Sunday, September 30, 2007

Phone Photo Ops - The View from Brooklyn

After a Saturday night out on the town with my girl Iris, I dragged myself out of bed and to a birthday brunch in Brooklyn for my friend Gina C. I was joined by my best friend Tokii and her fellow Juilliard alum Jamario, four fabulous people from Gina's job, including a gorgeous girl who looks exactly like Maggie Gyllenhaal and has legs for days, Gina's roommates and other new friends.

We ate waffles cooked by the Birthday Girl and topped with everything, drank Mimosas, played Taboo! (which gets funnier the more Mimosas you drink) and had a hilarious photo shoot in the kitchen. What started as a brunch turned into an all day affair. By the time Tokii and I were headed back west to Jersey and Harlem respectively, it was getting dark and I was lamenting the end of another weekend.

The most refreshing thing about Brooklyn was the space. Gina and her two roommates share an enormous three-bedroom apartment. It took me an hour to get there from Harlem on the A train, and the commute from midtown would be more than what I would desire, but the thing about living in New York City is that you have to be willing to sacrifice one or more of three things:

1) Low Cost
2) Large Space
3) Convenient Commute

When I looked out of Gina's window, the first thing I thought was: "It is such a beautiful day." And the second thing: "It took me an hour to get here from there?"
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Zoom view
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
(The camera phone pic does it no justice, but the Empire State Building actually dominates the horizon from her window)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Manhattan Real Estate

The sad thing about this photo is that I pay approximately $1000/month for about the same amount of living space.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Gina's Front Stoop

My friend Gina B. walks out of her apartment building and sees this:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Taken on my way home after listening to Barack Obama speak and watching a spiritual healer in Washington Square Park, dinner and drinks at a Chinese restaurant in Soho, and hanging out at Gina's spot for about an hour.

Phone Photo Op - Barack in Washington Square

I went to hear Barack Obama speak in Washington Square Park this evening. I wasn't able to see him from where we stood, but I went as much for the experience as to hear what he had to say since I've heard most of it in one soundbite or another.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

However, I was able to see this interesting guy pictured below. He's a spiritual healer of sorts and to quote a random NYU student who watched me take this camera phone photo op: "It looks crazy, right? I know. I thought he was full of shit the first time I saw him out here, but then he cured a businessman's headache and then he, like, made my leg stop hurting. It's crazy."
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I had nothing to heal at the moment so I wasn't able to try it out.

Phone Photo Op - Starting Line-Up

The Grand Opening of the H&M on 42nd and Fifth was today at noon.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Taken at approximately 8:30 a.m. on my way to the office from the gym. There was already a line around the block, which meant two things: (1) I hoped they were giving away free goodies to the first several hundred customers because one can get all the same stuff in the H&M on 51st and Fifth, and (2) I wouldn't be going there today.

"Things I Love" Thursdays - Lox

I love Lox Spread on my regular Friday morning street bagel, the one morning each workweek I allow myself to enjoy a large New York bagel and a grande nonfat cafe latte (iced in the summer and when it's freakishly warm in January).

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Good Job

Last night I attended a client event hosted by one of our advertising sales directors and her sales associate. My intention was to simply meet the spa coordinator and take a few pictures because I had researched the spa and referred it for their client event, but when I arrived, I learned that one of their media clients had canceled so they invited me to take the open massage spot.

After sipping Pinot Grigio and sampling several heavy Hors D'oeuvres and fine chocolates, I received the most amazing one-hour massage at a spa in Tribeca that was recently featured in Allure Magazine. I know that Kanye West was rapping about more than just the material riches and exclusive services of the well-to-do in his recent hit single "The Good Life," but for a few hours last night, it was feeling like the good life to me ... or at least the good job for sure!

Monday, September 24, 2007

To Aspiring Transplants

Several friends and friends of friends are planning potential relocations to the city, which is exactly what New York needs, more transplants like me, who stake claim to a 350-square foot patch of Manhattan real estate, dub ourselves New Yorkers and feign irritation at anything that the real New Yorkers hate: the Red Sox, slow tourists, bad pizza. As a one-year-and-almost-two-month transplant veteran of the Big Apple, they've reached out to me for advice. So other than generally encouraging everyone to floss regularly to prevent heart disease ... my best advice is to take the advice of those who've done it better ...

For first-time New York City apartment renters:
Renting a New York City Apartment: Financial Requirements (Newbie NYC) and ...
Renting a New York City Apartment: Finding that Elusive NYC Living Space (Newbie NYC) and ...
The Housing Virgins of Manhattan (The New York Times)
- Both of Mary Hilton's blog posts and the August 24, 2006 New York Times article (that my boss left on my keyboard one morning last year when I was still sleeping on an air mattress in my best friend's living room in the Bronx) feature excellent advice for anyone who is battling the fierce NYC real estate market for the first time.
For the latest city attractions: NewYorkology
For any random questions: Ask a New Yorker
For the most up-to-date transit info: SUBWAYblogger
- More accurate and comprehensive than
For reasons to avoid Duane Reade: I Hate Duane Reade
- Even though I shop there regularly so that I can get a whole $5 dollars off my next purchase after 99,999 consecutive purchases ... and when the cashier asks me if I have a club card, I get a special feeling - like I'm part of an exclusive membership.
For a daily dose of downtown wit: East Village Idiot

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Phone Photo Op - [No] SubTalk

STRANGER! if you, passing, meet me, and desire to speak to me,
why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?
- Walt Whitman
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

On a downtown no. 2 train. What a concept in New York City. Yet somehow it did not inspire me to speak to anyone.

Weekend Recap

Friday night: I discovered the pork chop that will have me coming back to Morandi at least several hundred times over the course of my life. While sipping vino with friends in the Italian restaurant that resembles a wine cellar (not unlike every other Italian restaurant in New York with wine cellar decor), we discussed one of our favorite topics: Why We Live in the Best City in the World.

Among the responses:
- You can eat French for breakfast, Vietnamese for lunch and Ethiopian for dinner.
- One has to choose to be bored.
- In North Carolina, I'd be spending my Friday night watching a Reese Witherspoon movie on TBS and talking about how much I love her.*

*To my North Carolinians, I did not say this. This is what Dave said I would be doing.

Saturday night: Tasha (an actress and voiceover talent by week and a "Sex and the City" tour guide by weekend; also one of the funnest girls I've ever met) and I hung with our federal agent crew at some east midtown bars during their downtime. Several of their colleagues are in town from other field offices on-duty for the U.N. General Assembly. I was asked if I would be interested in being a guest bartender a few nights a week/month at one of the bars we patronized. I gave them my number, but will be interested to see if they actually call because I told them that I have no bartending experience. So we'll see ...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Street Nap

My friends and I happened across this fellow last night on a corner somewhere in the West Village.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Flower Power

What's up with the flowers painted on taxicabs?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I mean, I love it. But its purpose? Anyone? Google, here I come.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Phone Photo Ops - Subway Laps

Does anyone know why this guy was running circles around the elevator to the no. 7 platform?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here he is mid-Rocky-Balboa-at-the-top-of-the-stairs stance.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Sunday, September 16, 2007

This Weekend's Round 2

Iris and I began our Saturday evening at the bar of one of New York's top restaurants with several courses, complete with wine pairing, courtesy of my celebrity chef friend. We started to draw a bit of attention at the bar when people began to get curious why the chef was coming out to explain each course to us. Maybe they thought we were food critics. By like the fourth course, a nearby guest said to me, "I guess that's one perk of knowing the chef."

By the time we got to the four dessert courses, we were so full, we started passing the desserts down the bar. Our fellow bar dwellers seemed fairly intrigued by the chef's delicious descriptions and accounts of how each tasting was created so why not share the love? It was fun to meet new people that way.

Afterward we met up with friends at Coffee Shop in Union Square, which included our federal agent buddies and one guy who is currently on a former president's security detail. They have some great stories - well, at least the ones they can tell without having to kill us afterward.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Spotlight Live & Etc of Round 1

At Spotlight Live last night with sorority sisters and friends celebrating two birthdays.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Spotlight Live showcases the vocal skills of local talent and tourists or enlivens dull and bad karaoke acts on the main stage while the audience enjoy items from a moderately priced menu and a variety of adult beverages at digitally interactive tables. Guests can sign up for songs, view playback of the evening's performances and rate each act on individual touchscreens. The waitstaff double as back-up singers and dancers and know virtually every dance routine from Britney's "Hit Me, Baby, One More Time" to Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back."

Below my sorority sister's husband Amos sings "Bye, Bye, Bye" while the back-up dancers perform 'N Sync's entire dance routine.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Afterward I joined a friend for sushi at his favorite spot Sushi Seki. He's a chef at one of New York's top restaurants so he knows good sushi. I'm basically the girl that someone like him - an expert foodie - rolls his eyes at when I order a California Roll. Ever seen that credit card commercial, where it mentions "food that was swimming this morning ... or still is" ... there is live shrimp on the menu, which is exactly what it sounds like. They're alive until just seconds before you eat them, which was a foreign idea to someone like me - whose idea of cooking is Spaghetti-Os over the stove instead of in the microwave.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Phone Photo Op - Tent Skeleton

The Fashion Week tents outside of the office are coming down.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Colleague Convo - Via AIM

BOSS (11:20:15 AM): where are you from in NC?
ME (11:21:54 AM): Jacksonville, Camp Lejeune, Asheville, Cullowhee
BOSS (11:21:56 AM): All of the above
ME (11:22:06 AM): oh, and New Bern/Cherry Point
BOSS (11:21:02 AM): is that the coast or the moutains
ME (11:22:20 AM): LOL ... ALL
BOSS (11:21:12 AM): ah
BOSS (11:21:38 AM): my family (and I mean all my family) informed me last night that they are moving to NC - the piedmont area
ME (11:23:10 AM): why?
BOSS (11:22:10 AM): raising children, cost of living in ny etc
ME (11:23:23 AM): well, they can get a 3-bedroom home for the price of a midtown studio
ME (11:22:35 AM): with 2-car garage, front and backyard and outdoor patio (maybe with a pool)
BOSS (11:23:50 AM): a 3 bd home costs 800K down there?
ME (11:23:54 AM): LOL ... less
ME (11:24:09 AM): well, the average cost of studios according to this morning's amNY is $400k
ME (11:25:00 AM): my parents' three-story home in NC cost less than a Manhattan studio ... and they live in a nice neighborhood
ME (11:25:35 AM): it has 4-bedrooms, 3-bathrooms, living room, den, kitchen, dining room, workshop, wrap-around deck on two floors, 2-car garage, scenic mountain views (in the winter when the leaves are gone)
ME (11:26:04 AM): and my parents master bedroom closet is LITERALLY the size of my apartment
BOSS (11:25:05 AM): hmm
ME (11:26:21 AM): it's a giant dressing room - seriously - there's a couch in there
ME (11:27:08 AM): NC is not so bad
ME (11:27:10 AM): but it's not for me
BOSS (11:26:30 AM): why not?
ME (11:28:00 AM): doesn't have the vibe I love up here
ME (11:28:54 AM): you know when someone asks you why you love someone and sometimes you can't pinpoint just one thing in particular?
ME (11:28:58 AM): i just love new york
BOSS (11:28:53 AM): got it

This colleague convo was brought to you courtesy of AOL Instant Messenger, serving all of your online instant messenging needs since the late-90s ... at least.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Flying Back to New York on 9/11

"So ... you're flying back to New York on September 11th?"
That was Terrence last week when he saw my travel itinerary to Atlanta, purchased using a Delta Weekly Web Fare Special requiring a Saturday departure and a Monday or Tuesday return. And this was him yesterday when he saw me off at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport security check point: "Man, I should travel on Tuesdays more often. It is so empty in ... ohhhhhhhhh. Right."

Security yesterday just before I boarded an 8:45 p.m. flight from the world's busiest airport (since 1998 according to
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And another phone photo op of approximately four rows
to myself on a Boeing 747 (snapped just before take-off).
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I slept almost the entire flight and barely remember taking off from Atlanta, but I awoke when a flight attendant announced our descent into La Guardia around 11 p.m. As we banked left to fly up the East River, the pilot's voice cracked as he said over the loud speaker: "Please look out the left of the aircraft."

I slid across the aisle to the left side of the plane and peered into the darkness. Below the twin pillars of the "Tribute in Light" memorial pierced the night sky, and I am certain that the same chill raced up the spine of every passenger. For the first time on any flight I have ever taken into or out of New York, my eyes were not darting excitedly from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building or searching for the sparkling outline of Times Square. I could not tear my eyes away from where the Twin Towers once stood.

I was in that moment where we are all New Yorkers.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, September 07, 2007

Phone Photo Ops - My First Fashion Show

New York Fashion Week Spring 2008 is kicking off. The huge tent is up in Bryant Park and designers, models and celebrities are swarming the beautiful lawn preventing Corporate New Yorkers and tourists from enjoying lunches and the last summer afternoons on the grass. Some are annoyed by Fashion Week, others look forward to it each spring and fall. But it is undoubtedly one of the many parts of the city's rich culture.

I won't be here for most of Fashion Week. I'm leaving on an early flight for Atlanta tomorrow morning and taking a few days off from work to extend a weekend with Terrence, but I did attend a small fashion show last night at Tavern on the Green in Central Park with a few friends who work in design for Coach.

The "before" and after-party was packed with young and old New York socialites. You could practically smell the money and the collagen. Lost in a sea of pretty faces, I have never been surrounded by so many beautiful people at one time. I was clearly out of place and slightly out of my element, but with my friends at my side, we enjoyed highly-overpriced drinks and another beautiful New York night below the lanterns of Tavern on the Green.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

When I See New York

"This study proves my long-held hypothesis that we never get over our first love ... because the first time we fall in love is one of the most unconditional and near-perfect loves we will ever experience - a love like no other - because the human heart is never more open and impressionable; it's never been broken ... [if you were to see your first love right now] ... your hands would get clammy, your pulse would race, your eyes would dilate, and if I was taking an MIR of your brain, it would show increased activity in its most primitive areas ... First love is a permanent physiological, as well as psychological, condition, which proves the mind-body connection ... What you're looking at is the primitive part of a 56-year-old man's brain, who himself is looking at someone he's never seen before. Now here is an MRI of the same man's brain after showing him a picture of a woman he was in love with 40 years ago. See? All the activity firing way."
- A researcher to Jenny "Side Order of Life," the First Loves episode (aired Sun, 8/26).

I don't know if there has ever been conclusive research done on first love phenomena. A brief Google search produced no data, but I remember learning in a college human sexuality course that the pupils dilate when humans see someone they find attractive and there are various chemical or electrical reactions in the brain.

I realized this week that I experience a similar natural high whenever I see Manhattan's skyline, whether it's an image, a video or while flying or driving into or out of the city. I saw Fantasia's video "When I See You" for the first time, and as the images of New York flashed, I felt a lightness in my chest, butterflies in my stomach and a pleasant peace of mind that I associate with seeing someone I love. And I'm certain that if one were taking an MRI of my brain, he or she would witness increased activity.

So I'm still totally in newlywed bliss with this city after one year as a Manhattanite, and it's totally sick, corny and cliche, but just like everyone who has ever loved someone more than anyone else could, nobody loves this city like I do.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Phone Photo Ops - My Boss's Life

When I first entered my boss's apartment on Thursday night, I thought to myself, so this is how this side of the world lives ...

How would you like this for a headboard?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And this view from your living room?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Or a roof deck like this ...
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... overlooking a park like that
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And rooftop views of the Empire State Building ...
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... and the Statue of Liberty
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And sometimes a cruise ship passes by your window ...
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

... and you watch sunsets like this
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And I got paid to stay there for three nights with her cats.

Phone Photo Ops - Sky Writing

Did anyone else see this over downtown and/or midtown today?
If so, can you tell me what it said?
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Phone Photo Ops - September Sunrise

Sunrise while cat-sitting at my boss's Tribeca apartment (not to be confused with the East Village apartment of my other boss)
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Looking west over the Hudson River
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

In Tribeca - for those who already have it all -
the sun can also rise in the west
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

No Title for Last Night

Last night started out normal enough over an outdoor dinner at Southwest NY in Tribeca with two friends and ended in Paris Cafe at the South Street Seaport with one of the two friends and an investment banker, who was high on life (and maybe a few other things) and wearing one shoe with a pink flower. She likely lost one of the $150-flowery flip flops while leaving the Gate House on South End Avenue in the Financial District, but we didn't notice until we were getting out of a cab on South Street. Not to be deterred by the loss, we entered Paris Cafe right behind her as she flung the door open, pointed her shoeless toe in front her like a ballerina and twirled into the bar.

Phone Photo Op - August's Sunset

Yesterday's sunset from the SouthWest NY in Tribeca
marked the last day of August.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket