Friday, March 30, 2007

Becoming-a-New-Yorker Theory

I have a new friend named Sera, who shared with me tonight her theory on people who move to New York. Sera is a transplant from Vermont, whose love affair with New York City is four years strong. She works as an assistant for a small, but revolutionary company that has been working with our digital division for months. Phone and AOL instant messenger communication between us has been so extensive that we finally decided that we should actually meet.

Even if technology-assisted interaction has led you to believe that you might click with someone in person, there's still always that apprehension when you actually decide to meet. Fortunately Sera was almost exactly what I expected from what I knew via her phone and IM personality. I liked her immediately on all fronts. She is so cool that we hung out longer than I expected and was late getting home to catch Terrence's first IBL game on Internet radio (7pm PST/10pm EST).

Side thought: That is one thing that I don't like about living in New York City without a car; I'm always at the mercy of the MTA, and weekend track and tunnel construction has the trains running crazy. Yet if I had a car, parking is frustrating and expensive.

We left The Black Door after several happy-hour drinks to go to another bar for food and one more drink. As we were walking along West 26th Street, we were talking about how it's weird being at that age where our friends are starting to get married and have children. And being from Western North Carolina and Vermont, many of our friends were married and having their first children right after high school. As we turned onto Broadway, she shared her becoming-a-New-Yorker theory.

"I have a theory about people who move to New York," she said. "People our age, who move to New York, aren't looking to settle down right away and be relationship- or marriage-focused. Most of us who chose New York are career-oriented and want to ... live. People our age, who are already looking for marriage, move to places like ... Ohio ... or live in the towns where they went to high school or college, met someone, got married ... and become baby factories."

I thought to myself, I moved to New York City because I wanted to walk down the street with friends or coworkers on a Friday night after a long week of work and see things like that (Madison Square Park was to my right) - and to know that it wasn't going anywhere soon and neither was I. So in many ways, her theory is right ... at least when applied to my life and why I'm becoming a New Yorker.

Quote of Whenever - Via Text Message

It's not every day you receive a text message that reads: "Ur boss is on MTV's Celebrity DeathMatch."

Well, I didn't get texts like that back in North Carolina. I received the message from my boyfriend Terrence one day this month as my train became elevated briefly between the 116th and 137th Street stops.

"Is she kicking ass?" I texted back.

"She just won," he replied.

Not a quote of the day, week or month. Just of whenever. Until the next quote that moves me.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Phone Photo Ops - March's Miscellaneous

These sidewalk carts often have the freshest, juiciest fruit
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

My kind of bakery!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Reminiscent of SUBWAYblogger's "Annoying Subway People" post,
this darling college student took up two seats on a crowded uptown train while doing her homework
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

How'd you like to hang off of tall buildings for a living?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Cute Hoboken balconies across the river in Jersey
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
(The ones on the right; the ones on the left are just fire escapes - who needs a fire escape when you have an adorable balcony with classic antique furniture?)

Subway mime
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Art Subject & Dentist Appointment

There are insignificant - if not inane - things that really make me feel like a New Yorker, like walking to work in a black 3/4-length wool coat and stilettos or going to a Manhattan dentist - which I did today for the first time.

Last week, a colleague sent a mass email to our division recommending a dentist in Chelsea. I had never seen an email regarding dentistry sprinkled with smiley faces and consecutive exclamation points so I decided to take her referral. I had been inactively seeking a dentist anyway and Dr. Emily Ro, D.D.S. takes our company's insurance ... and she's on the West Side. Plus, per my colleague's email, "you get to watch movies during your sessions and she has a mouth camera that shows you what she's doing [exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point, smiley face]".

Later during my evening commute, I noticed that someone was drawing me on the subway. I had showered after my cardio kickboxing class at the gym and was back in my corporate attire, but my waist-length hair was pulled into a sweaty knot on top of my head so perhaps my messy geisha look made for an interesting art subject. As I sat down on an uptown 3 train, I noticed the man across from me flipping to a blank sheet in his sketch book. Less than a minute later, I realized he was drawing me. I pretended not to notice since I didn't know how to react or if I should react at all.

As I stared blankly at the floor, I could see him in my peripheral vision, looking up at me briskly and back down at his book. This went on from 42nd Street to 72nd, where he exited the train and rearranged his art supplies in his backpack on the subway platform. I had wanted to peek at his drawing, but didn't feel like inviting any subsequent conversation. So somewhere out there in New York City is a sketch of me that someone drew within two stops on an uptown express train, which I pretended not to know about.

Phone Photo Ops - 23rd Street Artist

Prior to my encounter with the "subway artist,"
I passed a random artist on West 23rd Street
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And his subject - The Hotel Chelsea
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sunday, March 25, 2007

City Walk #1 - Bleecker Street in Three Parts

Card No. 15 - photos
Bleecker Street cuts across Greenwich Village in a not-quite straight line, making a minitour of the Village from west to east.

Begin at 14th Street and Seventh Avenue (1 train to 14th Street).
Walk south on Seventh Avenue to 12th Street, right to Eighth Avenue and turn left to Abingdon Square, named after Charlotte Warren, the American heiress whose father made her a handsome gift of real estate upon her marriage to the Earl of Abingdon. Head down Bleecker past the Biography Bookshop (corner of Bank Street); Lulu Guinness (394 Bleecker), with one-of-a-kind shoes, bags, and hats' and Susan Parrish (#390) for quilts and other antiques. There's more of the same on the next block - before the street downshifts to the likes of Condomania (#351) and down-at-the-heels import shops and ethnic restaurants. Across Seventh is a venerable lineup of food shops: Ottomanelli's, Zito's bakery, Murray's Cheese Shop, Faicco's Sausages (since 1927), John's Pizza (where Woody Allen and Mariel Hemingway ate in Manhattan), and Rocco's Pastry & Espresso (biscotti by the pound). Our Lady of Pompeii, at Carmine, was the church of Mother Frances Cabrini, the first American saint, and is still the heart of the Village's Italian community. At Sixth Avenue, Bleecker turns increasingly beat, its leather shops and cafés conjuring the ghosts of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, James Baldwin, and James Agee (who wrote the screenplay for The African Queen in a flat at #172). Café Au Go Go, where Lenny Bruce was arrested and Bruce Springsteen made his New York debut, was at #152. Turn left up La Guardia Place, left again at Washington Square Park and follow West Fourth Street to the train at Seventh Avenue.

From City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot by Martha Fay

Phone Photo Ops - City Walk #1

Today's route: (Card No. 15) Bleecker Street in Three Parts
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Along West 12th Street
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Abingdon Square
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Abingdon Market on Bleecker & Eighth Avenue
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Bleecker Playground
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Lines for Magnolia Bakery generally wrap off Bleecker
Street and about a quarter of a block along West 11th
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Biography Bookshop is fully of literary treasures
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Condomania is exactly what it sounds like
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

John's Pizzeria, where a scene in Manhattan was filmed
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I love outdoor seating at street cafés
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

172 Bleecker Street, where the screenplay for
The African Queen was written
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sidewalk art
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Watching Tic and Tac perform in Washington Square Park
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Street fair stretching several blocks along Waverly Place
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Spring Sundays

Today - the first Sunday in spring - I took my first Spring Sunday walk with City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot.

My day began at brunch in Harlem with Tokii and Gina C. Afterward I headed downtown and started the walk just as my card instructed. I took a small detour on Waverly Place nearing the end of the route when I noticed a street fair while searching for a camera phone photo op in Washington Square Park. The fair stretched several blocks and featured a variety of vendors selling food, jewelry, tapestries, carpets, plants and bags. I ate grilled corn on the cob and chocolate-covered strawberries on a stick while checking out the different booths before I headed for the train at Seventh Avenue.

How To Use These Cards:
Each of the 50 cards conveys the flavor of the New York neighborhood or area it covers. None of the walks should take more than an hour or two to complete. On the card maps, one inch equals approximately 1,000 feet, so five inches is approximately one mile. Many of the walks can be combined or paired. Historic or otherwise significant sights have been noted for each walk, but in may cases the number of sights that could have been mentioned greatly exceeds the space available. Use the text as your guide and enjoy the unexpected attractions as they appear. With a few exceptions, all 50 walks begin with a subway stop. None of the walks is difficult - most of New York's terrain is flat, or nearly so - but city sidewalks are hard on the feet, so set out for the day wearing comfortable shoes.

Purchase your own city walks cards at
City Walks: New York: 50 Adventures on Foot by Martha Fay

Friday, March 23, 2007

Manhattan Dinners

I love having dinner at the apartments of friends. Those who know me well would contend that I just want real home cooking (since I don't do much beyond baked chicken, canned vegetables and tossed salads), but it is so relaxing to sit around a table with good food and good friends in an apartment in New York City. Maybe it's because most Manhattanites live in such small spaces that we're forced to get intimate and cozy.

Tokii's Juilliard drama classmate Max invited us to his apartment last night on Fort Washington Avenue to have dinner with him, his girlfriend (a Juilliard dancer), his roommate Seth and Seth's girlfriend (more Juilliard drama students). As we sat around the table eating an authentic Brazilian meal courtesy of Max, the conversation dabbled in work, school and future plans, which include more of corporate New York City for me and Hollywood hopes for them.

I wondered if these were conversations that Meryl Streep had with her friends before she graduated from the Yale School of Drama. Or even Robin Williams and Christopher Reeve during their Juilliard days. At one point, it almost felt like a Devil-Wears-Prada moment, where I felt like one of us should raise a glass and say, "To jobs that pay the rent!"

Instead I recorded Tokii on my camera phone doing one of my favorite impressions of the Grinch, Max was switching up his accent at random, and Seth was saying my last name like a Scotsman. Just another night among actors.

Rationalizing Reflexology

I spent my entire evening commute trying to figure out how to justify a one-hour massage in my monthly budget.

After work, I had a free 25-minute massage at Equinox since a coworker credited me as a referral for her new gym membership. It was the first professional massage I have ever had. The masseuse kneaded knots in my back that I didn't even know were there. And I felt and heard things pop that I didn't know existed. Hours later, my back has still never felt so loose.

In addition to listing the health benefits of massage, addressed my self-reproach: "Are you feeling guilty about getting a massage? Does it seem too self-indulgent? Actually, massage has many important health benefits ... Massage can help you maintain physical, mental and emotional well being, especially when it is part of your wellness routine."

I want to incorporate massages into my regular wellness routine, but unfortunately it's like a champagne taste on a beer budget.

I still have the one-hour massage gift card that my boss gave me for my birthday in January. It's almost April now. But a massage gift card is like cake. You want to have it and eat it, too.

My Space Spectacle

I was blown away by an article on "tiny living spaces in the super-sized city" in this morning's AM New York, the free newspaper I take each morning to help the nice gentlemen at the top of the subway stairs do his job.

He's my New York equivalent to an elderly Wal-Mart greeter in Sylva, North Carolina. We never spoke more than two words at any given time to each other, but I enjoyed exchanging smiles with him on a regular basis. It's a Southern Hospitality thing that may be foreign to some Yankees - like biscuits-and-gravy, sweet tea and saying "hi" to strangers for no reason.

I continue to find stories regarding living conditions in Manhattan astonishing even though I have accepted it as my own residential reality. provides a glimpse into what is now my small world:
*Living small in the Big Apple
*How two can live in 295-sq. ft. (audio slide show)

Incidentally my brother left me the following message on myspace this morning (well, it's nighttime where he is):
"Ex-New Yorkers have to stop bitching about how there's no good pizza in L.A. You're a junior agent at William Morris, not Joe Pesci. People in L.A. don't care about pizza because, unlike New Yorkers, after we pay rent, we have money left over to buy real food."
- A New Rule from Real Time with Bill Maher

Maher added during this March 9th segment of New Rules, "I just bought another three years of bad press in New York."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Colleague Convo - Through Swayze's Tree

For some arbitrary reason, I began humming the alma mater-ish song that the campers sing at the end of the movie Dirty Dancing while working at my desk this afternoon. I know, I'm that annoying coworker.

"That sounds like Dirty Dancing," Julie said.

"... Yea, it is." I replied. I hadn't actually realized where the tune was from or how it had made its way into my head. I haven't seen that movie in awhile. I was in the single digits when it first came out, but I think I was like 23-years old the last time I watched it all the way through.

"What?" Gloria asked. "I don't remember that."

"That's the song that the lame people sing before the cool people come out and dance around," Julie said.

"Oh. All I remember is 'She's like the wind through my tree.'"

"Huh?!?!?!" That was me and Julie.

"The song Patrick Swayze wrote."

"No ... Are those the lyrics?" Julie asked.

"I don't make this stuff up," Gloria replied.

I paused for a moment staring blankly at my computer screen and then: "To which tree is he referring exactly?"

Commute-Associated Hazards

I hate when a bead of water drops from scaffolding above the sidewalk or from support beams along the ceiling of the subway station and hits me in the head. I swear, I feel like something is going to grow out of my hair within a few hours.

Among the other hazards facing commuters in the concrete jungle, falling ice and stray voltage have resulted in serious injury and even death in recent years, as reported by NewYorkology.

[From The New York Times, March 20, 2007]: One woman was briefly hospitalized after hit with ice at Lexington Avenue and East 89th Street and another was hit on West 43rd Street in front of the New York Times building. Over in New Jersey, a large chunk of ice melted off the Pulaski Skyway, hitting two women in a sport utility vehicle.

It's also a good time to worry about stray voltage, which has killed a few dogs and one person in New York City in the past couple years. Salt, used heavily on streets and sidewalks to melt the ice, creates a path for electricity to travel, according to NY1, which tagged along with Con Ed's stray voltage team last week. More from NY1:

In the last year alone, the mobile team canvassed close to 12,000 miles of streets and found nearly 2,000 instances of stray voltage, up from 875 the year before. Officials say that was because more tests were conducted.

Once while I was still in college at Western Carolina University, I was walking across the university center lawn with an exchange student from Africa when he randomly mentioned: "It is so nice to be able to walk around without worrying about a snake falling on your head."

I guess it's all about the norms of your environment and the things you put up with in order to survive.

Snake falling on your head while crossing Fifth Avenue: Not normal

Being electrocuted while standing on salt at the intersection of 34th and Broadway: Just not your day

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Only in New York

I was tired when I left the gym tonight following a long day at the office. As I descended into the subway station below Times Square, my ears were welcomed by a captivating voice, and around a corner appeared one of the largest crowds I've had yet to see surrounding a subway performer.

In the center of it all was Alice Tan Ripley singing "I Will Always Love You" almost as good as Whitney sang it in her pre-Bobby days. Her voice gave me chills as I joined the masses growing around her and ignored the urge to rush down the stairs to the uptown 1/2/3 platform and go home.

Alice sang song after song, inviting onlookers to join her as she sporadically passed her Karaoke microphone from commuter to commuter. A few even stepped into her circle to sing along, but quickly retreated when Alice let out a note so crisp and clear that a chill raced up my spine and made me shiver.

And there I witnessed the magic that prompts people to say to each other, "Only in New York."

While singing "Rose in Spanish Harlem," an older Hispanic gentleman joined her and they swayed together and made it a duet; she in English and he in Spanish. During "Rolling on the River," three random bystanders who had been dancing along the sidelines came forward and provided back-up as Alice belted out notes that would have had Tina Turner nodding in submission. And as we rocked to Alice's version of "Billie Jean," a young man moonwalked from the edge of the crowd and began circling her in uncanny renditions of Michael Jackson's best moves.

Between songs, she handed out flyers and dozens at a time came forward to drop money in the suitcase propped below her banner. The smiles were contagious, the laughter insatiable. Through the echo of the station tunnels, I could faintly hear train after train pass below, but the majority of us weren't ready to move on. I had been exhausted just an instant ago yet there I stood for almost 30 minutes - caught in a New York moment.

"Only in New York," I heard one woman say to another.

I know that magical moments don't only happen in New York, but it's the one place where I most want to have them.

Phone Photo Ops - Alice Tan Ridley

Surrounding Alice in the Times Square Station
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The voice that brought the station to a standstill
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Inpromptu English and Spanish duet
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Unexpected talent in the crowd drew a roar of applause
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Rolling on the river with random bystanders
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Improvised Michael Jackson moment
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Spring is Here!

Spring began officially at 8:07 p.m. yesterday after my cardio kickboxing class at Equinox.

Will someone let the weather know?

About the season, that is; my exercise class is irrelevant.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Relationship Clichés

No committed blogger wants their blog to become a cliché, but I can't help referencing the "Sex and the City" axioms conveyed by Carrie Bradshaw during the six great seasons of love, sex, friendship, brunches, unaffordable shoes and Manhattan.

My days in New York City aren't episodes of being-Carrie-Bradshaw with Manolo Blahniks, Upper East Side brownstones (that were actually filmed downtown and continue to bring hordes of tourists that drive the locals crazy) and voluminous consumption of Magnolia Bakery cupcakes without gaining a pound. But it's nice to come home to my Manhattan apartment and take a break from reality with a TV show starring the city that I love ... even if I have to wonder how many times Carrie "can't help but wonder ..."

Tonight a repeat of the series finale aired on TBS, and Carrie spoke the last of her immortal clichés: "Later that day, I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic. Those that are old and familiar. Those that bring up lots of questions. Those that bring you somewhere unexpected. Those that bring you far from where you started. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you that you love ... well, that's just fabulous!"

New York transplants - like me - develop a relationship with this city. We walk a thin line between love and hate. The city grows to become old and familiar yet never fails to provide the new and exotic. It brings questions and unexpected answers. And it's taking me further from where I started than any other city could. Maybe because I want it to take me.

The New Yorkers who go the distance are the ones who always find 10 reasons to love this city for every one reason they hate it. It's what draws millions to move here and keeps few from following excuses to leave.

I've accepted that I'll never turn the key to my own Manhattan brownstone or slip on a pair of Manolo Blahnicks bought at full purchase price, and my narrative thoughts and meaningful conversations aren't set to background music, but I have the fantasy in syndication and the real thing right outside my window.

I can see "Sex and the City" from the beginning again next Tuesday on TBS, and I can find myself becoming a New Yorker right here whenever I want. It's not that I don't want my life to become a cliché, but there's a reason why I'm not the first to live life the way I am choosing to live it.

Colleague Convo - Discount Dating

I blog to you live from my desk on West 42nd Street during the 15-minute break I am allowing myself to eat the tasty Greek salad I just bought downstairs. It's a nice day outside, but I'm a little too busy today to spend an hour lounging in Bryant Park.

Instead I bring you a breaking colleague convo that took place just moments ago in the elevator as it descended to the ground floor. The brief conversation - fueled by the elevator spam - is recounted below.

Note: Elevator spam is defined by blogger Sardonick as small TV screens that deliver, via wireless update, “quality programming” (news, weather, stock quotes, advertisements) to riders of the elevator.

Random survey displayed on elevator spam: "Is it ok to use a coupon on a first date?" Approximately 72% of respondents had said no.

Me: [laughing at screen in upper left corner of elevator] "Is it ok to use a coupon on a first date?"

Julie: "Noooooooo ..."

Gloria: [laughing]

Hot guy in back right corner of elevator: "What's wrong with that?"

Julie: "It's all about the impression you want to make ..."

All: [exit elevator laughing]

1:55 p.m. update: Later I asked our colleague Sam (the resident male in our office suite) what he thought of discount dating. Sam's reply: I saw the question yesterday. My response was, "Where are these people going on their dates?"

During my omelet and blog-surfing breakfast this morning (yes, I have entered the dork-affiliated depths of blogging obsession; I'm approaching the ranks of PC Gamer - no offense, Chris), I came across via Blogs of the Week: Interesting and noteworthy blogs; collection of blogs which have great features, posts, ideas, or articles on the network:

"Welcome to, a daily live blog from the New York Subway. The thing that makes this blog different is that many of the posts are made from the subway live via Blackberry. As daily subway observations are made, they can be posted live.

"So if you see a guy eyeballing you from across the train or platform in the New York Subway, and he is typing on his Blackberry … guess what? That’s right … He [may be] blogging about YOU. Just be careful because right that very second, you are 'worth writing about.'"

The post I have found most entertaining thus far: Annoying Subway People organized by categories ... Great stuff. I had to add this site to my NYC Blogs links so that I could remember to check it out daily. I'll likely be linking to it often whenever this blogger shares my sentiments exactly.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Stella, the 18-year-old cat

My boss's cat while I blog and surf blogs ... also featuring my favorite monkey pajama pants.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

No-Doorman Living

When living in a Manhattan apartment without a doorman sucks ...

Experience #1
Receiving deliveries - Gone are the days when UPS or FedEx could leave a package on the back stoop or in the backyard. Or when I could pick it up and put it in the trunk of my car.

1) Track package using the shipper-provided tracking number and then work from home on the expected delivery date (which I tried to do yesterday).

2) Wait for the first delivery attempt and then plan to work from home during the second or third delivery attempts (which is what I'll be doing later this week or next since yesterday's expected delivery was wrong).

3) Arrange for UPS or FedEx to hold the package and go pick it up yourself (which is impossible when the package weighs ... say ... 80 pounds, you live in Manhattan, and don't have a car).

Today I left my boss's spacious two-bedroom downtown apartment (weekend cat-sitting) at 7 a.m. and arrived at my tiny uptown studio just in time to begin my 12-hour vigil. I was awaiting the delivery of my Craftsman Three-Shelf Bookcase with Wood Doors in macintosh oak stain, which claimed had been shipped and should be in New York while FedEx maintained that the shipment had not yet left Texas.

It's after 8 p.m., my bookcase has not arrived and - in this age of technology - no one can tell me where it is. So my laptop and I are packing up and headed back down to the East Village to hang out with my boss's cat for one last night.

If I had a doorman, I could say something cheesy like: "Hey, Johnny [or Donald or Ray]. I'm expecting a delivery sometime this week. Would you be a sweetheart and sign for it when it arrives?"

And he would consent with some equally corny response. And I would reply, "Thanks, babe! You're a doll!"

Quote of Whenever - Hugo Chavez

I don't routinely have a quote of the day, week or month so here is my first quote of whenever - until a new quote moves me.

"Yes, I called [President George Bush] a 'devil' in the United Nations. That's true. In another occasion, I said that he was a donkey just because I think that he is very ignorant about the things that are actually happening in Latin America and the world. If that is in excess on my side, I accept. And I might apologize. But who is causing more harm? Do I cause any harm because I call him a devil? He bombs people, villages, and he invades nations."
- Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela

That was the Venezuelan President's response to Barbara Walter's question during an interview on 20/20, Friday, March 16, 2007: "As I talk with you, you are a very dignified man, but we have heard you call the President of the United States, a devil, a donkey, a drunk, a liar, a coward, a murderer. What does all this name calling accomplish?"

I don't know enough about Hugo Chavez to make an informed judgement about his policies. Although I am a left-wing liberal, I have heard that he is extremely radical. My general belief is that socialism is a good idea, but there is too much natural greed in human nature for it to ever work for entire nations. However, I did like the answer to Walter's above question - and other answers he offered during the interview that ABC aired on Friday night.

Not a quote of the day, week or month. Just of whenever. Until the next quote that moves me.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bodies: The Exhibition

If you ever seek new motivation for caring properly for your body, I recommend visiting "Bodies: The Exhibition". It's a traveling exhibit of preserved body parts and entire bodies dissected (and peeled) in various segments and planes to help viewers understand the physical intricacies of the human body.

A senior vice president of one of the divisions of our company had free passes and sent out a mass email last week inviting the first 20 responders to join him at the exhibition today. I was one of the 20 so I joined my colleagues at the South Street Seaport Exhibition Centre this afternoon.

I found the exhibition amazing, educational, extremely fascinating and slightly disturbing. Checking out small bone fragments and various organs was interesting enough, but examining entire cadavers of those who had donated their bodies to science (or were - oddly enough - often an unclaimed body from China) was a little unsettling. Moreover it makes you want to take better care of your own when you see how complex and fragile we truly are.

While standing in front of a man whose skin had been peeled to expose his muscular tissue and vital organs, I said to one of my colleagues: "Looking at the individual organs and bone fragments doesn't bother me, but looking at entire bodies makes me wonder who these people were and wonder about the things they did with their bodies while they were alive ... And if this man died in recent years, does his family know that his body is traveling the country? And do they visit him when he's in town?"

As I ventured through the halls, I wished that I had brought a notepad with me to write down some of the interesting facts displayed throughout the exhibit. This evening I found some fun facts on the exhibition's official website. The fact I found most remarkable - which isn't featured on their website - is that after conception, we spend about 30 minutes as a single cell.

From 30 minutes as single cell to a lifetime of moments and memories. Amazing.

Phone Photo Ops - South Street Seaport

Exploring South Street Seaport after viewing "Bodies: The Exhibition" at the South Street Seaport Exhibition Centre.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I'll come back on a Spring Sunday with one of my city walks cards when there isn't a six-foot pile of snow in the middle of Fulton Street.

Phone Photo Ops - East Village Brownstones

East 18th Street in my boss's neighborhood, where I am apartment/cat-sitting on First Avenue until Tuesday.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Being an Irishman - Round 2

After celebrating Saint Patrick's Day in Hoboken a few weekends ago, I met up with my girls at a friend's apartment on West 16th Street for a St. Patty's Day breakfast that began at 10 a.m. with Irish Soda Bread, shamrock-shaped cookies, green mini-muffins, Irish Coffee and mimosas. We watched the Fifth Avenue parade on television, 'threw bows' and did the two-step to Irish bagpipes, and laughed at those playing beer pong.

I'm filing this post under "nightlife" even though we partied during the day. Instead of going from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., we went from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and hit up a diner on the corner of West 16th Street and Sixth Avenue (equivalent to a 3 a.m. post-clubbing binge).

Afterward I returned to my boss's apartment in the East Village to check on the cat and relax before meeting my former college professor for dinner at Pete's Tavern on East 18th Street and Irving Plaza. He is escorting his students in the Metro Kansas City Model United Nations at the National Model United Nations Competition in the UN Headquarters, which takes place this week.

My first trip to New York City was with Dr. Wright when he advised the MUN team at Western Carolina University. We represented Nicaragua in April 2001 at the national competition in the General Assembly in the UN Headquarters. I always knew I wanted to live in New York City, but that first trip sealed the deal in my mind.

We stayed at the Grand Hyatt on 42nd Street adjacent to Grand Central Station. I remember laying in bed and listening to the sounds at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue and staring up at the Chrysler Building from my hotel room window. I would never have guessed that five years later, I would be working within five blocks - just down the street on 42nd. I just knew then that I wanted to live here.

Sometimes you just know what you want. It's the epiphany that you can't be afraid to trust.

Phone Photo Op - Diner on 16th & Sixth

3 p.m. lunch with the girls after St. Patrick's Day celebrations beginning at 10 a.m.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Nomad by Nature

"Sometimes you have to get lost in order to be found."
- Amanda, Jen & Holly, The Lost Girls

If we find ourselves at all, we often have to get out of our familiar element to do it. We have to get out of our box – our comfort zone – and test limits. Some people are mostly alright with the familiar. They find security in what they already know. And that's ok. But others – like me – seek the unfamiliar and learn more about oneself through adaptation and navigating reactions to new situations.

I’m a nomad by design. I was brought up that way as a military brat. As I became an adult, I gravitated away from military bases and small towns. I studied abroad twice and backpacked through Italy. Finally, I set my sights on the big city. By my mid-twenties, I was feeling suffocated because the elements of my life weren’t teaching me anything new. I began to fear not ever truly knowing myself. But the thing that scared me most - and still scares me occasionally - was not knowing what life I wanted while I still had a chance to go after it.

Some want to get out of Small Town U.S.A. and start new lives in London, Paris or New York City. Others – like The Lost Girls – left New York City to travel the world for a year. I came across their blog at random and was so inspired by their journey. Here are their 20 Reasons for Getting Lost. I guess it just goes to show that no matter where you are, sometimes you just want to be anywhere but here.

Essentially The Lost Girls and I did the same thing, but with opposite destinations. At 25, I wondered where my life was going in North Carolina. As twenty-something New Yorkers, they were wondering what directions they were headed in the career-centric capital of the world. I hope that I do something similar one day to The Lost Girls' 35,000-mile journey. But for now, I'm still finding my answers in New York City.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ephemeral East Villager

I blog to you from the East Village, where I am apartment-sitting for my boss while she and her husband are out of town. I wonder if her 18-year-old cat will ever truly appreciate the blizzard I faced tonight to come keep her company. I trudged through 4-6 inches of snow while dragging my small suitcase like a sled from West Harlem. I suppose "blizzard" is an exaggeration, but it was near blizzard conditions for someone who grew up on military bases in the South - including four years on a Naval Air Station in Bermuda.

Phone photo ops below. More from the East Village through Tuesday.

Phone Photo Ops - White Out

Leaving the office on 42nd Street after work
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This is why I need rain and snow boots
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I can't believe I was just eating lunch here on Wednesday
without a jacket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Dragging my suitcase through this in the East Village tonight
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Phone Photo Ops - Kors Highlights

Michael Kors sample sales exclusively for employees in our building still don't fail in making my day. If I were to post how much I paid for three bags and two pairs of shoes, I fear that the too-good-to-be-true total sum would be so unbelievable that the integrity of my blog might be compromised.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Greenwich Village Gunfight

New York City is mourning the deaths of two volunteer police officers and a bartender in Greenwich Village on Wednesday night. I was leaving the East Village just after the shooting, following a quick dinner and house-sitting orientation at the apartment of one of my bosses. I'll be staying at her place to take care of her 18-year old cat tonight through Tuesday morning while she is at a conference in Los Angeles and her husband is out of town.

I heard faint conversation on the train of a shooting that night as I rode the L across town and transferred to an uptown 1. By the time I got to my apartment in Harlem, it was breaking news. But the story continues to sadden as more details are released.

The victims were young: Alfred Romaro was a 35-year-old Mexican immigrant following the American dream as a waiter and bartender; Yevgeniy Marshalik was a 19-year-old political science major at NYU and volunteer police officer; Nicholas T. Pekearo - also a volunteer police officer - was a 28-year-old aspiring writer on the brink of publication.

The chilling surveillance video released by the NYPD shows the two unarmed officers bravely running toward the gunman David Gavin, and then desperately ducking for cover as he fatally shot them both while pedestrians run frantically along Sullivan Street.

According to reports, the two volunteers took great pride in serving this city. Pekearo even saved his own money to purchase a bulletproof vest. Only one of the bullets that were fired at him hit the vest.

Gavin was later killed by full-time police officers on Bleecker Street right outside of my friend Gina's apartment. She wasn't home at the time; however, upon her return she was not permitted on the street to enter the building. She slept at a nearby friend's apartment and returned the next day to a freshly washed sidewalk, yellow police tape and an unsual somber in one of Manhattan's trendiest and safest neighborhoods.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Say It Ain't Snow!

I blogged too soon. Snow is expected tomorrow. Yesterday's weather was a warm front fluke. Quoting Liz Cho of Channel 7 Eyewitness News, who just provided a preview of tonight's 11 o'clock news during a commercial break for a new television show called October Road: "The biggest snow storm of the year may be heading our way."

The impending frozen participation isn't the only thing hanging over my head. I had a screw-up at work today. It turned out to be a minor mistake because the meeting I didn't confirm wasn't a vital meeting, but it was a major mistake because the mistake shouldn't have happened. Last week, we moved a meeting from the downtown office to the midtown office. I sent a quick email to the vendor to notify them of the relocation. But even though I received no reply or notice of receipt, I didn't double check with the vendor.

Apparently the email was not delivered (which isn't likely because I received no undeliverable error) or it was overlooked on their end. Either way, I should have called them yesterday because the vendor showed up today at our downtown office. Right time, wrong location. I'm usually in the habit of double- and triple-checking everything, but when you're assisting two executives with demanding and diverse needs and overwhelming amounts of busy work, some things are bound to fall through the cracks. Picture "The Devil Wears Prada" x2 - but luckily without the deliberate bitch.

Our downtown and midtown offices are about 20 minutes apart by taxi, but we'll be rescheduling the meeting because the vendor had other appointments scheduled after ours. I'm sure they were frustrated - as was my boss - but they didn't express their frustration because they want our business. In fact, they were gracious.

Some days I really enjoy my job, but other days I question whether or not I have what it takes to get ahead. I never aspired to get into digital advertising sales and marketing, but when I happened to fall into it upon moving to the city, it seemed so glamorous and sexy. Days like today remind me how glamorous and sexy I am not in the corporate world. And it's hard to be confident when you sometimes feel like you're struggling to keep up.

I think the fact that I like my job and that I really like and admire my bosses causes further frustration for me when I mess up. I want so badly to always do a good job for them. I guess days like today are like forecasts for snow when you were expecting the start of spring.

Phone Photo Ops - Yesterday's Weather

Union Square Park - 14th Street & Broadway
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Line for the ice cream man at Fifth Avenue & 43rd Street
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The snow is supposed to be back tomorrow
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spring is in the Air

Annisha and I planned to meet for lunch on Friday, but it was so beautiful outside this morning that she emailed me and asked if I wanted to meet in Bryant Park around 12:30. So we did, and the day was indeed beautiful. In fact, it was almost too warm along the perimeter of the park since the canopy of leaves hasn't grown back yet to shade the lunch crowd from the sun.

It's kind of funny that everyone in my office was so excited about the weather today - as if we've had a hard winter. However, after the record cold temperatures we had in February, it's easy to forget that it was 71 degrees Fahrenheit on January 6. I guess it's the anticipation of spring that really has everyone talking.

I meant to take some camera phone photo ops during lunch, but since I forgot, here are some images taken in Bryant Park during my first fall season in New York City.

Phone Photo Ops - September Images

Looking forward to more camera phone photos ops
like these taken last fall in Bryant Park
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket