Summer 2016

Citibike route: Brunch to Bouldering

Our new favorite route to ride a Citibike is from brunch at the South Street Seaport's Made Fresh Daily bakeshop—over the Brooklyn Bridge—to Dumbo Boulders.

Made Fresh Daily is a sweet café in hundred year old former ice-house on cobblestoned Front Street. Their name says it all: everything they serve is Made Fresh Daily including housemade hummus, soups, chilis, and baked goods. The Weekend Brunch menu includes pancakes, all kinds of delicious eggs, sandwiches and salads.

The bike ride itself is a breathtaking twenty minutes best done in the early morning before the crowds. Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and/or a hat because there is no shade on the bridge. (And practice Brooklyn Bridge etiquette - staying in the bike lane).

At Dumbo Boulders where you can exert yourself climbing with a $9 daypass (gear included). 

If you're new to Citibike - you can go online to ensure there are bikes available at Peck Slip and Front Street just a block from the bakeshop.  Even better, download the Citibike app. Pay right at the docking station with a credit card ($13.50 for a day pass that allows you to ride 30 minutes at a time before checking in or docking). We like to request a paper receipt to keep track of our docking code. Just enter your code and your bike will be unlocked. Then use the app to find a convenient docking station when you get to Brooklyn. There you can pick up another bike anytime throughout the day to explore Brooklyn Bridge park, or head back to Manhattan. 


Summer's tangy orange-rhubarb compote

Our friend Luise once turned her rhubarb harvest into a beautiful rhubarb feast - rhubarb squares, rhubarb-pops, rhubarb compote. Last time we rode the train together on a Friday night she told me this recipe and my guests were licking it off their plates that Saturday night. Serve it with scones, crepes, vanilla ice-cream, a lemon-ricotta tart or just a spoon.  

Serves 6

  • 8 stalks rhubarb
  • 2 oranges (zest and juice)
  • .5 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Scrub rhubarb and orange clean with vegetable brush under running water.
  3. Trim edges of rhubarb, cut into 2 inch lengths, toss into roasting pan.
  4. Zest oranges, juice oranges, add to rhubarb.
  5. Sprinkle rhubarb with .5 cup sugar (or more depending on how tart you like it).
  6. Roast for 20 minutes or less (until rhubarb is soft but not has not collapsed).

Road Trip: New York's Schoharie Valley

New York's Schoharie Valley has a rich pre-colonial history—home to the Mohawk who had a lucrative fur trade with the French, Dutch, British and German colonists.  It was also occupied by migrating tribes of the Iroquois on its Western border. 

General George Washington's rebel troups considered the fertile Valley  "The Bread Basket of the Revolution" for growing wheat to sustain them in their fight against the British. 

The roads winding through the Valley offer spectacular views and reveal many towns whose cafés, general stores, and brick oven pizzerias are worth a stop.

This Schoharie Valley guide will help you plan your excursion. Consider a visit to Howe Caverns where you can explore the underground cavern by boat and pan for stones,  The Old Stone Museum Fort, and other historic sites

Just south of Schoharie, in neighboring Delaware County, is Bloomville's Table on Ten —a great home base from which to explore. 

AirBnB: Table on Ten, Bloomville, New York

Bloomville's Table on Ten is a great home base for exploring the Catskill Mountains or Schoharie Valley. This beautifully preserved 1860's house is home to a café and an inn.

We love the attic whose wrap around windows, king-sized bed, exposed beams, will welcome you home. Just before our visit (booked through AirBnB), an architect stayed in the attic and left a detailed drawing for improving it with a private bath. Today you'll find a clawfoot tub central to the design. 

If you plan your trip over a long weekend, you can not only eat breakfast at the café but enjoy its renowned brick oven pizza. We're going to shoot for July 4 one year just to gorge on Table on Ten pies. Don't be shy about gathering tips about the area from the friendly staff. And use the Table on Ten website itself to do a little research about their purveyors - including local farms you might visit along the way.

Labels for the Kitchen Garden

You may already be harvesting the sweet peas you pushed into the earth in late February but now is the time to begin succession planting new peas, radishes, baby beets, carrots and lettuce.

To make the initial one inch furrows and keep track of just what you plant  - consider labeling tongue depressors with a white grease pencil. They'll hold up for one season and can then be tossed into the compost.

Irish Hunger Memorial

Yellow Flag Iris, Burnet Rose and Cross-leaved Heath cling to the hillside that is the Irish Hunger Memorial in lower Manhattan. It's transcending to climb this half-acre of country side which includes the foundation of designer Brian Tolle's ancestral stone cottage transported from County Mayo, Ireland—"an expression of solidarity to those who left from those who stayed behind."  

Tolle memorializes the loss of 1.5 million Irish during the Great Famine of 1845-52 brought on by the potato blight and a host of complex political issues. The famine took roughly 20% of the population of Ireland and, by 1890, 40% of the Irish population was living abroad.

From the top of the hillside—25 feet above Manhattan streets—one has a view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island through which millions of Irish emigrated to the United States. This beautiful, feral landscape changes throughout the year —with dozens of hardy native Irish plants growing among the 32 stones representing each of Ireland's counties. If you are a Geocache fan, there is a great puzzle to solve in finding the capsule hidden here.

Vesey Street and North End Avenue.

Open 8am to 9pm between May 1st - October 31st, and from 8am to 6:45PM from November - April.

Hudson Valley Bottle Shop


Inspired by antique bottles he unearthed as a boy, Kevin De Martine's thirty year old Bottle Shop in Salt Point, New York is a treasure trove.  Each room has a theme—bottles, earthenware, tools, kitchen implements, old tins and cigar boxes—and it is meticulously organized.

Between the old carriage house and barn that make up the shop is an outdoor space full of antique metal work and other things that standup to the elements. 

 Open 11-7 except Tuesdays.

The Bottle Shop, 2552 RT 44, Salt Point, NY, 845-677-3638

Lemony Sweet Corn and Sweet Pea Salad

This is a tart twist on the three bean salad that includes farm fresh summer corn, sweet peas and lemon thyme.

Julienne two cups of sweet peas lengthwise. Remove kernels from one fresh ear of corn. Mix with 15 ounces of chickpeas and 15 ounces of black soybeans (either drained and rinsed from a can or freshly soaked overnight).

Put the juice of one lemon (roughly 1/2 cup) and an equal amount of olive oil in a jar with a tablespoon (or less) of dijon mustard and a tablespoon of fresh lemon thyme leaves. Shake to emulsify. Add sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Toss together vegetables and vinaigrette and chill for about an hour before enjoying. You can also throw the last few servings of this into a summer salad or gazpacho.

Rock Climbing Down Under


Down under the crashing surf of cars, trucks, motorcycles and subway trains barreling across the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn's DUMBO is an oasis of zen calm. Here expert and novice climbers puzzle out the ever changing routes at Dumbo Boulders.

A day pass allows you to climb all day (including rental gear) for just $9. With a hand stamp - you can come and go —exploring the rest of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Parents opting out of climbing still have to spot their kids but don't have to pay for themselves.

You can sign up for classes from $25 to $125 (taught by The Cliffs) or sign up for a summer-long membership from Memorial Day through Labor Day including an intro class, shoe rentals, and two rainy day passes you can use at The Cliffs indoor facilities.