Monday, December 31, 2007


I can't believe it has been my first full calendar year in New York City. I knew 2007 was going to be a good year for me, full of all the clichés that I won't let myself openly admit I came to seek in New York. There weren't any celestial prophecies; I just like odd numbers.

It was a year of good, bad and ugly moments, from the 2007 countdown in Times Square with 1 million other people to last minute preparations for tonight’s New Year’s Eve 2008 party at an apartment on Bleecker Street with 30-40 friends and acquaintances (kudos to Iris for finding me a great dress at BCBG a few hours ago). And I have appreciated every moment.

Between recent holiday parties and the New York club scene (of which I have taken full advantage since the office has been closed since December 21), I haven't been as reflective on 2007 as I was nearing the end of 2006. A year ago, I had finally found an apartment and just secured a permanent position with a multimedia company; I was trying to understand how to fit into the new lifestyle I had chosen for myself, and I was slightly fearing that (paraphrasing MMINYC here) I might never have the kind of life and friends that I had left behind in North Carolina.

I guess I was still trying to find my place in this huge city. Fast forward to now, I am all dressed up and waiting to meet a few amazing friends in Harlem for the trek to the West Village, where we will join the other fabulous people that New York City has weaved into my life.

And so tonight's the night the world begins again [again]. I close the chapter of Katie & New York City 2007 with an open door into 2008.


NYC has Small-World Syndrome

So, I walked into H&M to look for a cocktail dress to wear to tonight's party at Kevin's apartment. I didn't find one there (that's what I get for waiting until the last minute), but I did come across an old acquaintance from Cullowhee, North Carolina.

As I browsed the racks with Iris, Angie and Natasha, a guy approached me and said, "Is your name Katie?"

I didn't recognize his face immediately, but quickly realized that he is a current Western Carolina student that I had helped get into college during my post-graduation, 3-year admissions counselor stint. A native New Yorker, he is back in the city for the Winter Break. We chatted for a few minutes about mutual friends and the dramatically changing landscape of Western Carolina's campus (the university has been undergoing a multimillion dollar facelift for a few years now).

As we parted ways after musing over our chance encounter, I said to him, "Don't you love this about New York?"

Later, after finally finding a dress at BCBG with about five hours to spare, I was was walking along West 40th Street to Seventh Avenue to catch an uptown train to Harlem. I looked up Broadway at the barricades and crowds gathering in Times Square and couldn't believe a year had passed since Terrence and I had waited there for the ball to drop into 2007.

Just before descending into the subway at 34th Street, I texted Iris, who was already en route to her own apartment to get ready for the 2008 countdown, "Girl. There is no better feeling than walking in the streets of new york carrying a bag containing a gorgeous dress! :)"

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Patriots Make NFL History

And I was there to watch it happen live during Saturday night football in the New York Giants Stadium in New Jersey. The fact that I initially found the stadium’s location baffling as we left Manhattan and drove across the George Washington Bridge speaks volumes to how much I do not watch football. My fraternity brother, who had offered me his extra ticket, found this amusing.

"You really didn't know the Giants Stadium was in Jersey? That's adorable," he had said as we crossed the Hudson River. He would continue to laugh at me throughout the night as I would ask question after question in a genuine effort to understand the game and the Giants' place in New York culture. Sometimes he would chuckle and say something like, "They change the field turf when the Jets play here," or “There are no cheerleaders because it’s a cold-weather team.” Other times he would commend me, "That's a really good question. So if the Giants score here, they're going to try for an onside kick."

This was my first NFL game and the first football game I have ever watched in its entirety, from warm-ups and National Anthem to desperation strategies in the last minutes of the final quarter. At college football games in North Carolina, I was often late entering the stadium because of tailgating festivities and leaving early as a result from side effects of the aforementioned tailgating festivities. The only two games I really ever remember watching were when we beat Appalachian State in 2001 and again in 2005.

As for this renewed attempt to enjoy the gridiron, I think I was the newest member of the Giants fan base before I even crossed the parking lot to the stadium. For someone whose list of active sports-viewing is confined to volleyball, figure skating and gymnastics, this is a big deal. Distinguished by license tags or bumper stickers, an equal sense of camaraderie and competition was thick among Giants and Patriots fans even as the NJ Turnpike traffic slowly bottlenecked into the stadium lots. The desperation of anxious fans holding “I Need Tickets” signs out of their car windows escalated the excitement. We hiked from Lot 29 in a dense crowd of Giants and Patriots paraphernalia mixed with friendly and not-so-friendly banter. The New York versus Boston rivalry exists on multiple levels, even beyond the standard Rangers and Bruins, Knicks and Celtics, Giants/Jets and Patriots oppositions, which only added to the spirited atmosphere.

By the time we found our seats, I was smiling like a kid on Christmas. I didn’t even mind paying $7.50 for a beer. Well, I did mind. But I needed the quintessential hotdog in one hand and beer in the other while I screamed at the field to complete my experience. Jon (dubbed for this evening “The Trader”) was routing for New England while I was remaining faithful to my New York, which made the game even more fun.

“You picked a hell of a game for your first NFL experience,” Jon said before the game began. And it was. Neck-and-neck quarters. Giants ahead in the first half. The Patriots became the first team in NFL history to go 16-0; touchdown passing and receiving records broken by Moss and Brady. As we were leaving, Jon laughed, “That will be the game that you get free on DVD with your subscription to Sports Illustrated, and you can say you were there.”

With phone photo ops ...


Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Things I Love" Thursdays - Book Clubs

I love to witness a couple sharing a novel on the train.


As New York Magazine put it in Reason #50 of their recent article Reasons to Love New York, "We are a city of readers, and apparently we start early."

"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Life, Maybe Death, and Christmas

I think I saw someone die on the subway today. I can't be sure, of course, because 1) I've never seen anyone die, and 2) I wasn't close enough to pronounce him dead.

I had just switched to a no. 2 or 3 express train at 96th Street and had settled into the front end of whatever car I was on, reading Rules for Saying Goodbye ... which is, in some ways, like my psychological biography. The circumstances of the heroine vary from those in my life, but sometimes I feel like she borrowed the thoughts right out of my own head.

I was completely engrossed in Chapter 21: Engagement; or a Hostage Situation and ignoring a very slight commotion in the back end of the car. At 72nd Street, the train paused with the doors open for longer than usual. I didn't look up. A man sat next to me and opened his own book. There was something comfortable about the stranger beside me, both of us reading.

Then an announcement: "We are delayed due to a sick passenger on this train. Please be patient."

A few downtown no. 1 local trains passed across the platform, but I did not feel any need to hurry so I continued reading. More announcements were made. At some point I realized the sick passenger was on our car. I leaned forward slightly, but could only see others standing about and looking down. So, I leaned back and continued reading. And then a final announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, please transfer to the no. 3 train across the platform."

I shut my book and stood up and as I stepped off the train, I looked toward the back of the car and saw a middle-aged, bald man laying on the floor, his legs buckled under the seat as if he had slumped over while seated. There appeared to be a pool of blood by his mouth, but I couldn't be too sure because I looked away immediately and walked across the platform without looking back.

I have hated the sight of blood since I was young, which is kind of funny since both my parents are nurses. I can't even watch horror movies because all of the blood and gore gives me anxiety. I know exaggerations are how rumors start, but I think blood is what I saw.

As I held onto the pole in the express no. 3, I knew most of my fellow passengers were thinking the same thing regardless of whether or not the man was going to live, "This Christmas is going to be a bad memory for somebody ... if he has anybody."

As the train continued to 42nd Street, where I would switch to a Queens-bound no. 7 to join my titas in Woodside for Christmas, I was reflecting on how quiet our car had been when the man passed out ... or died. The initial commotion had been small enough to keep me from looking up from my book and the onlookers had been deathly still - pardon the pun. Only a few had been crouched down around him, but then again, what could most do in this situation if one were not well-versed in the medical field?

I felt the stranger I had been sitting next to earlier looking at me. I looked down at him briefly and then averted my gaze. I wondered if he had been thinking about the silence, too. The calm of an awkward Christmas afternoon.

Monday, December 24, 2007

My Favorite New York Holiday Story

My favorite post from Joe.My.God to celebrate the joy of the season. Merry Christmas!

Dance of the Sugar Plum Lesbians
From its 4th Annual Appearance on JMG (and the second or third on BNY)

Grand Central Terminal functions as the mechanical heart of midtown New York City, pumping out several thousand workers and tourists on one beat, then sucking in several thousand more on the next.

The rhythms of the terminal are fascinating.

Beat. Four thousand, inbound from New Haven.

Beat. Three thousand, outbound to Westchester.

Worlds collide on the main floor.

The tourists gawk up at the gloriously ornate ceiling and uselessly flash their digital cameras at objects hundreds of feet away. The commuters rush up to the track displays to determine their track number, then dart across the terminal floor, dodging the milling tourists, heads down, like running backs heading for the end zone.

It's mesmerizing. It's majestic.

And sometimes, like tonight, it's magical.

I'm walking through the massive main room just as the holiday laser show begins on the ceiling. To the tune of Take The "A" Train, the laser depicts two trains arriving from different directions. The trains stop opposite each other, and a reindeer leaps out of each one and crosses over to the opposite train.

The laser traces the outline of one of the zodiac constellations painted on the ceiling, and the Cancer crab leaps to life and becomes the Crab Conductor, waddling down the center aisle of the car, punching the reindeers' ticket stubs with his claws.

I move over to the edge of the room, near the entrance for Track 25, so I can watch the reaction to the show. As usual, I'm more entertained by watching the audience than by watching the actual show.

At the ticket windows, standing in front of signs that say "Harlem Line" or "Hudson Line", commuters tilt their heads painfully back to view the show directly overhead. The tourists cluster in delighted circles, holding each others' elbows for balance as they nearly bend over backwards.

Some people move to the edges of the great hall, as I have, to remove themselves from the traffic flow while they watch. Among those that come to join me on the perimeter of the room is a lesbian couple. They stand quite close to me, the taller woman behind the shorter one, with her arms wrapped around her, supporting her a bit, as they both lean back on the marble wall.

The shorter woman is stout, with a large firm chest. Her hair is short and brushed back into what might have once been called a ducktail. She has an ornate tattoo on her left forearm, and she has a leather wallet protruding from the rear pocket of her jeans, attached to her leather belt by a short silver chain. She has more than a passing resemblence to Tony Danza, her big boobs nothwithstanding, so naturally (in my head) I name her Toni.

Toni's girlfriend is blond, her short ponytail dangles just above her collar. She is wearing long Christmas tree earrings which nearly brush her shoulders. Her lanky, sinewy limbs are bound in a tight running outfit, over which she is wearing a school athletic jacket. I imagine that she might be a coach at Yale or Harvard, perhaps a girls lacrosse coach, or maybe track and field.

Coach is squeezing Toni tightly and they bounce together to the music a bit. Coach looks over at me and catches me smiling. She nudges Toni, who looks over at me too, and we all grin goofily at each other for a moment.

Overhead, a new show begins. The familiar opening notes of Tchaikovsky's Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies ring out as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building sprout arms, bow to each other, and begin waltzing across the ceiling.

I look around the room and it's as if time was frozen for just a second, every person stopped in mid-stride, eyes cast upward, mouths open in silent joy.

Toni pushes away from Coach, turns around and delivers her a bow as deep and as elegant as the one just depicted overheard."Madame, may I please have this dance?" she asks Coach.

Coach looks around a bit awkwardly, "You are TOO much!" And she giggles.

"Madame, I must insist!" says Toni, as she takes Coach's hands into hers.

Coach relents and she and Toni begin a beautful, slow waltz, moving in half-time to the music. As you might have guessed already, Toni leads.

As they dance, their eyes remain locked on each other. Toni is giving Coach an intense look, her lips tightly curled into a satisfied smile. Coach is grinning from ear to ear, and again she giggles.

All around Coach and Toni, the tourists, the businessmen, the students, the conductors, even the guy with a broom, they're all watching. Some are expressionless, but more are smiling, and some of them...some of them are frantically fussing with their cameras, eager to capture this magical New York Moment.

Serendipity prevails, the tune ends, and Toni dips Coach backwards with a dramatic upsweep of her free arm as a firestorm of camera flashes erupt around them. Toni pulls Coach up and close to her, and they hug. There's another camera flash, and the crowd begins to move along.

Then."Hey, look!"The laser show is being concluded with giant sprigs of mistletoe appearing over our heads. This time, it's Coach who bends down and plants a long tender kiss on Toni's non-lipsticked mouth. There's another flash of cameras from the delighted audience.

Toni takes Coach's hand, and they begin to move off towards the exit."Oh, don't stop!" says a disappointed woman, still rummaging for her camera.

Toni looks back over her shoulder and says, "I never will."

The mechanical heart of New York City, Grand Central Terminal, beats again, but this time I hear a different rhythm. This time I hear a double beat.

- Joe.My.God

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Phone Photo Ops - Corporate Holiday Spirit

Our office closed yesterday, and I am on paid holiday leave through January 2. I will be spending the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa etc. season in New York and enjoying a week and a half of corporate-less bliss. It's like being on winter break in college all over again. In the meantime, a photo essay to summarize the joy of the corporate holiday.

I know this is a holy season across many cultures, but I have a theory that pure evil is behind the sugary and salty forces of the holiday waistline bulge. Call it Satan, if you will. But whatever demon is behind the caloric debauchery that has been invading our office over the past three weeks is dissolving six months worth of 4-days a week/6 a.m. workouts. Back into the darkness, I command you!!!

However, whatever sacred force was behind the purchase of this gift from my boss, I commend you, oh, Ghost of Christmas Present!

And a holiday card signed by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, which our office found quite funny. Just a little advertising humor - second only in corniness to IT humor.

More treats from Google and other partners and vendors all addressed to me. It sure is nice to assist the VP.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Subway Gymnastics

I generally despise most subway performances and other attempts made in an effort to relieve me of whatever cash I may be carrying at any given time. I got over all of the homeless, terminally-ill, and candy-selling spiels within my first month of living in New York. However, sometimes I see the subway dancers from the Bronx, who somersault, flip, cartwheel, and hang upside from subway poles just above your lap (quite literally) ... and often on a fairly crowded train. I always give them a dollar.

When I Grow Up ...

My boss just emailed me the following YouTube video with the words "your career" in the subject heading.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

“Things I Love" Thursdays – What I Love About New York

“What I love about New York is …”

Over the past year and a half, I have heard that sentiment - in varying grammatical structures - initiated without my prompting and completed in dozens of different ways.

Last night, my coworker David and his boyfriend Christopher hosted a holiday party in their gorgeous Upper West Side apartment. This was the fourth or fifth holiday party I've attended this month, and it was my favorite for two reasons: 1) I received a set of four Williams-Sonoma All-Purpose Balloon Wineglasses in the gift exchange, and 2) the party was at David and Christopher's. Their one-bedroom, for which they pay well over $2000 a month, is my favorite of all of my friends and coworkers in Manhattan. It probably doesn’t hurt that it has the exquisite decorative touches of a not-too-trendy, fashion-forward gay couple. But the layout is just right for two people with all of the quintessential New York effects: exposed brick on opposite walls, tiny kitchen off of the shared living and dining space, bricked in fireplace, and the faint outline of the black fire escape through transparent curtains.

While you wait to be buzzed into the building at the top of five stone steps, you can look west to Broadway and east to Amsterdam on a tree-lined street sprinkled with restaurants, cafes and neighborhood bars. Then you enter a tiny foyer with a large, ornamental mirror and proceed beyond a row of embedded, steel mailboxes. Because I know they are looking to buy something on the Upper West Side, I’ve told David and Christopher on many occasions that if I have a live-in boyfriend or a husband (or am in any situation creating dual income) by the time they move out, I would love to take over their lease.

As I stood at the party balancing my glass of Cabernet and a plate of veggies and dip, gourmet crackers with brie cheese, spring rolls and dumplings, I was somewhat absentmindedly listening to a conversation between Christopher and my boss. I don’t immediately recall what they were talking about, but I distinctly remember Christopher saying, “That is what I love about New York.”

When their discussion had ended shortly thereafter, I said to my boss, “I love that there are people all over the city at any given time saying, ‘That is what I love about New York.’”

They’re at holiday parties; they’re in restaurants, bars or cafes; they’re in parks, walking on sidewalks or waiting for trains; they’re sitting in the backs of cabs; they’re meeting friends for happy hour or shopping or at the gym; they’re in night clubs or lounging in tiny apartments (or larger ones if they’re lucky) on couches, futons or even bean bag chairs; they're visiting museums, gallery openings or going to the theater; they're listening to live music, laughing at local comedians and not caring about how many celebrities they pass on the street or spot in Duane Reade (or at least pretending). They’re in any given place in this city and at any given time they are saying, “What I love about New York is …”

This week, my boss’s issue of New York Magazine arrived in the office. The featured cover story: Reasons to Love New York Right Now. This morning, I flipped to the table of contents and read the prologue to the article:

Reasons to Love New York Page 33
Literate 4-year-olds. Illegal immigrants who won’t be handed over to Mitt Romney. A massage-therapy student who hit it big thanks to her smooth, beautiful feet. These are just a few of the reasons that, for the third straight December, New York has come out at the top of our list of the best cities on Earth (better luck next year, Boston). Within, we look at 48 more, from the high-minded (a bike-loving transportation commissioner and other great achievements in urban planning) to the romantic (four couples who met on the subway) to the enterprisingly decadent (a truck that parks on Astor Place to serve waffles). Plus, for the first time, we’ve solicited ideas from our readers. (For even more public commentary, and the contributions of a smart-mouthed blogger who panned our list last year, check So, for a somewhat-democratic and by-no-means-comprehensive reminder why you’re paying top dollar to cram into a city whose weather is currently doing its best imitation of winter on the Baltic Sea, read on.

And, of course, the camera phone photo op.


"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

"Things I Love" Thursdays - And More

The more I read these, the more I love my 8 million neighbors ... #95 and #98 have essentially summed up everything I've ever written in my blog over the last year and a half.

From "Your Reasons" at and

7. “I love New York because we order pizza from the Italian place across the street and have our laundry delivered. We take a taxi to the gym. We know exactly what we want out of life and careers, but can’t decide where to eat brunch. We make plans and don’t keep any of them. We think a studio for $1,500 a month is a steal, but get pissed when the coffee guy raises his prices 25 cents. We fight with cabbies about their driving skills, but we are 35 and have never had a driver’s license.”
-Alexis DeSieno

14. “I love New York because you can date five people at once and never get caught.”
-Neva Alsheik

95. “I love New York because the anonymity is thrilling. It’s truly incredible to walk these streets, teeming with life and culture and richness and beauty, and know that no one knows or cares who I am, where I have come from, or where I am going. I love to wander for hours in the East Village, winding between 1st, Ave A and Ave B, looking into each tiny little intimate restaurant, not knowing or caring who is inside, but envying their intimacy all the same. I love leaving work and walking a new route home every single day. I love that my coffee cart guys see me across the street, know my order, and have it ready for me for $1 by the time I get there. I love that the subway can be absolutely packed to the brim during the morning commute, yet it’s so quiet that you can actually hear people flipping the pages of their books. I love that no matter how many people do it, it still feels special to do touristy things, like ice skate in Rockefeller Center, or tour Ellis Island, or take a hop-on hop-off bus, or get a hot dog from a vendor. I love that even though I curse not being able to commute in a car every time it rains, that nothing would ever truly make me leave this place. I love flying back into the city after traveling and still getting that excited flutter in my stomach seeing the skyline. I’m obsessed. :)”
-Jenny Heisler

98. “Because people actually feel sorry for you if you own a car. Because every New Yorker hates LA, even the ones who have never left New York. Because you’ve flown out to California more times than you’ve left Manhattan. Because one of the four times you’ve left Manhattan was because you fell asleep on the subway and ended up in Brooklyn. Because some people’s dogs have a fancier wardrobe than you. Because tourists probably know more about New York than you. Because despite people complaining about the frigid winters and sweltering summers, inherent to the city’s spirit is its four-season cycle of life. Because the official sign of the arrival of spring is when restaurants begin spilling out onto the sidewalks. Because we avoid Times Square at all cost, while the rest of the world dreams of seeing it just once. Because the ultimate sign of chivalry is when a guy looks out for stiletto-heel-gobbling grates for a girl to avoid while walking down the perilous city streets. Because a 5-course meal from a local Chinese restaurant costs less than buying basic ingredients for a sandwich. Because of how proud New Yorkers are of their neighborhoods. Even midtown New Yorkers. Because people can tell you’re not from New York simply because you smile a lot. Because you never really have to go anywhere to visit friends. They all end up in New York sometime during the year. Because it’s possible that Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is actually your local church, and the MOMA is your neighborhood gallery. Because of holiday windows during the Christmas season. Because as annoying as hordes of tourists on Fifth Avenue are during the holiday season - it reminds you that you used to be one too. Because you can drop $1695 on a snakeskin handbag at Barneys and still feel okay about haggling over a $4 pair of gloves in Chinatown. Because there are hidden gems and treasured moments around every corner - you just have to find them.”
-Jen Hsiao

“1. I love New York coz it has Stuyvent Duuyveil in Williamsburg, the place with multitudes of great beers. And where you can easily meet new people and mingle. The atmosphere is laid back and chilled, where you can sit alone without feeling awkward.
2. I love New York coz everybody smokes weed.
3. I love New York because each street shows different sceneries.
4. I love New York because I can pick different gourmet restaurants 365 days an year.
5. I love New York because I can tell people I am from New York.
6. I love New York because everyone finds their identity here.
7. I love New York because you might run into one person, and life changes completely.
8. I love New York because money can buy anything.
9. I love New York because you can run into some European hotties.
10. I love New York because I can never forget the time while I was there. Now my life plan centers on how to stay there forever. ( I am an Alien.)
dang my eyes r teary now...”
-Elaine Hsieh

108. “Because when your boyfriend breaks up with you at 2am on a Tuesday night, you can always find a bar that is full of hot people with a bartender that will feed you shots and a cute boys that you can make out with.”

125. “I am a New Yorker, and I love it because everyone here has a story. A story of whey they’re here, where they’re from, what they do, who or what they’ve seen! As long as you keep your ears open, you can learn just about anything about anyone.”

136. “I love New York because I live around the corner from Whole Foods Chelsea, which is by far the very best place to spot my reality-TV faves (like past Project Runway designers and a slew of America’s Next Top Model judges) shopping for matzo ball soup and organic cheese.”
-Stephanie Tannenholtz

138. “I love New York because I don’t have to feel bad about being bitchy or rude on the street…people expect it here. I love New York because there are tons of other successful, attractive women who are single here…so it’s not just me. I love New York because at night, the lights of the city are mesmerizing. I love New York because I don’t have to own a car. I love New York because non-New Yorkers assume your life is fabulous just by living here.”

143. “Because no one makes fun of you for having an old-lady shopping cart. Because the art of shoe cobblery is alive and well throughout the city. Because only in New York City does a ‘regular coffee’ equal a coffee with milk and two sugars. Because the subway runs 24 hours a day, allowing you to be both poor and drunk at the same time. Because NY Post headlines are poetry (examples: ‘Axis of Weasels’; ‘Puff Baddy’). Because no matter how long you’ve lived here, there is always a new neighborhood to explore. Because NYC Metro TV is highly addictive. Because 24-hour Duane Reade on 86th Street in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn has saved my life on many occasions.”
-Indira Xiomara Goris

150. “Because Edward Norton winked at me on Columbus Avenue.”

157. “Because just by moving to a different neighborhood in the city it changes your New York for you. Because after living here you will never be the same.”
-Amy Anderson

160. “I love New York because of the awesome communication going on everywhere you look. And by that I mean the non-verbal communication we exchange…”Damn, you’re hot,” “Fuck off,” “I want those shoes,” “What the fuck is that smell?” “Are you really standing that close to me?” “Thank you,” “I needed that,” “I’m going to cut you”…etc. I could write a book.”
-Jenna Martinez

I love that I am sharing the same Manhattan love affair with millions of other people, and I'm not jealous.

"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Morning After Blogger Beers & Secret Service Soiree

I joined fellow NYC bloggers for the first time at one of their happy hour gatherings last night. As I left work and ventured downtown on the D train to a bar on West 4th Street, I couldn't help but feel a little apprehensive. It almost felt like I was meeting about a dozen people for a blind date.

Upon entering the bar, I surveyed the scene trying to see if I could recognize anyone from the photos posted in our private New York Bloggers' Happy Hour blog. I searched for BNR, who had assured me that he looks exactly like the avatar on his blog, and I would eventually find them at the beerpong table in the back. I decided almost immediately that I was going to like them (listed in my characteristic-OCD alphabetized order):

An Irish and a Jew
Blog Name Removed
East Village Idiot
No Stop Till Brooklyn
Second Avenue Sagas
Tales of a Delectable Redhead
The Brooklyn Boy
Zombie Fights Shark

Note: The above list will likely undergo revision as I try to remember/figure out who I drank with last night. I think some latitude should be permitted here since BNR has had me in his Drinking Buddies blogroll since last spring and has twice commented in my blog: "Did I drink with you last night?"

I have to admit that I continued to feel awkward for an hour or two, but I found that the more everyone downed the $6.50-happy-hour-special pitchers, the more I began to feel like we were old friends. Alcohol has a funny effect like that, along with making you feel more attractive. BNR has a pretty thorough delineated recap of the evening with photos from DrunkBrunch.

I learned that An Irish and a Jew are just as funny in real life (some people don't always translate from paper to person) and I make a pretty damn good wingman [-girl] for Fiesty Red, even though the guys we were checking out turned out to be like 22 (I especially love her three-day phone number deletion rule). The Brooklyn Boy and I have some major six degrees of separation parallels. East Village Idiot has blog business cards. BNR's newlywed wife is super hot (or so I heard more than once), and he does indeed look exactly like his avatar.

By 10:30 p.m., I had been telling BNR for an hour that I had to go home if I wanted to be able to wake up for the gym at 5:30 a.m. After 20 minutes of reassuring BNR that I wasn't going to hate him in the morning while trying not to fall asleep on the treadmill, I finally closed out my tab and headed for the D train. But just as I was about to descend the staircase into the subway, my secret service buddy called.

"Where are you?" he asked. I replied, "On West 4th Street. Going home."

"No!" he said, "Come to [undisclosed location for national security purposes]. I have to buy you a drink to celebrate your recent accomplishment."

So I agreed to a drink and found myself at [undisclosed midtown bar] with about 60-80 (I'm not really good at estimating) secret service agents, who were gathering for after-hours drinks following their agency holiday party. For the record, I would like to release confidential information regarding the overall attractiveness of my secret service buddy and his colleagues - not to mention the increased sexual appeal of men in black suits with guns strapped to their ankles.

Ladies, if you ever want to find yourself surrounded by dozens of handsome men for the sole purpose of innocent eye-candy or in the pursuit of a life as a government groupie, find out where the secret service is partying. At the very least, if terrorist activity were to go down while you're sipping your trendy cocktail or knocking back shots of Patrón, you'd be in good hands.

I finally walked into my apartment at 2 a.m., double-checked my alarm for 5:30 a.m., and went to sleep. Did I make it to the gym?

Yes! And I actually had a good work-out and felt very well the rest of the day. My eyes were hurting a little bit as I exited the subway station on my way to the gym and accepted a copy of amNY from my favorite newspaper hander-outer; however, thanks to my secret service buddy, BNR can rest assured that it was not him that I was hating when my alarm went off at 5:30 a.m.

This afternoon, my friend Jeremy asked what I did last night. His reply to my brief text message summary was: "... i want to kick it with blogger people. I was just saying yesterday how i could really go for the company of some bloggers and ur practically living my dream. Im so jealous."

BNR, didn't we illustrate a similar scenario between bloggers and "civilians" last night over a pitcher of regular beer masquerading as light? :)

Phone Photo Op - Blog Business Cards

East Village Idiot has business cards for his blog. Hilarious. But perhaps necessary since his blog has received varying levels of acclaim throughout the city and is often cited in the city's periodicals. I skimmed his business card in vain hoping to find his favorite exploits of English grammar, and I was slightly disappointed that his card was grammatically flawless.

Cuz I wanted to do this:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Morning-After Text Messages

Supporting evidence regarding the unspecified hilarious affairs of our company's holiday party:

"so much fun last nite i woke up this am with a pound of glitter on my face :-)"
- Text message received at 10:15 a.m. from my endearingly gay, male colleague

Search-Term Saturday: Manhattan Real Estate Depression

Someone in Schenectady, New York, googled "Manhattan Real Estate Depression" yesterday and found my blog. I have a chronic case of it.

Other search results provided:
"The Manhattan Real Estate Slump that Wasn't" - The New York Times
"Will the Real Hangover Please Stand Up?" -
"What the Credit Crunch Means for NYC Real Estate" -

Ok ... now I am going back to bed. I have to go play tourist in a few hours with Cassie (Metro-North-ing it up from New Haven) and her brother (arriving on an early flight from North Carolina) and Iris (living five blocks up and five avenues over) and her mother (also visiting from good ol' North Cacalacky).

On Cloud New York

You know a corporate annual meeting is getting long when the senior marketing manager starts poking one of the sales directors in the back with a banana, your boss is surfing the Internet on an iPhone, and every time you turn around, one of the other executive assistants is struggling to keep her eyes open and mostly ends up looking cross-eyed.

And you know I got home and passed out early after too much wine at the company holiday party when I'm up blogging at 5am on a Saturday. According to my call history, I had a fairly lengthy conversation with Terrence when I got home around 10:30pm, but I don't remember how the phone call ended. I am legendary in North Carolina for falling asleep at a moment's notice ... and anywhere - with or without alcohol (the Waffle House in Cullowhee at 4am is just one example). Even narcoleptic, if you will.

But yesterday was a good day, and I woke up today at 4:30am to all of the lights ablaze in my apartment (which is like three light bulbs total) and still wearing the clothes I had worn to our annual meeting and company holiday party the day before. After changing into pajamas, washing off my makeup and turning off two of the light bulbs, I flipped open my laptop and decided to blog about why yesterday was so good. Please forgive me in advance for all the run-on sentences to follow.

Various prizes were raffled off throughout the company's annual meeting just prior to the holiday party that commenced immediately thereafter, where our colleagues would sample signature dishes served by famous New York chefs handpicked by our company's founder/former CEO. Not to mention the open bar that would bear many a witness to hilariously inappropriate behavior. Some of the best prizes included a five-course tasting menu and wine pairing at one of New York's top restaurants, horseback riding and dinner at the home of our company's founder, a one-week stay in a Florida condo, a 70% off shopping spree to Dolce & Gabbana, a consultation with the makeup artist of our company's founder, and a one-week stay in a two-bedroom apartment in Paris (located just a few blocks from the Eiffel Tower).

So I won none of the prizes.

That was no surprise because I never win raffles, but something better happened. A few months ago, I had entered a company-wide contest for a new business idea. I had prepared a brief proposal and presented it to the President of Media in November. At the end of the annual meeting, it was announced that I was one of eight finalists selected out of more than 40 new business proposals submitted to various divisions of the company. I will be presenting my idea to our founder/former CEO and our current CEO in January! The winner(s) will receive their choice of $1000 in cash or $1200 in company stock, plus the chance to help develop their project, which will receive funding and be incorporated into the future of the business.

When my name was called and the description of my new business idea was read, I tried to stand only briefly, but my boss forced me back up and held my arm as a warning to continue standing. I am immensely shy when attention is focused on me in large rooms, and I sort of zoned out as I tried not to smile too awkwardly and was unsure of where I should avert my gaze. Do I look around the room at the 900-odd faces looking up at me, do I stare straight ahead, do I wave? All of those questions were clogging my mind. I couldn't hear anything that was being announced about me or my idea, and when the applause began, I sunk back into my seat, relieved. It was not until later when I learned that as the CEO finished reading the description, our founder had commented: "Oh, we can totally do that."

I made a mental note to seek out the President of Media during the holiday party to thank her for selecting my idea as a finalist. Unfortunately for the articulate, brief and gracious thank-you speech I had prepared in my head during my first glass of wine, she found me on what may have been my fourth. Just as I was opting to instead send her a thank-you note on Monday, she approached me and grabbed my arm, "So what do you think? How do you feel?"

In my exhilaration that (1) I was a finalist, (2) I was tipsy, and (3) the President of Media (who is a very big deal in our industry and was recently a high-level executive in one of the world's biggest Internet companies) had actually approached me at the holiday party, I began to babble thank yous and I think I even hugged her.

I don't mean to sound like a total groupie, but generally people are trying to find reasons to approach her - not to mention the entourage of colleagues often at her heels. And there I was in a huge room filled with all of the head honchos in our company, and she had come to congratulate me. I know it speaks more to how down-to-earth and involved she is, but I couldn't help but feel .. err ... special. As I continued to gawkily thank her and inelegantly tell her how excited I was to be a finalist, she pulled my arm a little firmer, leaned in close and said, "No, it's more than that. I want to do your idea."

I stood there staring at her, my mouth agape. She stared back and nodded, "Yea."

My mouth continued to hang open. She smiled and nodded a second time, "Yea."

I think I may have said thank you for the upteenth time, but that might have just been in my head. I may have just continued to stand there and stare at her. Still smiling as she began to move on, she squeezed my arm: "Enjoy your evening."

I watched her walk away.

I spent the rest of the evening reeling with excitement and silently eulogizing the day I decided to move to New York City. Then, I took a cab home while incoherently blathering the night's summary to my parents and endured a brief lecture from my mother on why I shouldn't drink so much. Once in my tiny studio apartment in Harlem, I passed out on top of my bedsheets, under the heat of three light bulbs, wearing a black sweater dress, matching opaque tights and stilettos.

Cloud Nine? Not really. It was more like Cloud New York.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Things I Love" Thursdays - Fall Foliage

I love autumn leaves on New York sidewalks.

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"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Do you ever put your arms out and spin and spin and spin really, really fast? New York can spin you like that. You get caught up ... and if you're not careful, if you don't keep your eye on something still, you could lose your balance. You can’t see what’s happening to the people around you … You can’t see that you’re about to fall.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Phone Photo Ops - Around the Office

Please accept exhibits A, B and C (camera phone photo ops taken last Friday) as circumstantial evidence regarding the types of people with whom I work.

Exhibit A (our senior marketing manager)
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Exhibit B (in the office of our director of advertising operations)
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Exhibit C (in the office of the VP)
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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Phone Photo Op - WTF amNY?

IDK that amNY 86ed Five-on-Five.

So even though I generally only take the amNY each morning on my way to the gym in order to help the adorable, little woman at the top of the Bryant Park Station subway stairs at 42nd and Fifth do her job, I actually skim through it 1-3 times a week. I was disappointed yesterday to read various letters to the editor regarding the termination of Five-on-Five. And there among the various responses to the “feature’s apparent demise” was even a note from the East Village Idiot, a New York blog that I read regularly and to whom I frequently link posts whenever he writes anything that really makes me LOL.

So no more Five-on-Five, huh? Well, OMG. INBD. Before I stop talking like a sixth grade school girl, I just wanted to say that there are few things better than witty, sarcastic sports banter on a Friday morning following a long workweek, and now there is only one reason left for me to continue picking up this paper. So if the adorable, little woman at the top of the 42nd and Fifth Bryant Park subway stairs ever stops greeting me each morning with an amNY, a cute smile and the words, “Have a good day, miss,” I will start taking the Metro instead! You hear that, amNY!

Featured in the camera phone photo op below is the adorable, little woman (in the hoodie and red vest) facing off against the orange and green Metro New York paper hander-outer.
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Search-Term Saturday: Living in North Carolina vs New York City

Someone in Raleigh googled "living in north carolina vs new york city" on Wednesday and found my blog.

The search results also yielded:
"I'm Moving Out of New York City" - Penelope's Trunk

I've quoted her before and I'll quote her again:
"I’m always surprised when people leave New York. I mean, where do they go?"
- Samantha, "Sex & the City"

Friday, December 07, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Price of Friendship

In New York, you're more likely to have friends who are designers at Coach and can get you $1200-worth of merchandise for $50 at an employees-only sample sale. I now have two bags and a wallet. Yes, three items = $1200. I guess I should increase my renter's insurance.

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Phone Photo Op - This is a No. 2 Express Train

On mornings when I don’t leave for the gym at 6 a.m., I am tormented by the internal debate of whether I should stay on the downtown no. 1 local train or switch to an express no. 2 or 3 at 96th Street. Under normal circumstances, this should be a no-brainer if one wants to quicken his or her commute. However, in the midst of rush hour, you are more likely to stand on a no. 2 or 3 train crammed between someone’s ear and someone else’s armpit and watch a nearly empty no. 1 train pace you all the way to 42nd Street.

Today I made the switch to my own detriment. Below please note the armpit of the woman in the black coat, the man in the blue jacket about to be smashed by the closing doors, the grimace of the girl in the red (who would also watch mournfully as multiple no. 1 local trains passed our no. 2 express), and what appears to be a hand holding a baby in a tank top ... What the ...? It's 30 degrees outside! I didn't notice that while on the train so let's give the weary commuters of Gotham benefit of the doubt and assume it's a very life-like doll. Please further note the man seated comfortably on the empty no. 1 train across the platform.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

“Things I Love” Thursdays - It’s a Small World

I am quite certain that Walt Disney came up with the theme after spending time in New York. It can feel like a small world if you run into someone in Pobunk, Nowhere, but the big city intensifies the small world feeling because it seems like it should be less likely to run into a random person from your present or past in such a crowded, busy place, where skyscrapers dominate the skyline reducing you to a figurative needle in a concrete haystack.

Yet small world tendencies are so New York. Aside from coming into daily contact with almost every culture on the planet within 22.7 square miles, over the last year Terrence and I have shared separate A-train reunions (1 and 2), my co-worker Jenny and I met a guy at Bryant Park Café who had been an elementary school student in West Chester under Jenny’s mother, I discovered a second or third-ish cousin (by marriage) works with me in another division of the same company (3), my co-worker Scott went to high school in North Carolina with my best friend (4), I recently found an old friend from my high school # 1 town (Camp Lejeune) who is living right across the Hudson in Bergen County, my best friend ran into an old classmate from our North Carolina college on the subway, a former colleague from my days in NC higher education administration got a job two blocks away from my office … and within the last few weeks:

While I was in my high school #2 town (Asheville) over Thanksgiving, my old classmate Ben and I realized over a beer in a North Carolina bar that we had seen the same stealth bomber flying over New York City on the same day in 2006. I had, in fact, randomly included my sighting from the 167th Station in the Bronx in a blog post (5), and he had been visiting New York two Septembers ago and had seen it glide over Central Park that very same day.

Iris and I left our respective offices (at 42nd Street and 34th Street) during rush hour and ended up on the exact same uptown no. 1 train when I switched from an express at 96th Street. Granted she was on her way to my apartment and we had coordinated our departures to arrive in Harlem around the same time, but the trains run more frequently at rush hour so the chances of meeting on the same car become even less.

I received texts from my secret service buddy and Brian when they ended up in the same midown diner as Iris at 4 a.m. And I received another text from my sorority sister Tiffany when she met Iris for the first time via Iris' former Brooklyn roommate (Iris just moved to a luxury highrise in Harlem this week).

I am frequently reminded how small the big city is, and that is something to love when the big city can just as frequently make you feel so small.

"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Men in Macy’s

The Bedding Section: Where wives leave husbands to convene during holiday shopping outings.

Note: This was so much funnier when all of the men were sitting down on the edges of the bed looking forlorn, but as I was hovering by the towels trying to snap a camera phone photo op undetected, the guy in the red jacket jumped up when the group began discussing the Knicks.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Starbucks Christmas Blend

The marketing ploy behind holiday mark-up coffee beans. I mean, does anyone ever mistakenly brew it in July and then upon first sip say, “Oops ... Is this the Christmas blend?”

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