Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - Weirdness

I walked by this guy yesterday morning on my way to work.

Disclaimer: I only brave the crowds of Times Square ("bowling for tourists," a friend calls it), which actually aren't too bad in the early morning, just to catch a quick glimpse of my celebrity crush: GMA News Anchor Chris Cuomo. In the evening, I reroute up Sixth Avenue and cross town at Radio City Music Hall.

You know you're a New Yorker if you can see something like this and barely break step. You don't see this on Broadway ... yet you just did.
"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

A Year Ago Today: Good, Bad & Ugly First-Year Moments
Two Years Ago Today: Last Night in North Carolina

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New York is My Washpot

Yesterday evening I was walking through the intersection of Varick and Franklin downtown in Tribeca to meet the Blogger Gals for our NYC Restaurant Week 2008 reservation at the upscale Vietnamese restaurant Mai House. As I walked unassumingly through a small crowd, I suddenly heard, "Action!"

I did a half-duck and hastened my pace across the street, realizing that I had just walked through a film set - whether it was for a movie or television production, I did not know. I did briefly observe a blonde girl in pink with her hair swooped to the left and pulled back in a neat ponytail. The director was frantically trying to get her to cross the busy intersection for his shot, and she was pointing to the passing cars and raising her arms in a questioning gesture. Assuming that the relatively small production crew was shooting an independent film of some sort, I took no further notice and continued on my way.

Later, Misguided Misadventures was able to ascertain that we each must have separately walked through a follow-up clip for America's Next Top Model or a recap for The Tyra Show on our respective commutes to meet at Mai House. The blonde in pink was Whitney, the first plus-size model to be crowned by Tyra Banks in Cycle 10.

At Mai House, I selected the Green Mango Salad (Chile Oil, Cilantro, Red Onion), Glazed Spare Ribs (Orange and Scallion Salad, Chiles, Ginger Caramel), and the Holy Basil Chocolate Ganache (Passion Fruit, Kumquat) from their Restaurant Week three-course menu, which was served by a pretty and friendly waitress, who did not treat us like "Restaurant Week patrons". We were provided with courteous and prompt service and were not rushed out for the next seating. And as always, I enjoyed good conversation with City Wendy, DrunkBrunch, Fiesty Red, Misguided Misadventures, and Satire City.

Meanwhile uptown on a beautiful tree-lined street in Hell's Kitchen, the A-List comedian / former SNL actor was picking up my roommate in a red Ferrari (rather than a few of the Jaguars we rode in last week, including a brand new one, which prompted me to show him my brand new yellow MetroCard, fully loaded from the 50th Street station showroom). During their third date, he invited her to ... California to see one of his shows, a photo shoot for a leading entertainment magazine ... and, oh yea, a little something called the Emmys in September.

"It is a cliché that most clichés are true, but then, like most clichés, that cliché is untrue."- Stephen Fry, Moab is My Washpot

A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Ops - True High-Rise Profession
Phone Photo Ops - Self Help
Two Years Ago Today: Good Luck & Oh Yea

"I'll Get Back to You On That"

Randy Pausch’s Last Words
The New York Times, July 30, 2008

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch is best known for the words of wisdom and wit he delivered during a now famous “Last Lecture” and subsequent best-selling book.

And so it probably comes as no surprise that the final words uttered by Dr. Pausch before his death last Friday from pancreatic cancer reflected the same humor and good nature that made him an Internet celebrity.
Read more

Randy Pausch died on July 25, 2008, but he left a profound mark. An enormous accomplishment.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Worlds Apart

A few weeks ago, my colleague Sam went to a client event on a roofdeck in Midtown and returned the next morning raving about the location at 620 Fifth Avenue. He emailed me this photo, which is not an actual image from the client event, but was the same venue set up for a ceremony and cocktail reception.

It reminded me that there is this entire world of Manhattan elite, living in an entirely different New York from the rest of us, existing above us in the summits of the city. Gossip Girl comes to mind, which coincidently is currently filming on Sam's block in Brooklyn, and is a segway to a memory of a recent scene I saw in a Crate & Barrel on the Upper East Side, when Terrence was helping me shop for synthetic hydrangeas (because I've killed everything I've tried to grow in my apartment and on the fire escape).

I witnessed an extremely heated discussion between a mother, clearly of foreign decent, and her late-teen/early-20s Americanized daughter, while the American father and his other child stood quietly to the side. Paraphrasizing their conversation, the daughter's side started out a little something like this: Mom! Are we, or are we not, here to shop for my apartment?! Did you not open the the links I sent you and look at the color pallete I want?!

Terrence's comment to me later: I wonder how far my sister would fly before hitting the ground if she talked to my mom like that.

Maybe if you've only known a world as ostentatious as the peaks of New York City, it's easy to lose sight of the realities that exist below, like the palm of your mother's hand.

Two Years Ago Today: No post

Breaking Local News

Gasps of horror are erupting all over the office. What's causing these horrified responses?

Our Fashion & Luxury Director just walked by and announced along our row of cubicles: "Matthew Broderick cheated on Sarah Jessica Parker."

Did he not learn anything while filming Election?

Subway Romance At The End of the Line

One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard for men living in New York City: "Ignore the urge to talk to the gorgeous blonde passing you on the street; there are 30 more right behind her."

Sometimes a little old-fashion romance, with the optional combination of modern-day digital technology, buds in the cynical streets of New York City, but it doesn't always bloom.

By Belinda Goldsmith Tue Jul 29, 7:21 AM ET

CANBERRA (Reuters) - A modern-day love story of a man spotting the girl of his dreams across a New York subway train and tracking her down over the Internet has failed to have a fairytale ending with the relationship over.

For Web designer Patrick Moberg, then 21, from Brooklyn, it was love at first sight when he spotted a woman on a Manhattan train last November. But he lost her in the crowd so he set up a website with a sketch to find her --

Unbelievably in a city of 8 million people, it only took Moberg 48 hours to track down the woman, with his phone ringing non-stop and email box overflowing as usually cynical New Yorkers took sympathy on the subway Romeo and joined his hunt.
Read more

Monday, July 28, 2008

Returning to New York City

My New York girlfriends partied two nights in a row with a few of the Wayans brothers while I spent the weekend in Western North Carolina doing this and had another 7-hour delay in the Cincinnati airport on Sunday.

In happier local news, a coworker got engaged on a mountaintop in Montana over her weekend. Before our weekly ad sales meeting today, my colleagues discussed her exciting news.

Amie: Well, we just got a dog so engagement seemed like the next logical step.
Me: I just don't know if I agree with marriage just because of the arrival of a dog.
Sam: But studies show that it's better for the dog in the long run.
Me: Be that as it may, I just don't think it's a good idea to follow one mistake with another.

And my cubicle neighbor - another of the executive assistants in the row of white cubicles lining the glass offices behind us - just sent me this.

Incredibly, Warren Wilson College, in Asheville, NC - where I recently witnessed an unwelcome reaction to a gay rights parade during Bele Chere that had me ready to rejoin modern civilization in New York - was ranked the Most Socially Liberal College by MSN Encarta.

1. Warren Wilson College (Asheville, N.C.)
The typical WWC undergrad "likes good organic wholesome food, a good local brew and bluegrass on a starry night, is health conscious but smokes hand-rolled cigarettes, dresses in work clothes but accessorizes, recycles, doesn't watch TV and knows some botanical-ornithological basics." To put it more simply: "This place is a haven for hippies and very left-wing people." Other types pepper the student body, including "surfers, farmers and punks, some people with dreadlocks, others with dyed hair. A small portion of the population has facial piercings and tattoos."

Students who considered Warren Wilson also looked at Earlham College and The Evergreen State College.

To be fair, Asheville is one of the more socially progressive cities in the South, and I am generally proud to have lived there in my late teens. New York City, however, is for my late twenties.

And beyond.

A Year Ago Today:
New Tag: Search-Term Saturdays
The Morning After Jet Blue
Another Charlotte No-Go
Interesting Things I Saw in JFK Before I Did NOT Fly to Charlotte
Two Years Ago Today: Top 10 Favorite Asheville Memories

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lessons Unlearned

Ironically, you'd think I'd have learned the system by now.

A Year Ago Today: Currently Taking Bets On How Long It'll Take Me to Get to JFK on the E
Two Years Ago Today: Time Flies ... Sometimes

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back in the South

Within 48 hours of touching down in Asheville, North Carolina, I have had chewing tobacco randomly spit across my path (he did apologize), was inadvertently burned with a cigarette (he did not apologize), watched a crowd of ignorant high school boys taunt a gay rights activist march at Bele Chere (one of the boys took a break from yelling "It's going to be hot in hell" to tell me that I was beautiful; I smiled back sweetly and told him I was a lesbian), ended up on a dark mountain road with drunk people and no mode of transportation, and bailed a friend out of jail.

My signature is now on file in the Buncombe County Courthouse, logged at 3:15am on Saturday, July 26, 2008, where we had a mini-highschool reunion with former classmates waiting for sisters, boyfriends and husbands, who had been arrested for disorderly conduct, public drunkeness and/or harsher charges.

A Year Ago Today: Lunch Break Post - Street Photography Permit?
Super Bad Brad
Two Years Ago Today: Ageless Love

Friday, July 25, 2008

NYC Airports + Bad Weather = Equation for Chaos

Flying out of JFK on time is ranked in my Top 10 List of Impossible Things to Do, just below finding a rent-stabilized apartment in New York City and right above solving the general quintic equation in radicals.

My original flight to Asheville, connecting through Cincinnati on Wednesday evening was cancelled due to bad weather, and every subsequent flight through which I attempted to rebook was cancelled one at a time throughout the evening until no options to Asheville were left. JFK to Atlanta. Cancelled. JFK to Charlotte. Cancelled. La Guardia to Charlotte. Cancelled.

I preferred to remain at JFK for seven hours trying every rebooking equation possible rather than lug my bags around the circumference of the airport on the AirTrain for 20 minutes ($5 each way) to the E ($2 per MetroCard swipe) and ride for another 40 minutes back to Midtown. Only to have to return the following day for a 6am flight. I even considered hopping an express bus to La Guardia - until all their flights were cancelled, too.

To those foreign to middle-class Manhattan dwelling, problem solving in JFK for what was roughly equivalent to a workday may have seemed a fatuous alternative to a 3-hour round-trip commute. But when a 15-mile trip to the airport, dragging your luggage on public transportation, can take an hour and a half door-to-door, you'd almost prefer to sleep at the airport.

Luckily, Mayra and her boyfriend recently moved into a house in Queens, a few stops on the A from JFK. And luckier still, her boyfriend has a brother, who was willing to sleep over and drive me to La Guardia at 5:30am. The ultimate resolution to the quadratic JFK squared equation was to reroute me out of La Guardia and through Atlanta with a final destination of Asheville, North Carolina, at 11am on Thursday.

But the puzzle continued to become more complicated. The following denominators were factored into the following morning.

1) Torrential rain and slow traffic
2) Blown transmission at the exit to the airport
3) Cabs unwilling to stop on the expressway
4) Dodging highway traffic with my small carry-on suitcase to get to a willing cab waiting on the shoulder (still pouring rain)
4) Longest check-in and security lines I've ever seen at LGA
5) First-class security line comes to a halt over a suspicious item when an airport official moves me and another 6:50am passenger to the shorter line
6) The security attendant suddenly decides to go on break and won't let me through the metal detector until someone "tags her out" when the same airport official cuts us back into our previous line
7) The woman sitting next to me in the exit row was unable to assist in the event of an emergency and there was confusion in switching seats with a man who "was promised a window seat for switching"
8) Our plane arrived at a gate at the far end of Terminal A at ATL; my connection was at the far end of Terminal D (click here to see why that sucks)

This blog was posted from Asheville, NC.

A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Ops - 40/40 Club
My Blog Blows, But It's My Life
Two Years Ago Today: Top Ten Favorite Cullowhee Memories

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Just a Look Back

July 24, 2008
A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: For Sale

July 23, 2008
A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - Is That a Banana in Your Pocket or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
Two Years Ago Today: A Different World

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nude York City


Welcome to Nude York City.

Some folks are stripping down to escape the scorching summer temperatures - but others aren't waiting 'til they hit the area's clothing-optional beaches.

The au naturel look is catching on at city restaurants, a Midtown yoga club and even a stand-up comedy joint.
Read more

A Year Ago Today: City Walk #10 - Chelsea
Phone Photo Op - Morning View
Two Years Ago Today: Friday Night Lights

Monday, July 21, 2008

Likelihoods - Celeb Rendezvous

In New York, you're more likely to have a roommate dating an A-List comedian/former SNL cast member (we met him at a club on Friday night, they went on a date Saturday and then picked me up afterward for drinks and dancing at a West Side hotel lounge) and a coworker who lives in the same building in Brooklyn as Linda Lopez.

My coworker asked me this morning about my weekend.

"It was alright," I replied. To which he said over his steaming mug of coffee, "Oh come on, tell me something interesting."

"Oh ... well, my roommate went on a date with [censored]." I said. His eyes widened and he began to laugh as I told him the details of the chance encounter, the date that followed, and we reminisced about his skits on "Saturday Night Live".

"So tell me about your weekend." I said as he continued to sip coffee next to my cubicle.

His response: "'Well, I was talking with a neighbor, who recently had a baby [he and his wife also have a young baby], and we were chatting about another pregnant woman who is new on the hall and how there will soon be lots of children in the building. So my neighbor says to me, 'You know who that is, right? It's Linda Lopez, Jennifer Lopez's sister.'"

"Wow, so J.Lo and Marc Anthony might be stopping by often for family dinners and such." I said.

"Yea," he replied between sips of coffee, "I'm pretty excited about it."

A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - Skyline From Soho
Two Years Ago Today: Countdown: 10 Days

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Exciting News from the South

My friends Monique and Ana (and a third Charlotte Bobcats' Lady Cat) were asked to appear in an episode of "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" to be filmed in Charlotte, North Carolina. They do not know when their appearance would air yet, but they are really excited about the opportunity of being involved with such a great cause, especially because will be helping hands-on!

Their main purpose would be to get the attendees excited about the show coming to Charlotte and since [re-]construction on a new home will begin next week, they want to get everyone in the Charlotte-area involved. Monique, Ana and Kaylie would love for you to visit for volunteer information or to follow updates on the show's progress.

A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - John Mayer & Eric Clapton
Two Years Ago Today: Secondary Good-byes

Saturday, July 19, 2008

TravelSkoot Thru NYC

From Thrillist New York:

As a busy NYer, your leisure time's too precious to be so damned leisurely about how you spend it. Type-A your off hours, with TravelSkoot.

A flexible, GMap-based travel planner that intricately organizes themed day trips in NY and beyond, Skoot was developed in Englewood, NJ, where the creators apparently had a keen interest in everywhere but Englewood, NJ. Obsessively-commented NY options include everything from One-Track Food (S'mac, Crif Dogs, PB&J), to Punk History (where Dee Dee Ramone wrote "Chinese Rocks", where Sid Vicious died), to Hip Hop History (Queensbridge Houses, Unique Auto Sports), to Gossip Girl Does New York, including hotspots like The Box, Butter, and other places high school girls can get in, but you can't. Skoot also lets you build your own itineraries, which you can use for your own purposes, or for passing off to visiting friends & relatives (e.g., for dad: "Apartments you could have bought me for $50,000 when I asked ten years ago").

As for being walking-around friendly, Skoot'll send any itinerary to your email account or phone -- because the need for leisure's human, but turning off your Blackberry? Madness.

Plan out your goings out at

A Year Ago Today: Space Travel Ticket Costs Soaring
Colleague Convos - Midtown Mayhem
Two Years Ago Today: Primary Good-byes

Friday, July 18, 2008

Job Market Realities

Trying to help my friends get a job at the company for which I work has made me realize how competitive it is to get a job here (my roommate alone has had two interviews in two different departments). Or any major company in New York for that matter, especially with today's economy. It has made me realize how lucky I am to be working here, and how amazing it was that I received the break I got.

A Year Ago Today: Lunch Break/ing News: It IS A Small World
Secret Asian Man
Two Years Ago Today: Two Weeks From Today

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - New York Quotations

This Quotation of Whenever is courtesy of a City Wendy blog post marking a recent celebrity encounter:

“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. […] Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion."
E.B. White, Here is New York

Not a quote of the day, week or month. Just of whenever. Until the next quote that moves me.
"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by
"I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

Clean Water For Haiti

Tonight I attended a fundraiser reception with a friend who supports one of many (yet relatively little known) clean-water-for-Haiti causes. Several artists performed in support of providing clean water to the citizens of this beautiful Caribbean nation, including an alleged ex-boyfriend of Britney Spears, who sang a song he actually wrote about her. It was widely entertaining. Moreover, the benefit was intensely moving and my friends and I signed up to volunteer at future functions.

A few lesser known facts about a cause that needs more attention:
- Contaminated water is the leading cause of death among Haitian infants and young children.
- 80% of deaths in Haiti are caused by waterborne diseases.
- 16% of children die before their first birthday.
- 35% of the children die before the age of 5.
- The World Health Organization states that the quality of the Haiti’s water is among the worst in the world.
- Numerous studies conducted in Haiti, have found that even newly dug wells are sometimes contaminated.

For more information:

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Is It Too Soon?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Vegas Weekend in Photo Essay

I returned to New York on the redeye and went straight to work on Monday after a weekend in Vegas, where the girlfriends joined the boys at NBA Summer League. They were there to support a new teammate, and we were there to live in fantasyland and take a break from our regular lives. Two days later, I am still red-eyed in the office. It is a harsh reminder than I am not 19 anymore. Too tired to summarize the weekend, but a few photos say it better.




A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - Beagle in Bed, Bath & Beyond
Two Years Ago Today: TV Dinner Days and Pan de Sal Nights

Obama in the House

In New York, you're more likely to receive the following email at work:

The shuttle van service [between our multiple office buildings] has been delayed due to streets being closed because of Obama's motorcade traveling through the area.

Any questions, please feel free to call Office Services at extension [removed].

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Phone Photo Ops - MLB Red Carpet Parade

One way to further inflate the generally already over-inflated egos of most professional athletes: Lay out an enormous red carpet all the way up Fifth Avenue (as seen along my commute to work this morning).




It would have been cooler if the athletes paraded up the pavement and the fans got to stand on a red carpet as they went by. If All-Star Weekends are truly about getting "people closer to the players they love," why not truly honor the fans by giving them a red carpet moment and making them feel like they are the reason these athletes are so successful?

"We always talk about creating an 'All-Star moment' for any city, and we can create a million and a half in a moment this time," said Tim Brosnan, executive vice president of business for Major League Baseball. "It's to get people closer to the players they love. How much closer can you get than four feet away? I'd say it's kind of a combination of red carpet and Mardi Gras. [It is] fun for everyone involved."

A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Ops - Small Wonder Underway
City Walk #9 - Central Park 3: East to West
Phone Photo Ops - People Watching in the Park
Phone Photo Ops - In Memoriam
Phone Photo Ops - Big Ups (and Downs) to Brooklyn
Two Years Ago Today: Why Go to NYC?

Weekend EnPost

July 11
This was the scene on Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th as I was leaving for Las Vegas on Friday. I didn't see it first hand, but I read about it on Monday on

The line outside Apple's Fifth Avenue flagship store on July 11 was an event unto itself. The crowd was of a size usually reserved for papal visits and Michael Jackson court appearances. Hundreds of would-be customers eager to buy the iPhone 3G snaked around police barricades and stretched well down 58th Street in front of FAO Schwartz and children content with more modest toys.

I have coworkers who used vacation time to stand in line for their iPhones.
Photo from
A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Ops - Things I Found Interesting Tonight
Two Years Ago Today: Countdown: 20 Days

July 12
See Las Vegas recap
A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Ops - Office Shiznit
Two Years Ago Today: No post

July 13
See Las Vegas recap
A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - Commuter Peeve
Two Years Ago Today: No post

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quotation of Whenever - Yankee Neighbors

Back from Las Vegas. An update on my time out later. In the meantime, a Quotation of Whenever.

New York Times Quotation of the Day:

"Sometimes you forget they’re out there. Fifty thousand people, and sometimes you forget."
SEAN MOORE on living in viewing distance of Yankee Stadium.

I felt the same way when I lived in the South Bronx during my first three months in New York and could hear the crowds during the games.
Not a quote of the day, week or month. Just of whenever. Until the next quote that moves me.

A Year Ago Today: Small Wonder Underway
Two Years Ago Today: No post

Thursday, July 10, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - Leaving New York

I love leaving New York and knowing that I get to come right back.

So when I leave Las Vegas after a long weekend on Sunday, I'll be returning to my home in New York City.
"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

Phone Photo Op - Bird's-Eye of Broadway

I just cracked my boss's window open to Broadway in Bryant Park. Today the cast members from Chicago, Monty Python's Spamalot, Cry-Baby and Stomp are singing songs from their hit musicals.


A Year Ago Today:
I'm Melting
Heat Wave
Two Years Ago Today: Cry Me a River

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hold the Doors At Your Own Risk

I have been under the impression that the subway trains could not move unless all the doors were shut and locked; however, my cubicle neighbor Sarah relayed a terrifying experience she had on the subway this morning.

Over the white partitions that separate our work spaces, she recounted witnessing a twenty-something professional on the F train subway platform at 14th and 6th, whose hands were stuck in the closing doors of the last car around 8:15am. As the train began to move, he was forced to jog alongside the train and was screaming as the passengers inside pounded on the doors and tried to pry them open. From where my coworker sat in absolute shock, she saw him begin to cry as the train picked up speed and other commuters on the platform looked on in horror. The man's hands were eventually freed from the doors before the train left the station.

I bet he'll always just wait for the next train from now on.

And a quotable subway encounter from The New York Times, May 19, 2008:
"If one foot wasn’t on a sure step, I would have fallen in, and I would have been eaten up by the escalator."
LISA CHIOU, who was injured when a Manhattan subway escalator broke apart last year.

The lesson here? Commute in New York at your own risk.

One Year Ago Today: The Differences by The Hours
Phone Photo Ops - The South and Back
Two Years Age Today: Insomnia

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

What Once Fed a Family of Four in North Carolina

I now live in a world where paper towels, two bottles of household cleaner and a box of cereal cost $26.07.

One Year Ago Today: Greensboro, Atlanta and Not Quite Back
Two Years Ago Today: Internet Thoughts

Monday, July 07, 2008

Cups of Coffee

Have you ever said something and immediately afterward - or within 10 city blocks - wished you had said it a different way? Anyone who follows this blog, even semi-regularly, knows that I have. And often. Or has someone ever hit on you, and even though you weren't interested, you wished you had responded differently?

Being a woman in New York, we become used to more than our fair share of assholes. So when a nice, slightly attractive and fairly dorky-looking man in a business suit simply said hello while walking beside me on 42nd Street, my emotional wall was already going up. I glanced at him through my black sunglasses, nodded and said hello. After a few steps, he asked, "Can I buy you a cup of coffee?"

Without thinking, and only half-looking in his direction, I replied curtly, "Thanks, but I've had a really long day."

He shrugged and said ok and a few steps later, he was turning south on Sixth Avenue and I was waiting at the intersection to continue west on 42nd Street. I watched him walk away in his nice suit and thought about my bullshit response. Then, I imagined how much courage it must have taken for him to approach a stranger and invite her for coffee. And I wondered how often he might get turned down when he does. I didn't know what it was about this particular encounter, but suddenly I felt bad.

As I walked up Eighth Avenue, I thought of all the things I could have said. It's not that I feel the need to cater to everyone's ego; it's just that when a nice-looking man finally offered something more pleasant than a lousy catcall or trite whistle, I shot him down with a lousy, trite excuse. I could have sincerely thanked him for the invitation and politely declined ... and maybe even asked his name and said it was a pleasure to meet him. Is that the South in me - still rooted in my gut two years later?

It reminded me of a dream I had once, where I walked into the Sean John store on Fifth Avenue and Diddy was in there talking to two of his sales representatives. In my dream, he glanced toward the door as I walked in and basically looked right through me as if I did not exist and without skipping a beat in his discussion. In the dream, I hated the feeling of being invisible, not worth noticing - not that I would ever expect or care if Diddy looked at me twice on the street - ok, maybe I'd be flattered if he did (I mean he's Diddy), but why he was the landmark in my dream, I may never know since he is not exactly a significant idol of mine.

Maybe I could have at least made the slightly attractive, fairly dorky-looking man in in the suit on 42nd Street feel like his name was worth knowing - and he was worth noticing - as a thank you for not looking me up and down like I was a tender cutlet.

But what's done is done. And while I'm not narcissistic enough to believe that he was still mulling over our brief encounter by the time he got to 41st Street, I just want to use my blog as a temporary platform to say to the gentlemen in New York City: Don't stop inviting women for coffee just because we are used to dealing with assholes on a daily basis.

A Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: A Year Since July 7

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Phone Photo Ops - Walking to Work

Phone photo ops snapped while walking to and from work in Midtown during my first month as a Hell's Kitchen resident.

Random concerts on street corners

My old apartment building in Harlem
on the side of a double decker tour bus

A giant Eddie Murphy head

Diane Sawyer

This guy turned as I was snapping this picture and asked me for money. I told him, "Sorry; only credit cards," to which he replied, "Well, take it and swipe it through [the cat's] ass and delete the photo."
I smiled at him as I hit save on my phone.

And hair that matches your shoes

Quotation of Whenever - I'd Rather Spend $100 at the Bar

The New York Times Quotation of the Day:

"I think $100 for a tank of gas is cheap now."
COLLEEN HAMMOND, who drives a GMC Yukon XL with a 38.5 gallon tank.

I join the New Yorkers of Gotham in our collective laughter at you poor car-owning souls.

Not a quote of the day, week or month. Just of whenever. Until the next quote that moves me.

One Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Today: Headline News

Saturday, July 05, 2008

No One Does the 4th Like New York

Let me rephrase. No one does anything like New York.

There is nothing else to say about that.

One Year Ago Today: No post
Two Years Ago Yoday: Night Off

Friday, July 04, 2008

Alive on the 4th of July

Today's itinerary after a night of partying at Mansion and posing with library books:



2pm - Polar bears and penguins at the Central Park Zoo
6pm - Pad See Ew at Wild Ginger
8pm - Three scoops of chocolate chocolate chunk at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
9pm - Macy's 4th of July Fireworks from the Brooklyn waterfront

One Year Ago Today: First 4th and the City
Two Years Ago Today: Thank You, Michelle

Thursday, July 03, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - The Lessons of Living Here

Things I've learned in New York over the past year and 11 months, which by no means makes me an expert ...

- How to minimize my most frequent commutes by minutes at a time, by simply knowing where to stand while waiting on the subway platform so that I exit the train near the stairways to transfer trains or station exits at my destination; sometimes a few seconds is the difference between catching the next train and waiting for the next one (5-10 minutes during rush hour; 30+ minutes after midnight).
- When you are happy in New York, everything glows. The energy of this city truly magnifies any emotion - excitement, sadness, anger. Whatever you are feeling, the streets will increase its intensity tenfold.
- Where there are pennies embedded into the sidewalks and streets in my old Harlem neighborhood.
- That a 4-floor walk-up is French for fifth floor (or four flights of stairs to the fifth floor) and also means that you have to pay extra or make special arrangements for deliveries beyond the third floor.
- Many of the apartments posted for rent by brokers on craigslist can be rented fee-free if you can find the apartment's landlord or management company yourself, but you also run the risk of not getting the apartment at all if another application gets accepted while you're still investigating.
- If your destination is less than two subway stops away, it's probably just as fast to walk.
- There are two reasons that a subway car may be empty during rush hour: (1) the A/C isn't working; (2) there is a homeless person on board who hasn't showered in a long time.
- For the average person, living in New York is not back-to-back episodes of "Sex and the City", but sometimes you have your Carrie-, Miranda-, Charlotte or Samantha-moments.
- Walking in the streets of New York is the best way to get around the city; a coworker once mentioned that she read that New Yorkers walk an average of five miles a day (my roundtrip to and from work alone is roughly two miles).
- Brunch is generally from 10am to 4pm any day of the week.
- Not to get offended every time someone bumps my shoulder (although my reaction most often depends on my mood); sometimes you just forget to say "excuse me" to everyone you bump in the city, which can be a lot of people.
- However, don't be one of those trite and contrived people, who moves to NYC and loses their manners and niceties just because they think that is what makes them a New Yorker.
- New York really does have the best pizza and sandwiches.
- It's ok if you can barely make your rent, you were just fired, your boyfriend left you and your dog died; you get the utmost respect if you're still getting by in this city. It's not like L.A. where you have to be somebody or know somebody to earn respect; if you don't have anything popping off in New York and life sucks, you find the best friends ever.
- Name droppers are annoying, but they're all around us.
- If you fall down the subway stairs at 86th and Broadway after too many margaritas on Cinco de Mayo, New Yorkers will do everything in their power to catch you.
- If you fall in any public areas regardless of alcohol consumption - or lack thereof - you will not feel embarrassed because you will likely never see any of the witnesses again.
- New York is the smallest big city in the world. I've run into my Harlem manicurist on 46th and Madison, random friends on the train or in various eateries, coworkers in bars, and my roommate saw the same guy at an apartment open house on 109th Street and at a P.C. Richards on 23rd Street in the same week.
- Even streets generally run east; odd streets run west - with a few exceptions: 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, 57th, 72nd, 86th, 96th, 106th, 116th, 125th, 135th, 145th and 155th Streets, which were generally determined by where the ancient Native American footpath that became Broadway crosses a north-south avenue, and the "squares" of New York often exist at these intersections (special thanks to the history programs aired on NY1).
- The mucus that comes out of your nose is often stained from the city smog.
- Your immune system is constantly being challenged; get plenty of rest and exercise, eat well, drink lots of water and take your vitamins.
- NYC apartments are very dry in the winter and static shock is frequent.
- There will always be scaffolding.
- If you walk too close to some buildings (most often residential), water from an air conditioner may drip on you.
- If you stand or walk too close to the curb during or after heavy rain, you will likely get splashed by passing cars.
- Rainboots go with anything.
- Pick up your feet when walking; the sidewalks and streets can often be rugged terrain.
- The best nightclubs are often on non-stiletto-friendly blocks (e.g. cobble stone, broken pavement)
- Be aware of separate uptown and downtown subway entrances; not all stations let you decide if you want to go uptown or downtown after you've swiped your MetroCard.
- The four numbers on top of a taxicab will be lit when it's available; these lights are off when occupied; and the four lights plus the off-duty lights on each side are lit when it's not in service.
- The rats are not afraid of you.
- Many subway lines make all local stops on the weekends and have rerouting schemes that generally do not make sense to anyone who is not employed by the MTA.
- Avoid sidewalk grates if you are likely to be that one, rare person who ends up falling through and gets the surveillance video of the accident played over and over on CNN.
- Street meat is awesome.
- Street blocks are generally short (20 street blocks = roughly 1 mile); avenue blocks are long (4 avenue blocks = roughly 1 mile) - with a few exceptions, which include Fifth to Madison, Madison to Park, Park to Lexington, and Lexington to Third, and Seventh to Broadway and Broadway to Eighth in Midtown.
- Seventh Avenue is Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard and Sixth Avenue is Lenox Avenue in Harlem; Eighth Avenue becomes Central Park West and then Frederick Douglas Boulevard, Ninth Avenue becomes Columbus and then turns into Morningside Drive, 10th Avenue becomes Amsterdam, 11th becomes West End, 12th Avenue becomes the West Side Highway.
- There is a mathematical equation to determine a cross street if given just the building number, but who is going to memorize it? But an easy rule of thumb is that Fifth Avenue divides the city by east and west and building numbers get larger in east and west directions as you get further from Fifth.
-Happy hour is seven days a week at many establishments where adult beverages are consumed.
- The city does sleep - just at irregular intervals.
- Don't feel bad if you do not take the leaflet or newspaper being waved in your face on the street.
- This city will humble and strengthen you simultaneously.
- Put some good walking playlists on your iPod.
- There are a lot more trees in Manhattan than you may expect.
- Bring something to read, play or listen to on the train.
- Don't take up a seat when your stop is next, let people off the train before you push to get on it, and maybe try not pushing.
- Holy days, especially those of the Jewish faith = great subway commutes and empty offices.
- Meeting at 11pm, midnight or 1am for a social gathering is normal.
- Fast food lingo: "To stay" in New York is the same as "For Here" down South.
- The strength of the Euro continues to increase sales at Bloomingdale's on 59th Street despite the dwindling U.S. economy; Europeans are also taking advantage of the U.S. dollar by buying real estate.
- Try to be early instead of on-time because the subway system will make you on-time if you plan to be early.
- You will see something sad almost every day, but you'll learn not to let it bother you.
- "Right on red" is not a legal driving rule in the city.
- You never know when you might be walking next to the CEO of a major company or the assistant of a celebrity or New York power player; the discrete and unpretentious ones won't make it obvious.
- There are weird smells.
- You pay for the neighborhood - not the size, condition or amenities in the apartment.
- $2500/month for a tiny two-bedroom apartment in Midtown is reasonable.
- What you won't pay for, someone else will is the mantra that I apply to Manhattan real estate, which means that your landlord will be in no hurry to fix anything - no matter how much you pay.
- It is almost cheaper to eat-out on a regular basis than to grocery shop, depending on where you live.
- You will meet an entirely different Manhattan just by living in different neighborhoods.
- Tipping is usually expected for almost every service, including cab rides, some forms of delivery, supers and doormen (once a year at Christmas).
- You will love and hate Ikea.
- People who think New York is the dirtiest city have never been to a third-world country - dirtier than some cities in the United States maybe, but not the entire planet.
- There are so many free events, concerts and outdoor movies.
- Time moves faster here than anywhere else in the world.
- Many restaurants will not allow more than one check per table.
- Even though "bridge and tunnel" is meant to be a derogatory term, I'm open to living in other boroughs; I'm just not ready to give up my Manhattan address yet.
- The cleanest public restroom in the world is in Bryant Park on the 42nd Street side; you can also walk into most hotel lobbies to use their restroom without question.
- You can get practically every cuisine known to man within a 13-mile radius.
- You will begin to wish that someone in your family had purchased real estate before prices began to skyrocket or had a rent-stabilized apartment and then moved to Florida just so you could live in it.
- How to fold my newspaper so that I can read what I want to read and not elbow the people surrounding me on the train.
- Many of the streets have cool stories behind their names - like Wall Street was actually where a wall once stood, built by Dutch settlers to keep the Native Americans out of their settlements at the southernmost tip of Manhattan; the crisscrossing and confusing system of streets just north of Wall Street up to Houston are old Native American footpaths.
- Houston Street is pronounced "How-ston".
- It is illegal for a cab driver not to accept a credit card if they have a machine; you can refuse to pay if they do not accept the credit card and report them to the police to be ticketed.
- There are so many kind New Yorkers.
- More things I've learned to come; I need more time to think about this.
"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

A Year Ago Today: Phone Photo Op - Subsway
Two Years Ago Today: Kicking My Own Ass

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

63,072,000 Seconds

July 1st marks the completion of two years of chronicling my move to NYC and the start of the third year of "Becoming a New Yorker" - and what I have decided will be the last year of this blog. In the beginning, I didn't know what this New York life would hold or if this blog would even last that long. But as my posts become less and less about becoming a New Yorker and more about just being, I've decided to have a third and final year of posts that reflect what becoming has been and what being has become.

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. I don't know if I'll sincerely feel like a full-fledged New Yorker until I can say I've lived here for 10 years. I guess old beliefs die hard [even when demonstratably false. - Edward O. Wilson].

A Year Ago Today:
Annus mirabilis
A Year of Sunsets
City Walk #8 - Tribeca
Two Years Ago Today: Countdown: 30 Days