Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010

From (my other blog) Blog-By-Bike:

It seems ironic - if ironic is the right word - that tonight I'll be bringing in 2010 holding a tray of drinks, four years after I swore I would never do it again. It's as if all of my biggest goals are destined to involve multiple jobs and a drink tray [job #2].

Monday, January 1, 2007: Terrence and I arrived in Times Square at 3:30pm and were filtered into one of several dozen corrals. Strict rules were in place, such as no alcohol, lawn chairs or space heaters. Though the rules didn't seem to be strictly enforced - everyone seemed to abide accordingly. I'm sure it had something to do with the thousands of NYPD and FDNY officers, police dogs and occasional machine gun-ish weapons.

To our right was a metal barricade and one of three large stages; to all other sides of us were a group from Australia, four reunited high school friends who now live in Illinois and Kentucky, a couple from South Florida, and half a dozen foreigners who I am going to venture to say were from an Eastern European country.

I might have been the only current resident of New York City within a 3-mile radius of Times Square - as my coworkers had warned when they tried to talk me out of my New Year's Rockin' Eve plans.

"Do you really want to stand in the cold for 10 hours surrounded by millions of tourists?" one of my colleagues had asked. The truth is that New Year's Eve in Times Square is one of those things that I had to do at least once in my life. I'll probably never do it again, but it was something I had to do, and I had to do it this year. It's the way I wanted to bring in my first year in my new home - even if I wasn't actually going to be bringing it in with any of my new neighbors. Terrence was not exactly feeling my New Year's Eve celebration plans either, but he didn't make me ask him more than three or four times before he gave in.

We waited approximately 8 1/2 hours for roughly fifteen minutes of celebration. While not every minute of anticipation was jam-packed with excitement, the evening was filled with live performances, hourly fireworks and periodic showers of confetti. McDonalds waited until the corralled masses were on the brink of insane hunger and then appeared in the streets to take orders for delivery. After five hours, we gladly paid $16 for a Big Mac meal and a 2-Cheeseburger Meal with hot cappuccinos.

Though many would argue that the countdown to the New Year and subsequent few minutes of cheers, song and celebration are overrated simply due to the wait time involved, I have to admit that the simultaneous countdown to 2007 and the cheering, the singing/humming of "Auld Lang Syne," and the jumping with glee in Times Square were approximately five minutes of pure joy for me.

I brought in 2006 in a smoky casino in North Carolina holding a tray full of drinks and watching the guests around me jump up and down, blow horns, and kiss and hug each other. It's weird how you can feel completely alone in a sea of people. My only solace that night - one year ago - had been to picture myself in a year somewhere in New York City. So it had to be Times Square tonight. My New Year's Eve had to be better than last year. For me.

10 ... Monday-Friday with an administrative 8-5 in NC
9 ... weekends spent serving beverages in a casino
8 ... waitressing on weeknights in a crab shack
7 ... selling my car and furniture
6 ... packing my belongings into a stow-and-go minivan
5 ... driving all night up the east coast and arriving in hell
4 ... sleeping on an air mattress in the South Bronx for 3 months
3 ... temping at my first job in the city
2 ... tiny studio apartment for $1000 a month
1 ... being able to say everything - from the moment I decided I was really going to move to New York to waiting in Times Square for the ball to drop - was worth it

Tonight I was again in a sea of people, but for a few brief moments, I felt like I was one with everybody. It's so cliché but the sheer, non-alcohol influenced happiness was absolutely surreal. For the first few minutes of 2007 - despite what hardships may follow - we were at peace with ourselves, our lives and the world.

Immediately after "Auld Lang Syne," Frank Sinatra's voice floated over the square as confetti drifted in loops and swirls to the jubilant bodies below.

Start spreading the news
I'm leaving today
I want to be a part of it,
New York, New York
These vagabond shoes
Are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it -
New York, New York
I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps
And find I'm king of the hill, top of the heap
These little town blues
Are melting away
I'll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there
I'll make it anywhere
It's up to you,
New York, New York.

I sang along at the top of my lungs, completely off key, and half swaying off beat and half jumping up and down, waving my long, red balloon, and thanking my lucky stars for this night.

Back to the future ... my entry into 2010 won't be as fabulous as my first New Year's Eve in New York City, but I'm hoping to make 2010 a hell of a year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made

From (my other blog) Blog-By-Bike:

I love that New York City let's you be whoever you are or want to be or whoever you don't know you are or didn't know you wanted to be. Whatever your personal cliché may be, New York City let's you own it without mass judgement.

Last night, while watching club-goers dance around me in the Midtown lounge of the infamous job #2 (existing in my own personal infamy, of course), I stood solo with my empty drink tray and watched a group of gay males lively conversing at their table. I was particularly drawn to one of the men in the group. He was wearing a hint of black eye liner that was better applied than I have seen on most women. With his man purse confidently slung over his shoulder, he returned from smoking a cigarette on the open balcony, lightly bouncing in his gait and bobbing his head, keeping perfect time to Beyonce's "Get Me Bodied". You go, boy, I thought. Be you. Own it and know you're fabulous. And don't appear to care whether any of the rest of us recognize it or not.

And - if I believed in signs (rather than in chaos and coincidence) - as if to affirm my thoughts on the grandeur of New York City, the opening beats of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind" began pulsing the walls and floors of the lounge. I was reminded of City Wendy's blog post from November 4th:

Since Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" was released in September and certainly since he and Alicia Keys played it before game two of the World Series, it's become an instant anthem for New York City. On warm afternoons when I keep the windows open, I hear it playing in cars passing by on the street below all day long. Sometimes the lyrics blasting from the cars almost match exactly where they are in my own living room. In New York, concrete jungles where dreams are made of/ there's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York!

Yesterday I grabbed my iPod and went for a 4 1/2 mile walk to Union Square and back, down 9th Avenue, across 36th street to 6th Avenue, down to 25th street and over to Broadway. It was a sunny afternoon, but the skyscrapers blocked my view of the sky and shaded the streets. At intersections, I turned my head up, caught some sun peeking through space between buildings, turned Jay-Z and Alicia up. These streets will make you feel brand new/Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York! ...

... Heading back up Broadway I passed Stacy London from "What Not To Wear," a show I watched almost daily until a couple months ago when I got bored of it. She saw me see her and we had that moment I've had so many times now with celebrities when they realize they've been recognized. There's a whole unspoken conversation in that moment that basically goes like this:

Me: Are you...?
Celeb: Yeah, but please, I'm sorry, I don't feel like talking to anyone right now.
Me: Okay, don't worry, I'm not a freak or anything.

And then, depending on what I think of the celebrity, I usually smile or nod or even do a little wave. Sometimes the celeb smiles back.

After I got home Drew and I took a cab up to the UWS to have dinner with his pops. I brought my iPod along, and gave Drew one earbud and kept the other for myself. I played "Empire State of Mind." Drew looked at me, nodded and smiled. We both looked out the window toward the bright lights and all the stories, Jay-Z singing a love song to New York in our ears.
- City Wendy, "It Damn Fun Being a New Yorker", Nov 4, 2009

I can't believe I really want to spend $15,000 to be somewhere other than here for 50 days.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Lamentations of a Part-Time Cocktail Server

From (my other blog) Blog-By-Bike:

"'Joe'? 'Just call me Joe'? As if you were one of those stupid 22-year old girls with no last name? 'Hi, I'm Kimberly!' 'Hi, I'm Janice!' Don't they know you're supposed to have a last name? It's like they're an entire generation of cocktail waitresses."
- Meg Ryan, You've Got Mail

There is no "PC" way to convey my feelings on the subject of this blog post. And the following sentence is not meant to debase any aspect of the food and beverage service industry. But I hate being treated like a career cocktail server. That is not to say that cocktail serving cannot be a compelling and lucrative career, nor is it unwarranted of the dignity and respect commanded by other industries. Furthermore, I'm not exactly saving babies as an executive assistant (a.k.a. glorified secretary) during the workweek.

However, it takes a lot of self-restraint and humility to remain respectfully silent while being reprimanded for making the vice president of the hotel (in which the lounge is located) wait a whole five minutes for a club soda. A club soda, I might add, that I did not realize the vice president's guest had ordered with his Glenfiddich because his guest's accent was so thick.

I am also annoyed by being constantly subjected to the consummate power trip of one of the night managers. His indirect, subtle applications of purposely imposed inconvenience - while not necessarily inappropriate - unfailingly remind us that he is authorized to exercise his authority over us. His condescending replies to staff inquiries, deliberately delayed responses to staff requests, and negligence regarding over-staffed scenarios (e.g. too many servers on the floor during off-peak hours) make me want to say trite and contrived things like, "My salary at my day job [job #1] is probably twice your night manager rate; I just need a weekend job [job #2] because I can't simultaneously afford my ridiculously expensive Midtown Manhattan apartment and my frivolous 8-week, $15,000 vacation."

But you can't say things like that without sounding like a complete tool and getting fired.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

World Without Weekends

From (my other blog) Blog-By-Bike:

There are a lot of different worlds in New York City. About 8 million or so. In mine, weekends no longer exist. Even after just one month working two different jobs, I already feel like I'm going into human interaction overload. I've always been one who valued alone time. Now I crave it. Perhaps 10 months of craving isolation will amplify the worth of the open road across North America next summer.

In the meantime, I am trying to find balance in my new world of dual employment - in two jobs that are as distinct in roles as they are in attire. It is slightly frustrating and sufficiently humbling to go from a corporate environment, where I am a relatively respected upper-level executive assistant, to "entry-level" cocktail server. Monday through Friday, my knowledge and experience in the inner workings of the company are often sought in coordinating a variety of tasks, projects and events. On the weekends, I shed my pantsuits and pencil skirts for a push-up bra and minuscule shorts. While my expertise was held in significant regard just hours earlier, a bartender is now making little attempt to hide her irritation that it's taking way too long for me to remember what garnishes a Summer Wind versus a Sinfully Gin.

But there is something wonderfully cliché about serving cocktails on the top floor of a high rise building in Midtown, overlooking the bright lights and excitement of Times Square. On Friday and Saturday evenings, I trot out of my four-floor walk-up apartment (real estate speak for "fifth floor sans elevator") in Hell's Kitchen, with its exposed brick walls and rickety fire escape, and walk north on Eighth Avenue. Dressed in a brown hoodie drawn over my freshly flat-ironed hair and matching sweatpants concealing my revealing cocktail serving outfit, I stop by Starbucks and order a grande skinny vanilla latte to fuel the caffeine rush for my 11-hour shift.

Fridays are tough. After eight hours in the office, dealing with the wear and tear of executive assistant busy work, meeting coordination, travel management and expense reporting, I have roughly an hour to get home, darken my eye makeup, change clothes and roles, and reset my mind from professional corporate woman to demure cocktail-toting vixen. I ascend the elevator to the penthouse of a Midtown hotel, where the lounge and rooftop bar already have the inaudible hum of simultaneous conversations. Music by Jay-Z and Biggie blare from the lounge's DJ booth while the giant billboard of Sean "Diddy" Combs - which has become a staple where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue - is framed in the floor-to-ceiling windows of the hotel's southern exposure. If you are at all partial to hip hop, it's a constant reminder of the quintessential hustle through the struggle of New York City.

When the lounge slows down between the happy hour rush and the nightlife crowd, I find myself staring at neighboring penthouse apartments and often catching the silhouettes of their occupants illuminated inside. Sometimes I think about how little the $15,000 that I'm trying to save to cycle across North America must seem to people like them. It's hard not to envy Manhattan's elite - to covet thy neighbor's paycheck and penthouse.

But most of the time, I crave the New York City clichés. The cozy walk-up apartment above congested, street-level bars. The quaint, tree-lined neighborhood with hidden gourmet gems just off the beaten path of Times Square. And the little transplant New Yorker with a small presence and big dreams, asking if you want your martini on the rocks or straight up.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Made It In New York City

What am I going to do next?

I am going to cycle across North America next summer.

And to do that, I have a second job (again) ... because of those little things called priorities.

Yay.

Monday, June 29, 2009

New York, New York

My dear friend Adrienne wrote a paper for her Communication and the New Economy class at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She emailed the paper to me with a little note: "... I hope you find it entertaining."

I had no idea that my life had been referenced in the subject matter: "New York, New York". I was more than entertained.

“Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today. I want to be a part of it - New York, New York. These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray. Right through the very heart of it - New York, New York.” (Kander, 1977)

For as long as I can remember New York City has been the place where fashion, theatre and artistic hopefuls flock to become a part of the cultural class that nurtures the New York City economy. As an undergrad, I participated in many of my universities musical theatre productions and became friends with many of the musical theatre degree seekers at our university. Many of these individuals are still close friends of mine and one thing about them has yet to change. They all are living for the day that they can move to New York City and become members of the creative class. It is as if the only place you can truly become a successful member of this class is New York City. Their professors encourage them to perfect their skills so that they can compete with other hopefuls in the city. They graduate with a degree in dance, theatre or art and as soon as they can sell all of their personal possessions and book a flight, they are on their way to New York City. More often than not, these same individuals end up working two or more jobs, auditioning on their days off, subletting a room from a stranger in a Brooklyn apartment, far from the Manhattan lifestyle they came seeking. Is it not possible to “make it” anywhere else? I believe it is, but like Currid says, “The “walkability” of New York’s streets and neighborhoods makes run-ins possible between those offering artistic skill sets and those needing them” (Currid, 2007 p. 9).

A good friend of mine, Katie [last name erradicated], made the decision to move to New York City five years ago after realizing that she was turning 25 years old and still had not moved away from the small town our undergraduate university was settled in. She decided to get a second job as a server at a casino in Cherokee, NC and save the money for the move. A year later, she sold her car, rented a minivan and drove to New York City. She slept on a friend's couch for three months and landed a job at [company eradicated] as a temporary worker. The temporary job led to a full time position and she is now the executive assistant in their advertising sales department. Because of her job, she has had numerous run-ins that have led to career advancement and even a guest spot on [television show eradicated]. Katie has the kind of handwriting that people pay for when it comes to event invitations. In the case of [company founder's name eradicated], she was looking for someone to hand-write placecards for a company project. [Company founder's name eradicated] saw a memo Katie had written to a co-worker and liked it so much that she asked Katie to hand-write the said placecards. I have a hard time believing that this could have happened had she moved to Memphis or Nashville. Whether we agree with Currid (2007) or not, she is correct when she says that the odds of making connections that can advance you artistically or culturally are far better in New York City than other United States cities. Katie is one of the lucky ones. If you google her name, the first thing that comes up is an article about how her move to New York City has been the ideal situation. For Katie, New York City has lived up to the expectations Currid (2007) writes of. Unfortunately, other friends of mine have not been as fortunate.

In chapter 6 of the text, Currid (2007) discusses gatekeepers within the cultural class. Reading this chapter immediately made me think of the television show Project Runway. Every week, Fashion model Heidi Klum tells the designers how in the world of fashion, “one day you’re in and the next you’re out.” Currid (2007) refers to this when she says that tastemakers, certifiers and peer reviewers pick who the cultural and artistic “winners” are. Small groups of people determine your fate. Too many people, this does not exactly seem fair, but I know individuals who have dealt with this harsh reality, specifically when it comes to breaking into the Broadway scene. As an undergrad, I worked under Terrence Mann, who originated the role of Rum Tum Tugger in Andrew Lord Webbers, Cats. While working with him, I would often hear him say, “It’s not the talent, it’s the type.” You can have all of the talent in the world, but if you do not look the way the “gatekeeper” wants you to look, you are out and someone else is in.

I do not think there will ever be a day when New York City is not a breeding ground for the cultural class. People will continue to flock there in hopes of becoming members of this class and the more people that come; the more money will be spent in the city and the wealthier the city will become. As desired as membership in the cultural class is, it can be difficult to get there and be successful. Many cultural class hopefuls end up as “starving artists”, working and waiting on that big break. I cannot help but wonder if these same people would be struggling the way they are if they had moved to a city like Nashville or Atlanta. These cities are known for their up and coming cultural class and the cost of living is far less than New York City. People make it to the highest ranks of the cultural class via these cities as well, but I believe people are in love with the idea of being able to say, “I made it in New York City”. Even I must admit that it has a nicer ring to it than, “I made it in Atlanta”.

I'll find my own words to close out my three-year chronicle of "Becoming a New Yorker", but I could not agree more with the final statement of Adrienne's essay.

Oh, and she got an A.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

How Do You Deal With a Mooch in NYC?

... Hopefully, better than I am.

The Scenario
The Mooch moved to New York City from Arizona in the last week of December in 2008. The Mooch shares a full-size bed with my roommate, who has been a close friend of hers since high school. The Mooch does not allow my roommate's own dog sit on or sleep in my roommate's own bed in the apartment for which The Mooch does NOT share equal financial responsibility. The Mooch's best friend lives in Harlem, but - regarding location - our Hell's Kitchen apartment is more convenient for The Mooch. The Mooch still lives with us (note the date of this blog post).

The Error
The direct fault I carry in this situation was believing that the best friend of The Mooch - and mutual friend of ours - was completely out of line for initially wanting to charge The Mooch $600/month to share the mutual friend's $1200-studio in Harlem. I wrongfully thought that the mutual friend was trying to take advantage of The Mooch's unstable relocation situation and wanted to profit from having The Mooch stay with her. In all actuality, the mutual friend was fairly requesting upfront that The Mooch assume equal financial responsibility for the space they would have shared. She was well within her rights - as both a New Yorker and as a friend.

However, my roommate and I - initially and foolishly finding it harsh to charge The Mooch immediately upon her arrival in the city (even though millions of other NYC transplants begin paying outrageous amounts for a roof over their heads the moment they change their zip code) - offered to let The Mooch stay in our Midtown apartment under the following conditions:
1) She could stay with us as long as she needed.
2) She could sleep in my roommate's bed (with my roommate) regularly; she and her boyfriend could sleep on my couch whenever he wanted to stay over; she and her boyfriend could use my room whenever I was out of town as long as they washed the sheets before I returned.
3) She should start contributing financially as soon as she could.

Number 3 was where we went wrong. The Mooch moved in the last week of December in 2008. By May 2009, she had still been unable to secure full-time employment, yet refused to consider waitressing, retail or other gigs not befitting "a recent college graduate." By June 2009, she had been living with us rent-free for five months.

Things I Now Know Since The Mooch Moved in Six Months Ago
1) After one month - or even just two weeks of staying in our $2500-month, 600-square foot, two-bedroom apartment in Midtown - The Mooch was no longer a guest; she was living with us.
2) Once she began forwarding her mail and listing our address on West 51st Street as her own - The Mooch was no longer a guest; she was living with us.
3) Once I began overhearing her tell friends on the phone, "I'm back at my apartment now," - The Mooch was no longer a guest; she was living with us.
4) Once she began asking me and my roommate if her out-of-town friends could stay at our apartment during their NYC visit - The Mooch was no longer a guest; she was living with us.
5) Once The Mooch stopped allowing my roommate's own dog into my roommate's own bed - The Mooch was no longer a guest; she was living with us.
6) I should not have assumed that The Mooch would have a personal sense of self-accountability for the space she shared with us.
7) I should not have assumed that this said self-accountability would compel The Mooch to feel responsible for contributing to the rent within 1-2 months (maybe even three, tops).
8) I should have been clear on my expectations instead of assuming that The Mooch had the same sense of personal responsibility that I have (e.g. when I slept on an air mattress for three months in the living room of my best friend's $1000-South Bronx, two-bedroom apartment, I contributed $200/month toward their rent, bringing their equal portions to $400/month each, and I took it upon myself to keep toilet paper, paper towels and other "communal items" fully stocked over the three months I stayed there).
9) The Mooch once tried to pretend that she didn't know we were out of trash bags, even though someone had emptied the trash can half way to make more room instead of buying more trash bags (and my roommate told me that she had not touched the trash). The Mooch also often acted like she didn't have to buy more toilet paper because she bought the "last round". She'd rather substitute travel tissue paper, napkins and paper towels while waiting for me or my roommate to get the next round of TP, which always made me want to scream, "Dude! You live here rent free! We shouldn't be taking turns buying the toilet paper; you should always buy it!" But I didn't.
10) My roommate and I are enabling The Mooch to have no sense of urgency to find permanent, full-time employment, to have no need to pick up a second part-time job after finally obtaining a full-time job with a low salary in late-May, and to take a week of unpaid leave from said low-salary employment to go on vacation with her boyfriend to Aruba in June. Rather than help her develop into a proud, independent New Yorker, we allow her to spend her money frivolously instead of paying a fair portion of the rent. Meanwhile my roommate and I continue to make careful decisions and sacrifices in order to sustain our lives in New York City. We are enabling The Mooch to do things that most middle- and lower-income people cannot do when they first relocate to New York City.
11) The Mooch moved in with my roommate and I just six months after we began our $2500-month lease on West 51st Street. Just like the mutual friend in Harlem was within her rights to expect rent immediately from The Mooch upon her relocation from Arizona, we would have been within our rights to ask her to split our $3000-broker fee three ways and divide the monthly rent fairly between us. If we had known that The Mooch was going to end up staying over half a year (not to mention the $5000-security deposit and first and last month's rent that my roommate and I paid up front), we would have expected an equal contribution.
12) I was wrong for denigrating the mutual friend for wanting to charge The Mooch half the rent on her $1200-Harlem studio.
13) I am a coward for blogging about this instead of telling The Mooch how I really feel.

Things The Mooch Does Not Know That We Know
1) The Mooch, who relocated from Arizona, is using my roommate and I to live closer to her boyfriend, who lives with his parents in Long Island. She doesn't want to contribute financially to our current living situation because she wants to save money while waiting for him to be ready to move into an apartment with her. So she is using us to be closer to him and foster their relationship until he is ready for cohabitation.
2) When The Mooch goes shopping with another mutual friend, that mutual friend reports back that The Mooch throws away her receipts, shopping bags and boxes and hides her new purchases in a large purse or tote bag because she doesn't want my roommate and I to know she has been shopping.
3) After searching craigslist job postings for about 20 minutes a day, she walked leisurely around the city throughout most of the spring months, with Starbucks coffee in hand, accompanied by the same mutual friend mentioned in #2 - instead of visiting more temp agencies, going door to door with her resume, and looking for jobs (however, she knows that we know not to even ask her to consider the food service industry even though we live in the heart of Hell's Kitchen and mere steps from the plethora of restaurants on Ninth Avenue).
4) The Mooch bought her boyfriend a $350-camera for his recent birthday, but led us to believe that she could only afford to bake him a cake.
5) The Mooch had just learned of her boyfriend's disloyal indiscretions a few weeks prior to his birthday - thus proving that she'd rather buy her cheating boyfriend a present than pay rent to her more-than-generous friends.
6) We were willing to do more for The Mooch than her own family was willing (case in point: her own brother and his new wife live on the Upper East Side and would not have allowed her to crash with them for half a year, rent-free).
7) The Mooch doesn't want to live in New York City. She wants to be a merry, little housewife, and her current boyfriend is the best - and maybe only - shot she'll ever have at achieving her marital, baby-making dreams.*
8) People who really want to succeed in New York City are willing to wait tables or fold T-shirts in a GAP or do whatever it takes to be self-sufficient. She is not one of those people. She shamelessly continues to take advantage of a generous living situation despite the fact that I am making it clear that she has worn out her welcome.

To be fair, The Mooch is relatively easy to live with. She is clean, she didn't often leave her stuff all over the apartment (though I often tidy up after her), and she is generally friendly. However, I initially became irritated when my roommate expressed her frustration to me regarding The Mooch's response to a possible receptionist position at the engineering firm where my roommate is an executive assistant: "I didn't move to New York City to be a receptionist." And I further lost my patience with our living arrangement when we asked The Mooch to begin paying $300/month on June 1 and she replied that she would rather pay $200.

To continue fairly noting the occurrence of events, The Mooch did end up taking the receptionist position at the end of May 2009, but not without some strong encouragement from my roommate. And The Mooch did begin paying $300/month on June 1 after I made it clear that it was not negotiable. But to be completely blunt, I don't know how The Mooch failed her NY teacher's licensing exams this month when she has supposedly been studying for the last six months - sans the responsibilities and long hours associated with full-time, or even part-time, employment. Maybe she should have spent less time walking leisurely around the city with Starbucks coffee.

I don't know what to do even though I know what I need to do. But even though she has it in her heart to completely take advantage of our generosity - and potentially permanently tarnish her close friendship with my roommate - I don't have the heart to tell her that I think she's a puerile, manipulative, indolent sloth - to put it lightly.

Help!

Dear Abby ... [sigh]

*No offense to current baby-makers; I totally want to be a baby-maker one day, but I refuse to use my current so-called friends in order to achieve my eventual, long-term dream of family life. Or step on my friends for any other reason, for that matter.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Looking in the Mirror

It was pointed out to me in comment on a post dated June 1, that my blog used to be interesting but has become lame. To be honest, I was surprised that someone actually followed my blog long enough to have had an opinion of when it was good.

However, being one who never shies from self-introspection, the comment made me wonder if my life had, in fact, become lame. Rather than be offended, I took it as an opportunity to explore what my blog was becoming ... since my blog is ultimately a reflection of what I was becoming.

This blog is written primarily for me with the intention that my older self will be the main audience. My motivation behind the blog was never to gain Internet fame or to garnish a book deal. It has served its purpose of documenting my own transition from North Carolina to New York City and the subsequent day-to-days. So I have no apologies that I want to remember what my body looked like at 29 or the sight of my friends enjoying a day on a Long Island beach.

But
if someone in cyberspace cared enough to offer a critique on the alleged progressive lameness of my blog, I had to at least be willing to take a look in the mirror and see if it was because I was losing my motivation to effectively document the world around me … or if my life was indeed becoming lame. And maybe it had.

I had been too busy trying to keep up with life in NYC to actually blog regularly about it. I guess I was no longer just an observer. I have been shamelessly backdating posts (which will continue through my last official post dated July 1, 2009) because I'm often too tired from long hours in the office or the night club. I've had too much going on at work to use lunch hours to people-watch some 20-odd floors below in Bryant Park. I use my Sundays to recuperate instead of taking my beloved city walks. And even deeper than that (or maybe shallower), I was surrounded by namedroppers, who revered night club promoters as if they were Gods, and arranged their social calendars around celebrity birthdays and music album release dates. I was beginning to covet designer exclusives and embrace materialistic ideals. Regardless of what any random reader thought about me, I was beginning to dislike what I saw in the mirror.

Anonymous’s June 1st post comment did not ignite my need to rediscover my true values, but it reaffirmed a slow change within myself that had already begun – though a little less consciously. In preceding months, I was becoming bored with the New York nightlife scene. All the things that were so exciting before were losing their luster. I was partying less and exercising more, giving up alcohol (though not entirely), much to the seemingly utter dispair of several friends. I was eating better and reading up on politics and personal finance. I even opened some mutual funds. And having achieved my goal of establishing a life in New York City by my New Year's Eve 2007 deadline (e.g. rent an apartment, secure employment, make friends to brunch with) - and having survived over the last three years, it is time for a new initiative as my 30th birthday approaches in January of 2010 and a new blog that will shed my cyber anonymity since everyone I care about already knows about this one anyway.

I’ll still spend the next few months, wrapping up “Becoming a New Yorker” through its previously intended end date of July 1, 2009 - the third anniversary of my first post. I can't say that I'll be able to suppress my new love for designer handbags. As shallow as it sounds, walking to work in Manhattan in a trendy outfit and designer bag in tow makes me feel good about not having spent my 20s having babies.

Regardless of the positive changes I succeed in making or the negative ones I knowingly choose to ignore ... in the end, I will have a record of my first three years in New York City – of my life … the good, the bad, the ugly, and even the boring … of becoming a New Yorker.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Hotpads' Rent vs Buy Heat Maps

Gotta love Thrillist New York for its colorful, politically-incorrect, slightly offensive yet always hilarious summaries of all things New York. In a simultaneous renter's and buyer's marketed created by Fannie and Freddie - if they didn't take you under with them, Thrillist New York has reviewed a handy tool:

New York's high-priced housing presents a conundrum: start mailing hefty mortgage payments to a bank, or resign yourself to abetting your Ukrainian landlord's enviable lifestyle of hookers and kasha. Pick your poison with Hotpads' Rent vs. Buy Heat Maps.

A new, financially dispiriting tool from an established rental site, HP's maps counsel whether you should rent or buy via color-coded hoods: from light blue for steal-worthy purchasing opps (Jersey City, Forest Hills), to green for market average (Murray Hill, UES), to red for rent-worthy digs, e.g., SoHo and West Village (Manhattan's gated clubdivision). The site's calcs are automatically done via esoteric math wizardry, i.e., avg cost of ownership / estimated annual rent -- a formula that's confounded many a couch-surfer's TI81. To further assist your hopeless quest for shelter, HP plots icons for thousands of current listings, each clickable for photos and details, which even include moving solutions and storage units (there's an affordable option for you).

HP also provides additional real estate heat maps, like Household Income, Foreclosures per Household, and Median Age, thus illuminating another conundrum: how to get into the low-priced hood beset by a cabal of rent-control beneficiaries who just. Won't. Die.

See your options unfurled at HotPads.com

Sunday, June 07, 2009

All in My Head

There are two dates that strike a nerve with me every year: June 7 is the day Rickey was born; August 3 is the day he died.

I was reading the tweets of loved ones & strangers who recently lost a friend of theirs. In times of tragedy and loss, I'm always struck by how life goes on. I perused their tweets about missing their friend and their seemingly cheerful and unrelated daily goings-on within spans of less than 24 hours ... I suppose it all goes on for all of us at one time or another. And it will again.

But when will I stop trying to make connections out of coincidences?

I needed today to be a good day. And it was ... outside of my head.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

City of Perspectives

When I think of evolution, I think of birds and dinosaurs, prehistoric man and opposable thumbs. I don’t often apply the theories of evolution to everyday life or my progression through age. But I was struck yesterday by the notion of a constantly transforming New York City as I dipped out of my apartment building in Hell’s Kitchen and trotted down the front steps.

New York City is a very different city to a variety of people. I blogged about my relocation from Harlem to Hell’s Kitchen last year and was amazed by how the landscape of the city transformed within a mere six miles. Of course, there are the obvious and beautiful surface-level ethnic differences. Anyone can witness them by venturing from Chinatown to Little Italy to Harlem. There is the New York City for the native, the transplant and the tourist. But there are deeper levels of constant transformation that took me three years to consider or even notice.

There is the New York City of the train commuters, the ones who can often tell which stop is next – not by the conductor’s announcements – but by the bends and curves of the subway tracks, by the segments under seemingly constant construction or by the barely visible graffiti along the tunnels. They know where to wait on the platform so that they can exit the train near a stairway to the street or a connection.

There is the New York City of the pedestrians, which I became when I moved to a walk-up in Hell’s Kitchen with a 10-block commute to a Midtown office building. We are the ones who would rather walk 30 blocks than wait for a train or bus. We know where the shortcuts are between streets – for example, one could cut through buildings from W 50th Street down to W 46th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues and grab a coffee in the tunnel between W 47th and 48th, across from the old studio for The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet.

There is the New York City of drivers, the ones who know the parking rules and which avenues and streets to avoid during rush hour. I became cogitatively aware of this difference yesterday when I trotted down the front steps of my apartment building and was stopped by a man who was trying to figure out the parking rules on my street. I realized that though I have lived on this street for over a year, I had no idea how long he could park outside of my building nor did I have any insider information on the best parking in the area. I couldn’t imagine how different my street might look from behind the wheel of a car. And the backseat of a taxicab does not count.

There is the New York City of the financially elite, who live and work in the upper altitudes of the Manhattan skyline. Their perspective dwells at a birds' eye view and through the back seat of a sleek black sedan or limousine.

Many New Yorkers can transition between any of the above at any given time, but just as many are partial to one particular form of transportation - which ultimately designates the New York City they know. It seems to be a trivial point to debate, but the mode of transportation one uses to get around the city probably forms their versions of New York City more than anything else. Everything influences the mode - residence, career, money, lifestyle. All determine how we interact with the city and thus determine our perspectives.

New York City is a landscape of evolution from its skyline to its culture, but the most personal evolution of all is the New York City of perspective.

Monday, June 01, 2009

ShopNYC - Episode 1

I am so excited about Natasha's first episode of ShopNYC!

Read more on Natasha's ShopNYCTours blog.

A Year Ago Today: Sex and the City: The Movie ... Life and the City: The Reality
Two Years Ago Today: Phone Photo Ops - Date Night

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Photo Ops - Long Beach, NY

The view over my shoulder.


And the view to my right.


A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Once in a Blue Moon

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Things I Love" Thursdays - Side Walk Flower Stands

I love walking by sidewalk flower shops in Manhattan. It's like aromatherapy in the streets.

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

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today:
Memorial Weekend Highlights
Sunday Mornings in Manhattan

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Return of Fleet Week

From the web pages of East Village Idiot - So funny that I've had to repost it or link to it every year during Fleet Week. I have to say that I continue to be disappointed each year that sailors aren't swarming the streets in the abundance portrayed on an episode of "Sex and the City," but men in firefighter gear continue to have a similar effect.

Without further ado is the warning issued on May 24, 2007, by the East Village Idiot:

Men of New York City,

For the next seven days, you will have a mortal enemy. He is desperate to get laid. In a head-to-head battle, he will always get the girl. You will spend months trying to get into a woman’s pants, and he will get into them in one night. You will wear your very best designer clothing to impress a woman, and your enemy, in his standard-issue polyester uniform, will take that woman home. You will meekly suggest going back to her place, and she will laugh. He’ll suggest the same thing, and she will graciously accept, and perhaps even offer to pay cab fare. You will wonder what consequences come with taking a woman home, like how long you have to wait to call her back after that night. Your enemy won’t even be in New York in a week, or a month, or perhaps a year. He’ll be out at sea, somewhere far, far away.

Gentlemen, this is your enemy:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Beware Fleet Week. He may be a mere Seaman on the open waters, but for the next seven days, he is the Captain of the Civilian Cockblock.

And SUBWAYblogger also made an announcement that same day in 2007: Hide your daughters: It's Fleet Week

A Year Ago Today:
Myths & the City
Real Estate LOL - Toilet & Shower Rooms
Two Years Ago Today:
Naval Warfare (as blogged by Chris, a.k.a. the East Village Idiot)
Phone Photo Ops - Beerpong, BBQs and Booths

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend in ATL

I went, I ate, I shot moonshine.

Back in New York City.
Summer trip #1 of 4 completed (Atlanta, GA).
Next up: Turks and Caicos over the 4th of July weekend.

A Year Ago Today:
Unforgettable Day Weekend
Two Years Ago Today: No post

Friday, May 22, 2009

Phone Photo Op - In Production

You're more likely in New York City to use your lunch break to get your chipped pedicure fixed at NY Nature Spa on West 41st Street (yesterday) and notice this signage outside of Arena ... unless MTV happens to be filming a True Life episode of "I'm an Objectum-Sexual" in your hometown.


Side note: If men knew the extent of our maintenance - waxing, shaving, trimming, dyeing, filing, polishing - they'd always have dinner ready and waiting for us.


A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - Dog Parks
Two Years Ago Today: No post

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Things I Love" Thursdays - City Lights

I love the view of the Time Warner Center from my bedroom window less than ten blocks away. I lay in bed at night and stare at the high rise lights until I fall asleep. It makes me feel like such a New Yorker within my exposed brick walls, looking through the bars of my fire escape.

Often, as I lay there, I notice random lights turn on and off in various buildings. Sometimes I spy a shadow passing by windows and I'm curious about the hundreds - and thousands - of separate lives living around me in the skyscrapers of Midtown. It's one way to humble yourself and make your own problems seem a little less significant. That - or look at images of outer space from the Hubble Telescope.

And often, as I lay there, I notice lights continually going on and off in the Hearst Magazine Building. It's home to the offices of popular monthly periodicals, such as Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, O Magazine, Seventeen and Redbook ... and I think it's haunted. I'm sure there is a logical - perhaps environmentally friendly - reason why entire floors of lights turn off and then turn back on seconds - or minutes - later. Sometimes it's a single room of lights. Other times it's the row of a whole floor. And even more dramatically, several floors will go dark before relighting. Perhaps it's a nighttime electrical glitch, but it makes my evening wind-down more exciting to believe that it's haunted.

I imagine myself going to the doorman one day - a tall, intimidating and bald man perhaps similar to the hero in "The Shining" - and asking probing questions regarding the nighttime electrical activity of the building. And then the stereotypical response of a person of color warning the curious White (or half White, in my case) person to stop investigating paranormal activities that ultimately lead them to horrific ends: "If I were you, I'd stopping asking about those blinking lights."

If you work for Con Edison and know the reason, please don't email me. I like my (il)logic better.

A Year Ago Today: Real Estate LOL - No Bathtub in the Bathroom
Two Years Ago Today:
1300-Mile Walk of Shame
Phone Photo Ops - M.I.A. in the MIA

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Phone Photo Op - Wienermobile

I walked by this on my way to the office ...

... and had this song in my head for the rest of the day:
Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener
because that's what I really want to be.
For if I were an Oscar Meyer wiener
everybody'd be in love with me.

A Year Ago Today:R-E-N-T
Two Years Ago Today: No post

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Neighborhood Gem - Sweet Emily's

Terrence (back from the BJ League on his first visit during the off-season) and I discovered an adorable, below-street-level restaurant in my neighborhood with a menu so enticing that you need one or two rounds of drinks to decide what you want to eat.

Sweet Emily's is run by Emily and her husband (and head chef) on West 51st Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues. With its warm decor, flavorful plates and low prices, it is a new personal favorite among the Hell's Kitchen diamonds. Take advantage of reservation-less dining now before a feature in Time Out New York or a Zagat review change it from a local secret to a tourist headliner ... like Roberto Passon's once quiet brunches. But the city couldn't keep Roberto's $8 all-you-can-drink bellinis, bloody marys, mimosas and screwdrivers a secret for long.

POST UPDATE:
Oops. Too late: What to Eat at Sweet Emily's, Bringing Comfort to Midtown on Saturday

A Year Ago Today:Real Estate LOL - "Separate" Kitchens
Two Years Ago Today:Six Stiches of Separation

Friday, May 15, 2009

Phone Photo Op - Police Pony Ponderings

Yesterday while walking home from work along Sixth Avenue, I watched a police officer write a parking ticket on horseback.

And I momentarily stopped pondering quadratic equations and the global economic impact on farm subsidy programs - which accurately reflect the depth and breadth of my daily thoughts while walking in the streets of Manhattan - and wondered who cleans up the manure when a police horse shits on the street?

A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - My Friends (Again)
Two Years Ago Today:
Cyber Relating
Phone Photo Ops - Lunch in the Park

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Phone Photo Op - Their Job is So Much Cooler

While walking to work the other day, I saw "Good Morning America" news anchors bouncing on trampolines in Times Square; two blocks away, I got to answer phones, schedule meetings, create spreadsheets and process data charts.


A Year Ago Today:
Phone Photo Ops - End of East Village Servitude
Creating Coincidences
Reviving my Greek Life
Two Years Ago Today: No post

Friday, May 08, 2009

KFC Sit-In

I can always count on my fellow citizens of New York City to demand chicken consumption equality for all.
Oprah's Free Chicken Leads to Long Lines, Sit-In
KFC Stores Mobbed by Coupon Holders Looking for Free Meal, Anger at NYC Shop

A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - May Flowers
Two Years Ago Today:
Alternatives to Previous Norms
Phone Photo Ops - Walking to Work

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

More Middle-Class New Yorkers Face Eviction

Once ‘Very Good Rent Payers’ Now Facing Eviction
By MANNY FERNANDEZ
Published: May 4, 2009
More of the city’s middle-class tenants, their jobs gone, are falling behind on rent, straining legal and financial services once used mostly by lower-income New Yorkers.
Read More

"It’s kind of dehumanizing. They see you as a certain kind of person. We’ve never been that certain kind of person."
KEVIN BREWSTER-STREEKS, who, with his partner, was forced to leave his Bronx apartment after owing $7,000 in back rent.

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today:
City Walk #6 - Midtown East
Phone Photo Ops - City Walk #6
Phone Photo Ops - Street Trees

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

One Degree from Michelle Obama

Texts you're more likely to receive living in New York City (or Washington, DC): I'm at the time warner center wrking the first lady till 10pm (sent by my secret service buddy).

Thoughts you're more likely to have living in New York City: OMG. The First Lady is at the Time Warner Center - less than 10 blocks from my apartment!

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Subway Talk

Monday, May 04, 2009

In the Wake of Tough Love

Partied with our girl Natasha and her friend Abiola at the "Tough Love" Season Finale Charity Soiree last night at The 40/40 Club. I'm sure there are photos online somewhere.

In the meantime, check out Natasha's new Shop NYC Tour blog, where she dishes about her company, ShopNYC Tours. Whether guiding tourists or locals, shopping vintage or high fashion or visiting the East Village or Meatpacking, you'll hear about the best shopping NYC has to offer.

For more information about New York City shopping tours, visit www.shop-nyctours.com.

Other irrelevant reports of the day: My boss sat next to James Worthy on a flight from JFK to LAX today. If you are not an avid basketball fan ... you may need Wikipedia or a basketball-savvy boyfriend to find out.

A Year Ago Today:
Brunching and Walking on a Sunday Afternoon
City Walk #19 - Upper West Side 4: Church and Gown
Phone Photo Ops - City Walk #19
Two Years Ago Today: No post

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Who's That Girl?

It was a warm day in May. Jessica was nonchalantly flipping through a magazine in an Atlanta parking lot. Apparently Walter was taking his time in the local fresh market. A tiny bead of sweat formed above her furrowed brow. Impatiently, she turned another page, and there in the "What they were wearing" section ... a familiar face ...

That's not how it really happened. We had actually been tipped off that she was in it ... but that's how we like to tell it. I mean, it's not every day that your best friend is 8x10" in a national magazine.

A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - Disappearing Acts
Real Estate LOL - Embracing the College-Dorm-Life for Life
Colleague Convo - Shoe-In Kitchens
Two Years Ago Today: Phone Photo Ops - Through Windows

Friday, May 01, 2009

TGIF

Welcome to the weekend!

That's damn right.
Taken outside of the House of Brews on West 51st Street and Eighth Avenue.

A Year Ago Today:
Two Years Ago Today: A Garden Grows in Harlem

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Remembering Aprils

As with previous months, the responsibilities of my expanded job position and ups and downs in my personal life have prevented me from blogging as regularly throughout April as I would have liked. Thus, affecting my Year Three in Preview, where "posts of present accounts of being will end with 'a year ago- and two years ago- today' links to the past of becoming until the third year comes full circle and the 'Becoming a New Yorker' blogtale is complete."

So here is a year ago this month and two years ago this month for April:
April 2008
April 2007

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Downtown, We Have [No] Problem

NYTimes.com Quotation of the Day:
"First thing is, I’m annoyed — furious is a better word — that I wasn’t told."
- MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG, after a plane normally used as Air Force One and two fighter jets flew over Lower Manhattan.

I heard about this the next day from someone in Georgia, but I'm sure I would have been concerned, too, if I had seen a low-flying Boeing 747 speeding in the shadows of skyscrapers and trailed by two fighter jets.
Read More
Not a quote of the day, week or month. Just of whenever. Until the next quote that moves me.

A Year Ago Today: What Do Guacamole, Brisé volé, and Hookah Have in Common?
Two Years Ago Today:
West Side's Tale of Whoa
Phone Photo Ops - Horseback Riding in the City

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Administrative Professionals' Day

... to me!

A gift card to Sephora and Starbucks from my bosses.
April 22, 2009 was definitely better than April 22, 2008.

Company name and logo blacked out to protect confidentiality agreements signed at the start of my employment.

A Year Ago Today: My First NYC Emergency Room Visit
Two Years Ago Today:
City Walk #5 - Lower East Side 1
Phone Photo Ops - City Walk #5

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another Day, Another Dollar, Another Headline

Just another day in New York City when three of your bosses are in The NY Post.

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Phone Photo Ops - City in Bloom

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thoughts from Today's Meanderings Around the City

Leaving my apartment:
New neighbors moving in on the 2nd floor.

Somewhere on Madison:
Poodles and Bug-A-Boo strollers. Yep, we're on the Upper East Side.

Walking up Seventh Avenue:
Lived almost a year in Hell's Kitchen - yet it still feels weird that I'm walking through Times Square and I'm almost home.

Walking down Ninth Avenue:
And tonight, we're eating in Brazil ... on Ninth Avenue.

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today:
Phone Photo Op - Skyline Sunset
Phone Photo Ops - Ready to Assemble

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Out in Public

On our way to The Public Theatre to see "The Good Negro", we apparently passed someone from Desperate Housewives coming out of the subway at Broadway-Lafayette. I didn't see him, but Tokii did.

And I finally realized that we were next to Sterling Brown in the theatre.
Special thanks to Gina for walking up to him and starting a conversation because trying to match his face with his character in "Army Wives" was driving me crazy.

Side note: Rachel Nicks, a close friend and former Juilliard classmate of Tokii and Gina's, was incredibly moving in "The Good Negro." If you missed her on stage at The Public Theatre, you can see her onscreen in "Life Support" with Queen Latifah. She is a talented and promising young artist.

Public theatre, street fairs, outdoor cafes, gorgeous weather ... Days like today are why I moved to New York.




A Year Ago Today: Dear Younger Self
Two Years Ago Today:
Six Months to Almost Furnished
Six Months to Final Repairs
Phone Photo Op - Free Ben & Jerry's

Friday, April 17, 2009

Shameless Plug

I was at a TastingNYC event at Taj tonight with Natasha (M. - not to be confused with my roommate Natasha S.), chatting about her "real" life without the "Tough Love" cameras while our friend Stacey flirted with a handsome guy named Larry over $6-wine specials. Natasha is no longer working with the Sex and the City tour group since she began her own tour company ShopNYC Tours.

Natasha has created a series of comprehensive shopping tours catered to your retail needs and preferences with convenient door-to-door mobile transportation, eliminating the stresses associated with available parking, slaloming crowded sidewalks, or lugging bags through subway turnstiles. At an affordable price (especially relative to the costs of parking and taxicabs in New York), she really does create a memorable VIP shopping experience in some of Manhattan's best-kept retail secrets and hidden gems.

If you are ever in NYC, you should go shopping with her! Tell her I sent you.

ShopNYCTours.com (Use code TUFLUV for 10% off any shopping tour!)

A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - Random Acts of New Yorker Kindness
Two Years Ago Today: Connecting in Chantilly & Beyond

Phone Photo Op - South of Madison Square Park

Looking north from below Madison Square Park at sunset.


A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - Random Acts of New Yorker Kindness
Two Years Ago Today: Connecting in Chantilly & Beyond

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Phone Photo Op - Hell's Kitchen

I was walking the roommate's pug - ignoring the comments of random passersby, like "Whoa! It's Frank the Pug!" - and while picking up "Frank's" poo in a plastic bag, I got a warm fuzzy feeling.

Because I stood up and realized (yet again) that I live on a beautiful Manhattan street.


A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: In Bryce's Words

Sunday, April 12, 2009

50.5% of Current New Yorkers Were Made, Not Born

From a beautiful article by Adam Sternbergh published in New York Magazine:

A recent poll found that even in these times, almost half of young America wants to move to New York. On the following pages we spoke to 160 people who recently followed that dream—and 30 who achieved it.

The best thing about living in the city of clichés, is that there is enough New York here for anyone who dares to follow their dream of becoming a New Yorker.

A Year Ago Today:
Phone Photo Ops - Harlem Blooms
Search-Term Saturday: I Don't Know
Two Years Ago Today: The Moments You Wait For

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Quotation of Whenever: The Year of the Renter

NYTimes.com Quotation of the Day:
"For the last three years, it was the bigger the better. Now the key words are smaller, livable and affordable."
- DOLLY LENZ, a broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman, on the New York City real estate market, from As Some U.S. Markets Level Off, Housing Slump Hits Manhattan

And this week, my roommate and I were able to negotiate a 16% drop in our own monthly rent with our landlord!
Not a quote of the day, week or month. Just of whenever. Until the next quote that moves me.

A Year Ago Today: Cerebral Albums
Two Years Ago Today: Easter Brunch & Libations

Monday, March 30, 2009

Remembering Marches

As with previous months, the responsibilities of my expanded job position and ups and downs in my personal life have prevented me from blogging as regularly throughout March as I would have liked. Thus, affecting my Year Three in Preview, where "posts of present accounts of being will end with 'a year ago- and two years ago- today' links to the past of becoming until the third year comes full circle and the 'Becoming a New Yorker' blogtale is complete."

So here is a year ago this month and two years ago this month for March:
March 2008
March 2007

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Best Things in Life are on The Dollar Menu

My boyfriend's best friend plays for an NBA team out west, and on a recent trip east, his live-in girlfriend made the journey to New York City to see him play in Madison Square Garden. It wasn't your usual first trip (ever) to New York. It involved all of the perks of dating a multimillion-dollar athlete that make you want to hate her - but you can't even be jealous because you are giddily watching the fairytale actually happen to someone who deserves it. A girl from his hometown, who never made it her goal in life to date a professional athlete, and who - despite her dramatically transformed lifestyle - manages to somehow remain untainted, unabsorbed, unoccupied by the hype.

A season ticket holder at their home arena has become close friends with us over the past few years and emailed me prior to her trip: And she told me that [name eradicated] would be taking her shopping on 5th Avenue, and she's asking me...What's 5th Avenue?!! Haha! Won't she have a blast!

In addition to Fifth Avenue shopping, her first trip to New York City included a few Midtown sights, gourmet meals, club seats at Madison Square Garden, and a room key to the W Hotel in Times Square. Club seats she shared with me, I might add! And because her boyfriend had to fly back west immediately after the game and her return flight wasn't until the next day, she shared her room at the W with me, too, and we made it a girls' night. With anything we could possibly desire at the press of the W's Whatever/Wherever button, we really lived it up ... with cotton pajamas and McDonald's parfaits! The floor-to-ceiling-window view over Times Square was merely incidental (wink).

A Year Ago Today: The Perfect City
Two Years Ago Today:
Colleague Convo - Through Swayze's Tree
Commute-Associated Hazards

Sunday, March 15, 2009

So ...

You are more likely in New York City to be walking to the gym one morning, enjoying the Eighth Avenue breeze ... and suddenly remember that you got felt up by a married woman in Johnny Utah's last night.

A Year Ago Today: United Colors of Benetton
Two Years Ago Today:
Say It Ain't Snow!
Phone Photo Ops - Yesterday's Weather

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Remembering New York Firsts

Looking back on posts from two years ago, I realized that even though I love living in Hell's Kitchen ... sometimes I miss my Harlem studio. I guess you'll always miss your firsts ...

A Year Ago Today: Colleague Convo - News Travels Fast
Two Years Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - Apt To Be Cont'd

Monday, March 09, 2009

City of Actors

You're more likely in New York to walk through the tunnel between the Times Square and Port Authority subway stations and pass by an advertisment for a TV show in which your best friend might have a frequent recurring role ... say in the barbershop ... as Kiki ... [name drop, name drop, name drop].


A Year Ago Today:
Phone Photo Op - Double Yokes and Oftens
Reviews of Views
Two Years Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - W. 4th St.