How I Spent My Summer Vacation
NY Press

Some people spend summer lounging by the sea, some traipsing through foreign lands and some sweating like pigs right here in New York. But whether you hang out in the Hamptons or schvitz in The Village, summer comes with more adventures than any other season.

Now that September is here—bringing the promises of new beginnings, trains packed with college kids and another cold-as-shit winter—we’re looking back at how a slew of New Yorkers kept cool during the hottest days of the year.

Joanna Angel
Porn actress and director, owner Burning Angel

“I live in Williamsburg but spent the summer in L.A. When you grow up, there’s really no summer anymore, but there were fun work things. We recently re-launched Burning Angel so it’s a whole new design; the Burning Angel book came out; we had new movies come out; and I did my first featured dance at a strip club in New Jersey at a club called The Harem. We took a limo from Brooklyn to New Jersey and I danced to Mötley Crüe, The Dropkick Murphys and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I also went to the studio and recorded a song. I have a movie called Rock ‘N’ Roll in My Butthole, it’s an all-anal movie. I wrote a song for the intro credits of the movie and people liked it. People have actually asked me to play shows, which is funny because I only have one song. I might just get the music without the lyrics and do it karaoke style.”

Abe Vigoda

“[I] feel like an old geezer. But on the street, everyone tells me that I look the same as I did when I did Fish, 30 years ago.”

John Linnell
They Might Be Giants

“I always get the ice cream sandwich from the guy in the park. It sounds dull but it doesn’t make a mess. For a puritan like myself, having sticky hands after you enjoy an ice cream cone in order to be more comfortable when it’s boiling hot is like the chickens coming home to roost! Enjoy your summer pleasures while you can, young people, for come September it’s back to the salt mines for you!”

Allison Kelly
Designer, Dahl by Allison Kelly

“I did a lot of really exciting things. The best was shooting a commercial for Saturn, the car company, which is one of the sponsors for Project Runway. I was supposed to design a dress for the car, and they gave me a car for a day. And I drove around. Then I designed a dress inspired by the car; it had a sunroof so I put an opening in the back. We shot around my neighborhood in Williamsburg, and the commercial aired a few weeks ago.”

Paul Sevigny
Owner, Beatrice Inn

“I went to Cannes for the film festival. Then hit Vegas and went to L.A. to look for a space for a club. I went to the Demolition Club in Paris, and my band played a show there. I went to Montauk for surfing and a party for Hugo Boss in the Hamptons. I played Lollpalooza with my band, ARE Weapons, and with Uffie. I DJ’d parties for Vogue and Seventeen and that sort of thing. I spent a lot of time setting up the Beatrice at the Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City. We’re lucky enough to have people involved who are giving us a chance to do it our way, which is pretty rare. It’s the equivalent of putting a man on the moon. I don’t think I’ve spent three straight days in New York since April or May. I show up at the Beatrice when I can, but you also need to do your laundry, pay your bills and water your flowers.”

Cory Arcangel

“I went to Norway, and I climbed this mountain called The Pulpit. It’s one of those crazy things that looks over the sea. That’s the most intense thing I did. Two hours up, two hours down; but in Norway everybody does it—grandmas and little kids. It’s normal.”

Andy Blankenbuehler

“All summer I’ve been choreographing Nine to Five [the musical]. I spent most of the summer in New York and am in L.A. now. It’s been great, but a lot of work. It’s a must bigger show than I anticipated, so it took a lot of time. I did take two days off and went to a lake—that was the extent of my summer vacation. Being in L.A. is great, we work noon to midnight, so every morning I take an hour with my son and my wife and we go to the pool, which is a treat. We usually get away to Italy, so hopefully next summer we’ll be getting back to that. This summer was a new experience, too, because of the Tony Awards. It was a distraction, but a good one.”

Peter H. Gilmore
High Priest, The Church of Satan

“My first visit to Atlantic City which was a blast. My wife and I visited Margate, just a bit south, to see Lucy the Elephant, a building constructed in 1881 made in the shape of a 65-foot-tall elephant. She’s exquisitely restored. Then strolling northward along the boardwalk let me see deeply into the carnal pursuits of our species, where dreams and desires are so wantonly on exhibit from the taffy and souvenir shops to the flashy casinos, palaces of greed that look so magical at night with their blazing lights calling forth flocks of gulls which slowly circle in a languid gyre over the skyward pointed Klieg lights. We topped-off the evening experiencing Tom Jones belting out his classic tunes at the Taj Mahal. That guy still has quite a set of pipes.”

Daisy Martinez
Host, Daisy Cooks on PBS

“I think the most remarkable thing about my summer was that I made it a point to spend girl time. I’m the mother of three boys and one girl, and with four males in the house there’s a lot of testosterone flying around. In the summer, the house empties out, so I made it a point to do girl stuff. I went to Atlantic City for a few days with my girlfriends, I went to Washington, D.C. on a long girls’ weekend. When I wasn’t traveling, I was having the girls over for barbecues. Lots and lots of estrogen! Next summer I hope to be in Spain for the running of the bulls.”

Lady Bunny
Performer, DJ

I appeared on a PETA billboard in lower Manhattan. I’ve been plastered many times, but never with my giant mug on a billboard. The campaign is not urging KFC to stop serving chicken, just to stop the unnecessarily cruel de-beaking and scalding the birds alive. I DJ’d for Lacoste’s 75th birthday on a boat in Paris. It was a hoot to hob-knob with the chic set of Paris, from the young dancers doing some new dance called the technotronic (a cross between voguing and rave moves) to Karl Lagerfeld.

Joking, I thanked Karl for designing my insane sailor suit. Not sure that my humor translated.

I’ve met and worked with Boy George, but was surprised when he asked me to visit his mansion in Hampstead for an interview—only to find that the interview was about me. It appears on the website It was a pity that his U.S. tour was cancelled, since he’s written a pro-Obama tune called “Yes We Can.”

After three weeks in Europe, I got home to credit card bills and realized how crap our dollar is. Penny Arcade told me that she’d visited Morocco, and when she offered a beggar a dollar, he asked for a euro instead. And the news here is still hesitant to say that we’re in a recession!

Suzy Hotrod
Team Captain, Queens of Pain roller derby team

“Since we spend so much of our time skating, we find ways to sneak vacation into each roller derby trip. This summer the team scrimmaged the Philly Roller Girls on their turf, so we spent two days in Wildwood, New Jersey, together beforehand. We stayed in the best retro doo-wop motel, The Caribbean, complete with plastic palm trees. Besides lounging by the pool, we were coincidentally there the same weekend as the New Jersey State barbecue Festival. We swam in the ocean, despite the jellyfish, had a huge barbecue of our own and hit the giant 3-mile boardwalk for junk food, Skeeball and rollercoasters.”

Nick Zinner
Photographer, Guitarist, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

“My band was working on our next record on and off all year, and I had two photo shows: one at the Bozar Museum in Brussels, and the other at Fuse Gallery here. I was pretty excited about those. [Also,] I cemented my suspicion that I never ever want to move back to Williamsburg.”


“My mum came to visit, and after a day at the dog park in Tompkins Square Park, my best friend, myself and the old dear got a little tipsy around the kitchen island and decided to get tattoos and go dancing. We found a tattoo parlor online, made a last-minute appointment and found ourselves walking over to somewhere next-door to a place I think was called the Pink Pony to get the word ‘fun’ tattooed on our forearms. It was my mum’s first tattoo at age 63.

Then we took my mum to a DFA party at Studio B, in her new multi-colored Reeboks, where she proceeded to boogie down until a white chap with dreadlocks tried to seduce her with a pint of lager and some ecstasy. Mum was flattered, but the drugs don’t agree with her—and he was rubbing all up in her face, so we went to Sway instead, where people are less friendly.”

Joan Osborne

“I have a daughter and this is the first year that she’s been able to go to the swimming pool and enjoy that. We have a place in the country we’ve been visiting. We make up games and pick blueberries. I’m reliving my own Kentucky childhood with my daughter. Trying to reinvent that wheel. The Red Hook pool was a big hit—I was amazed at how huge it is. It’s a bit of a fascist dictatorship because they have a very strict set of rules: You can’t bring refreshments or radios with you, and you have to leave clothes in a locker. The first time we tried to go, they turned us away twice. I’m also going to play at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sept. 25.”

Alex Guarnaschelli
Chef at Butter, Food Network star

I always thought an oyster is completely submerged in water all of the time. On a recent boat ride through a little inlet outside Charleston, South Carolina, [this summer] I learned that isn’t always true. As the boat ripped through the water (something that would stimulate anyone’s appetite), I noticed some unusual-looking plants adorning the shoreline. When the boat slowed, I got a closer look at these ‘plants.’ They were actually oysters, one growing virtually on top of the other, like a 50-car pile up on the freeway! They were rooted in the sand but, because the tide was low, some were submerged and others not. The skipper of our boat, Joe, a South Carolina native, saw me staring and pulled the boat over to the edge of a small beach area. “Put those boots on,” he instructed with a knowing grin. He handed me a pair of electric green boots, and I pulled them on slowly as he passed me an oyster knife. We jumped off the edge of the boat into about 6 inches of water and immediately sank about 4 inches into the muddy sand. We crouched over the oysters and gently pulled a few loose. They were covered in grit but still beautiful. I struggled with the knife, the thick gloves he lent me and the fact that I felt I could topple over at any moment. Or would all of these risk factors make the oysters taste even more delicious? I pried the top shell open and tasted the oyster (and its ridiculously fresh liquid) as if it were my first. It was so cold! “Pretty good, eh?” Joe grinned. Better than you could ever imagine.

Phylicia Rashad

“I worked on refining my living space.”