Having spent the first eighteen years of my life in a sunny place called Cocoa Beach, I consider myself a warm-weather gal. As much as I’ve grown accustomed to the northeastern four seasons and developed a love for the falling leaves in autumn and the first flower blossoms in spring, I still prefer New York City summers the best. I might have something different to say once November rolls around but for now it’s all about my love of sunny days and warm temperatures, and all the goodies that come with.
Months ago I recall an afternoon in the office when to a co-worker’s mention of his excitement about the upcoming summer season I scoffed at him replying, “summer’s almost over.”
“The first day of summer isn’t until tomorrow,” he said back.
“Well it might as well be over,” I continued. “You know it’s gonna fly by.”
So here we are, less than a week from the official last day of summer and first day of autumn. Three months gone in a flash as I’d anticipated. I suppose we can continue along acting as if it’s still ‘summer’ as long as the warmer weather remains. We can wear cutoff jeans and sandals, we can picnic in the park on the weekends and we can dine at outdoor cafes and drink sangria. But that little voice will still be there whispering, “Get over it darling. Summer is over.”
It’s true. It’s been pretty much over for weeks now. I knew it the Tuesday after Labor Day when I walked past the neighborhood park and saw the community pool an empty concrete box, no blue, overly chlorinated water, no children screaming and stubbing their little toes. This morning my thoughts were centered on the leaves that were actually falling in colors other than green, and the children in uniform, marching to school with their backpacks. As I stand in my closet these days, I shake my head at the idea of wearing white jeans and think what a shame that I only wore that new sundress twice and won’t again until next year (if I even dare). I look at all the summer recipes I never made and remind myself of the approaching shift to stews and soups—the comfort foods of cold weather nights. I cross my fingers that the Italian ice stand will be open at least a few more weekends so that I can get another before it’s time for hot cocoa, and I think of the promenade of beautiful plantings along the West Side Highway and remind myself that I should get out for another few runs before the trees are leafless. I feel disappointment over the movies at Bryant Park that I missed and the concerts on the pier I didn’t get to.
But I think also about all the things I did get around to this year, like Fourth of July at the Jersey Shore (a.k.a. the new Riviera), a day of beach yoga and surfing, a pool party with friends, a few barbeques and plenty of summer evenings outside and good enough number of weekends in the park. I can even check the peach pie off my list as I finally got around to making one last week for a friend I’d been promising one to since last summer. Had it not been for the ever-faithful fruit stand in Chelsea I might’ve had to offer up my best, “Sorry—I promise I’ll make you one next summer,” as, though it seems hard to believe in New York City with grocery stores and gourmet markets on every other corner, I had to go on a wild goose chase to find a pie’s worth of ripe peaches. In Whole Foods I was actually told, “Well miss, you know, we’re starting to phase the peaches out.” Phase the peaches out—words a lover of summer never wants to hear and a sure sign the season is coming to a close.
There’s nothing quite like fresh peaches. There’s nothing quite like summer in the city.