Category Archives: New York

Empire State of Mind

I’m back! And ready to resume blogging like a normal person. Being at home was lovely and relaxing, but once you have been bitten by the New York bug, there is nothing like returning to the city. Here are three things to celebrate:

1. I just purchased and watched this movie the other day and it was great. It was created by the same people who organized Paris j’taime and is pretty much the same in concept and format: a bunch of different directors do short vignettes on love and the city. It’s not the fastest-paced movie ever, but it’s gorgeous and definitely accessible even if you don’t know much about New York. That being said, there are all kinds of little nods and winks to the city that make the movie particularly charming to those of us who love New York.

2. “New York, Concrete jungle where dreams are made of / There’s nothing you can’t do / Now you’re in New York / These streets will make you feel brand new / the lights will inspire you” I now make a habit of listening to Jay-Z’s Empire State of Mind every time my plane approaches JFK. Look at the Manhattan skyline from above. You’ll know that everything about this song is true.

3. There are lots of cliches about New York. And as a New Yorker, I feel like we often ignore them or dismiss them as part of a naive fantasy kept alive by over-zealous Midwesterners wandering around Midtown in safari vests triumphantly wielding telephoto zoom lenses and street-vendor hot dogs as if this gives them a new, gritty perspective on the city. However, there are moments when I see something that is so New York that I cannot help but get a gooey feeling in my heart and remember how amazing our city is. Last night I was walking to a friend’s apartment a few blocks away. On the way, I passed this little cafe/deli place, as always, but last night there was a scene that could have been a postcard. There were about ten men of widely varying ages and about six different ethnicities huddled around a backgammon game. They could not have been dressed more differently or seemed less likely to be gathered together. Yet there they were, completely absorbed in the game and each other, laughing at each other and taunting each other at every move in the game. I had to smile as I walked by because on some level I really do think there’s something that unites everyone who lives in New York. As different as we may seem and as much as we piss each other off on a daily basis, ultimately there’s something that draws all of us to the city. I’m glad to be back.

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Weekend Things

Here are some things about my weekend, ish.

1. Last Thursday morning I went to a little farmer’s market down at Bowling Green before work. There were only a few stands, but they all had lovely things and it was overall a very refreshing way to start my day. More pictures of this after the jump.

2. I finally finished my spring garland project. My roommate and I put up Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving and I only just got around to taking down the Christmas garland and replacing it with something else. Close up pictures after the jump.

3. We threw a party Saturday night that included, among other things, this inflatable palm tree.

4. Today was gorgeous and I spent several hours basking in the sun on my roof. Sometimes just looking at Manhattan from my roof on a beautiful, clear, Spring day makes me fall in love with the city all over again.

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The Bodega List

Here’s an interesting and potentially useful project from Jeff Sisson of I Like Nice Things. It’s called The Bodega List and its goal is to make a homepage for every bodega in New York. The list’s website also has a cool map identifying the locations of all the different bodegas. I found this on Edible Geography and I think they overstate the anthropological importance of the bodega:

“Many New York City bodegas form a hub in their communities, adding services and stocking goods to respond to micro-local needs and preferences, while functioning as an informal, inter-generational meeting space—which means that the New York experienced through The Bodega List is a kind of curated view of the everyday, from across the very different lives of the city’s 8.3 million residents.”

I don’t generally think of bodegas as “community hubs” or “inter-generational meeting spaces,” but I do think the project is worthwhile and anthropologically interesting. Maps charting sales of different products or brands would be interesting from multiple perspectives. And, for example, I do think it would be useful if you could look up which bodegas actually take credit card, which ones carry what varieties of beer, or which ones will be open when you are drunk at 4:00 am and absolutely need to consume three Snickers bars and a blue Gatorade. I hope that they add all that information soon. In the meantime, check out their cool map:

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Weekend Things

Hello again. Hope everyone had a lovely Easter weekend. Here are some things I did:

1. I went to Kitchen Arts and Letters with my mom. This amazing little book store carries new, used, rare, and out of print books about cooking, food,  and drinking. It’s a wonderfully old-school bookstore and I loved it. Go check it out on Lexington and 95th.

2. While I was at Kitchen Arts and Letters, I go this adorable little book about macarons. I have only tried to make these once with partial success, but now that I have this handbook devoted entirely to the creation and perfection of the macaron, maybe it is time to try again. The book is also available on Amazon.

3. I added two more plants to my collection: an aloe plant because my mother thinks I’ll need it when I burn myself, which I actually did last week making the gooey butter cake, so perhaps she is right; and a pretty little rose bush. Hopefully I won’t kill either of them.

4. I can’t help it; I have to admit that I am an insane Duke basketball fan and we won a national championship last night. So that was a pretty huge part of my weekend.

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New York City Polaroid Project

I love New York and I love Polaroids. This is exactly what it sounds like: some guy took a bunch of pictures of New York. Go look: NYCPP.

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McNally Jackson, Addiction, Narcissism

Today I went to check out the new McNally Jackson cafe in person with my fabulous friend Alice. The cafe was super cute, the coffee was amazing, and I got two books. I should admit at this point that I have a serious, serious book problem. Books are like crack to me. No matter how many I have or how many books I am currently reading, I always needs more. One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2010 was to stop buying books until I had read all the books I have. I lasted about two months and then started buying more books. I ran out of shelf space a long time ago. There are always books in my bed, stacked on my bedside table, piled on my desk, on the floor of my living room, etc. It’s a serious problem.

In any case, I felt obligated to get one of these books today because it appears to tap into a recurring theme in my life. Him Her Him Again The End of Him by Patricia Marx is supposedly about this girl who is obsessed with this guy and according to the back cover “By ‘obsessed,’ we mean, well … sex and lusting and longing and hoping and waiting for this cad who is spread too thin.” I’ve only read the first 35 pages and already Marx’s prose is getting a little grating, but I love this quotation:

“You know what I think it really was? He was a narcissist. I love narcissists – even more than they love themselves. You don’t have to buoy them up. They are their own razzle-dazzle show and you are the blessed, favored with a front-row seat.” (31)

How do you not love that? I mean the quote, not the narcissist. Actually scratch that, I mean the narcissist too.

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Container Gardens!!

The New York Times did this extremely pretty slideshow today about growing container gardens. I love the idea of container gardens for multiple reasons. First, I like plants, but I don’t like the things that come with plants like insects and arachnids. A container garden removes much of the ick-factor of gardening for me. Second, these gardens are ideal when you live in a small Manhattan apartment. Third, it would make me feel very adult and in control of my life to have a pretty little container garden of herbs that I use when I cook. And fourth, herbs smell good. Add the stylish coverage in the Times to these four reasons and I might just have enough motivation to start my own.

From Home & Garden in The New York Times. Also check out the related article.

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