If there’s one thing I took away from this pop culture-clogged summer, it’s that there exist increasingly more and more places to turn when in need of a distraction.
There’s the goofily fun and nostalgic “quintessential summer stuff” that always offers respite from long days in the office, like amusement parks and barbecues. In July, I had the pleasure of coming close to death over and over at Rye Playland, a theme park that has been open for eons and is home to the fortuneteller that ages Tom Hanks in the movie Big.
Then there’s the exciting stuff, the things that you feel like you’ll only get to experience once in a lifetime that make summer the most magical of seasons. Twice I had the true honor to dine at Mission Chinese in downtown New York City, a Danny Bowien-helmed implant from San Francisco that is serving up the most heart-pounding Asian-inspired food I’ve ever eaten before. I sampled wacky dishes like pork jowl and radishes alongside red braised pig tails, slow cooked in root beer and sweet and sour pineapple. Kung Pao pastrami sat beside thrice cooked bacon, both dishes generously laden with freshly ground peppercorns that destroyed my taste buds for days afterwards.
In the weeks following the Channel Orange explosion, I braved the New York derecho-during which I literally saw a fruit stand get whipped into the air like it weighed nothing-to witness firsthand Frank Ocean’s vocal perfection at his Terminal 5 show. The concert was simultaneously reverent and ratchet, audiences chanting along to each and every word to songs like “Thinkin Bout You,” “Pyramids,” and the days-old “Bad Religion” as Frankie grinned and shuffled around the stage in awe of our complete devotion. It was, as I still attest, a total religious experience, and nothing was cooler than seeing his Odd Future buddy Tyler, the Creator thrashing about in the balcony, clearly thrilled to see Ocean achieving such grand success.
More than anything else, however, I learned that nothing is as amazing of an experience as it is when you’re experiencing it with friends. This summer brought flocks of Boston College folks to the Big Apple and I’ve never quite felt so in love with the city as I did when traversing its nooks and crannies with those I love.
My associate editor Taylor, assistant editor Dan, and fellow editor Christina played along happily when I bussed them around the town to events like the eagerly awaited Governor’s Ball. A two-day long festival, the Ball culminated for me when Major Lazer-essentially just Diplo at this point, who fans can catch at the House of Blues in Boston this October-dropped a one-minute long segment of The Heights’ approved “Express Yourself” as a topless woman drunkenly flung her arms in the air onstage. Taylor claims to still have the scratch marks on her arm from when I grabbed her as the reverberating “womp-womps” signaled the track’s start. I know Margaret still has the duck masks (“TOO LITERAL,” we screamed) from Duck Sauce’s set.
As a group, we took trips to local joints on the beach, food festivals in Brooklyn (The Great Googa Mooga, which also featured a giant mechanical pig spitting flames in front of a performance by Lez Zeppelin), a double-bill Rye Rye, Sleigh Bells show on the beautiful Hudson, and far-flung house parties in Battery Park City. We greeted our summer with a wallet-busting meal at a speakeasy tucked away behind a pawn shop on Essex Street. We passed on Beach House in favor of diner food, got drunk and danced the night away at Lana Del Rey’s show, and learned that our Metro assistant editor is extremely competitive at badminton.
This was the summer that I truly learned how to be independent for the first time, but it was also a time at which my friends helped save me and helped shape me, for which I’m eternally grateful and forever in their debt.
I write this at the conclusion of the first day of classes, my last first-day of school at BC. As I look back on the last several years, and especially this summer, I know now that I wouldn’t have done anything any differently. As much as I’ve enjoyed it all, I’ve never been more excited for a semester at school. Bring it on, BC.