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It’s tough coming home to Brooklyn in the summer, especially when the bright turquoise water along the Jersey shore is crystal clear and here the Feels Like at 7 pm is 92 degrees. Bleh. The cool thing is we don’t have to make food because it’s too hot to eat and don’t have to clean because it’s too hot to make a mess. Basically I’m a lump of sticky flesh surviving on cold coffee and my newest vegan concoction – creamy chocolate pudding with frozen blueberries. It’s good. I licked the bowl so clean my boyfriend thought it was clean and put it back in the cabinet.

My sister’s pool is seeing a lot of me this summer and, as mentioned before, I’m a little envious of her nice new mountain home. So imagine my surprise when my niece called. She wants to leave her wonderful pool and come visit me here in the city in the middle of summer. It’s not going to happen for many reasons including my broken refrigerator. This girl loves the city and thinks my apartment with its light wells, roof views and fire escape kitty is so cool.

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Sometimes it is. Back in May, I began my next trip around the sun here. We used a Groupon for one of the sightseeing cruises, something I’ve never done before, and enjoyed Brooklyn and Manhattan as I like them best: from a distance. The tour guide on the boat talked more about the high rent than the city’s history or the structures we passed. He didn’t do the city justice, but the wind drowned him out anyway. It was a cool, windy day. Remember those? As you can see, hot coffee was the precious – they brewed us a fresh pot. Lady Liberty is photobombing this lovely picture of me and my sister/Mario-brother-in-a-froggie-suit lookalike. We forgive the trespass.

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Posing with magical coffee again. Here I have a side mustache, very trendy now, and my hot date looks like a Bollywood movie gangsta.

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It’s nice to be back in my own space. I can think straight and the water is drinkable right from the tap, which seems to be a depressingly rare treat in this region. My family and friends in NJ, NY and PA don’t seem to notice the smell and sour taste to their water. They take offense when I bring bottled, but it’s that or dehydration.

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The city seems aware of its summer flaws. It knows how bad it smells, how how the crime rate spikes and how hard it is to see only concrete and buildings when so much of the country is in full bloom. In exchange it offers a library that rarely lets me down, except in the horror department, and all sorts of free outdoor cultural greatness. Before leaving, we were lucky enough to be in Brooklyn Heights and hear about the opera recital on the waterfront just a few hours before it began. It was part of Met Opera’s free Summer Recital Series, which is over now, but you can catch the free HD series in Lincoln Center come August.

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Three singers performed a dozen or so arias and duets from Madame Butterfly, La Boheme and other famous operas. Much as I love going to The Met and seeing a full performance with the orchestra and elaborate costumes and sets, opera flexes its muscles outdoors, pared down to its purest.

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As the sun finally dipped behind the skyline, the city fell in sync with the music so well it felt like a set. The performers waved to tourists on large sightseeing boats drifting by, seagulls glided over the river, children ran around. Rather than a curtain closing, the show ended with nightlights flicking on and those the opera left enchanted, wandering piers in search of cappuccino and pie.

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