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.