Sometimes adventures go awry. The idea is there, and the plans, too. But the scheme gets tweaked maybe only an inch in one direction or the other…and then the real fun begins. I arrived in Manhattan last week with an open schedule (besides the usual re-visit to Otto Enoteca), and I was in air-conditioned-apartment mode until Ace came up with an idea: the beach. And he had plans, too.
We hopped in a cab and headed for the 34th Street/Midtown Heliport, where we would take a 4-minute ride on the New York Water Taxi to a beach Ace had heard about just across the river. In Queens. Its official name happens to be Water Taxi Beach. We had swimsuits and suntan lotion and bottled water, and we were ready to feel the sand between our toes.
First glitch: we missed the water taxi and had to wait an hour for the next one. But, okay, no problem. We eventually made it to Queens…only to find that the beach was closed for the day.
We inspected the beach, anyway, which was enclosed in a chain-link fence. It looked like a big truck had just come in and dumped sand in a parking lot. No swimming and no pets allowed. A bar and some tables had been set up for happy hour.
This beach is supposed to be a happening spot during the summer; I tried to imagine what it would have been like if water-taxi-loads of young urban professionals had been there. The sunsets. The fruity cocktails. The dark suits. I could see it—but we were stuck on the outside of a chain-link fence for another hour without a ride back to Manhattan.
Of course, we made it back to Manhattan, even though our best option was then to get dropped off at Wall Street and take a cab back to the East Village. The day ended up feeling like an exploration. As the whole thing turned out, I think that I probably had a better time as it was than if we had just showed up at a real beach and settled into the sand.