Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween in the City

Today I sat on the train next to a man dressed in a baby doll dress, rode an escalator in Grand Central with a bumble bee, hosted a WebEx meeting at work conducted by Marie Antoinette, walked through reception of the office just as Elvis Presley was requesting to see someone in HR, passed a pregnant nun on Fifth Avenue, and watched Stewart Gilligan Griffin and a drag queen argue with an NYPD police officer on 21st Street.

Any other day, this would read like a fictitious post made up solely for blogger entertainment value. This day, it was Halloween in New York City.

Phone Photo Op - Faceless Costumes

While waiting for the 4 train in the 59th Street Station, I noticed two curious legs on the opposite platform.
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Monday, October 30, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Lunch Skate

During my lunch break, I stopped in Bryant Park to watch men in business suits ice skating next to guys in baggy jeans. There were girls in down feather jackets, mothers and fathers with children, and cliques of women of all ages skating in circles (some more circular than others) in the ice rink set up in Bryant Park.
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Sunday, October 29, 2006

That Time of the Mes

Yesterday morning, I called Terrence in Atlanta and ended up picking a small argument for no reason. In the afternoon, I discovered that my behavior could be attributed to the start of a particular time of the month, and I sent him a text message to justify my earlier outburst.

His response: If you know it's close to that time of the month, and you know that is how you get at that time of the month, why can't you understand and control your emotions?

My text reply: Terrence, if there was ever a time when I doubted whether or not you were a man, I will never have that doubt now.

In the evening, in the midst of an estrogen breakdown, Tokii and I purchased the items pictured below.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Street Freebies

You have to love the random people on streetcorners giving away free samples.
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And, of course, there's your average mime from time to time. This one even has his own myspace page.
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Friday, October 27, 2006

Shut Up & Sing

"Freedom of speech is fine, but by God, you don't do it [and something inaudible] publically." - Comment from a man who opposed the Dixie Chicks' views of the war in Iraq

I saw a preview for a documentary centered around the Dixie Chicks and their public discrimination against George Bush and the war. Not being a huge country fan, I vaguely remember that their public comments three years ago had created waves, but I was struck today by the anger and the venom with which former fans lashed out at the Dixie Chicks following their remarks in a nation where freedom of speech is supposedly valued. In fact, one clip I saw was of a man who called them Communists.

I found the backlash of former fans - and in particular the reference to Communism - to be ironic since Communisim is widely regarded as "a type of totalitarianism and has the following characteristics: a massive repression system run by well-established secret police forces, an official and far-reaching system for denunciatory activities, single party rule, censorship, imposition of an official ('the only correct') state ideology and appearance of newspeak."

So just shut up and sing, Dixie Chicks, because you're not supposed to say whatever you want whenever you want to.

"[America is] gonna say, 'You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.' You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his [or her] right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free." - Michael Douglas as Andrew Shepard, The American President (1995)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Six Days

In six days (if the renovation is completed on schedule), I will have the keys to my first New York City apartment! Right now, I'm the one scraping rock bottom on an air mattress surrounded by boxes [in a friend's living room]. In a week, I'll be another New Yorker scraping rock bottom in a $1000/month, 300-square foot studio apartment in Manhattan, but it will be mine!

Thank you to YankeesFan175, one of my 8 million new neighbors, who uploaded this video clip from Six Degrees on youtube.com so I could embed it in my blog. And this is my 116th post on October 26 ... Coincidence?
... Yea, probably.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Lindt at Grand Central

Sometimes in New York City you get free jumbo chocolate bars from Lindt during your morning commute to work.
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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sex & the City Girls

I know it's such a cliche title for a post about an evening spent in the East Village with three other women, but Sex & the City is exactly how I felt tonight. I didn't say that to Eileen, Annisha and Gina B. because I didn't want to sound like a cornball during Eileen's birthday dinner at Miracle Grill, and I feel a little like a dork typing about it now.

After dinner, we crossed the street to Magnolia Bakery for their signature cupcakes before strolling down Bleeker Street, stopping by a Marc Jacobs store, and then heading our separate ways. I caught the train at Christopher Street and carried the sacred cupcakes to the Bronx. When I arrived back at Tokii's apartment, I threw down my bags, took off my jacket and then held the cupcake box delicately in my palms elevated in front of me.

"Ahhhh ... Ahhhh ... Ahhh ... Ahh .... Ahhhhh ..." I sang, mimicking a monk carrying an offering in a sanctuary. I turned slowly and entered Tokii's room. She got a devilish look in her eye, "What ... is ... that?!?!?!" Brief pause and then: "You didn't go to Magnolia Bakery!"

The latter wasn't a question. She grabbed the box off my palms. We each devoured a cupcake. I know being a New Yorker isn't about Sex & the City nights, Magnolia cupcakes and Marc Jacobs, but there's something about good wine, great restaurants and fabulous women that make you feel like you're finally starting to fit in.

Monday, October 23, 2006

It's Raining Noodles

I don't really have anything of which to make note today. I really just need to go to bed at a decent hour, but I noticed another blog called "It's Raining Noodles" and the title made me think of this wish I've had since childhood to jump into a pool full of Jello. And I really don't know why I thought of that since one only naturally equates noodles with Jello ... right? Noodles ... Jello ... I mean, yea?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Brunch, Beer and Blasts from the Past

This morning, Tokii and I met Gina for brunch - my first-ever brunch in New York City. I don't think brunching is as trendy in the South as it is in New York City. I mean, my friends in New York list "brunching" as one of their interests on their myspace pages. Brunch this morning wasn't in a posh, shi-shi location in Soho; rather it was at an IHOP in Harlem, but nonetheless, I was brunching in Manhattan!

"Brunch?" Terrence had asked, feigning ignorance, "What is brunch?"

"You know," I answered. "A meal between breakfast and lunch ... brunch."

"Whatever," he replied, "Is it your first meal of the day?" Yes.

"Then, it's breakfast." But it's almost noon.

"Then, it's lunch." But I'm eating French Toast with strawberries and whipped cream.

"So were you guys walking down the street hoping the wind would blow so you could feel like the opening credits of Sex & the City?" Laughing.

This afternoon, I met other friends in the East Village to celebrate Eileen's 27th birthday. We gathered at Nice Guy Eddie's to drink beer, eat chips and salsa, and watch the Eagles lose to the Buccaneers, which a fair majority of the bar was very upset about. I was also reintroduced to a guy I had not seen since middle school in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Eileen, Greg and I were in the 7th and 8th grades together before my family moved to Camp Lejuene. We weren't really childhood friends (Eileen and Greg were popular; I was a dork), but we had classes together and it was a little surreal to be sitting in an East Village bar with them over a decade later.

While drinking beer and watching football, I didn't really have the incentive to analyze the moment, but on the train back to the Bronx, I rewound and fastforwarded my life between middle school and today. I didn't come up with any profound and significant meanings. It's just time.

Other news of the day:
Terrence played on Jamie Foxx's basketball team in an And1/comedian tournament in Atlanta this afternoon. His sister sent me a text message to notify me of several dunks, a couple of blocks and 20-something points.

One of the scarfs Eileen designed (she works for a major fashion company) is featured in GQ Magazine this month.

And I got my eyebrows threaded at an Indian salon on Sixth Avenue between 23rd and 24th Street. In the immortal, early-1990 words of rapper Ice Cube, "Today was a good day."

Phone Photo Op - IHOP to Nice Guy Eddie's

11:30 a.m. Brunch in Harlem
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3:30 p.m. Beer in the East Village
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Friday, October 20, 2006

Blah Blah Blogger

A recent message from my good, ole' college buddy after reading a previous post ...

Subject: I love you but you have too much time

Message: 1st I must say, I was honored to have my statements featured in your blog, it really made me feel good! But I can't wait till you have kids, because you are having way to much fun deciding where/when/how to spend your time and money living that Mary Tyler Moore lifestyle. I'm saying that like I got kids, but I think that you need them. Who has a daily blog on the internet? You're knocking on the door of LOSERVILLE!!! LOL!!! LOSER!!! Just joking!!! I LUV UUUUUUUUU!!!!

From a Sonic commercial I saw tonight and rewound with DVR so I could transcribe the script in my blog:

Man: This strawberry cheesecake shake is amazing.

Woman: [Ramblings about the ingredients of the shake]

Man: Yea, I think I'll put a little something on my blog about this. All of my fans are going to be very interested in my experience of having this shake.

Woman: You mean your mom.

Man: Well, yea, she's one of the readers.

Woman: I think she's the reader.

Man: Well, now she promised to tell her neighbor about it. So ...

Woman: Ohh ... your mom's neighbor.

Man: Yea.

And from the pages of Joe.My.God:

According to Lady Miss Blogger, this is my 1000th post. It's unreal that I've spewed that much nonsense in only 27 months, especially considering that for the first year I scarcely posted once a week. It reminds me of the woman who accused me of being with the CIA when she saw me taking pictures at the Iraq war protest.

"Hey! CIA! CIA! Look at him! Why is he taking pictures of us! He's CIA!"

"Chill, honey. I'm only taking pictures for my blog."

"For your what?"

"My blog. I'm a blogger. Do you know what a blogger is?"


"Oh yeah, right. You're of those guys who go BLAH BLAH BLAH on the internet."

Pretty much sums it up.

Yes ... yes, it does.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Walk to Work

I love walking to work from Grand Central. My Ipod scores the five-minute stroll as I weave through the pedestrian traffic in the Main Terminal and walk down 42nd or 43rd Street, depending on how I'm feeling. I pass a salon, where women are paying upwards of $45 dollars to have their hair blown out.

Oh - to be one of those women who can afford a daily salon blow dry and style.

I cross two avenues and pass a street vendor who always has a closet sale of cheap sweaters on 43rd and Fifth. Then, there's a fruit stand and a breakfast cart, where you can get the tastiest 50-cent pre-buttered bagels ever. And almost every morning, I walk by a homeless man, who calls himself Papi. He seems to live in a blocked-off secondary entrance to a small shop about four doors down from the entrance of my office building.

He usually offers random good mornings to people passing by - sometimes followed by a request for change, sometimes not. Today, I gave Papi half of my bagel.

Phone Photo Op - Street Magic

Today I stepped out of the office for lunch and watched this guy push a quarter through a woman's hand and into a glass bottle on the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue. He also removed the wristwatch of the guy in the brown jacket without the guy realizing.
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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Phone Photo Op - 300 Million Headline

This morning on a semi-crowded train in a super-crowded city, I noticed a woman attempting to not elbow fellow passengers as she tried to flip the pages of today's newspaper. Today's headline and front page spread featured the mother of the 300 millionth American, who was born yesterday. The crowd parted briefly as passengers exited and then entered the train at 59th Street, and I grabbed today's camera phone photo op.
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Fragrant Sidewalks

There is about a 10-15 foot radius around these outdoor stands that is so remarkably fragrant, you cannot help but stop and smell the roses ... and the rest of the flowers.
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Monday, October 16, 2006

How Far Behind Us Are Those College Days?

I had been so excited to learn this weekend that my sorors of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. won the step show during the Homecoming festivities of my alma mater in North Carolina. Today, I received the following message from one of best college friends:

"This is strictly my opinion, but homecoming really needed a boost from the individuals that didn't show. It's hard for me to go back and reflect on who showed or who had other things to do, but I can say that there were only a few faces that it was a delight to see, and even those faces seemed like a blur. WCU has seen better days! But if you love to see sophomore and freshman girls cleaning the floor (fight!) with each other during the after-party, this was one you shouldn't have missed! And if you love going to a step show that offered okay performances with only 2 stand-out performances (deltas/alphas), but featured many ignorant outbursts from immature football boys, you would've eaten it up. And if you don't mind watching us lose a football game in overtime ... you missed the HOMECOMING of the ages! But I said all of that, and I'm still going to make the next one. Why? I guess that comes from having the love for your alma mater!"

I wrote my friend back and I promised I'd make it back to Cullowhee for Homecoming next year. That's a promise I plan to keep.

Phone Photo Op - Do Not Feed

As a New Yorker - being one who must adapt to sharing a 23-square mile island (roughly 12 1/2 miles long by 2 1/2 miles wide) with approximately 8 million other people - not only are civil manners in order, it is also important to educate ourselves with regard to Manhattan's domesticated wildlife, who have equal priviledges in all public areas of the city. One can start with this small sign concerning proper pigeon etiquette posted on Fifth Avenue outside of the New York Public Library.

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The small print: Pigeons *spread disease, *distroy flower beds, *leave leftovers for rats
In a city where there are eight rats to every human (according to Tokii's most recent statistic), the third bullet is mildly distressing.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ode to Casino Beverage Servers

On Friday evening, prior to the police raid, I went out to dinner with some friends from North Carolina who are visiting relatives in New York City. We met for sushi in Tribeca, which according to my friends was the second best sushi they've ever had. I wouldn't know, but the Chicken Katsu at Zutto on Hudson Street is mighty tasty.

I worked with Yaddy and her boyfriend at Harrah's Cherokee Casino. As jobs in higher education administration are not exactly the most lucrative (especially in North Carolina), beverage serving was one of two part-time jobs I worked in addition to my full-time position at the university. In order to get out of some mild debt and save money for my relocation to New York City, it was a long, grueling year. I hate to say that the sacrifice of time with family and friends was worth it, but I don't regret the price I paid to get here.

In honor of Yaddy and my fellow beverage servers - the friends I miss dearly - at Harrah's Cherokee Casino, I think I can safely say the things I wanted to say while I worked there. Disclaimer: The below statements in no way reflect the beliefs, thoughts or principles of Harrah's or its current employees.

Things Not to Say/Do to a Casino Beverage Server:
1) I'm sorry; I don't have any change.
2) I'll catch you next time.
3) What do you have to drink? Then after all the options have been listed, ask for something the casino doesn't have.
4) What do you have on your tray? After all the immediately available cold drinks have been listed, You don't have a cappuccino on there? If you know you want a cappuccino, just ask for one so the server does not waste time and precious energy naming the drinks on his/her fully-loaded, 20-pound tray.
5) Feign looking for change while the server stands there with his/her extremely heavy tray then apologize for not having any money - we can tell when you're sincerely looking and/or when you're really acting so just let us be on our way. Once again, that tray is heavy.
6) Take a drink off a tray when the server isn't looking; a beverage server's tray is a finely balanced dynamic that can be easily overturned by unexpected shifts.
7) Send a server on a special trip and not give a tip.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Far from Rice Crispies

The pops we heard last night ...

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... And this afternoon, Tokii ate her Jello.

Phone Photo Ops - Midnight Police Raid

It's just another night in the hood when you're sprawled out on your air mattress in the living room, Candice is cuddled up on the couch with a blanket watching LOST on DVR, Tokii is in her room working on her thesis, and around 2:30 a.m. you hear a series of pops, the police raid your apartment building, and you catch these images on your camera phone from Candice's bedroom window...

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... And then Tokii had a sudden late-night urge to make some Jello.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Little Black Umbrella

Recognizable to most New Yorkers, this $3 dollar substitute can be found on most streetcorners and serves as a suitable replacement for moments when one does not expect rain or forgets to bring an umbrella and is usually sufficient for an average of 3-5 uses.
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I really need to just invest in one good one.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Speed Chess on 42nd & 5th

I love how you can dip out of the office for a 15-minute run to grab some lunch, and you're bound to come across something interesting. Like today, I raced across the street and abruptly stopped to watch a guy challenging strangers to 3-minute speed chess on a random corner. The games were free for competitors and spectators alike, but donations were greatly appreciated, of course. I watched this guy beat three different people in about ten minutes.
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And on Friday the 13th (tomorrow/today/yesterday), Joe.My.God captured this on 41st and Fifth.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

October 11th

Mention a plane has just hit a building in the city to any New Yorker and no one immediately assumes it was an accident. Coworkers gathered around the flatscreen by the front desk, which usually plays looping reruns of the company's television show and waited for confirmation of today's tragic circumstances before continuing with their day. Phone calls were made to family and close friends to ensure whereabouts. Terrence called from Atlanta and asked how far away my office building was from the plane crash.

"Thirty blocks south," I had replied. "Roughly a mile and a half." However, Sam's mother lives just two blocks away from the crash site on East 72nd Street. Sam is a guy who sits two computers down from me in the office. And within approximately 1000 feet of the accident is the apartment of my favorite blogger, Joe.My.God. Talk about a small world - it's a small New York in the big city.

Later, we learned that the owner of the plane was 34-year-old Yankees pitcher, Cory Lidle. It is still unclear whether he or his flight instructor were piloting the small private aircraft, but both have been confirmed dead. Lidle leaves behind his wife, who I heard tonight was also his high school sweetheart, and their son.
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Tuesday, October 10, 2006


I had a frustrating adventure this morning while trying to sign my lease and pay my deposits for my new apartment in Hamilton Heights. I hopped on the 4 train in the Bronx around 7 a.m., switched to the 2 train at Grand Concourse and realizing that I was cutting it close if I wanted to be at work by 9 a.m., I got off at 135th Street with the intention of catching a cab across town.

I ended up crossing several avenues before I was able to catch an empty cab. On Broadway, I went to a C Store to purchase two money orders per my broker's direction - only to discover that this particular C Store (or perhaps C Stores in general) don't process money orders.

At a check cashing place up the block, I waited in a line for 20 minutes before reaching the window and learning that money orders cannot be purchased via debit card. Cash only. We're not in North Carolina anymore, Toto.

I ended up accessing four different ATM machines within a three block radius (because of small amount restrictions enforced by the machine) before my ATM card reached its own limit and stopped accepting transactions. After learning that there was a post office about eleven blocks north and one avenue over, I called my boss to explain why I was running late. She immediately offered to front me the money in lieu of ATM card limitations. I politely refused, but how cool is that?

Then, as I power-walked (without the exaggerated swinging arm motion) up Broadway, I called my bank to ask them to reset my ATM card. In addition to resetting my card, a very pleasant representative increased the card withdrawal restriction to accommodate the amount I needed. It will revert back to its previous security restriction tonight at midnight.

At the post office, however, I was able to pay for two money orders with my debit card and apply the cash I had all ready withdrawn toward the overall total. Finally, I raced back down Broadway to the management office, where they greeted me and my money with a smile.

Roughly two-and-a-half months of camping out in my best friend's living room, eleven brokers (over half of which were arrogant, insincere or don juan-ish), 100+ Craigslist hits, two dozen viewings and a two-hour frantic cash crisis later, I am now a signed, deposit-paid renter in New York City.

On July 1, I started my 30-day countdown to becoming a New Yorker. Now I'm counting down to move-in day of first New York City apartment.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Last week, I was finally the first applicant on an apartment, and now I am approved. I'm going to sign my lease and pay my security deposit and first month's rent tomorrow morning before work. And as of November 1, I'll have an address on the west side of Upper Manhattan (not to be confused with The Upper West Side; I'll actually be just north in a Harlem neighborhood called Hamilton Heights). I'll be paying twice what I was paying in North Carolina for half the space, but I'll have an address on Broadway just steps from the Hudson River.

On the 1 train, I'll be 25-30 minutes from Times Square (pending the wait in the station, possible transfers across the platform to a 2 or 3 express, and the infamous en route delays). And from Times Square, it's two blocks to my job.

It's not the best building in the world, but the neighborhood is nice and it's the first studio I viewed with a separate kitchen and monthly rent under $1000. In many of the other studios I viewed, I tried to picture where my bed would be. In most scenarios, I would have been staring from my pillow into my oven.

And the best part: It's being gut-renovated (all new kitchen cabinetry and appliances, retiled bathroom with new tub, toilet and sink and new wood floors). I'm sure phone photo ops will come along as renovations are completed and I begin furnishing from scratch - as I sold or gave away almost everything I had by way of furnishings in North Carolina. Oh yea - and the other best thing about it: I applied for the apartment through a broker, but the building is no-fee.

I can't believe that in less than a month I will have my first New York City address! After multiple real estate disappointments, it feels like it has been a long time coming, but by a New Yorker's watch, the time spent and end result have me feeling especially lucky.

But I better not hop onto Residential Cloud Nine until I sign on the dotted line.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

It's Happening Now

I didn't mean to walk right up onto the World Trade Center Site today. Per a coworker's suggestion, I was on my way to Century 21 Department Store to buy winter jackets, and I turned a corner and there it was.

The last time I had been there, I was a college junior who had come to New York City with classmates from Western Carolina University to compete in the 2001 Model United Nations Conference. It was early on a Tuesday morning - exactly 22 weeks to the day that the Twin Towers would fall - when half a dozen excited undergraduates rode the express elevators to the Observation Deck at the top of Tower 2. But this afternoon, instead of stepping into the shadow of two enormous structures as I had done over five years ago, I rounded a corner and stared at blue sky and an empty reminder of a younger and innocent place and time.
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It was a gorgeous day. I wandered along the edges of the construction site and tried to figure out why my heart was pounding in my head. There is something you feel when you are there - maybe it was just because it was my first time since 2001. But it's undoubtedly hallowed ground. Even while surrounded by thousands of people and the hustle and bustle of the Financial District on a Sunday afternoon, there is something there that makes your hair stand on end. On fences and barricades were images of before, during and after September 11 and displays of the future with the slogan "It's Happening Now."

I looked up into the sky and wondered where I had been standing in Tower 2 on that April 2001 morning, when I had called my former boyfriend Rickey from a 107th floor payphone (that trip had taken place before my cell phone days, and he had been in his dorm room at WCU getting ready for class).

"We have to come here together one day. You have to see the view from up here," I had said to him. The towers would be gone 22 weeks later. And he would be gone two years after that. I wish I could ride the express elevator into the sky and run up to that girl on the payphone and tell her what she doesn't know is happening now. But would I even recognize her if I saw her?

Back to today. After unsuccessfully struggling through the mad house that is Century 21 on a weekend afternoon, I left the department store empty-handed and strolled about the Financial District.

St. Paul's Chapel both stands out and fits in on its corner in the center of downtown, kind of like the penguins in Central Park. The chapel, just a block away from the World Trade Center, was found widely and miraculously untouched after the Twin Towers fell, as seen in James Wheeldon's photo published in National Geographic below.
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And this is another camera phone photo op from today.
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There used to be two towers behind that steeple. I'm glad I know from experience.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Wake Up Call

You gotta love it when construction workers report for duty at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning and begin drilling into bricks right outside of your window.
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Friday, October 06, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Subway Dancers

One of three dancers moving, grooving, swinging and flipping from one side of the subway car to the other on the A train between the Canal Street and Chambers Street stops.
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More subway entertainment

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Power Lunch

Today I had my first business lunch in New York City. The VP Digital Advertising Sales took me and Jenny, a new sales associate, across the street to Bryant Park Cafe, where we had the fanciest macaroni-and-cheese in the form of an appetizer (pictured below). Then I had a cobb salad, followed by creme brulee.
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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Jersey Skyline

Tonight I attended a corporate event on the roofdeck of the company's other building on the Lower West Side. I sampled various wines and tasted exotic hors'devours and tried to feel like I fit in, but I think I still feel like too much of a naive, just-happy-to-be-in-New-York-City newbie. I don't know if I'll ever feel like a posh, sophisticated corporate New Yorker. I'm still the awkward, sometimes clumsy, military-brat turned Southerner now trying to make her way through NYC and trying not to look at everything in this city with the awe and amazement of a child. But speaking of sights that make me say "wow," here is picture of Jersey from the roofdeck tonight:
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Craigslist NYC

Another late night at the office. Arrived back in the Bronx at 10 p.m. One of Tokii's neighbors, sitting on the front stoop of her apartment building, was breaking up some weed and removing the seeds in preparation for a cigar he had split in his lap. You know what's even funnier than a guy casually rolling a blunt on the front stoop of your building? These craigslist ads:

"No kitchen ... but I'll throw in a new microwave for free. No full-size refrigerator ... cut down your grocery bill with dorm-size frig. Share bathroom with other studios on the floor ... make new friends. 5th floor walk-up ... get daily exercise. Not a lot of space ... but step outside of the building right into Soho. If you just need a place to sleep, this is the deal for you. Soho studio for only $1350/mon."

"$750 Includes Gas & Electric!!Prvt Bath, 24DM,Laund,W101st!!Instant Appvl!! This will probably be the smallest studio you have ever seen BUT it is extremely affordable for this area AND you get a real "BANG FOR THE BUCK"!!Amenities included are: 24HR Doorman 24HR Security Camera Surveillance on all floors 2 Elevators Laundry Room Free WIFI Right on BROADWAY and less than 2 minutes from the 1,2,3 trains Short walk to Columbia University ALL UTILITIES INCLUDED (HEAT, HOT WATER, GAS & ELECTRIC)!!!!!!!!!!!! LOOK ALL YOU WANT!! You won't find this anywhere in the area for this price!! This is a renovated matchbox studio. It does come w/ a microwave & small fridge, no stove**. It does have a private bathroom. You do get your own apt# and mailbox. If you bring in an A/C, the building will install it for you. Mostly young professionals and students in the building. You can get approved on the spot if you bring a deposit and paperwork. Please make at least 28k and have good standing credit to apply. GUARANTORS OK FOR STUDENTS!! QUICK PROCESS!! 6 month or 1 year lease available. I can have you sign your lease TODAY!! Email me with any inquiries. My name is Paul."

"Does size really matter??? I hope not because this apartment is really small beyond anything you can imagine. But for students and young professionals that just need a place to call their own it doesn’t get better than this I guarantee it!!! Expect an amazing number of accommodations that come along with this great small apt. The prewar elevator building is fully staffed with a maintenance crew that cleans the building throughout all day! There is 24HR camera surveillance in EACH FLOOR, 24hr doorman and LIVE-IN super. Listen I don’t mean to brag too much about this apt but the fact is its A GREAT DEAL!!! Located in the Heart OF THE UPPER WESTSIDE gives it the convenience of also being close to the 1, 2 and 9 trains (only 4 min walk). The studio has its own small refrigerator, fully tilled bathroom for total privacy, big window that allows the sun to immerse the studio with sunlight. Laundry on premises and all the UTILITIES ARE INCLUDED (heat, gas, electric and hot water). Income of 36K and good credit is required or guarantor. Columbia University students more than welcome (50% of tenancy is Columbia). Call my cell direct for an exclusive appointment."

Another one I saw recently was a 7'x13' studio, and to quote the listing: "no kitchen, but w/sink; 3rd floor of a 5 story building" for $1050/mon + utilities.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Car Raffle

If you passed through Grand Central today, you may have noticed two Lamborghini Gallardo Spyders parked in the Main Terminal.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

But look closer ...
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A little bit closer ...
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
I suppose the people who can afford to maintain a Gallardo Spyder can afford to purchase a $1000 raffle ticket.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Two Months and Counting

On August 1, I left a small town of 6000 people in Western North Carolina and moved to a city of 8 million people. Two months later, I'm hanging in there. I have no apartment, no furniture and no car. But I have a job, a laptop and a monthly unlimited Metro Card. And of course, there is my trusty air mattress and sleeping bag comfortably situated next to the front door in my best friend's living room.

Yesterday, the company I work for had an inaugural event celebrating 15 years of one of their magazines. The founder and former CEO of the company was there. It was kind of neat to see her in person. She was being followed by a video camera crew, her own personal entourage, a security detail of four men in black suits, her three dogs and a slew of ticket-holding admirers and fans all snapping photos as she strolled about the convention center.

My job for the day was to stand in one of the galleries featuring displays of actual items from past magazine covers and photo spreads and to act as the No-Touching, No-Photos (please) Nazi. A coworker, who was on Roaming-Mingler patrol, stopped by and asked what I was doing just as I was about to ask a guest not to touch one of the displays.

"Oh," he laughed, "You're that person." I crossed my eyes at him and made a face. Then I said, "You know all these people are walking away, imitating me and saying, 'Don't touch the displays ... Raaarrrrr'."

Enforcing the no photos policy was another story and virtually impossible (and I mean that literally in the age of camera phones) so we just let that go. After a long day of standing in a company event T-shirt, khaki pants that I bought the day before in Strawberry at Grand Central for $9.99 and white Reebok Classics, another coworker drove me from the pier on the West Side to a street corner on Broadway just north of Morningside (Harlem). There I met with my broker to check out another apartment. We put an application on it, and now it's back to the waiting game again.

But for now, it's time for October in New York City!