Yesterday morning I was rudely awakened by the sound of a chopper apparently preparing to land on my roof. No big deal, just a partial building collapse a few blocks away. Living in New York we get used to falling asleep to the piercing drone of sirens and jolting awake to a violent symphony of dump trucks and jackhammers. But we live within a diverse urban ecosystem that includes many acres of wooded refuge. This summer, the NYC Parks Department is encouraging us to “unplug from the diversions of everyday life,” and “connect with the natural world,” by offering free camping in public parks in all five boroughs. Registration is extremely limited and will be assigned via lottery for each program including dates in Brooklyn’s Prospect, Marine and Fort Greene Parks this week. (more…)
We’ve all been there: wistfully admiring the cover of National Geographic Traveler at Barnes & Noble while waiting for a movie at Court Street Cinemas. On the cover are happy, wealthy suburbanites traipsing along a wooded ridge, a family huddled around their freshly-caught fish or the sunrise on a distant lake. They are miles away from the city and loving it. You think, “Camping must be for rich folk who can afford all that gear.” And you never go often enough to justify dropping hundreds of dollars on the necessities. Dejected, you turn and head to the 9 o’clock showing of That’s My Boy, alone.
But fear not, potential backpacker! Brooklyn has two home-grown outdoors stores that rent camping equipment to the casual camper without the REI (Really Expensive Items) or EMS (Extreme Measures Suggested) prices. No more eating ramen for a month just so you can go to the woods and eat ramen! (more…)
A group of our friends has an annual late-spring (pre-mosquito) tradition of overnight camping at Floyd Bennett field in Brooklyn every year. (Yes, this is the place where some newspaper reporter incredulously roughs it for a night each year, because, Fuggedaboutit, you can actually go camping in Brooklyn???, only to discover that it’s pretty much like camping anywhere else.) In the past, our friend Matt booked one of four gargantuan plots for $50 a night, where a bunch of people could pitch tents and nobody was within farting distance of someone else’s.
This year, it’s a whole different scene, owing to the National Park Service’s long-term goal of transforming the underutilized bucolia into a mini-Yellowstone. Those big plans are already underway. (more…)
All summer, the city’s parks department hosts free family camping nights in different parks throughout the city, but if you want to be sleeping under the stars in Prospect Park, today is your last chance to register! You have to enter the lottery to win one of the 30 spots available for 8/19, which is the last day the camping is offered in Brooklyn (Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island still have dates available). The program, put on by the Urban Park Rangers, starts with a cookout and includes other activities such as stargazing and night hikes. Everything is included so that means you and the kids just need to get there (and maybe bring your DJ Roomba). [via DP Blog]
So Gypsy Fest was canceled, due to not having a “vending license” or some such legal whatever the organizers didn’t get. But if the fest piqued your interest, you get a consolation prize: free camping! Camping in Floyd Bennett Field is usually $30 a night, but, since organizers did pay for that permit, you can top the Frugal Traveler and sleep out under the stars for free. Just be prepared to share the space with a few dozen bummed festival-goers. (more…)
My challenge was this: to figure out how to get a group of four out of town for a week, with a $500 budget for lodging. It was a tall order, even for this frugal traveler. Most choices at that price were slim, and they tended to look like they were furnished for our budget—several decades ago. But a bit of sleuthing uncovered rustic cabins in magnificent park settings and appealing homes advertised at higher rates but available to the skilled negotiator for less. There wasn’t a Sun Valley chalet or a Bora Bora bungalow in the bunch, but I did find some nice getaways for little more than the cost of a staycation. (more…)
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