Thursday, November 30, 2006

What Happened to November?

So today was the last day of November and the average temperature was in the high 60s, which is a little creepy. It is reassuring, however, to know that freezing weather is gripping other parts of the country. But it has been such a warm fall and winter so far, and you have to wonder what happened to November.

A former colleague from North Carolina emailed me yesterday. He ended his email:
p.s. did you notice how warm it is here for late November? Who says global warming is an issue? I think it is the countdown to the apocalypse myself, read that in the Weekly World News tabloid couple weeks ago, so it has to be true).

In totally unrelated news: I think I have a crush on Chris Cuomo.

Phone Photo Op - Jack Black

Yesterday a colleague mentioned that walking to work each morning can be such an adventure. She had just arrived in the office after emerging from the Bryant Park station as a pack of Nascar race cars were parading down 42nd Street.

This morning, it was Jack Black standing with a bunch for random Santa Clauses (an Elvis Santa, a Wisconsin Cheesehead Santa, a Cowboy Santa) in the middle of Times Square.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And then (just moments ago) the GMA crew themselves graced the nation with their presence, and I'm signing off now to grace my boss with mine.
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Television Disconnect

I feel such a disconnect with live television sometimes when I'm watching Good Morning America while getting ready for work. This morning, for example, I listened to Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts make reference to the thousands of Nascar fans in Times Square and caught brief footage of the race cars revving their engines outside of the ABC Studios during the first 45 minutes or so of the morning "info-tainment" program.

Yet as I emerged from the Times Square station around 8:15 a.m. from the 1 train just 30 minutes after turning off my television uptown, my first thought was, "What are all these people standing around for?"

Moments later, "Oh yea, I just saw this on TV. Duh."

Sometimes it's like I forget that I live here, or I feel like I'm realizing that I live in New York City for the first time ... again.

I took a short detour along 44th Street to catch a quick camera phone photo op for my blog (being the dedicated blogger that I am). As I took the below photo, I overheard a Nascar New Yorker dad say to the small Nascar New Yorker son in his arms, "Do you see him, buddy? There he is. Do you see Jeff Gordon?"

The little boy was clearly star-struck. He had that innocent glazed look in his eyes that was a mixture of superstar admiration and youthful bewilderment as his father continued to whisper, "Do you see him, buddy? There he is. That's Jeff Gordon."

Phone Photo Op - Nascar in Times Square

Outside of the ABC Studios while walking to work this morning.
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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bad Day Average

I think I'm averaging one bad workday a week.

Today I messed up a very important conference call among some high-level executives because I forgot to send the dial-in to an external party, who was essential to the productivity of the call.

The CTO didn't make a big deal out of it, but I am sure that everyone, who had taken time out of their day for a virtually unproductive 45-minute call, was pretty annoyed. I tried to make amends and haven't heard anything since, but in all honesty, these people are too busy to take time out to pat me on the back and tell me that everything will be ok. Nor do I expect that.

I just have to take what I can from this mistake and try to do better next time. Shake it off, as they say. So shake, shake, shake.

Monday, November 27, 2006


I finally attended new employee orientation, which has generally continued to take place every Monday since I began temping in August. This company is growing quickly during its "comeback."

Even though I officially became permanent a week ago today, it was the Thanksgiving holiday week and our division was short-staffed Monday and Tuesday. As a result, my supervisor received approval for me to skip orientation last week to help out in the office.

Every week, human resources posts the names, photos, general information and an interesting fact about each new employee in all of the company break rooms at the midtown office, the downtown office and the TV studios.

It took me awhile to think of my interesting fact. I mulled over several options, but after awhile I started to realize how interesting I wasn't. I couldn't think of anything extremely interesting at all. I guess I was looking for something extravagant ... like "I speak Swahili" or "I have six toes" or "I've gone skydiving over the Alps" ... I actually have a friend who has done that last one.

Some viable options were:
- I was arrested in Bermuda when I was 11 years old by the U.S. military police.
- I plan to marry Matthew McConaughey, Wentworth Miller or the model in the Sean John billboard down in the Bryant Park station by the end of Q4.
- I have a series of metal plates and screws in my face.
- I can recite the entire alphabet backwards.

In the end, I chose:
- I placed first in the Bermuda IronKids Triathlon for girls in the 12 year old bracket in 1992.

Later after the photos were posted in all of the break rooms, I realized that I sound like one of those people who hold on to a past achievement, like those who are always correcting another's grammar or spelling because they were the 4th grade spelling bee champion.

I should have gone with my special RoboCop-like features.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Furniture for a Match Box

I finally ordered furniture today. The bed won't arrive until the second week of December and the couch won't be delivered until after the New Year, but my tiny studio apartment is one step closer to becoming a home.

My mom and I went to Pottery Barn on 67th Street and Broadway, and with the assistance of an extremely helpful sales representative named Keith, I picked out a full/queen mahogany-stained platform bed with drawers from the Stratton collection (without the headboard) and a small 3-piece sectional in oat everydaysuede from the Westport collection.

Both pieces are featured in the "Furniture for Small Spaces" section on the Pottery Barn website, which is what originally attracted me as I am, indeed, living in a very small space. With the taxes and shipping charges combined, they about wiped out the furniture budget I set for myself, but it's not like I have any other rooms to furnish.

I also bought an elegant glazed pot from Home Depot, Miracle Gro soil and plant food so that I could repot my dear plant Sasha. She has been through botanical hell and back and survived so now that I am getting settled, I wanted to give her the Rolls-Royce of plant life.

Note to Terrence: Your boring fern-weed Brenda isn't going to have a chance once Sasha fully bounces back. We challenge you both to a duel! [remove gardening glove and slap across face]

My mom and I ended the evening with hotdogs from Gray's Papaya and a new episode of Desperate Housewives. Now we're trying to get comfortable laying head-to-feet on my twin size air mattress.

Good night!

Phone Photo Op - Gray's Papaya

The best hotdogs in the city can be found at Gray's Papaya on 72nd Street and Broadway.
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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Road Trip

My mom and I left Asheville in a rental car around 5:30 am and headed up I-26 into Tennessee. As we crossed a bridge over a high gorge, the fog was so thick that the road seemed to drop off and disappear. We could barely see 50 feet ahead. It would have made for a nice phone photo op except that I was driving. But it kind of reminded me of what my life has been like for the past four months. Can't see more than a day ahead of me. I liked driving through that fog. Maybe that's why I like the way my life has been lately.

We stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Tennesee, a Subway in Virginia, a gas station in West Virginia and maybe another in Pennsylvania. In New Jersey, we got turned around on the Turnpike and ended up going through the Lincoln Tunnel even though it would have been faster, easier and cheaper to cross the George Washington Bridge.

We flirted with fenderbenders in the bottleneck entering Lincoln Tunnel, we were honked at by almost every cab driver on Broadway, it took 30 minutes to find parking, and I found a small, dead roach as I walked into my apartment, but it was good to be home.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Back to My New Life

Tomorrow I'm going back to New York City. My mom is driving with me from North Carolina and plans to stay for a week or two.

I am feeling a little anxious about going back to the city. Everything is so fast up there that it's almost like I am worried I've missed too much in four days to catch up. I know that's not really the case - although I did miss David Blaine suspended above Times Square in a rotating ring.

I watched a little bit of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. Even though I probably would have just checked it out from my TV in my apartment, I felt a little sad about not being in the city. I guess you could say I am homesick.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

To Be Thankful

I'm thankful for my parents, who always mean well. I'm thankful for my brother, who is broadening his horizons in China. I'm thankful for my boyfriend, who is supportive of my goals even as they take our lives in separate directions. For my best friend, who holds a mirror that reminds me why I'm fabulous but never sugarcoats the truth. For my closest friends (they know who they are), who always inspire me to be better. For my two bosses, who don't know about this blog or what I've written about them, but must surely know how much I admire and respect them. For my coworkers, who made me want to be a permanent part of their team when I was a temp. For my new job that makes me feel good in the morning even when I don't want to get out of bed.

I'm thankful for the way I was raised, the way I have grown and am growing, and the way I have learned to think for myself. I'm thankful for my character and personality. I'm thankful that I have the ambition, ability, will and opportunity to realize my dreams. Just because one knows what they want, it doesn't mean they can have it. I have been blessed with reasonably good fortune when others cannot even get a chance. And I am so thankful.

And when I get back to New York, I'm going to knock on every piece of wood in the city.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Small Big City

Yesterday as the plane took off from La Guardia and looped north of Manhattan and headed south, I spotted my 35-story apartment complex on the Hudson River. I was immediately struck by how close my building looks to Central Park from the air and how small the island looks in general. Then I thought of all the millions of people I was looking upon: doctors, lawyers, teachers, celebrities, sanitation specialists, executives, drug dealers, transportation operators, chefs, waiters, mafia members, postal workers, socialites, homeless people, construction engineers, artists, performers, students, bloggers ... so many different people with diverse agendas all crammed into such a small place.

My building doesn't seem so far from midtown or even downtown from the sky. Yet getting around Manhattan - whether it's a commute to work, meeting friends or running errands - consumes so much time. My Monday-to-Friday commute is actually pretty nice. Just 25 minutes. But it can be the longest 25 minutes of your life when you're squished between eleven people in a subway car all trying to hold onto the same pole.

When I met David (who recently referred to me as a closet blogger) downtown for brunch and pedicures last Sunday, it took me 35 minutes to get there by train. Over half an hour to go about six miles. Later that evening, we took a cab back to the Upper West Side, where his boyfriend Chris was cooking us the best eggplant parmesan ever. We opted for a cab rather than the train because it would take too long to get to 84th Street carrying flowers, wine and a new serving plate from William Sonoma.

Today my dad drove me to an orthodontist appointment in Clyde (roughly 30 miles from Asheville) in about 20 minutes. Dr. Irvine (the best orthodontist in the world) took a quick look at my teeth and retainers, and my dad I were back in Asheville in less than an hour roundtrip. We ate a light lunch at Applebee's, stopped by the hospital to get his schedule and say hi to his coworkers, and had plenty of time to spare prior to my minor outpatient oral surgery at Dr. Scully's clinic (the best maxillofacial surgeon in the world). The surgery took about 45 minutes, and my dad and I made stops at CVS pharmacy and Wendy's and arrived home soon thereafter.

Total time spent on orthodontics, Applebee's, visit at dad's job, outpatient surgery, CVS and Wendy's?

Five hours.

Entire commute combined, we virtually drove from Inwood to the Financial District roughly five times today.

When it comes to going the distance in Manhattan, it's all about perspective. You might know you're a New Yorker when you stop thinking in miles and attribute all distances to blocks.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


For me - as a military brat - I knew I had found a home whenever I was sad to leave one particular duty station or another.

For me - as an adult with no real "hometown" but rather numerous memories of home in a variety of towns - I knew I had finally found the home when my plane took off from La Guardia, and I realized I was sad to be leaving even for just a few days.

I am at my parents' house tonight in scenic Western North Carolina and happy to be here for the Thanksgiving holiday. But the sky seems strangely open, the streets seem oddly dark and the world seems very quiet. I didn't expect to feel such a drastic change within less than four months of urban dwelling among the highrises of the concrete jungle. It's not an uncomfortable change, just more different than I thought it would be.

Thomas Wolfe once said that "one belongs to [New York City] as much in five minutes as in five years." To quote Mr. Big, a character on Sex & the City, my response would have to be his trademark reply: "Abso-f***ing-lutely."

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Knowing Wink

Tomorrow morning I am flying home to Asheville, North Carolina to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with my parents. I just finished packing a small suitcase, and now I'm about to get ready for bed. Before I snuggle into my not so warm air mattress, I'll probably stand at my window like I do every night and take a few minutes to appreciate the day, the moment and what I have.

On August 1, I left North Carolina with all of my possessions packed into a stow-and-go rental minivan. No apartment, no job and no one awaited me. It was just the city and me. My first night, Terrence had asked me what was next.

"So what are you going to do tomorrow?" he had asked. My reply had been: "I don't know."

And I loved that answer.

There is still a lot I don't know, but there is so much that I feel. Having been the consummate planner throughout the majority of my life thus far, it's that kind of "not knowing" that makes me feel so alive.

Each night the lights in Jersey dance on the Hudson River, and from my 9th floor window, the red light on the antennae of the Empire State Building winks at me from midtown. I can't see the building itself over the rooftops, but on clear nights like tonight, the blinking red light gives me that knowing wink and makes me feel like a New Yorker.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Subway Convos

Late last night, I was riding the 1 train uptown to my apartment and overheard the most arbitrary conversation among four college-age individuals. The group was debating a contrast and comparison of homeless people and cockroaches and something about electrons, neurons, a half-eaten peanut butter sandwich and a coat hanger.

Two members of the group were speaking in irritatingly elevated tones presumably to make their input in the conversation audible to the rest of the subway car. I'm assuming they felt that the other passengers would be impressed by the depth and breadth of their conversation. Instead numerous sighs abound and annoyed glances were exchanged throughout the car - all of which were oblivious to these young scholars as they animatedly debated their analogy.

I looked at the woman sitting next to me, who was clearly struggling to lightly snooze amidst the banter and asked, "Is that what is attending Columbia University?"

She looked at me and sighed, "Mm-hmm."

Sure enough, they exited at 116th Street.

If I could remember some of the exact analogies, I'd submit them to

Friday, November 17, 2006

Phone Photo Op - NBC Sleepover

Saturday Night Live fans camping outside of the NBC studios in Rockefeller Center the night before a live taping.
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Corporate Adrenaline

The AVP, Director of Marketing (who often refers to my new employment as an opportunity to grow me - she "likes to grow people" - which is great because I need some growing) brought me with her to a four-hour meeting today so that I could watch, listen and learn.

The meeting involved representatives from a direct email marketing firm who were essentially trying to sell the top directors and heads of various departments within our company on their online marketing tool.

It was such a rush to watch our CTO and other "big wigs" from various departments grill these sales representatives and to watch these reps rise to the challenge. It was a tough crowd on our side and one of the reps actually started sweating ... in fact, I began to sweat a little bit for him. But after three hours of presentations, demonstrations and dialogue, it was exciting to watch the dynamic of the room as it flowed from speculation and doubt of whether or not they could meet our company's objectives to collaboration and corporate camaraderie.

There is still more to discuss before there are handshakes over contracts - in fact, I'm setting up conference calls between various departments on our end and their reps (who are based out of California). But after the meeting was over, everyone actually turned to me and thanked me for setting everything up. I mean, all I did was book a conference room, coordinate schedules, send invites to all the pertinent parties, order a catered lunch and then sat to my boss' left and scribbled notes (not rocket science by any means), but it felt pretty cool to be acknowledged - especially after a meeting as cool as today's.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Great Expectations

After some mild salary negotiations over the past two days, I formally accepted the position assisting the VP Digital Advertising Sales and the AVP, Director of Marketing. One is widely acclaimed and respected in the online advertising world and the latter was named one of the top 25 women to watch in Advertising Age.

I didn't get exactly what I wanted in terms of salary, but my employers did make a decent effort to meet me halfway, which ended up being a difference of $5k. Plus, I will receive paid overtime, which will actually put me over my asking price. It's a great salary by North Carolina standards, a good salary by Florida standards and a decent salary by New York City standards. In other words, I'm not moving to Tribeca and buying a Rolex watch tomorrow, but I can afford to live comfortably, save adequately and have a social life (which is very expensive here).

On Monday, I will officially be a permanent employee of the company for which I have been temping for three full months. And starting at 12:01 am, I can finally rest easy that if I am hit by a city bus - and survive - that I will have adequate medical insurance to cover the subsequent bills. I am now also shopping around for a dentist and a family practice doctor, and I'm taking suggestions.

I wish I could say that this job opportunity presented itself because I'm just that good, but I have simply had extraordinary luck. And quite frankly, the bottom line is that my bosses are taking a leap of faith in hiring me because I am somewhat unqualified for the job I am undertaking. In fact, I would be willing to bet that if I had submitted my resume without any prior interaction with the company (through the staffing agency), I would have never been considered. I mean, my background is a bachelor's degree and three years working in higher education administration - not advertising sales and marketing.

And then today, while I was doing competitive advertising analysis (a.k.a dog-earring pages in a competitor's magazine that features advertisers whom our sales team needs to pursue), I paused to read the editor's note. She had listed, in no particular order, a list of gifts she had received that money can't buy - one of which that read:

"The moment my former boss Laurie agreed to let me interview the actress Marisa Tomei for a major national magazine when I had absolutely no experience and then promoted me to a job for which I was largely unqualified, all because she saw things in me that I did not yet see in myself."

I don't know what exactly my bosses may see in me, but I hope it's what they get.

Prior to moving to New York City 3 1/2 months ago, I fully expected to be working in some arbitrary job, sending resumes everywhere and going on interviews several times a week. I think the greatest expectation is to expect nothing. I came here expecting just that and got something a little bit better and very much unexpected. I guess you have to dive into the unknown without expectations sometimes ... then there's less chance for disappointment and the only direction is up.

Got Joe?

My favorite blogger Joe does such great things with his blog beyond just rambling about the day-to-day like I do. Recently his readers began joining a cause to help a man named Mike Jones. And no, not the rapper.

From Joe.My.God's Special Open Thread Thursday:
It was at this time last week that the last bell finally rang on the 2006 election, delivering the House, the Senate, and the majority of state governships into the hands of the Democrats. The map is blue again. And so is the sky. My face is sore from smiling and my feets are aching from all this happy dancing.

And playing a possibly vital, perhaps pivotal role in this triumph was not a politician. Not a party strategist. It was a private citizen. It was a gay man. A man who although he was risking his personal livelihood, risking his arrest, and surely risking his physical safety, he came forward and did the right thing at the right time.

That man is Mike Jones.

Regardless of your personal opinions regarding Jones' chosen field of work, you cannot ignore his unprecedented accomplishment of almost completely appending the Republican Party's last minute campaign to divert the nation's attention from the true issue of the election: the Iraq war.
Read More from this blog

Whether you support the cause or not, it's interesting to gain another prospective and think outside of your own little box.

[Sat, 11/18, 10:30am update]
Here's an interesting counter from Josh of the blog Gay Men Rule:
I'm just confused why we are exalting someone who chose to have interactions - for years - with someone who hated everything we stood for and believed in!

As far as difficulty finding a job? That's wrong and demonstrates the pervasiveness of homophobia and the judgments of people who can't get beyond the thought of prostition and maybe drugs existing in our society.

For that reason, I gave the dude some money.

But I don't believe he swayed the elections. I turned off the T.V. that entire week because Faggarty and Jones were both getting on my nerves. Most people I know did the same.

Someone needs to show me exit polls supporting this theory that folks voted for Democrats because of Mike Jones/Faggarty. At any rate - like I said - I donated, but not because I think he did anything worthy of being put on a pedestal. Thanks for doing this though, Joe.
Read More about this issue in their blog

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Page Six

The major news of the day:

Kevin Federline, formerly of the Mr. Britney Spears union, is using a steamy sex tape from their "honeymoon days" as a bargaining tool for $30 million of their estate and sole custody of their two children. That's one way to get the judge to think that you're the best role model for your kids.

Also, OJ Simpson is working on a project called "If I Did It..."

Meanwhile in Iraq, Afganistan, Sierra Leone, Iran and North Korea ...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Survived First Night

Last night was my first night alone in my new apartment. After helping me move into my new place on Broadway, Terrence stayed a week and helped me with the cleaning, the shopping and the other new housekeeping tasks. He flew out of La Guardia yesterday and returned to Atlanta, and I went back to a very quiet - and suddenly lonely - new home. I heated up some leftover Chinese food, sat on my air mattress and opened some mail. It felt so great to see my new address in writing, but the ripping sound the envelopes made as I opened them echoed off the walls and had never seemed so loud. No furniture, no cable, and I'm stealing wireless Internet from a neighbor until Time Warner arrives on Saturday.

I ate my food in silence then leaned against the wall. As I looked around my new space, I tried to picture what it would look like once I have furniture and decor. There is still a laundry list of things wrong with it (by anywhere-else-in-the-US standards), but it's really quite nice (by the Big Apple's standards) - in fact, it was the nicest I saw within my modest price range.

I've been exchanging quirky and often hilarious stories with coworkers about first New York City apartments. What you aren't willing to put up with ... someone else is ... and will pay double. The result is a mediocre living condition due to the high demand created by 8 million people seeking a cut of approximately 321 square miles.

When New York City hands you lemons, try to avoid the brokers fee, patch up what the landlord won't, throw some paint on the walls, and be thankful that you're no longer sleeping in your best friend's living room. I'm telling you, turning the key in the lock of a door never sounded so sweet as when I first opened my own door in the most densely populated major city in North America.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Reality Soon Sets

As I've been settling into my new apartment, I've been finding more and more "habitational" issues. Adding to my earlier list of things that are incomplete or need to be repaired:

1) Inside one of the floor cabinets, there is a square hole (approximately 12"x8") through which the pipes connect the sink to the main waterline in the wall. Needless to say, until that hole is patched up, I will not be using that cabinet - or even opening it often for fear of seeing a rat or a roach.
2) The refrigerator door opens in a cumbersome direction within the layout of the kitchen. Someone is going to come in and switch the handle and hinges.

1) The bathroom sink has been leaking small pools of water into the new cabinet underneath. There is a plastic cup under there now, which I empty every other day or so.

And here are some things of which I have just made a mental note:
1) The hot water temperature and the rate at which it lasts vary and are directly proportional to how many other people are showering at the same time.
2) The laundry rooms downstairs are locked around 9 or 10pm even if there is a dryer tumbling - though temporarily abandoned, the full load of clothing holds the promise that their owner will soon return (yet my laundry is locked in down there right now).
3) I need to develop a greater appreciation for Hispanic music because if my neighbors are listening to it, then I am, too.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Game of Grab Ass

Earlier this week, Gloria explained to me - in discomforting detail - the rules of a little game that she has quite un-affectionately dubbed "Grab Ass." To paraphrase my tiny Taiwanese coworker, here is the gist of the Game of Grab Ass:

Grab Ass is played exactly like it sounds. It's when you are packed so tightly into the train that when the train lurches in one direction or another, one or both of two things happens: You grab the ass of the person standing in front of you to keep from falling over and/or scowl angrily at the back of their head because there is not enough room to turn around and give an evil look to the person behind you who is grabbing yours.

And today I got to play.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Better Day

We had sales training today from 9am to 4pm in the executive conference room that shares a glass wall with the office of the company's founder and icon. She has a corner office with glass walls and a gorgeous view of the Hudson River. Around 3:45pm nearing the end of a long day of training, two people walked into the office and started pulling up the shades and carefully lining them up at exactly three-quarters of the way up the windows. They turned on the desk lamp and the flatscreen computer, entered a password, arranged two fresh bottles of cold water on the desk, emptied the trash can, took one final look around the office and walked out.

I looked around the table in the executive conference room. All of my colleagues were paying attention to our sales trainer, but were clearly sneaking glances through the glass wall into the meticulously prepared office just as I had been.

Our training ended promptly at 4pm, and we did not see her actual arrival. We left the building and proceeded to our sales training dinner in a private wine cellar of an adorable downtown Italian restaurant. We dined on delicious food paired with fine wines and toasted the growth and success of our sales team. At the end of the night, my coworker Gloria and I split a cab to our respective West Side apartments.

Today was a good day.

[Wed, 11/8 update]
And the week got even better when the states began turning from red to blue and the Devil resigned as Defense Secretary. My sentiments exactly from Joe.My.God.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bad Day

I had one of those mornings at work that made me feel like giving up on the career world and aspiring to be a housewife. Not that being a housewife is any easier or less demanding - maybe it's the being your own boss, on your own schedule, staying at home that makes it attractive on days in the office when you feel like you can't do anything right, there's too much to do and too little time, and you feel like you'll never get ahead (in the short run or the long).

But I'm not one to give up just because of days like today. Plus, there was someone in New York City who had a much worse day than I did. I was late to work this morning because of train delays on the Downtown/Brooklyn bound 1 train because of a passenger injury. I didn't know the exact details as none were provided to those on my train, but one of my coworkers was also late because of the same delay. She lives south of me on 96th Street, where the incident occurred. She didn't know if it was an accident or a "jumper," but she said there were a lot of police officers and a body bag.

Despite the grim situation, she said that random comments among New Yorkers on the platform ranged from, "Damn - I'm going to be late [for those who assumed it was an accident]" to "Why couldn't he decide that he couldn't go on living on Sunday? [for those who assumed it was a jumper]" ...

Even when the announcement was made by the conductor on my train that we were "being held by the train's dispatcher because of a passenger injury downtown," there were heavy sighs and rolling eyes as New Yorkers began calculating how much time would be lost to the delay.

This day is now coming to a close for me. It was a bad one. But I'm glad it isn't over.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New York City Marathon

Terrence and I stood at 96th and Fifth Ave (Mile Marker 23) for an hour and a half. Then Annisha called and told me to go to Mile Marker 24. Then she said that Eileen's family was headed to the Finish Line. Then I got worried that if I did too much walking and not enough watching, I'd miss Eileen and her fire engine red shirt and black shorts fly by so we stood on the corner of East 90th for another 45 minutes. And after all of that, we still didn't see her! So I dragged Terrence around Bed, Bath & Beyond, Crate & Barrel and Best Buy to continue apartment-stuff shopping. Even though we missed Eileen's run entirely, cheering for the other thousands of runners for two hours was amazing! They were champions! Can't wait to see next year's ... and why? Because I live here!!!

Phone Photo Op - Marathon Images

Entering Central Park (23 1/2 miles)
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Mile Marker 23
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Runners & Rollers
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During ...
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... And After
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Saturday, November 04, 2006

First Day on Broadway

At a glance, the apartment looks very nice. However, upon closer inspection, I have a laundry list of items that are incomplete and/or need to be fixed, which I sent to the management company:

1) Missing electrical outlet cover in kitchen (left of sink)
2) Missing granite base of backsplash on countertop (left of stove)
3) Kitchen sink is not well sealed between upper rim of sink and countertop

Entryway Closets
1) Loose wire hanging in closet nearest the front door (if it's electrical, it appears to be dead)
2) Bottom of second closet door is stripped (sanding and/or touch-up paint needed)

1) Lid on back of toilet does not fit securely because of poor positioning of adjacent sink and countertop
2) New sink, but appears that the porcelain on the edge of the counter was nicked during construction (doesn't need to be fixed, just made note)
2) Missing baseboard tile (left of toilet)
3) Peeling paint (left of mirror)

Living Room
1) The cover over the airconditioning unit box (below the window) is not well sealed and cold air is seeping in.

I've all ready had two very small bugs make their presence known, which received a swat response and subsequent squish. I bought a Raid fumigator today (almost purchased the fogger, but decided against it since I have a gas stove). Terrence and I will announce my intolerance for bugs of any size, shape or color by setting it off tomorrow before we leave to go see Eileen run past 96th Street and Fifth Avenue in the New York City Marathon.

Oh yea - Terrence is in town. He arrived last night from Atlanta to help me move from the Bronx to Hamilton Heights. We spent the morning assisted by two very diligent and speedy movers from MoveMaster. The afternoon involved a lot of grumbling as Terrence followed me around Bed, Bath & Beyond and Home Depot (he can't stand shopping with me). This evening we ordered pizza and ate it out of the box since all of my kitchenware are still in boxes. And now he is in the shower, I am blogging on my air mattress surrounded by boxes, and I think we broke the heater when we tried to turn it up earlier.

Home sweet home.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Phone Photo Op - Denzel & Crew

There have been multiple Denzel Washington sightings immediately across the street from my new apartment building in Harlem, where he is filming scenes for his upcoming movie American Gangster on Broadway (the part of the street in Hamilton Heights; not down in the Theater District).
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Thursday, November 02, 2006

No Soup for You!

The Soup Nazi is a very real threat in New York City. From the New York City Daily News: "The man who inspired the famed "Soup Nazi" on "Seinfeld" [lent] his name - and his legendary recipes - to a chain of soup stores, and the first in the city opened on E. 42nd Street [on November 2, 2005]."

One year and one day later, I walked into The Original Soup Man - not realizing that it was the Soup Nazi's store. In fact, I never knew that the Seinfeld character was based on a real person. When I realized where I was, I frantically scanned the menu trying to narrow down my choices before I reached the counter. When prompted for my lunch selection, I momentarily entertained acting like Elaine in "Seinfeld" and tapping the counter, skimming the menu and wondering outloud, "Hmmm ... What do I want?"

Instead, I placed my order and moved to my extreme left as fast as I could. Despite his remorseless line policy, New Yorkers continue to line up for his soups, to which my tastebuds will now attest that his slogan "I Set the Standard!" is duly justified.

The Soup Man experience is not as harsh as it was portrayed on TV, of course - in fact, it was quite pleasant. But even if it wasn't, I would keep going back. It's that good.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Key to the City

On my key ring, there are two new keys. One opens the front doors to my new apartment building and the security doors to the elevator lobby; the other opens the door to my new studio apartment on the 9th floor overlooking the Hudson River. It's not the million-dollar view on the 35th floor, but it's the $50k-view 26 floors below.

Getting the keys today wasn't easy. I now have another story to add to my growing collection of New York City residential war stories. I arrived at the management office around noon as directed. After almost an hour, I still had no keys. Later I was asked if I could return in the evening for my keys as the apartment was still not ready. I agreed, but asked if I could see how much progress (or lack thereof) had been made on the restorations. Reluctantly, the manager agreed.

I discovered that my apartment still had no oven, refrigerator, bathroom sink or mirror. Electrical sockets were still uncovered, construction dust was everywhere. Fortunately, the manager and his employees are amiable people who really do seem to aim to please so I didn't feel like creating a scene nor did I see the need. He simply promised that construction would be finished in time for me to begin the bulk of my move, which is planned for Saturday.

However, I was permitted to return this evening to get my keys so that I will have access to the building and the apartment over the next few days. Tomorrow they will complete any unfinished renovation and wax the newly installed wood floors.

Even though everything wasn't ready exactly when promised, I am very happy with my new apartment. It's no luxury building, but it's far better than I bargained for when I first moved to New York, and it's mine. Tonight I'll still be sleeping on my air mattress in the Bronx, but when you finally have the key to your very first apartment, it really does feel like you have a key to the entire city.