Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Sam's Quarantine Digest #53: August 11, 2021

Hi all,

Remember me? It's been a while! I have been busier than ever, on all fronts, but it's been worth it! I am now a very proud dog mom to the most beautiful little puppy I've ever seen. From his long tail that wags every time I go to pick him up, to his tiny little tongue that gives me thousands of kisses each day, Maple is absolutely perfect. I drove more than 21 hours over 3 trips in the past 2 months in the process of meeting him and bringing him home, and it was worth every second. I am now truly responsible for another living being, which is terrifying (like when a skunk wandered into our yard in the middle of the night while we were outside, and all I could think was "Oh my g-d, it is my job to protect him!" as I scooped him up and ran for the door), but I also already love him with my whole heart, and he clearly already loves me too, and there is no other feeling quite like this. I'm attaching one photo below, but you can see more photos of Maple here (and we'll be adding to this album over time).

I also made a new human friend recently. She's beautiful - inside and out - she's brilliant, she's witty, she's deep and introspective, she's an avid baker and chef (and pretty good at it - stay tuned for a link to her cooking blog soon!), she's well-read, she loves exploring new places, and she likes a lot of the same games and movies and books as I do - we're a perfect match! Oh, and did I mention that she's 7 years old? One of our closest friends is thinking about moving close to our new home (from very far away), and spending time with his daughter a few weeks ago was one of the highlights of the past two years for me. We made pizzas for everyone (making a big ol' mess in the process - one of the best parts of cooking, right?) and we spent some time chatting and getting to know each other. Somehow, this beautiful girl has had a difficult time making friends where she currently lives, but we were besties from the first moment, and I am so happy to be one of the first to welcome her to her new home, where I am certain she will fit right in. It just goes to show that we should never let other people dictate how we feel about ourselves - people can be cruel and stupid sometimes and can fail to see who we really are. And this is yet another reason that I am grateful for all the friends and mentors who are reading this - you helped me find my own view of myself and to recognize my own value, and that's where true confidence comes from. I can't wait to do the same for my new friend, and to help her realize just how amazing she really is.

And so, with that, below is a rundown of some fun options to fill your time this summer, although I hope you will also add one more activity to your itinerary - coming to visit me and to meet Maple! Luke and I are excited for him to meet as many people as possible (safely and separately, of course, but kids and dogs included). And we do have two fully-furnished guest suites now, so please let me know if you'd like to come over - you're welcome at 4 Dows Lane any time!

As always, previous digests can be found on my blog at If you have suggestions or would like to stop receiving these emails, just let me know.

Sending you hugs from afar,

NYC: The "Homecoming" Celebration
  • The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York is hosting a varied series of events as part of Homecoming NYC, celebrating this lull in the pandemic with outdoor events highlighting some of the many things that make NYC so special. You can see the full lineup here, but I'm including some highlights below:
  • The It's Time for Hip-Hop in NYC Summer 2021 series features four free concerts in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx next week, with the star-studded line-up including artists like George Clinton, Kool Moe Dee, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Mobb Deep, Too $hort (I swear that's not just my stage name - I recommend "Bossy" with Kelis if you don't know his work), and even C&C Music Factory.
  • Rooftop Films is hosting a different free, outdoor film screening each day across NYC; see here for films and locations.
  • On Saturday, August 21, at 5pm, Homecoming Week culminates in a huge concert in Central Park, We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert. Reserved seats are quite expensive, but general admission (standing only) is free. You must provide proof of vaccination to attend.
  • The NYC Math Festival was yesterday, but MoMath has ongoing activities and events throughout the year - put your skills to the test and pick up some new ones, along with the whole family!
  • The Public's Mobile Unit is putting on performances around NYC as part of their Summer of Joy program, featuring the National Black Theatre, a Shakespearean troupe, and artist Malik Work; see here for locations and details.
  • NYCxDESIGN has curated five self-guided tours of the NYC boroughs, intended to introduce you to the creative side of some of our local neighborhoods.
  • TIL: Puppet theater is still a thing, and there are festivals for it. The Clemente is hosting an exhibit on puppet theater through the end of September, so if you're looking for a new way to pass the time, head over and check it out. But I can't promise that there are no strings attached. Da-dum, tch!
  • The Shed, at Hudson Yards, has an outdoor exhibit of AR art, The Looking Glass, open through August 29. From Thursday through Sunday each weekend in August, you'll also get treated to food trucks and Flexn dance classes!
  • Head over to Randall's Island next Saturday for an outdoor dance class - you can learn about the history and significance (as well as the steps) of the Wolosodon dance, with live drummers accompanying the dancers.
  • The PBS Short Film Festival 2021 has concluded, but you can still stream all entries here.
  • Alvin Ailey is a dance legend - and now a star on the big screen, as well. A new documentary, Ailey, debuted in NYC a few weeks ago, but it's now available in theaters across the country. Check here for locations.
  • Looking to escape the city? You can catch an outdoor dance performance of The Hikers at Storm King (a huge sculpture park near West Point) on Friday, August 20, or Saturday, August 21.
  • The BAAND Together performance series at Lincoln Center has an amazing lineup slated for Saturday, August 21, featuring the NYCB, the ABT, Alvin Ailey, Ballet Hispanico, and Dance Theatre of Harlem.
  • Ever been curious about the schooner moored at the South Street Seaport? It's once again open to the public to go on board for timed entry every weekend through October.
  • Ever wanted to be part of a Shakespearean insult battle? Now's your chance! Join the battle on August 22 in Queens, followed by a performance by a Shakespearean troupe.
  • El Museo del Barrio has an exhibit open right now, Estamos Bien - La Trienal 20/21 (through late September), featuring contemporary art from over 40 artists from the US and Puerto Rico.
Fun for everyone
  • Football is back! Happy preseason, everyone!
  • When's the last time you wished upon a star? Well, find yourself a dark spot and look up, and you just might get lucky! Check out the Perseids meteor shower through August 24.
  • Christina Tosi, the creative force behind Milk Bar, has a new show on Netflix called Bake Squad, and one of the cast members has the title "Pastry Illusionist" - need I say more? Incidentally, Milk Bar also now has pints of ice cream available at Whole Foods, in four flavors: Cereal Milk, Birthday, Milk Bar Pie, and Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow.
  • The NY Renaissance Faire is back, every weekend through October 3rd, in Tuxedo, NY.
  • Need to smile? Check out these humorous wildlife photos.
Treat your taste buds
  • Looking for a new way to chill this summer? Check out this recipe for halo-halo, a Filipino version of shaved ice that you can make yourself at home.
  • The Boulder JCC has some virtual cooking classes coming up (I plan to join both):
  • There aren't currently any new events scheduled but in case you missed them, you can see previous episodes of the Downtown Alliance's Dine Around Downtown series here, including recipes and demos from the chefs at Keste Pizza, Harry's, Fraunces Tavern, and more.