragged him to this once in a lifetime experience.


Time for a KFC par-tay!

Upon arrival, we got swag!!

We couldn't be more excited!

We couldn’t be more excited!

Bentley had the honor of wearing the Colonel Sanders costume.

The man, the myth, the legend.

The man, the myth, the legend.

We had unlimited soda refills! We had biscuits and jelly! We had mashed potatoes and gravy! We had potato wedges! We had Double Downs! WE HAD IT ALL.

Mashed Potato Time!

Nobody does chicken like KFC.

You may think they closed down the KFC for this big party, but nope – scattered around the KFC were regular patrons. Some were slightly confused by our themed attire and enthusiasm; others didn’t notice. Regardless, we congregated for this photo.



If this story isn’t reason enough for you to visit me in The Big Apple, I don’t know what is.

A Bakery with a Bouncer (a post by Anna)

I’m not nearly as into pastries as I am into ridiculous lines.  So I couldn’t turn down a chance to wait in line for a cronut. (If you’ve never heard of a cronut, see exhibit A.) Gin and I woke up at the crack of dawn  for the cronut experience, and it did not disappoint.

I love waking up at 5am!

I love waking up at 5am!

While in line, it took a while for my friend-making skills to warm up. (To be fair, the sun had yet to rise when we arrived.) But once we got talking, we met some quality folks.

My favorite person was the woman in front of us who repeatly joked, “Who are all these crazy people, willing to stand in line for hours?!” (This was her fourth time standing in line.) She told us about the different cronut rip-offs and their inferior quality. This same woman revealed that she is a supertaster, which was a new one on me. Thankfully Gin knew the ins and outs of supertasting, and their healthy discourse on supertasters led us to the topic of favorite hybrid fruits. I repeat, we discussed favorite hybrid fruits. They ravved about the mango nectarine (think mango in a deceptive nectarine form) and pluots (plum + apricots, obvy). Through this lengthy convo, all my hopes and dreams about the cronut line came to fruition.

Meanwhile, the bakery bouncer fended off the crazy people and kept the door clear.

The Bakery Bouncer

The Bakery Bouncer

We finally made it inside the bakery at 9:45am and got in – wait for it – another line. There were lots of admirable things to notice, like this fan.

This random girl was also impressed by the fan.

Check out this random girl coming dangerously close to cutting off her hand.

The cronut limit was two per person, though our lines buddies said it used to be six. There’s a different flavor every month (coconut!), and the bakery only makes around 300 every day. Sadly, no celebs pulled an Emma Roberts that day.

Someone told us about a Craigslist ad that read: “Half eaten cronut (cut with a knife) – $20.” People are making bank off cronuts. I shouldn’t have been surprised when a man walked up to me at 8:30 and offered $20 for a cronut. (I turned him down.) He then asked the couple behind me; the woman said sure, and the man overruled her. I eavesdropped on a 20 minute argument over cronuts that I fear may have been the demise of their relationship. To avoid getting disheartened, I diverted my attention to the cronut production.

Getting closer

Dominique Ansel in action.

Which led to asking the inventor of the cronut for a photo.



Then, after quite the wait, we got our hands on these bad boys.



The rest of the story is boring and involves us eating cronuts and frozen s’mores and other delicacies, which turns out, do not require standing in any line. In the end, I only ate half a cronut myself. With the remainder of my cronuts, I went around the city and force fed a tiny bite of cronut to every friend I encountered that day. Because that’s what friends are for.