I had to stop at the drug store and buy a bottle of sun block since we’d be outside all day. Of course, that’s why we missed the bus, but getting up and out of the house on Saturdays can be a challenge. The shuttle to the Aviator Sports Complex at Floyd Bennett Field was scheduled to depart from First Avenue and East 1st Street at 1:30 last Saturday. But a text or two later and we discovered there was another bus leaving from Williamsburg at 3, so we hopped on that one and wound up arriving in style with only two other people on the entire air-conditioned 52-seater. It was a nice start to a day out of Manhattan, with some hot bands, fun in the sun, slip ‘n’ sliding, dodgeball, beach volleyball and swimming pools—all for free.
The Rock Beach party was being sponsored by JellyNYC and since, unlike most of New York, I’d never ventured over to the wildly popular shows put on by Jelly at McCarren Park Pool, here was my chance to experience one of their parties.
When we arrived at the field, the music was already blasting, apparently the second band in the lineup. "What did we miss?" I asked organizer Alex Kane. "I don’t know. Right now it’s Janka Nabay and the Bubu Band, though." Nabay is from Sierra Leone and one of the bestknown performers of bubu, a 500-year-old tradition in his country.
There weren’t a shitload of people on hand, but that just made it easier for us to grab a cup of beer and chill out on the pavement. Lots of the cute boys and girls were in bikinis and cut-offs, lounging on blankets, but me and my friend Gugu started dancing wildly in front of the stage. Not only were we were getting rays and burning calories, already we were having fun. He wore a ridiculously flashy gold top and a crazy pair of platform boots without heels. "Love those shoes!" was one of the popular refrains of the day. Toward the end of his set, Naby shouted, "Thanks for dancing out there," gesturing toward us.
I guess being in the fresh ocean air made people friendlier, because over the course of the day, whether playing dodgeball, swimming or enjoying the sunset, we chatted with several complete strangers who were enjoying the music and the outdoors. Eventually we had to head home, but Kane had told me that for some upcoming shows, partygoers will be able to camp out. Now I’ve gotta find someone willing to share a sleeping bag.