Things have been sort of bananas lately. Work has been crazy, and nearly every weekend has been chock full of travel, or visitors, or both. This weekend we had blessedly little on the docket, so we took the opportunity to spend time with some local friends and finally give the apartment a fraction of the TLC it’s been missing out on while we’ve run all over the place. While I was waiting for the Chinese food delivery guy (hey, I never said we were superheroes) to run up the stairs with our order, I looked at our newly clean living room and thought to myself, Hey, this place is actually pretty nice when it’s in some kind of order. I tend to get pretty negative about our apartment and everything we hate about it, but we’ve lived here for 2.5 years and it is most definitely a reflection of us, if nothing else.

So, about that whole hanging-out-locally thing. As residents of an outer borough, it is somehow very gratifying to spend an entire weekend without crossing that body of water that separates our home turf from Manhattan. The trains are basically always messed up on the weekends, and, well, it just seems so much further away if you have to go underground (the subways out here are elevated).  E and I spent Saturday during the day wandering around the old world’s fairgrounds further out in Queens, enjoying the beautiful 50 degree weather. The former fairgrounds are now a park that is in some disrepair, and is peppered with the remnants of New York’s 1939-40 and 1964-65 world’s fairs. Being something an enthusiast for theme parks and world’s fairs, this park was one of the things that made me excited about moving to New York when I was generally pretty unhappy about the deal. When we rented our apartment, we had to drive to a bank to take out cash to give our landlord, and we passed the fairgrounds on the highway. I saw the top of the Unisphere poking out above the trees and was immediately excited to visit, and that’s still true today.

As usual, we wandered around the New York state pavilion, and did some people-watching by the Unisphere. We had grand plans to go to the Queens Zoo, also in the park, but it was chillier than we anticipated, so we ducked into the Queens Museum of Art (recently — and oddly — featured in the movie New Year’s Eve) to visit our old friend, the Panorama of the City of New York. The park remains one of my favorite off-the-beaten-path sites in the city, and if you have the time to trek out there, I highly recommend it. I’m hoping to use a Mets game as an excuse to get back out there again in the coming months, to drink some beer and heckle some baseball players who make way more money than I ever will!

Saturday night, we met friends at a speakeasy-style lounge in Long Island City called Dutch Kills. No one in our group had been there, but it was a fun bar with a great vibe and fantastic cocktails. We got there around nine and were able to get a table right away, and all night the place was just the right amount of busy — you felt like there was a lot going on without being overwhelmed. I am not generally a mixed-drink kind of gal, but this bar was a delicious exception.


Something we all oohed and ahhed over was the fact that each drink was chilled with hand-cut ice to suit the needs of that beverage. Above was my drink for most of the night, the Marie Antoinette, with its tiny little cylinders of ice. Other folks at the table had drinks “on a rock” — with literally one large chunk of ice — or “served long” in a tall glass with a single long, cylindrical piece of ice. Definitely cool (pun not intended, but appreciated). They also include the recipes for their cocktails on their menu, which you can download from their web site. That kind of inclusiveness helps counteract the pretentiousness of a bar this young masquerading as a speakeasy, and makes me pretty excited to try to recreate some of our favorite sips from the evening.

E and I both slept late this morning, which was well worth it for a lot of reasons. We’re gearing up to watch the season finale of Downton Abbey tonight, and I am more excited than I probably should be. I want to run out and get some snacks for the viewing, but can’t think of anything themey, and the whole point of watching television is themed snacks, am I right? Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I was pretty stoked that time I made “fish biscuit” sugar cookies for a Lost viewing party. I do have a bottle of sparkling wine in the fridge. I mean, fancy wine is appropriate, no?