News & Culture in Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Points Nearby
January 25, 2021
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News + Views

Summer Brain Freeze

By Renee Dale

Renee Beach PhotoI don’t know about you, but this is pretty much all I’m thinking about right now. And I’m not an irresponsible person. I just can’t shake thoughts of the ocean and dewy grass and saltwater and crickets humming in the dark. Also, a leetle break from the pavements of our fair Brooklyn.

I’m distracted, impatient, unfocused. I’ve become so tethered to the rhythms of children and school schedules that as June

Columnist Renee Dale

Columnist Renee Dale

draws to a close, I find myself behaving like a fourth grader about to embark on months of vacation. I’m fidgeting. I’m daydreaming. Who do I think I am? Why does regular old life in NYC make us feel entitled to extended breaks from life in NYC? Such coddling we seem to demand. I’m not in fact on my way to two months of work-free bliss, but the trips I’ll take far away from here, when I’ll be in very different places, are calling to me now with a keening wail. I can’t wait. And I think those very trips are what make life in wonderful, complicated, close-quartered Brooklyn more agreeable. Juxtaposition.

When routines resume in September, I’ll be filled with love for our city again. I’ll be relishing the order that school creates, and the precise allotments of time when I know I can be at work. There will be sweaters and boots. Leaves and soccer. Brooklyn Bridge Park will probably have an NFL stadium and ski jump by then. But with the free-form chaos of summer, there comes so much goodness to savor. There are outdoor showers. There are peaches to eat on the beach. There are my favorite Rhode Island farm stands. Family cliff dives. Body surfing in Duck, NC. There is ice cold Riesling. There are daily ice cream cones. For me as well as the children. If I had to choose, I’d pick the Riesling, but contrary to my seasonal glee, I’m not a school kid so I don’t have to choose. Advanced age can be rewarding. I fully embrace the food/wine/picnic/frosty beverage bounty of July and August.

I’ll resume the column in the fall, when there will be, as always, much to discuss around here. Will the timing of the school day have changed for all local schools by then? Some in Brooklyn have already adopted crushing start times—8:00am! 8:20!—and alarming pick-up times of 2:20pm. I’m imagining those 40 extra minutes fluttering away from me like a lost dream. A formerly productive patch of time reduced to a tiny ash heap. We’ll be able to see how everyone—working parents, teachers, kids—fares under the new schedule. Maybe it will be fine. Maybe no one around here will have anything to say. Maybe no one will take a position one way or another. But that’s plain silly! This is brilliant, busy, opinionated, infuriating Brooklyn. The only time all Brooklynites completely unify and find things just peachy all at the same time is when they’re out of town, on a beach, eating one.

In keeping with my misguided, childlike belief that I’m about to Be On Break, I’d love to wish you an excellent summer and to thank you for reading weekly with such dedication. So I will: Enormous thanks, and please have an excellent summer, whether you’re here, there, or elsewhere. Taste some good tomatoes. Eat ice cream every day. Do a handstand in the pool. Embrace the “break.” It starts right about… now.

Renee Dale is a writer living in (where else?) Brooklyn. She and her fiancé and their four kids live in a narrow, tilting “house” in Cobble Hill. Or is it Carroll Gardens? When Renee isn’t writing, she’s engaged in various museum and natural history pursuits and can often be found lurking the Hall of African Mammals. In this column, she brings her anthropological talents to bear, covering everything from parenting to local news to whatever else bursts forth in our Brooklyn life and times.

Renee tweets @ReneeMDale

And you can visit her website here:


Read Renee’s other columns:

Brady Bunch Brooklyn: Renee’s Very Modern Family


The Awkward Stew: You and Your Sitter at 1 a.m.


This Problem is Not Sexy: Too Early Sexualization of Girls


Rated P for Permanent: Dale advocates for adding some R-rated classics to your child’s repertoire


A Little S&M With Your Crispy Kale: Dining in Brooklyn


Home, Sick: Face It. Nothing Is Getting Done Today


Aerobeds: The Reason for the Season


All Good Things: The Best Things to Do Right Here, Right Now


I Love Her: Film Review & Essay


Nets! Nets! Nets! Brooklyn, It Seems, Is Currently In the House


Short People Got No Reason To Still Be Awake


Some Things You Know You Know


Jolie Laide Brooklyn


What If It Happened To, You Know, Me?


Let There Be Lightness


An Incident


Just Say Thank You. Why Can’t Women Take A Compliment?


Can I Ask You A Question?


Ambivalence & Outrage BROOKLYN, A Fancy New Retailer


There will be Nachos, Blossoms, and Taiwanese Pancakes, Best of Brooklyn this Spring


Brooklyn’s Best Bites, Renee Dale shares her favorite spots


The Tyranny of June


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