Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thursday, January 1, 2009
4:10am JST (Japanese Standard Time)

If you are reading this post from any location west of the general geographic alignment of latitude 36°00' N and longitude 138°00' E prior to midnight in your time zone, greetings from the future. It is 2009 here, and we've just returned from celebrating in the streets and bars of "The Land of the Rising Sun."

Wishing the world all the best for the new year!
See the rest of you when you get here.

New Year, Old Me

The end of one year and the start of another often - if not always - brings self-reflection and resolutions. I don't know that I'll sign on the dotted line for any new goals at the stroke of midnight, but I will continue to try to understand who I am and what I want. Here's what I think I know:

The basic themes of the novel Rules for Saying Goodbye generally define me. But I realize something new about myself once or twice a week. I don't seek to constantly reinvent myself, yet I might not ever really know everything about me all at one time because different parts of me change, sometimes frequently; this should probably bother me, but it doesn't.

I don't have a very good awareness of my personal space so I often bump into things. Because of that, I accidentally shaved off the very top of the middle finger on my right hand and permanently disfigured the nailbed when I was five years old, broke my right arm when I was six, and I have a permanent, dime-size, swollen bubble over the third metatarsal on my right foot. There are various scars on my legs, arms and back, and I generally have a few bruises or a twisted ankle at any given time.

I wish I was wittier, but I typically end up bordering on corny and sarcastic. I like to surround myself with people who provoke thought. I'm a sucker for a sense of humor. I don't fall in love easily, I don't get attached easily, and I have to be both of those things if I'm going to get jealous easily; I can probably thank a military brat upbringing for that. I was nominated for the "Most Friendly" Senior Superlative at my second high school (I am still usually nice 10 years later). I like to step back and absorb certain moments so that I can remember the details; I do that most often when my friends are laughing.

I have - not so much a phobia of - but a general repulsion of clumps of dust, hair, and I despise grimy countertops. Despite a few isolated circumstances, I feel like a fairly lucky person - especially considering all of the horrible things that can happen and have happened to others in the world. I'm boycotting diamonds, and not because I don't absolutely adore them and not because of the movie Blood Diamond, Kanye West's song or other trendy political fads, but because of the book When You Ride Alone, You Ride With Bin Laden by Bill Maher.

Moving to New York City three years ago was the best decision I ever made.

When I used to have a kitchen with enough space for a table, I liked to read the back of the cereal box while I ate breakfast. I love Manhattan, Lox cream cheese with my Friday morning bagel ritual, weekend brunches, and Pinot Noir. I have a dark side, and I generally do not trust those who don't. I'm a chain gum chewer; not a nervous habit or to break any addictions - just do. I believe that only time tells all things, and it is the one thing I firmly stand beside and simultaneously fear because it is an undeniable, unpredictable constant that both richly and unremarkably defines all of us.

A few general standards that seem to remain constant about me include the following: I like astronomy (not astrology), chocolate, cultures, horseback riding, maps, national and international political affairs, nutrition, photography, reading (for fun, knowledge or to pass the time), some sports, travel and writing ... and if you've got undiagnosed OCD like me, you'll have noticed that I listed my general interests in alphabetical order. I just do organized shit like that with minimal effort.

I'd like to sit with Stephen Hawking and talk about the mysteries of the universe over red wine and lightly toasted miniature bread roll slices topped with raspberry jam and warm brie cheese. Oh, and I have a girl crush on Ellen DeGeneres.

A Year Ago Today: Again
Two Years Ago Today: Tonight's the Night the World Begins Again

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Remembering Decembers

As with previous months, the responsibilities of my expanded job position and my trip to Japan have prevented me from blogging as regularly throughout December 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 December:

December 2007
December 2006

Saturday, December 20, 2008

In Japan

I made it to Japan. I arrived in [town eradicated] late Thursday night (Thursday morning in the U.S.) and roughly 24 hours after I left Newark. Friday morning, I rode with Terrence's BJ league basketball team to another Japanese town, which is where I am now - about six hours from his seasonal home. The girlfriend of one of his American teammates is also visiting (from Los Angeles) so it's nice to not be the only girl on the team bus. It was a beautiful drive north along the coast before we looped south around a chain of enormous snow-capped mountains. I do also have to mention that the Japanese coastal tunnel system is quite impressive. I took lots of pictures, of course.

The team had a game yesterday, which they won. Their fans are amazing. I was surprised at how many of them made the six-hour trek to support the team this weekend. You cannot miss them because they were dressed head to toe in fan gear and were waiting at the arena to welcome the team when the bus arrived for Saturday's game. I don't think I have seen anything quite so adorable as watching Japanese fans, dwarfed by the American players, asking for photos and autographs. Some of the children are as tall as Terrence's knees and stand with pen and paper in outstretched arms with their heads cocked so far back that the backs of their necks disappear. After the game, they waited around the bus to take more photos, get hugs and then stood waving until the bus pulled away. I have always thought it to be corny when entertainers and athletes tell their fans that they love them, yet - even though their fans had absolutely no interest in me whatsoever - I felt something like love watching them interact with the team. The sincerity of their admiration and the pride in their smiles were so genuine and warm.

There is another game tomorrow at 2:30pm before we head back. The day after Christmas, we leave for another Japanese city.

A few initial notes on Japan:
- The Japanese definitely have the cleanest genitalia in the world. I find the toilet posterior shower and bidet spray quite refreshing.
- When I arrived, I noticed that random people were wearing surgical masks. The American in me assumed that these random Japanese were phobic of other people's germs or air pollution, but Terrence told me that they wear surgical masks when they have a cold or other contagious ailments because they do not want to infect others - something I could never see happening in the U.S.
- They have squid jerky here. I took a few pictures.

A Year Ago Today:
What I Love About New York
And More
Two Years Ago Today:
Morning Star Sighting

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

En Route to Time Out

In approximately four hours, a car to Newark airport will be picking me up for my flight to Japan. I highly recommend 212-333-3333. The next time I will see New York will be in 2009.


A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today:
Drunk Santa

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Phone Photo Op - Close Quarters

Our neighbors rarely remember, take into account, or care that our living room being positioned directly opposite their bedroom means that we can see them.

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Saturday Night Lights

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Phone Photo Op - Living Room Picnic

You know you have great friends when your girls' night sleepover in Queens (hence the spacious living room pictured below) opens with a carpet picnic on Mayra's baby blanket with wine, cheese and chocolate.

A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - Fall Foliage
Two Years Ago Today:
Swirling Diamonds
5pm Pic

Friday, December 12, 2008

Phone Photo Op - NYPD Police Horse Trailer

In case you've never seen one ... I hadn't either.

A Year Ago Today: Choices
Two Years Ago Today: The Morning After

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - Evening Views

I love the view of Midtown from my boss's glass office.

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

A Year Ago Today: BNY's Installment of Gawker Stalker
Two Years Ago Today: Corporate Holiday Party

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Phone Photo Op - Women in Black Against War

Peaceful protesting on the steps of the New York Public Library

A Year Ago Today: Around the Office
Two Years Ago Today: More Food for Thought

Thursday, December 04, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly of It All

Speaking of Christmas trees, the most wonderful - and equally annoying of all - was lit in Rockefeller Center last night. I was trying to run errands in Midtown, four blocks from my apartment, in the Rockefeller Center area when the absolute madness forced me to flash my employee ID at NYPD officers and fib that I had to deliver the contents of my Saks 5th Avenue shopping bag to a photo shoot within the restricted blocks. To my mild surprise, it worked.

Upon completing my errands just before 9 o'clock, I was walking toward Hell's Kitchen on West 51st Street when I heard Beyonce singing from Rockefeller Center. I was too cold, carrying too many bags, and too irritated with the masses to hang around on the crowded streets. But her voice was so beautiful. It echoed along 51st Street, scoring my walk home with Christmas carols, and reminded me that for every one thing I hate about this city, there are 10 things that I love in its celebrity-obsessed, overpriced and tourist-infested streets.

A phone photo op from 5th Avenue as I weaved my way through the slalom of Rockefeller tree-lighting spectators with my "bag for the photoshoot."

When I finally got home, I entered my apartment building, letting the door bang shut behind me, shrouding me from the holiday insanity. Seconds later, as I finished the grueling ascent of the four-floor walk-up, my heart was ironically warmed by more Christmas cheer upon discovering that my roommate and our neighbor had decorated our hallway with strings of lights.
"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:
This Just In
Deflation Countdown
High-end Furnishings

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Celebrity Sightings & Overpriced Surroundings

In New York, you're more likely to see NFL stars guest appearing on TV shows while walking from the office or browse $100 Christmas tree ornaments at Saks.

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Bloomingdale's Blues

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Phone Photo Ops - Christmas in New York

In case there is any doubt where you are, according to New York City, it's definitely Christmastime.

A Year Ago Today: Men in Macy's
Two Years Ago Today:
Sobieski Sighting
Subway Symphony

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Remembering Novembers

As with last month, and under the moderate strain on my time created by my upgraded job responsibilities, I have not bogged as regularly throughout November 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 November:
November 2007
November 2006

Friday, November 28, 2008

Phone Photo Op - Thanksgiving Dominican-Style

Last night, my roommate and I joined friends in Harlem for a Dominican-style Thanksgiving feast. And in the grand tradition of the Dominican timetable, we started drinking at 6pm and eating at 9:30.

It was worth the wait!

A Year Ago Today: Annual Conference
Two Years Ago Today: Bad Day Average

Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - New York Romances

I love this table at Seeda Thai II on West 50th Street.

"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: No post

Monday, November 24, 2008

Miracle on 34th Street

I was not permitted to blog about the great news until all pertinent parties had been informed. Now that the cat is officially out of the bag, I am celebrating in the blogosphere.

On Thursday, November 20, heretofore known as "HeSheIt" Day, I was standing on the southwest corner of 34th and Seventh with Tokii after dinner and a basketball game in Madison Square Garden (her husband is an assistant coach for a top NCAA team playing in the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs Cancer). Yawning through farewell hugs, I was bidding her good night when she paused and took my hand. Placing it on her belly, she said, "But first, meet your god child."

Suddenly wide awake, squealing and jumping up and down under the neon lights of Midtown, the curious stares actually blurred around us. I could not just go home after news like that. After regaining my composure, we went to get coffee and talk about the he/she/it forming inside of my best friend ... and more importantly, what an amazing God Mother I am going to be - the years ahead of cards and presents for Birthdays, Christmases, Graduations and HeSheIt Days.

She might not believe it - so I didn't tell her - but when I was standing in line for my ticket at the team will call and she waved from beyond the barricade to get my attention, I experienced nanoseconds in which I thought, "Wow. She is glowing." Yet within those mere seconds I assumed that either (1) the TV studio sure does take good care of their actors' skin and hair or (2) she is really happy to see her best friend. Looking back now, I want to believe that I had sensed something was different about her.

Over coffee in the lobby of a nearby hotel, we discussed how she might surprise her husband with the joyous news, how her family and our friends would react, and what challenges lay ahead in juggling her unplanned pregnancy with a significant role on a national television show. Her husband called periodically as the night grew later and his evening obligations to the team were winding down, and we giggled excitedly about the fact that he would soon be a father. I did not get home until after 2am and still had to pack for a weekend trip to DC for an Andrea Bocelli concert at the Washington National Opera. When I woke up a few hours later to get ready for work, it was the funniest thing ... the sky really was bluer.

A Year Ago Today: Back to My Life
Two Years Ago Today: When the Past Comes Back

Friday, November 21, 2008

Phone Photo Op - 34th & Seventh

I received wonderful news here last night.

More to be revealed in due time.

A Year Ago Today: Aging, Not Wrinkles, Is Cruel
Two Years Ago Today: Small Big City

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Phone Photo Ops - More Autumn Views

Along my block in Hell's Kitchen

A Year Ago Today:
Dinner in the Dark
Subway Rules
Two Years Ago Today:
Great Expectations
Got Joe?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Moving On Up

I received a promotion of sorts. In addition to assisting the SVP of Digital Advertising, I am now also assisting the EVP of Media. It's a trial period - to see if I can handle both workloads. But if this week is already any indication, I'll be going to bed a lot earlier every night and blogging a bit less.

In fact, this post is going into the Drafts with the others until I find time to finish it.

Update: Publishing this post; nothing to add regarding this day - other than, I was very tired.

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Name Dropping

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - The Power of Remaining Nameless

I love the anonymity in New York City that empowers you to do almost anything in public (within reason), such as stop to buy deodorant on your way to brunch and put it on while standing in line at Rite Aid.
"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

A Year Ago Today: Survived First Night
Two Years Ago Today: No post

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Phone Photo Op - Commuter Keys

In New York, you're more likely to hear Alicia Keys perform live in the Good Morning America studios while walking to work.

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Reality Soon Sets

Monday, November 10, 2008

Phone Photo Op - You Dirty Rat

A giant rat outside of an office building is usually an indication that a corporation within is doing something that someone finds worthy of protesting - in this case, poor asbestos treatment.

A Year Ago Today: Game of Grab Ass
Two Years Ago Today: Fall is in the Air

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Phone Photo Op - Season of Gold

A shade of autumn in New York

A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - Fall Fashions
Two Years Ago Today: No post

Friday, November 07, 2008

Phenomenal Life

Last night I dined on gourmet cuisine and listened to Maya Angelou herself recite "Phenomenal Woman" ... for my job.

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Better Day

Thursday, November 06, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - Twilight Views

Walking to happy hour at Public House last night
with my roommate.

Walking from happy hour at Public House last night
with my roommate.

And a mannequin that we thought was funny.

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

A Year Ago Today: Becoming a Knick
Two Years Ago Today: Bad Day

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Oh, What a Night

New York City has the Morning-After-Election glow. I woke up this morning in a nation with a violent history of slavery, oppression, and civil rights struggles and remembered that overnight, we had elected our first African American President. I know that not everyone in the United States is rejoicing this decision. But today matters because it is the first step toward a time when perhaps it will no longer matter. When a Black, female or even gay president will not be a phenomenon, but a norm. Sure, there are more politics behind Obama's win than just race alone - Bush's reputation, taxes, the economic crisis, McCain's choice of a vice presidential candidate, the war in Iraq, our relationship with Iran and the rest of the Middle East ... and this first step is not affirmation that racism is behind us, but it is a sign that our nation is - not entirely, but broadly - ready to heal.

A dozen or so of our friends gathered in our tiny Hell's Kitchen apartment to watch election coverage. We mixed drinks, ordered takeout and debated politics as we crowded around the television and surfed between the CNN Election Center and the Indecision '08 coverage on Comedy Central. Even a chef friend showed up after his shift with lobster fritters.

When CNN projected Obama to win at approximately 11pm Eastern Standard Time, our apartment erupted in cheers and our neighbors rushed in to tell us that they were heading over to Times Square. As we were throwing on our jackets and silly 2008 and beer mug sunglasses, someone yelled pensively, "Maybe we should double check FOX News to make sure everyone is projecting it."

"Quick," someone else yelled, "What channel is FOX?"

After a quick scroll through the Time Warner guide, we found the channel and again erupted in celebration when we saw that even FOX News was [reluctantly] declaring Obama the winner. Cognizant of the false Al Gore projection in 2000 yet feeling fairly certain that the victory was sealed, we charged through Hell's Kitchen and ran, leaping and screaming, in the streets of West Midtown.

A blind man could have followed the roar from Times Square that was echoing through the canyons of Manhattan. We raced down the blocks, dodging Obama supporters with campaign signs, wearing crazy hats, even some in full body paint, and packed ourselves into the masses of thousands reminiscent of New Year's Eve. Complete strangers met in an embrace and then remained nameless as they turned to scream Obama's name at passersby. Rather than the short, agitated beeps of impatient taxis that I've learned to ignore, I rejoiced in the long, victorious honks of the car horns. I hollered, I did little jigs on street corners, I took silly pictures. If human electricity were conductible, I think our bodies could have lit Times Square alone.

When the jumbotron monitors suddenly experienced technical difficulties as Obama commenced his speech, Natasha and I took off through the crowd to race the few blocks back to our apartment. It was in that moment when I realized that Times Square and Midtown Manhattan were like our very own backyard and for the hundredth time, Natasha and I linked arms and squealed about living in the best city in the world.

But this time, as we ran zigzagging along West 45th Street, stumbling on uneven pavement and giggling uncontrollably, we both knew that we were subconsciously capturing this moment and realizing that this is the story we will tell when our grandchildren ask where we were when Barack Obama was elected President.

... And what a very special time for me,
'Cause I remember what a night ...

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: New York City Marathon
Phone Photo Ops - Marathon Images

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Images from Election Day

Times Square photos added on 11/5/08.

A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - People Watching
Two Years Ago Today: First Day on Broadway

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Published Photo Ops

Living in New York, you are more likely to see images from a recent event you attended in People Magazine.

Two Years Ago Today: No Soup for You!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Penalizing the Men of Manhattan

My girlfriends stopped traffic last night in Times Square. Literally.

A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - New York Moments
Two Years Ago Today: Key to the City

Friday, October 31, 2008

Just a Look Back and a Peek Forward

I have not bogged as regularly throughout October as I would have liked, in order to keep up with 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 October:
October 2007
October 2006

And tonight, my girlfriends and I will be dressed as distinct versions of sexy referees, and we will storm the streets, with whistles and "body check" calls, to celebrate Halloween only the way New York City can and penalize the men of Manhattan!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

50 Best TV Comedies Ever

And more than two were set in New York City. But not so hilarious is the fact that Monica and Rachel's apartment was considered swanky and unaffordable. In observing my own living conditions, it is depressing to realize that an upgrade to Monica and Rachel's cohabitation arrangement is still out of my price range.

The fact that Monica and Rachel lived in a swanky New York apartment they could never have afforded in the real world didn't diminish how much we loved the 'Friends'-ship of the Central Perk gang, the Ross-Rachel romance and our favorite TV wiseacre, Chandler Bing.

A show about nothing? Nah, it was about everything in the lives of four self-involved New Yorkers. Not that there's anything wrong with that, because no one but Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer -- and show co-creator Larry David -- could have turned minutiae into nine seasons of comedic brilliance.

Read More

A Year Ago Today: Corporate Restructure Hits Home
Two Years Ago Today: That Time of the Mes

Monday, October 27, 2008

Facebook Reviews

I regret to inform my friends that I have decided to phase myspace and facebook out of mylifebook. Not only does it allow and encourage me to waste valuable time - at both home and in the office - stalking the statuses, photos and updates of friends, acquaintances and strangers, but I am often untagging myself in photos that are highly inappropriate in nature. Not only does it lead to unsolicited, creepy messages from "14-year old boys", it also means that I should likely reevaluate my lifestyle regarding the specific behaviors captured in said photos.

Since most of my coworkers, including my boss, are on facebook - as well as members of my family ... and because of the danger created by the ability to copy and paste, I am limiting my use of both social networks and minimizing accessibility to my profiles and the ability to find personal information about me on the web while I determine alternative means to maintain so many of the lost friendships that myspace and facebook have helped me rekindle.

Thank you for your understanding.
- My Life Management

A Year Ago Today:
Only on the A in NYC
Two Years Ago Today:
Shut Up & Sing

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Facebook Views

Beginning my third year in New York City, I've slowly - and sometimes not so slowly (or comfortably) - discovered the differences between New York and the South, or New York and North Carolina, or New York and everywhere else.

But nevermore has the difference between the the North and South become more obvious than during the past two years of the Presidential election campaign. Having recently relocated from a Red State, I am no stranger to conversations that largely favor Republican views, small-town (and unfortunately often small-minded) views, and racial or stereotypical views. But racial and stereotypical perspectives are certainly no stranger to New York City. Living in the melting pot of the world, I have heard more stereotypes about other cultures in the past two years than my previous 26 years on Earth. I mean, it's a city with distinct cultural neighborhoods of which you may have never even known existed, sharing intersections as borders, and crammed within just five small boroughs.

But when I recently shared a college classmates' Facebook status with my group of blogger gals at a happy hour in City Wendy's Hell's Kitchen apartment, the response was that of astonishment. Bewilderment even.

The Facebook status of the college classmate in North Carolina had read: "Going to see Sarah Palin! Whoop! Whoop!"

"Wow," one of them responded, "I don't even know people like that."

A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - Manhattan Dawns
Two Years Ago Today: Shut Up & Sing

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Anti-Baby Talk

The following text message exchange ensued today between me, Tokii in Atlanta, and Monique in Charlotte.

Me: 2 great forms of birth control: shoppping 4 ur friend's baby shower and waiting in the lobby at ur gyno's office.

Monique: I AGREE! LOL!

Tokii: Or buying a 5bdrm house and not setting aside even 1 toom 4 a future nursery.

My reply: Wow. You win.

A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Ops - Day in Central Park
Two Years Ago Today: Hollyworld

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Evening View

Sunset over Manhattan from my boss's office last week

A Year Ago Today: Colleague Convos - Best Way to Spend $3.75 in Midtown
Two Years Ago Today: Walk to Work

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lazy Saturday Afternoons

There is something comforting about being able to hear my neighbor taking a shower through our living room window. Though I don't know that he ... or she ... really classifies as a neighbor since he ... or she ... lives in the adjacent building, and we share neither hallways nor downstairs door keys, but simply windows into a narrow alley. But we must commonly recognize the sounds of living on the fifth floor - the drip of an air conditioner, pigeons on the roof, the male opera singer who lives a floor below us.

I'm not sure if our faceless living-room-window neighbors are both "hes" or "shes" because we can only see the lower halves of their bodies through their half-curtained bedroom windows and sometimes we see a male and sometimes we see a female. We are only certain that it's a roommate situation, and one bedroom - for sure - is that of a girl.

But it is a comfort nonetheless to hear their lives happening next door.

A Year Ago Today: "Things I Love" Thursdays - Dinner Parties
Two Years Ago Today: 300 Million Headline

Friday, October 17, 2008

Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads

Did anyone else see the UFO parked on 8th Avenue between 56th and 57th the other night?

A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - King on the Corner
Two Years Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - Fragrant Sidewalks

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mo' Money, Mo' Problems

Paying rent aside. Having a (social) life in New York City is expensive. Even when ... and especially when you are trying to budget in a faltering economy.

Last night, I joined friends visiting from North Carolina at Comix and laughed hysterically at jokes that my parents definitely would not have liked or appreciated. Entrance to the comedy club was free, but a two item minimum still put me over $20 with one appetizer and a glass of wine.

And tonight, I struggled internally with the financial headache of widely-accepted corporate dining etiquette. Excited to accept a dinner invitation with fellow executive assistants within our company, we dined at the posh Gaby Restaurant in the Sofitel New York. Having carefully chosen a soup and salad from the appetizer menu and split a carafe of wine, I gritted my teeth and added my credit card to the restaurant billfold when it was suggested that we split the bill five ways rather than itemize our charges, which included several $30+ entrees.

I generally find it tacky to itemize charges in a fine-dining restaurant, especially when the difference one might end up paying between their bill and someone else's is less than $5-10. It is often easier to simply split the bill equally throughout the table. As a waiter in an upscale establishment in Cashiers, NC, I was often annoyed listening to groups of old ladies argue over a $4-difference in the cost of their meals when splitting checks. However, it is equally aggravating when no one acknowledges that you ate a much cheaper appetizer course than the entrees that others ordered. Even more frustrating is the fact that you don't want to be the tacky one pointing out that you ate less, especially when dining out with colleagues. This is probably why I should get in the habit of carrying cash instead of regularly depending on my credit card.

Walking home to my Hell's Kitchen apartment, I regrettably lamented over the fact that I had spent over $60 in two days ... and just two days after I had sworn to better manage my money, cut down on brunches and happy hours, get fewer manicures and pedicures, and even chose a cheaper Halloween costume.

If you, too, are getting to know your inner Recessionista, visit City Wendy for tips on how to stay fabulous on a budget. I hope she adds tips on how to accept dinner invitations without getting stuck overpaying for your friends' or coworkers' sirloin steak. But when it comes to the cost of living in NYC, is there nothing to say but se la vie?

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today:
Far from Rice Crispies
Midnight Police Raid

Monday, October 13, 2008

1 + 1 = 3

An equation is a mathematical statement, in symbols, that two or more things are exactly the same or equivalent.

Sometimes I cannot believe I'm in New York City, nearly 29 years old, walking in four- and five-inch stilletos and surviving. My life has been a mismatched patchwork quilt of people and places.

Sometimes my life doesn't feel like my own. Like the choices I make are those of a character I observe in the third person. As if the equations of my past cannot equal the present. It's definitely no where close to what I had calculated the outcome of my choices to be as a child in Cherry Point or Parris Island or as a preteen in Bermuda or as a teenager in Jacksonville, Camp Lejuene or Asheville. Or as a budding adult in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Corporate New Yorker just doesn't seem like a logical solution. Yet here I am and it all fits.

An identity is an equation that is true regardless of the values of any variables that appear in it. Whether a statement is meant to be an identity or an equation, carrying information about its variables can usually be determined from its context.

I guess when it comes to life, identity is all relative.

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Little Black Umbrella

Sunday, October 12, 2008

City Walk #21 - Upper West Side 1: The Gold Coast

Card no. 30 - photos

Begin at Central Park West and 81st Street (B or C train to 81st Street).
The walk begins in front of the Beresford, the cream-colored Italianate apartment house at the corner of Central Park West and West 81st Street against which Mickey Mouse can be seen bobbing at the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade each year. The Beresford was compelted in 1929 and sold 11 years later, along with the San Remo (145 Central Park West), for $25,000. Across 77th Street is the Rose Planetarium, part of the American Museum of Natural History complex. No visitor to New York, especially those with children in tow, should fail to visit the Museum of Natural History. At the corner of West 77th Street is the New York Historical Society, the city's oldest museum (since 1804) and repository of many extraordinary collections, including watercolors from John James Audubon's Birds of America. Two blocks along is the San Remo, followed by yet a third variant on manhattan glamour. Compelted in 1884, and nicknamed for its remoteness from the center of town, the Dakota (1 W. 72nd St.) is one of the Upper West Side's great apartment buildings, as well as a shrine for fans of John Lennon, who was shot to death at its entrance on December 8, 1980. Directly across the street, at 115 Central Park West, is the Majestic, a striking example of the art deco style. Continue south to West 70th Street and the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, home to New York's oldest Jewish congregation, since 1897. A couple blocks south, the tawny facade of 55 Central Park West, is a landmark of a different sort - it's where Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis lived in Ghostbusters.

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

A Year Ago Today: Sex and the City in the Streets
Two Years Ago Today: Speed Chess on 42nd & Fifth

Photo Ops - City Walk #21

Today's Route: Upper West Side 1: The Gold Coast

In Central Park, near 81st St and Central Park West

A trail to Central Park West

Learning to kick a football in Central Park

Local entertainment

Diana Ross Playground

The Beresford

Rose Planetarium

Exiting from the planetarium

The American Museum of Natural History

A quick peek inside

New York Historical Society

The San Remo

The Dakota

John Lennon was shot and killed at this entrance

The Imagine Mosaic at Strawberry Fields

The Majestic Apartments

The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue

55 Central Park West ...

... where Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis lived in Ghostbusters.