Thursday, November 20, 2008

Xmas Time Is Here

Retailers aren't waiting until next week to get the city all gussied up for what I'm sure they are hoping will be a less than dreadful Black Friday. On my walk home tonight, I noticed designers in the shop windows of Club Monoco, Bergdorff Goodman, a jewelry store and a furniture store making magic. The city is beginning to sparkle. Now if only the economy would follow suit.

Poo, on you

So I guess the universe was listening yesterday when I railed on people who overuse cabs. I guess the universe believes in punishing judgementalism. 

This morning on the subway, it smelled like poo. I mean REALLY. It smelled very bad. And it didn't dissipate at any point during the ride. I am pretty certain there was a little pile of poo somewhere in the car. I even kept checking my shoes, you know, like you do when you're walking through grass and you smell something foul. Anyway, I never did find out for sure what was causing the smell. I just left the car. I think that was the best course of action, all things considered. I didn't take a cab though.  Take a little poke in the eye, universe!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obnoxious Commuting

In these more thrifty times, I have recently heard something that horrified me! Several of my co-workers, even those who live far uptown from our office, sometimes or even daily take cabs to work. Cabs! In this era of layoffs and economic meltdowns and mortgage foreclosures. Just to give you some perspective, it probably costs at least $18 one way to take a cab downtown to my office. That's with no traffic! That's almost $40 a day both ways! $200 a week! That adds up to more than you people in Texas are paying for gas in a month. 

Now I admit to taking a cab from time to time, especially after an evening of rambunctious frivolity. But to get to work? Whatever it's faults, the subway system in New York beats sitting i traffic any day, is better for the environment, and is CHEAPER at about $2 per ride (even less if you have a monthly pass). I like to spend money just as much as the next manhattan goddess (just ask The Boy if you need confirmation), but cabbing it to work from uptown just strikes me as lazy and economically moronic.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Guilty Pleasure

Cinzia Reale-Castello

The West Side Beauty met up with us Sunday night for an over the top dinner at Del Posto. This is one of Mario Batali's joints, and it was ah-mazing. The service was attentive, if a little overbearing. Our waiter hovered over us like Lord Voldemort surveying his chances for evil takeover, which was, frankly, a bit creepy. But the wine steward helped us pick a lovely red wine, and then made quite the show of opening it, and swishing a small amount in our three glasses to clear them of any impurities, I guess. The bulbs of the glasses were almost as big as my calves! You could almost stick your whole face in there.

Then came the food. We got the tasting menu which consisted of an appetizer, a couple of pastas, an entree and dessert.  They also piqued our pallets with a selection of small hors d'oeuvres- a shot of broth, fried cheese medallions and balls of mortadella bologna - as well as a basket of the most glorious breads. Along with butter was a spread of pork fat that took me back to my Granny and Big Daddy's house. Yum.

For our entrees we had a veritable Old McDonald's Farm reunion with pork (not The Boy, of course), duck and lamb. I had the duck, medium rare and just right.

Dessert was a challenge. I really wanted the dark chocolate thing, and I knew I didn't want the apple thing. But Daryl wanted the dark chocolate thing, so I ordered the pumpkin thing, with low expectations. Turns out, in my mind at least, I made the best choice. I ate every bite, and didn't share a crumb. It was one of the best desserts of all time.

Overall, Del Posto was an expensive, but pleasurable experience. Tomorrow, we'll start living la vida recession. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Salty, Sweet and Surreal

BankysChixNuggets My sis, the Dainty Dug Dealer, made another surprise visit to New York to help me celebrate being old! 

So she, The Boy and I headed out to the West Village for a late night dinner at Perilla, the new hot spot opened awhile back by Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle. My view on the place was mixed. The service was pretty good. But my food and sis's food were both a little too salty. Dessert, ahh. Not that great.

The real main course didn't occur until after dinner. In one of those classic only-in-new-york situations, we happened by a maudlin art exhibit framed as a pet store. An automatronic rabbit preens in a mirror, chicken mcnuggets peck in a chicken coop, hot dogs wiggle under a heat lamp. It was surreal and lovely. 

Me 1, Friends 0

King Cole BarSo for the big ole birthday celebration, I wanted to do something "old New York". Plus, I didn't want to be bothered by extreme crowds or ridiculous bouncers. So I chose the King Cole Bar at The St. Regis Hotel on 5th Avenue.

The Chef had arrived first and graciously commandeered several corner booths. That ensured our comfort for the night - especially since many of us were wearing shoes only fit for sitting down! All the usual suspects arrived in their late night New York finery - the Little Nolita Lady and her beau Abs, the West Side Beauty, T-Rex and the Platinum Bombshell.  We enjoyed our $15 drinks cool bar snacks delivered to us with somber professionalism by our tuxedoed waiter.

While everyone enjoyed the frivolity, I had a plan. There were bets about how long I would last given I usually was close to passing out after just one drink. But not tonight. Oh no way. I was prepared. I ate a full bagel and peanut butter for breakfast, both halves of a curried chicken salad sandwich and Fritos (yes, Chef, I know they aren't natural and full of chemicals, but they were a necessary evil.) For dinner I inhaled an extra large slice, and downed it with a can of Red Bull. I was on FIRE! 

So three martini's (yes, count them, three!) and half a beer later - I was still going strong. I made it past the under/over time of 11 pm easily. Even made it to a second bar. So all if have to say is Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. 

Monday, October 06, 2008

Subway Altercation

I was involved in an A-1, blogilicious subway altercation today. It was about 10 after 8 this morning. A subway rolled up to a large crowd of commuters, and against my better judgement, I crowded in alongside them, my body twisted unnaturally against half a dozen strangers. Even after the next stop the car was still bursting. We were like strands of straw haphazardly bundled up in a bale of hay. No one wanted to be there, but one guy - a bulky, meaty dude with a little turd of a ponytail - began fussing at the tall, preppy guy next to him. The meaty guy was pretty scary looking, all shoulders and biceps. But he was really going off and it irritated me. He was telling the guy to give him some room, that he was crowding him. The preppy guy was trying to explain that there was nowhere to go, but the meaty guy just kept on fussing. Here we all were, all in the same boat as him, nowhere to go, and he was acting like he was the only one whose personal space was being violated. So even though it goes against the New York code of conduct, I spoke up.

"If you don't like being crowded, then don't take the subway," I said. "We're all crowded."

So he said, "Shut up, BITCH! Mind your own business. No one wants to hear your problems."

So I said, "That's right. So why don't you shut up."

He said, "Suck my DICK!"

I said, "No, thank you."  I said it serious too. Even though I was quaking in my shoes a little, I kept my snark going.

He said, "I bet you would like it. It's really big."

"I doubt it," I said, snorting.

"Do you want me to take it out right here and show you?" he asked, threateningly.

I thrust my nose into the air. "Absolutely not."

Then we rode in awkward silence until I got off the train, 3 stops later.

No one jumped in or made eye contact. New York style.

Later, I felt kind of bad. Clearly he was having a bad day and was acting out. Perhaps I should have given him a hug and drawn a unicorn on his wrist. Or a butterfly. I'm sure that would have helped.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Mighty Man

It took us FIVE hours to reach Montauk from Manhattan. It is far on the tail end of nowhere. We passed what seemed like dozens of Hamptons villages before we reached it. We arrived at 10 after 8 for check-in that was supposed to end at 8. We were freaking out that we were going to miss it, and were driving lost up until the moment we spotted the Pizza Primavera, which was a key landmark. We pulled up to the registration tent with our tires smoking.

After check in, we scoped out practically the only available grub at a nearby pub. Then it was lights out in preparation for our 5 am wakeup call.  After being jolted awake by fireworks around midnight or so, we rolled out of bed and down the street to the Mighty Man Triathlon transition area about 5:45. My start time was 6:43 am. After a little bit of drama on the swim, I cruised to a finish a little after 8 am, followed closely by The Little Nolita Lady and T-Rex.
When we got back to the hotel, we realized we were right by the ocean. It had been so dark when we checked in that we didn't realize it.
Then we showered and headed to Bridgehampton for breakfast at the Candy Diner. They also sold homemade ice cream, so we got some for the road.
We were terribly impressed with our car packing expertise. We fit three bikes, three sets of luggage and three girls into my Land Rover. Sweet. The only drawback of the trip (other than the traffic and my near drowning) was that I couldn't find Chili Cheese Fritos, the perfect road trip food. But I tried to make it up with A&W Root Beer and a homemade chocolate chip ice cream shake. We passed several farmers markets, orchards and corn mazes on the way home. We were too bushed to check them out, though. All in all, not a bad way to spend a weekend.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Montauk or Bust

Heading to Martha Stewart's hood this weekend to flail around in the water, do a little cycling, and run along the sand at the Mighty Montauk Tri. The Little Nolita Lady and T-Rex will be in tow. If we don't bonk, we'll be back in Manhattan in time to party.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Law and Order Day

I had occasion to go to the courthouse this week, and the one that is showcased on the TV show Law and Order. A passerby helped me grab a shot of myself on the steps.  Later in the day, T-Rex and I were headed to Chelsea Piers to check out the pool. We took a wrong turn and ended up at the Law and Order casting studios. Perhaps it was a message to me that I shouldn't shirk jury duty or face the consequences . . .

Monday, September 29, 2008

Room with a View

So The Little Nolita Lady is searching for a new apartment. One of the options for her and her new roommate is a two bedroom in the financial district. Unfortunately, one of the bedrooms doesn't have windows, which is a cause of concern for the new roommate (which also, The Boy is urging me to point out, is illegal. All bedrooms must have windows. Anyway . . .) I told The Little Nolita Lady her roommate shouldn't worry about it. We've spent hundreds of dollars to completely block out our bedroom windows, effectively creating a cave. 

In fact, in New York, sometimes a bedroom view isn't that great of a thing. Just ask the West Side Beauty. Her new neighbors have taken to spending time on their roof, with a perfect view of her bedroom. She can see and hear what they are doing and . . . well, you see the problem. 

So my message to The Little Nolita Lady's future roommate - take the apartment and rejoice that you don't have to buy shades.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Houston, we have STORAGE!

After two years in the big city, we have reached a turning point - extra storage. I know to people in other parts of the country, storage is no big deal. You have extra closets, or a garage or an attic. For New Yorkers, closet space is limited and precious. Many apartments only have one closet for the whole space. That means it must store clothes, shoes, coats, suitcases and everything else. We built some extra closets into our space, and when our linen closet was finished, I cheered!  But we still had a bunch of junk we were storing in our fire escape on the sly. So when we found out this week that a storage bin in the basement had opened up, it was huge, and very welcome, news. 

Monday, September 22, 2008


Two vermin-related stories for you kids today. First, a memorable first date for one of The Boy's co-workers. He was on a date in Madison Square Park, home of the venerable Shake Shack. The couple was sitting on a park bench, below a tree in the middle of conversation, when a rat fell THWACK! right in the girls' lap! Despite this auspicious beginning, the two continue to date.

The second story begins below ground in the subway tunnels, home to hundreds (maybe thousands?) of rats. A friend of mine was waiting for the F train at the 23rd street station. She noticed that a rat had boldly moved from the subway tracks, where they usually scurry around disconnected from the human passers by, onto the platform, realm of the two legged. My friend and the other people in the station steered clear of the interloper. They began to talk among themselves, pointing and laughing skittishly.  A man told my friend that rats on the platform were common at this station, and that they had an even more startling habit. He said he had seen rats on the platform crawl into the subway car when it arrived and ride away. And in fact, when the subway pulled up, my friend watched it twitch it's nose as it stepped into the last car. Perhaps it was meeting someone at the next stop.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Everything Sucks, Let's Get Drunk

Ventured out to Ulysses in the Financial District tonight. Thought it might be slow because of all the financial turmoil going on, but it was hoppin'. Perhaps everyone figured they might at least enjoy the coolness of the late summer evening and a foamy brew, even as their investments and careers tanked. Economic crises blow.

Summer Sounds

The crickets and cicadas making their evening music remind me of home. It is a uniquely southern summer sound to me, signaling the end of warm weather and the onset of Fall. Funny that it triggers that feeling in me since a Texas Fall is not that dissimilar from a Texas Summer. Nevertheless, when I hear that insectual orchestra, I long for home.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Go Bag

Well, well, well. Vindication is definitely sweet.  For months I've been talking up the idea of a "Go" Bag. You know, this would be a bag, at the ready, that contained a change of clothes, copies of important papers, extra glasses, non-perishable food, water and money that could be grabbed at a moment's notice should there be some kind of emergency.  My friends teased me endlessly about being Chicken Little, but it looks like Hurricane Ike has proved me right! The destruction started to hit before so many folks were prepared to leave. A "Go" bag might have proved useful. 

Indeed I have spent endless hours discussing possible escape routes and safe house possibilities with The Boy. I've wondered whether we should take our car or public transportation, or whether either would be futile. In which case I determined we should be ready to pack up our bikes and ride up to Yonkers. But that got me thinking about Meow - I couldn't leave her behind! I went so far as to decide maybe I should get one of those fancy cargo stroller things that you attach to the back of your bike, so I could stick the Meow in it. Finally I decided that the Meow might have to tough it out in a backpak. 

Chances are I won't ever have to use my "Go" bag, but it's nice to feel prepared. Just wish those folks at home didn't have to learn that lesson so hard.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


So we checked out the All Points West Festival last week. Our objective was to see Radiohead, and hopefully discover a few new bands. All we really discovered was that we hate standing in lines. 

The festival was at Liberty State Park in New Jersey, so we had to take that much-loved PATH train/Light Rail combination that we used to take when we lived in Jersey City. Over an hour later, we arrived. But the park was still a 30 minute walk away. Drat! By this time, my pre-event hydration therapy had yielded an imperative situation. I needed a bathroom fast!  Fortunately when we finally made it to the grounds, the line wasn't too long, AND there was toilet paper. A good sign.

Alas, that was the high point of the day. From there we experienced long lines to get into the show. By the time we got in, I just wanted a beer. My longing would not be satiated, however. At least not for the next hour. We waited for 45 minutes in a line just to have our IDs checked. Then we waited 30 more minutes in the beer line. For our trouble, we were rewarded the opportunity to drink our beers corralled in the beer garden. There would be no casual sipping of a luke warm frothy beverage while listening to any of the bands. Oh, and lest anyone got greedy, there was a 5 drink limit for the whole day, and beer sales ended at 8:30, the same time Radiohead hit the stage.

Mind you, I wasn't looking to get toasted.  But seriously. I'm almost 40 years old. I don't need to have my alcohol consumption tempered. It's just not Rock and Roll!

Anyway, by the time we drank our beers and got some grub, it was just about time for Radiohead to begin. So much for seeing new music.  And then the final coup de gras: after all that, when the band came on, I couldn't see.  I won't be checking out this ill conceived event again.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gas Prices Hit Home

The Boy and I have been reveling in the fact that our move to New York has reduced our carbon footprint and removed the necessity to spend $$$ to fill up the tank of my SUV each week. So while we've noticed the increase in the prices for food and other things, the gas price crunch hadn't really affected us personally until yesterday.

I was traveling to Penn Station to catch a train to Boston. I grabbed a cab outside our apartment to get there. After a harrowing ride with no AC in sweltering weather, we finally arrived at the station. When I paid the fare, I gave the cabbie a dollar tip. In an ballsy move previously unprecedented, even for cab drivers, the cabbie stopped and begged for an additional dollar of tip because of gas prices, etc etc.

Now I know there are some discussions going on with the cab union to determine if taxi patrons should be paying a fuel surcharge. Some people say yes, in order to cover the cost of extra fuel. Others say no, afraid that the increase in price will deter customers. I guess this guy made up his mind. He's soliciting that fee after every fare.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Korean Barbecue!

My friend Little Roo is heading off to business school, so she held a week of celebratory events including a happy hour, prom (complete with prom dresses and 80s music), and Korean Barbecue in Korea Town in midtown.

It was loud and bright, and the barbecue chicken rocked! They also served some kind of shot drink in pure ice shot glasses. I thought they were just cold shot glasses until mine melted and the shot ran all over the table! 

The Bride Isn't Keeping Her Name Anymore

When I was living back in Texas, I would read the New York Times every weekend and dream about moving to the big city. I remember reading the Weddings section back in the late 90s and noticing how many of the wedding descriptions noted that the bride was keeping her name.

I compared that with the wedding descriptions in The Houston Chronicle. A note about the bride keeping her name was a rare occurrence. Even more telling, I was the only person I knew who had kept her name when I got married. In fact, when my 10-year class reunion came around, I had heard there was some speculation that I had divorced since I still had my maiden name.

Fast forward 8 or 9 years, and here I am in New York, still lovingly pacing my way through the New York Times each weekend.  But what I've noticed in the Weddings section is a change. It seems there are fewer notes about the bride keeping their names in the descriptions. 

Is it a sign of these turbulent times that people are going more traditional? Or are these young gen y'ers simply so secure with their standing in the world that this gesture no longer seems important or necessary? 

Summer Nights

Central Park features prominently in my tales of the city this summer. Indeed, one of the reasons we chose our apartment was its proximity to the park. Hardly a day goes by that I don't visit the park to run or cycle. It is an extension of my home. It is my backyard. 

We celebrated summer in our back yard the other evening with several thousand of our close new york friends, each vying for a square of grass to listen to the New York Philharmonic play.
It was a perfect night, a week or so before the searing heat and humidity arrived. The Boy and I, the Diva D, The Little Nolita Lady and Professor Yang all assembled for our night under the stars. I had planned my menu for weeks - fresh roast beef sandwiches with homemade blue cheese sauce and red peppers on rosemary-olive rolls, and raspberry and blueberry cheesecake bars.  Yum. Of course we also had the requisite bottles of wine. 

The music hummed, providing a moving soundtrack to the comfortable night. It was one of those nights when you felt very alive, and giddy, and glad to be amongst friends. 

The perfect evening was punctuated by fireworks which lit up the night sky above the skyscrapers in the distance. 

As The Boy and I walked home with our blankets and empty bottles, I was happy to be here. Last year at this time, we were still living in New Jersey, and had a long commute ahead after the performance. This night, it was only a few short blocks to home, the best ending to a lovely night.

Have Wheels, Will Disco

After catching Batman at a theater near Lincoln Center on Saturday, The Boy and I walked home through the park. We skirted the sheep meadow, and came upon the hippest and happiest spot in the park. The Skate Circle on Skater's Road in the park looks like an impromptu roller disco just sprung up out of the asphalt.  The dance skaters boogie woogie in old-style skates and short-shorts. Makes me nostalgic for the days when the roller rink was my universe. Of course, where I grew up, the roller rink was in an old barn about 10 miles outside town on an old farm road. 

Cat on a Hat

While sitting in a cab at a red light the other night, we saw the strangest thing - a guy walking through the crosswalk with a live cat balanced on his head. Really. We saw it. It was too dark to get a photo, but I SWEAR it happened. Those of you who know Meow understand that if I tried that stunt with her, I'd be taping my hair back to my scalp for a few weeks. This cat seemed perfectly at ease. Weird.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Night Lights

Traveled out to Prospect Park in Brooklyn over the weekend to celebrate Easy E's birthday.  As twilight approached in the beautiful sister of Central Park, I began to notice some strange flicker of light that I'd never seen before. At first I couldn't figure out what it was. I finally realized what I was seeing was fireflies. I have no memory of every seeing fireflies before, so it was a banner celebration event. 

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New York Triathlon - Check

Checked off another milestone yesterday. The Little Nolita Lady and I competed in the Flat as a Pancake Triathlon in Staten Island.

It was my first in a while - definitely not my best - but it did trigger the tri bug.

It was a warm day, but a great race - quarter mile swim, 12 mile bike and 5K run. The swim was in Raritan Bay on Staten Island, and the run ended on the Raritan Bay Board Walk.

We celebrated that night New York style with dinner, drinks and dancing.

One Of Those Days

It was one of those days when everything just didn't go quite right. I had the 'great' idea to do a long bike ride from our place in Manhattan to Coney Island. So we rode downtown via the West Side Highway bike path, and met The Little Nolita Lady at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.
From there, we rode into Brooklyn, around Prospect Park, and then down Ocean Boulevard all the way to the boardwalk.

Along the way we encountered heavy traffic and bumpy roads, and The Boy was almost sideswiped. The bike path along Ocean Boulevard was puncuated by stop lights every 400 yards or so, so it wasn't a relaxing ride. Just a long and dangerous one.

The best part of the day was stopping on the boardwalk and having a hotdog at Nathan's Hot Dogs.

On the way home, The Little Nolita Lady had a minor crash that resulted in an impressive and colorful bruise. We got lost - several times - and I was reminded why i don't want to compete in any reality adventure shows. I don't handle stress on the road very well. Not pretty.

When we finally made it back to the city (a nice lady let us follow her to the Manhattan Bridge after we made yet another wrong turn), we got rained on all the way up the West Side Highway. Wet but relieved that we were almost home, we were cruising on 72nd street near The Dakota apartment building, when the ride turned almost catastrophic. On the nearly empty street, a car with out of state plates made a crazy u-turn in the middle of the road an nearly took The Boy out. Yikes! Then I don't what they were doing, but somehow I was in their sights and I was backed against the curb screaming, "Stop, Stop!" Fortunately, they moved away, and I escaped unharmed.

But The Boy had had enough. He went up to the driver side window and rapped on it. "Roll your window down," he said. The driver had both hands on the wheel and looked straight ahead, as if The Boy wasn't there. "Roll your window down," The Boy demanded. And you know what? The crazy guy did.

The Boy proceeded to tell the man, "You can't just come to New York and make crazy turns in the middle of the street. You almost hit me and you almost hit my wife. You have to be careful."

The man, older, traveling with his wife, said evenly, "Thank you for that information," and rolled his window back up.

We peddled away and finally made it all the way home. If we ever go back to Coney Island, we're taking the train.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Give Her Regards To Broadway

One of the great things about moving to a new place is meeting new people. The Boy and I have met a number of cool people over the last year and a half, and it is exciting to continue to learn new things about them. 

I thought I knew it all about The Little Nolita Lady. Like how much she likes participating in - and excelling at - sports. Like how she likes composing her own music. Like how she loves karaoke. This last one really made no sense to me. The one and only time I had experienced karaoke was New Year's 1992. I was visiting a friend. Our New Year's plans fell through, and we ended up at a sushi restaurant where some untalented bloke was singing a Mac Davis song at midnight. Now maybe it's because I had never eaten sushi before, or used chopsticks or slurped sake, or that my date was a jackass, or maybe it's just that the Mac Davis wannabe was really, really bad, but I didn't have a good time that night. My perception of karaoke was forever tainted.

But because The Little Nolita Lady is my friend, The Boy and I acquiesced last night to hit one of her fave karaoke bars - 2nd on 2nd - after dinner.  When we arrived, the cheese factor was circa my 1992 experience. The skill level was about the same, too.

Now, The Little Nolita Lady shared with me that judging karaoke performances has 3 dimensions.
  1. Song Selection
  2. Performance and Charisma
  3. Vocal Ability

To her, the first two are most important and can make up for deficiencies in actual singing ability. At least that is what she told me when trying to persuade me to try my hand at the microphone.  I always have contended that the only people who like karaoke are the ones who can actually sing. My hypothesis was borne out, allright.  About 30 minutes into the scene, The Little Nolita Lady was called to the stage where she belted out a Proud Mary that gave me goose bumps. She chose a great song. She chit chatted with the crowd. Danced with drunk revelers. And those pipes. Seriously, I'm embarrassed even to SPEAK in front of her after that. The chick can really sing! And perform. And pick cool songs. She is the karaoke trifecta.

So while I am elated at having a friend who is so talented, I'm also feeling a bit vindicated. No wonder I don't like karaoke. I don't want to expose my screeching instrument to the world! The Little Nolita Lady can and should do karaoke every night of the week. In fact, she is one of those few people to whom you would never mutter, "Don't quit your day job," after a turn at the mic. Indeed she SHOULD quit her day job and go sing on Broadway or try out for American Idol or start her own band. I, on the other hand, will stick to writing. It is soundless.  : )

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Crane Your Head

I think many of you heard about the crane collapses here. I still can't believe they made national news, but that's another story.

Anyway, when I was walking around today, I saw this big bad boy, and it really blew my mind. I think because this building is so narrow itself, and the crane is so high - probably 50 or 60 stories. It inspires awe at both the ingenuity that enabled cranes to be developed, as well as the potential for disaster we now know is possible. They are doing new construction on my street, but thankfully it's only a 5 story building. Like many in other neighborhoods, I would be less than thrilled to have this in my back yard.

Education Transportation

Was on the subway in late morning today because of a dentist appointment. There was a group of jr high or high school kids on the subway with their teacher - on a fieldtrip perhaps? Anyway, there was a load of them, and they were being loud and obnoxious, so at first I was annoyed. Then I realized that the teacher was quizzing them on geometry rules and theorems. They were clamoring all over each other to be heard shouting out the answer. It was the coolest thing ever. In between the answers, they were cracking wise, and the teacher was completely non-plussed and just kept going. He helped steer anyone who gave a wrong answer to the right conclusion. I felt really lucky to see something like that in action.

Later, I was walking through City Hall Park. They have tables set up with checkerboards on top. There were a couple of dudes playing chess - an old grizzled dude with a jaunty hat on his head, and a younger, taller, beefy dude. They were going at it, clicking the timer and making their moves. Unfortunately, I couldn't stick around to see who won, but my money's on the older dude.

Which is interesting. Apparently I'm not really in sync with the "inexperienced" whether they are chess players or mathletes. Guess that's why I was supporting Hillary, even though as a Gen Xer, I should have been turned on by Obama's subtle message of hope. Maybe I'm so cynical I don't really believe things can change, and just want someone I know can play the game. Like the old grizzled dude.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Market Mania

One of the benefits of living in the city is the variety of specialty shops - the butcher, the cheese shop, the bakery, the fruit stand. In my idealized view of the city, I would make time each week to visit these vestiges of the past and thoughtfully select my groceries for the week. 

The truth is, I hardly ever do this. There is a butcher who rents space in the bottom floor of my building, and I rarely visit! There are at least 4 small, New York style groceries on my way home from the subway, one right on my block. However, I usually forgo all of this to exercise one of the other benefits of the city - they deliver everything. Therefore, just about once a week, I receive a thoughtfully-selected bounty from Fresh Direct. It is more convenient, and I'm actually less apt to buy a bunch of stuff I don't need - or worse - forget to buy the stuff I do need.

And while I do appreciate the benefits of getting my groceries delivered this way, I sometimes wonder if I am contributing to the demise of "New York City - the hard-scrabble land of dreams" and contributing to "New York City, the Disney theme park."

Texas-Style Weekend

Temperatures soared into the 90s in NYC this weekend, and along with high humidity, brought a profoundly Texas feel to the weekend.
I paid a visit to the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday morning, while the oven was just pre-heating. Picked up some beautiful beets and lettuces and cheese from nearby farmers which made a delightful salad later that evening. There were vendors with all kinds of herbs and plants for sale, making me wistful for my mom. She loves that stuff and would have enjoyed the morning.

Later in the day, The Boy and I met up with The Little Nolita Lady at the Big Apple Barbecue Festival in Madison Square Park. I wanted a taste of Texas 'Cue, and there were two vendors on hand from the Lone Star State. I wanted to hit The Salt Lick Barbecue from Driftwood, Texas for the beef brisket and beef sausage and slaw.  It had passed the 90 degree mark by then, and to my dismay, the line for The Salt Lick was at least an hour long and snaked around the sweltering pavement of Madison Avenue and 26th street.  2 people fainted while I was in line. With sweat rolling down my back in rivers, fainting seemed like a reasonable plan for fast-tracking the line, and getting a frozen washcloth and some free food. 

Finally, after the long wait, we settled on the grass in the park with wisps of live music drifting our way, and communed with several thousand of our fellow New Yorkers. The Lady Lawhorn will be happy to know that we spotted several proud displays of horns amongst the crowd. It was a day well-lived, and a nice reminder of home. 

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A River Runs Through It

Ventured out with The Boy last weekend on a great adventure on two wheels. We rode our road bikes through Central Park, to 72nd Street, then by the Dakota Lofts, where John Lennon famously lived and died, west to Riverside drive and then north about 90 or 100 blocks to the George Washington Bridge. From the bridge, as you can see, is a great view of the Hudson River, with New Jersey bordering the right, and the island of Manhattan on the left.
From there we ventured to Palisade State Park in New Jersey, where we rode up and down the rolling hills bordering the river.

It was a challenging and sometimes nerve racking ride, but a great way to spend a sunny weekend morning. 

That Stinks

My friend La Bitcha from Houston works for Aramark. Looks like her brethren here in NYC are skeeved about something. They've been on strike for at least a month, lorded over by a giant inflatable skunk. I walk by them each morning on my way to work. They always have 2 foil serving platters full of breakfast. I wonder who is providing the catering. Surely not Aramark?

Chicks Flick

Set out with my girlfriends on Friday night for the 11:30 showing of Sex and the City, the movie. Full of anticipation, we dined at Citrus before we headed to the theatre at Lincoln Center. Women were dressed to the nines - including one who had a feathered bird in her hair -  for the chick flick of the year. 
Little did we know that chicks would actually be flicking, and shoving, and cutting, and cursing, and running to get into the theatre. 

After waiting in a line as long as Samantha's list of sexual conquests, we began moving forward amicably. But then all hell broke loose and large hordes of women began pushing their way forward as if Manolo Blahnik himself was crafting customized pairs of shoes just beyond the double door entrance.

It was a low point in womendom.  And, because of all the craziness ad ruckus, I didn't even dare venture out for popcorn, MnMs and a cherry coke, my movie staple.
Fortunately, the movie itself provided that salty and sweet combination. I just wish there had been a little more sweet and a little less salt within the movie viewing public.

Monday, May 12, 2008

On The Boardwalk

Completed the Brooklyn Half Marathon last week with my friend Hot Brooklyn Mama. The race began on Coney Island on the boardwalk. It was cold and overcast - not good picture weather - so I just took a photo of my feet on the boardwalk. Hot Brooklyn Mama and I ran all the way from Coney Island to Prospect Park - 13.1 miles. What a blast! Afterward, The Boy picked me up in the car. Yes, we still have one car in the city. I was relieved not to have to truck the subway home. Especially after a crazy early morning bus ride out to Coney Island in a ghetto school bus with no shocks!

Seen on the commute home

Monday, April 21, 2008

Girls Gone Mild!

I'm not embarrassed to tell you that I can be a little shallow. I like a nice bag and hot shoes. I adore my diamond wedding ring. And I love reading about celebrity exploits at all the cool clubs around town. Between that and Sex and the City reruns showcasing the breathy excitement of what's inside, I decided it would be a neat idea to have a club night with all my gal pals.

The key to club night is actually getting into the club. I have heard countless stories of cranky and demented doorment who execute a perplexing decision-making process to determine who gets in. I abhor waiting in lines. I was willing to pay a little to get on a list or have some assurance of VIP treatment.

We first made some calls to the Pink Elephant, but it was going to cost us something like $300 a person. I wasn't sure if I actually wanted to pay that much. Fortunately the Little Nolita Lady had some connections, and we were able to secure our names on a VIP list for the opening of a new club called The Mansion.

Club night started at about midnight (gasp). The line to get in the door wasn't really a line at all, but a mob scene. Exasperated club staff hulked up and down the sidewalk yelling at all the frivolity seekers to form one single line. Which they didn't. For awhile, we couldn't even find anyone in charge to confirm our VIP status. Then it seemed like EVERYONE in the line around us thought they were a VIP too. We thought our whole plan had gone down the tubes. But a few recon missions later, and we were in, baby. And while it was good to be in, it wasn't what I expected. The idea of it was much better than the reality. Nevertheless, we had a fun night dancing and getting wired on vodka and Red Bull.

At around 4 am, we tried to change the scenery a bit. But after waiting in another line - one in which there was no VIP pass waiting for us at the end - we decided to hit the road. Our Sex and the City night was a blast. But I'd rather cuddle up with my greatest accessory - The Boy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Flying through the air with the greatest of . . . please.

So I had another Sex in the City moment recently. An acquaintance asked me if I wanted to accompany several folks to the trapeze school that Carrie immortalized in one of the episodes.

I was so excited to go, but didn't know quite what to expect. I had visions of gracefully catapulting through the air looking both athletic and relaxed.

What I got was quite different. Turns out I'm afraid of heights. Very afraid of heights.

First I wouldn't jump off the platform (even though I was protected by a harness and a very forgiving net). Absolutely refused. It was starting to get embarrassing. Finally I aquiesced (mainly because I didn't relish the prospect of disembarking the platform via the rickety ladder.). Then, once I made the leap, I wouldn't let go of the bar. No way. Not gonna do it. I was just hanging there, eyes closed, refusing to let go, while all of the other students looked on. They had to manually lower the bar down toward the net before I felt comfortable. Did I mention this was in front of a few people that I work with? I'm still embarrassed, but relieved I never have to do that again.

My sister, the Dainty Drug Dealer, wants to try it when she comes into town next month. I'm doing her and the rest of the class a favor. I'll be taking photos on the sidelines.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Adventures in Powerlessness

The universe had something to say today. Time can't be controlled, it said - not by me and not by the chick with the jingly hair who shared the subway with me from 125th street. This was after the subway we were on passed up the stop we were supposed to make. Instead of stopping at 96th street, it went on, passing 103rd street, 110th street, 116th street, finally stopping at 125th. The jingly-haired girl and I were both relieved. We weren't any more in control of our destiny at that point. But as we waited assuredly for the next train downtown, we pretended we were.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lessons Learned

Sometimes, the city surprises you. Whether it's a blowup doll sitting prone in the window of an apartment building you pass everyday, or the delivery of a brother in arms who sets you on the path to rightousness.

I joined a writing group to meet other writers and hopefully, find more writing discipline. At the first event, I found the bottom of two martini glasses. Since I had an almost empty stomach, it wasn't really a good scene. Is it a coincidence that no one I talked to at the last event made it to this one? I don't think so.

Anyway, at this evening's event, I met Mr. Corporate Whore, who toils away for an insurance company in Tarrytown. When I shared my challenges getting into a writing regimen, Mr. Corporate Whore took me to task. He urged me to write not because I felt like I should, but because I enjoy it. A good lesson.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

In Search of The Real

The Boy and I went to see Passing Strange on Broadway Saturday night. I totally love love loved it, but The Boy was a little more non-plussed. Nevertheless, the real show was on the subway after. A homeless guy who deconstructed a meat on a stick, then threw the hunks of meat onto the seat next to him, and then picked at them as if they were a bowl of peanuts at a cocktail party. Then there were the hispanic teenagers who kept bending over and inadvertantly showing off their purple and orange grany panties hanging out the top of their low slung jeans. Finallly there was a pimp wannabe in a gray suit, red shirt and aviator sunglasses primping his reflection in the subway car windows, who, ultimately, gave us a little dancing with the stars action, tripping the light fantastic to his own personal soundtrack. Or perhaps just tripping.

Saturday Sightings

Set out for my weekly long run with The Little Nolita Lady, armed with camaraphone, should we see any interesting sights. We were almost home after an uneventuful run when we spied the actor Ron Rifkin of Alias fame at a restuarant on Madison Ave. We chose not to take a photo of him - too cheesy.

Monday, March 17, 2008

It's Official

It's official. I am tired of winter. Of wearing heavy coats and dark colored tights. My hands are desparate to be free of claustorphobic gloves. Spring! Release me!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday In The Park

Did an early morning run with The Little Nolita Lady this morning. Here's what we saw:

1. A jogger juggling 3 red balls
2. A high school orchestra rehearsing in a small outdoor ampitheatre in the park
3. A priest handing out palm fronds for Palm Sunday
4. A woman leading a donkey in a Palm Sunday procession
5. A choir and bell ringers in same procession

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Snow Day

Snowing out my window.

Spotted on the Lower East Side

Spotted on the Lower East Side Friday night - Leerone giving one of her few New York performances - at The Living Room. Later in the night saw her canoodling in the corner with a rep from Epic Records. Go Leerone! Rock that shit!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Zoo

I saw a model in her native habitat today. She was tall, willowy and blond, and doing her time behind the register at Anthropologie unti she gets her big break, I guess. I really knew I was experiencing something unique when she turned to her associate and asked, "What is $19.90 divided by two?" Then she stared at the person, bored, and annoyed that her head had to do anything other than sprout golden locks of hair. I looked around for the cameras, but they weren't there. I was going to help her, but on all the nature shows, they say the first rule is not to intervene and just let the scenes play themselves out naturally. It was truly moving. I felt almost like Jane Goodall.

Old Dogs

Overheard in the Starbucks down the street from our apt.

Scene 1: Two older gentlemen at adjoining tables are enjoying their coffee and a lively early morning debate. One man is tall, with a head of thick, silvery hair, and smartly dressed. The other man is short and slovenly, with an old ratty t-shirt hanging out the bottom of a too-small hoodie. His hair is wirey and attempting to allight off his head.

Mr. Slovenly
I believe that men and women can talk and be friends without it being all about sex.

Mr. Smart

Mr. Slovenly
I mean, I don't know what that writer was talking about. I don't think about sex 100% percent of the time. I can be talking to a woman about politics or books or the weather or whatever, and I'm not also thinking about sex.

Mr. Smart
Well, maybe subconciously.

Mr. Slovenly
Well, subconsciously! That's a completely different issue. That is for Sigmund Freud to work out.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Footwear Phenom

You may be familiar with the Morton Salt image of the young girl walking in the rain spilling salt as she goes. She has an umbrella and a cute yellow dress, but no galoshes. Well, I can tell you that I'm one step ahead of her! I am certain that the backs of her legs are getting splattered with mud, and her shoes will be worse for the wear - soaking wet and miserable on her feet. Cold feet and wet trouser bottoms are no fun. That's why on rainy days I've got my Hunter Galoshes ( - or wellies, if you want to get British about it. I'm quite dashing in my hunter green wellies and my green raincoat. I certainly never needed anything like galoshes in Houston - I was never out in the rain for more than minutes at a time. But I spend at least 40 minutes walking outside each day - 20 minutes each way. So my galoshes keep my feet dry and my heart warm.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Safe Sex

On the way home tonight on the subway, The Boy and I spotted a condom jammed under the seat in front of us. I tried to get a photo, but some people sat down, and I felt kind of like a jackass to ask them to move so I could take a picture of a condom. So I didn't. Then I was going to "reenact the scene" once we got home, but as old married people, we don't have ready access to condoms. So you'll just have to take my word for it. We saw an unleashed condom on the subway. Made me wonder - how did it get there? Did someone think it was funny to leave the little guy behind, or was someone (two someone's I guess) getting it on during a late night Risky Business reenactment of their own? The Boy posited that it hitched a ride into the subway car stuck to someone's shoe. Whatever the reason, I've got just one word for it. Yucky.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dogged Optimism

While out in the nabe the other day, I came across an interesting site - a trio of dog walkers wrangling their charges. The dogs were in groups - big dogs, medium dogs, and small and geriatric dogs. Each dog walker was responsible for a passal of at least 6 or 7 dogs. The dogs were all quite well-behaved - no infighting and no unscheduled stops. It was quite a spectacle watching three such large groups of canines galloping down 3rd avenue! I got tsk-tsk-ed by an old couple when I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to take a photo. Bad form. But the dogs brought a smile to my face. It's just not the kind of thing you see in downtown Houston.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What A Drag

After the West Side Beauty's Birthday dinner, we did a little monkeying around of her own at The Randolph at Broome We went down to the basement, where the "cool people in the know" go. Guess what we found? A basement reminiscent of "That 70s Show." And - SMOKING! I guess it's some sort of modern-day speakeasy for smokers. But there was no ventilation, and drippy pipes. Gross!

On the positive side, we did get to meet Fast Fingers Yang's Dallas-based girl-no-space-friend. Cute as a hiccup!

Monkey Shines

Attended the official celebration of the West Side Beauty's birthday Saturday night. We started the evening with an ill-fated dinner at Monkey Bar. Intrigued as we were by the coat-check guy's boast of a $3 million renovation in the dining room, we were still hard-pressed to get service at the almost empty bar. But it was a night of celebration! We let it slide when we finally received our wine, traditional martinis and lychee martinis. The West Side Beauty (with two friends in tow - one real and one imaginary), the Little Nolita Lady, and another newcomer to our girlie foursome - Ms K 2 U - all toasted with The Boy and I.

Later, we were shown into the cavernous - and empty - dining room. Sometimes when a restaurant isn't busy, you are lucky enough to get that extra bit of care and attention that makes an evening memorable. This was not one of those nights. While the food was good, it was promoted as "family style." The only way that food could have been conceived as family style is if you defined family as a couple of thumbless vegetarians. Seriously, I could have shoveled through the majority of the plates myself and only been mildly full. As it was, we ordered 3 appetizers and 4 entrees for 6 people, that left me dreaming wistfully about the delicate bouquet of a sidewalk cart hotdog.

We waited about 25 minutes for our appetizers, and about the same time for our entrees. (This was what made us begin to wonder if there honestly were monkeys in the back slinging hash for this joint.) Honestly, the service was so lacking and the food so small I just wanted to leave. So when the dessert menu came, we decided to skip it. (Note: even though there were only 2 or 3 other tables in the restaurant, they didn't have enough dessert menus for the six of us at our table. I was denied a menu of my own because it was "dirty". Hmmm.

So we decided just to pay the check.

Silly silly people.

The Boy and Ms K 2 U pored over the check and figured out the per person total. Six credit cards were offered, and the waiter and our credit cards disappeared behind the red curtain. We waited. We waited. We cracked jokes and waited some more. FINALLY the waiter reappeared.

He handed out each of the credit card receipts to be signed, and disappeared again. So we all went about signing our reciepts with the 2 pens. We had finished up and were gathering our belongings to leave when the waiter comes back and says, "Thanks and have a lovely evening. OH BY THE WAY, there is $97 that still remains unpaid on your bill." Wha?

Apparently we had inadvertently missed the bar tab on the bill. The imbecile (was he a monkey in a man suit? Perhaps.) didn't have the wherewithall to inform us of our error before he ran all of our credit cards or prior to all of us signing the receipts.

We were so pissed, whoever had cash just threw it in the pile, just so we could get out of there!

Monkey bar, indeed! The whole place is a zoo.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Youthful Indiscretions

Celebrated the West Side Beauty's triple decade last night at Ulysses in the Financial District. Then it was off to Brass Monkey in Chelsea. My assessment of the night? Another clear indicator that people over 37 shouldn't be allowed to drink to excess in public.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Only in New York

So I saw this guy when I was walking to work last week - dressed in white from head to toe, with even a white leather backpack and a white umbrella.