08/02/16 9:00am
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Brighton Beach is waiting for you, at the end of the Q. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

I will choose Brighton Beach over the Rockaways any day, and it’s not just on account of my last name. This laid back beach boasts irrefutable seductions: It’s easily accessible via the Brighton Beach stop on the B or the Q train, from which the sand is less than a five-minute walk. It’s spacious and rarely overcrowded. And the best part? It doesn’t feel like a damn American Apparel ad.

Though on the outskirts of what is essentially Little Russia/Odessa, the crowd that’s scattered across the beach is always diverse, and families are very much welcome. The bathrooms leave much to be desired (wear your shoes and hold your nose), but the water is consistently warm and tranquil and the sand is clean, you know, for New York. Unlike the Rockaways, the Brighton Beach boardwalk is relatively bare when it comes to food and drink (apart from Tatiana and Café Volna, two pricey Russian restaurants whose pleasures we’ll leave for another time). So while you won’t find tacos or happen across a hip flea market here, there’s a very undeniable allure to this boardwalk, beautiful and aging in the harsh sunlight. Whether it’s the gusto of foreign languages swirling around you, or the unparalleled people watching, there’s something about Brighton Beach that will make you feel much further from your apartment than you are, maybe even like you’re on an overseas adventure.

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Poppy seed-filled pastries at La Brioche Café on Brighton Beach Avenue. Photo: Regina Mogilevskaya

Before you set foot on the sand, hit up some of the small shops and bakeries that line the streets for snacks, salads and sandwich makings. You won’t regret it. One challenge is that in many stores the signs are exclusively in Russian, so if you have a friend with some Slavic language skills, hit them up for their assistance. Or get ready to point and nod and smile a lot. And keep in mind that the Q train will get you here in under 30 minutes from Atlantic Terminal, so it’s a solid shorefront destination even in the winter, when many of the hot dishes will be even more appealing. Here are three of the best spots to stop and stock up. (more…)

05/25/16 2:35pm
There's a free concert in Green-Wood Cemetery on Monday night, featuring works by "permanent residents." Photo: Green-Wood Cemetery

There’s a free concert in Green-Wood Cemetery on Monday night, featuring works by “permanent residents.” Photo: Green-Wood Cemetery

Yippee! It is AMAZING outside today, and I have to tell you that this weather couldn’t be better timed as far as I’m concerned. I’ve spent the last 36 hours and counting in that special place in hell known as the UPS customer experience, and have needlessly missed a day of work, endured an abysmal journey to the dispatch facility in Canarsie that was clearly the inspiration for this, and spent about half my waking hours on the phone, all in my ongoing attempt to own an actual bed frame for the first time in my adult life.

Point of my boring tale being: It’s high time for this week to start feeling a little more ideal! And it already does–we’ve got certified flip-flop weather and a three-day weekend looming. Not just any long weekend, either, this one includes the opening of city beaches and Governors Island for the season, so there are lots of great ways to get outside and enjoy the outdoors even if you never got it together to plan a trip out of town. If you are looking for a good read to bring to the Rockaways, hit up Greenlight Bookstore’s sidewalk sale on Saturday at 10am before you head out to Riis Park or Coney Island. And, while we’ve got your attention, you might want to snag a ticket to Birds, Beers & Burgers, a special dinner and viewing of Creative Time’s Fly By Night that’s going down at Brooklyn Grange Farm next Saturday, before they’re gone. But we really shouldn’t be talking about next week when there is so much immediately approaching stuff to set our sights on. Read on for our best tips of how to keep yourself occupied in the Ideal Week stretched out in front of us, and have a very happy and safe Memorial Day weekend! (more…)