Getting the flavor of...
Pure, unadulterated Malibu
On a sunny day in Malibu, Calif., “nothing can match that moment when you stand at the water’s edge, the roar of the surf pierced by crying gulls,” said Alix Sharkey in CNTraveller.com. Though crowds swarm the 20 or so local beaches on summer weekends, hundreds of other sunny days arrive each year, which means all you need is a towel and the freedom to lie on it. On many a weekday, my wife and I take the Pacific Coast Highway, grab cold drinks at Point Dume Plaza, and head for a small cove near Zuma Beach. It’s a beauty, but so is every other beach in Malibu, most of them facing south toward the sun. After greasing up, we “make like the surf and crash.” No music, no books, no Frisbee—just soaking in the rays and slumbering, breaking once for a 20-minute swim in the chilly surf. A novelist wrote in the 1930s that Malibu rates as “probably the finest beach ever created by God.” Money and weekend crowds haven’t changed that.
Revolutionary New York
“New York City is a battlefield,” said Russell Shorto in The New York Times. Though often forgotten, the biggest battle of the American Revolution unfolded in New York in 1776. I recently retraced key moments in the clash, beginning at City Hall Park, where Gen. George Washington rallied his men, knowing 400 British vessels lurked off Staten Island. At Bowling Green, Washington’s soldiers toppled a statue of King George, and as I walked to the nearby Hudson River, I envisioned British warships again racing by with cannons blazing. In Brooklyn, 22,000 redcoats routed American forces on hilly farmland near the Old Stone House, now a fascinating little museum off Fourth Avenue. Washington and his depleted army barely escaped to upper Manhattan, where his temporary headquarters, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, retains a “revolutionary vibe.” No wonder Lin-Manuel Miranda chose to write part of Hamilton there. ■