October 9, 2009

Pros and Cons of Living in NYC

I was talking to a friend recently who lives in New Jersey and is trying to find an apartment in Manhattan. So far it's been 3 months and he's no closer to becoming a New York resident. He's dealt with countless sleazy brokers, apartments promised to him that were given to others, and endless hours viewing misrepresented properties. He asked, "Is living in New York really worth all this?" Yes, yes it is. And here's why: for all the agida New York gives you, it also rewards you with people, activities, and opportunities that are hard to find elsewhere. Of course agida and rewards are relative so, to each his/her own. But I've compiled a pros and cons list based on my 9 1/2 years as a New York resident. Perhaps it will help you decide: is New York really worth it?

1) Diversity of people. When my sister visited she said, "You can't walk 2 blocks without hearing a different language." It's a global culture lesson everyday.
2) Diversity of food. Due to the melting pot-ness of NYC, you can find just about any kind of food you want. From the cheap kind to the one-month mortgage kind.
3) Culture. Museums, galleries, concerts, readings, theater, dance, independent film...
4) History. New York has a unique history of immigrants, music, art, literary legends, politics, architecture, finance...
5) Walking. We are a pedestrian city. This allows you to see the sights and interact with others daily. You also stumble upon things you wouldn't in a car. And, you have a built-in gym.
6) European-ish. Outdoor cafes, pedestrian-centric, public transportation, specialty food shops, food and coffee carts, boutiques, delis, appreciation of the arts and travel.
7) Career opportunities. Many headquarters are located here and you always seem to meet someone who knows someone.
8) Fashion. NYC is one of the 4 host cities of Fashion Week. You can find anything you want here. And fun fact: even the comfortable, casual clothes and shoes are stylish.
9) Delivery. My mom thought I was kidding when i said, "I'm waiting for my breakfast to be delivered." We get everything delivered: meals, dry cleaning, pet supplies, groceries. We're spoiled.
10) Opinions. New Yorkers are extremely opinionated and not afraid to vocalize. What's great is that you can call someone an idiot, agree to disagree, and then go for a beer together.

1) It's expensive. $2300 a month for a 450-square-foot apartment - to rent. $15 for a hamburger, without fries. $100+ a month gym memberships. $igh...
2) It's loud. Screeching subway wheels, screaming subway car announcements, jackhammers, fire trucks, ambulances, car horns, trash and other loud trucks barreling down your quaint street at night, noisy neighbors, car stereos. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
3) It's abusive. Most of us don't have cars so our bodies take quite a beating. We carry lots of bags, climb lots of subway stairs, and basically tire ourselves out daily being our own car.
4) It's constantly changing. Just when you've found your favorite little wine bar, it closes. Because here it's all about what's hot now, so good luck to your little wine bar.
5) It makes you entitled and impatient. NYers are taught to ask for what we want, how we want it and when we want it. That usually turns out to be: everything, perfect and now.
6) It requires major scheduling. We're known to have 3 places to be in one night, so plans are often made 2 months in advance - just to have a drink.
7) It's overload. We pride ourselves on keeping current with everything under the sun. Weekly magazines, blogs, email blasts from friends. There's always something to do (good!), a new artist to know (fun!), but it can be information overload (exhausting!).
8) It's career centric. We are career obsessed and work insane hours. One of the first questions people ask upon meeting is "What do you do?" and often you're judged from that answer.
9) The 35-hour day. We try to cram as much as possible into every day. A workout at 5am, followed by a 8am-7pm workday, then drinks, dinner, a band, and bedtime at 1am. Even crazier? We wear our schedules like a badge of honor.
10) Public transportation. Actually a pro and a con. Pros: no car worries, lots of reading time. Cons: having to hear what normally would go on in 100 people's cars. Loud music, loud talking, loud children. People begging for money, people playing bad music for money. Train delays, construction, rerouting, sweltering platforms due to no a/c in the summer, packed-like-sardines train cars in the winter.

A friend of mine who used to live here says New York is a set of scales. Sometimes it tips to the good and sometimes to the bad, you just have to figure out which way it tips more often. Which is like any place, really, but New York is so in-your-face that the good and bad are more amplified.
So in the end, is New York really worth it? Well, 8.2 million of us say a resounding "YES!" (Yeah, that was us on the train, while you were trying to relax, after a 20 hour day...)

September 21, 2009

Celebrities in NY

Here's how NYers feel about celebrities: eh, whatever. I think it's a combination of we've seen it all so nothing phases us, we're too self-involved to care and, most importantly we have to play it cool because we're expected to. But secretly...we want to run up, ask for an autograph and a picture. Depending on who it is, of course. We "casually" tell our friends "i was walking to work today, sipping my coffee and had my usual Famke Janssen sighting." In fact, that's an actual conversation that a coworker and I have quite frequently, since she lives around the corner from the office. "Was she walking her dog?" Yep. "Did she have on her big sunglasses?" Of course.
They do a good job of blending in, picking up dog poop, smiling at the common folk. There's no entourage and no visible paparazzi. It's a refreshing change from what you see in LA, which is one reason why celebs who want to be left alone live in NYC.
It's always interesting what happens when you're with a visitor who doesn't know the "stay cool" rule. I've been pulled by my arm to see Yoko Ono getting out of a car in Soho. I've been hit on the arm to turn my head and see Meg Ryan filming on the Upper Easnt Side. I've been repeatedly tapped on my arm to see Philip Seymour Hoffman as I was enjoying bruch alfresco in The Village. Basically my arm has taken a lot of abuse for the sake of celebrity sightings. Stay cool, people, stay cool.
I was mortified when a friend ran over to Matthew Broderick on the street after we had just seen him in The Producers, pulled him over to our group and said "Mindy, take our picture!". I asked if that was okay. He said "Yes - and thank you for asking." I can't imagine that happening all the time, just because you do a job where everyone knows who you are it gives the world complete access to you? It's just odd logic.
Now don't get me wrong, NYers are plenty interested in celebrities and celebrity goings-on. We read Perez and Gawker, text about who we just saw and where, but there's no hyper-crazed fan action. And if it exists, we keep it to ourselves. Until we get back to work and gush to our coworker about seeing Jake Gyllenhaal at the deli 5 minutes ago and how we didn't know who it was until we had to squeeze past him and how he looked like he was going to play basketball and how insanely hot he was and how we're forgetting to breathe or use punctuation. Being the good friend that she is she played the giddy teenaged fan right there with me.
I've found that the stay cool rule applies until you find yourself standing near one of your favorite actors, from your favorite movie. A 20-year talent crush in the making. And there he is, at Dean & Deluca, picking out vegetables, 3 feet away. The actor: John Malkovich, the movie: Dangerous Liasons. I realized that my mouth was hanging open and I was blatantly staring for a good 15 seconds. So much for the cool NYer. I wanted to say "Do you know how talented you are?! Do you know you were in my favorite movie?" But I realized all he wanted to do was find a fresh tomato, leave the poor man alone.
So if you see a celebrity in NYC, remember to stay cool, that's why they live here. They want to blend and not be harassed. But, um, if you happen to see Jake Gyllenhaal at the deli around the corner call me immediately. I mean...not that I care. You know, whatever. (Call me!)

September 14, 2009

The Brooklyn Bridge

For all the shopping, restaurants, and entertainment in NYC, one of my favorite things to do is to simply put on U2's "Beautiful Day" and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Into the city, home from the city, doesn't matter. As long as I'm on the bridge, all seems right with the world. There are no cars (pedestrian walk is elevated), you're over the water, and there are beautiful views everywhere you look. What's not to love?
The 25-minute walk into the city feels like several "wish you were here" postcards. To the left: the Statue of Liberty and downtown Manhattan. To the right: the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. Hanging out for the duration of your walk? The Manhattan Bridge, just to the north.
There's something very "old NY" about the Brooklyn Bridge. Maybe it's the way the grandness of the arches mixes with the simplicity of the wood planks beneath your feet. You can almost imagine it on opening day, 1883: women in long dresses and gloves strolling with men in suits and hats. Then there are the boats. Ferries, cargo ships, luxury cruise liners, water taxis, tour boats, sailboats. It takes you back to a time when water was a primary means of travel and transportation of goods.
I never feel more like a NYer than when i'm on the Brooklyn Bridge. As I'm surrounded by tourists who are in awe of it's beauty and the views I often think "Wow, i'm lucky enough to live in what they're taking home in photographs." Kinda cool.
Ready to create your own bridge memories? Here are directions, along with visitor tips:
• Take the 6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall. the entrance to the bridge is outside the station. You can also take a number of trains to stops close by. It's very narrow at the bottom of the island and the bridge is only a short walk away.
• Be aware there's a pedestrian lane and a bike lane. The lanes are marked: bikes to the left, pedestrians to the right. Bikes come very fast, DON'T walk in their lane.
• Stay single file or staggered, don't walk several people across. Being NYC, there are lots of people and not a lot of room, so please be kind to other tourists and residents.
• Least crowded time? Before 9am. You'll find a few NYers and a few tourists.
• Most crowded time? Sunset. You'll find every. single. tourist.
• There's great pizza and ice cream on the Brooklyn side

Wish you were here...

The Brooklyn Bridge

September 2, 2009

Black and White Cookies

Behold the black and white cookie! Big, fluffy, cake-like goodness topped with chocolate and vanilla fondant icing. Or just regular cake-like icing, depending on where you go. With exact origins unknown, it's been an NYC bakery staple dating back to at least 1902 at Glaser's Bakery (updated: now closed) on 87th St and 1st Ave.
The cookies were originally made from leftover cake batter and today still retain a cake-ish quality. Word spread and these little (okay, very over-sized) gems popped up not only all over NYC, but in bakeries across New England and upstate New York, where they're called "half moons."
The black and white was immortalized in a Seinfeld episode when Jerry told Elaine that he loved this cookie because there are "two races of flavor living side by side by side in harmony." And if people would just "look to the cookie, all our problems would be solved." I tend to agree with Jerry that it's a great place to start, especially since after you're done philosophizing, you get to eat it!
Here are some of NYers favorite places to enjoy the black and white cookie:
--Rocco's (in the Village)
--Leske's (in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn)
--Nussbaum & Wu (Morningside Heights)
--Greenberg's (Upper East Side)

Next time you're in NYC, do your taste buds a favor and pick up a black and white cookie. If you can't drop by a bakery, you can order them online. And if you ever find yourself in a heated discussion about world issues, remember Jerry Seinfeld's words, "Look to the cookie!" I do believe he was ::takes bite:: onto something.

September 1, 2009

Apartment Rentals: Decoding the Terms

This is a typical NYC apartment ad:
"Cozy 5th floor walk up alcove studio. Recently gut renovated, with kitchenette. Super on premise. I also have a Jr. 1-bdrm and a floor through railroad. Contact if interested. Must make 40x the rent, guarantors accepted. This is a broker fee apt."
Did you get any of that? Don't despair, after a few minutes and a few apartment terms, you will:
Cozy: Tiny. Teeny tiny.
Floor through: Apartment goes from the front of the building to the back
Walk up: No elevator, only the stairs and your legs
Kitchenette: Very small. What kitchens look like when they're born.
Gut renovated: Entire apartment was redone: floors, appliances, cabinets, etc.
Studio: No bedroom, usually one big room
Converted 1-bdrm: A bedroom wall has been put up (usually using living room space)
Alcove: Small area of the main room, usually in studios, used for sleeping or dining
Jr 1-bdrm: Alcove that has been walled-off to make a very tiny bedroom
Railroad: Series of rooms (usually without doors) you can walk though in a straight line
Broker: Person licensed to mediate deals between property owner and renter
Guarantor: A person who signs the lease (in addition to you) when you don't make the often required 40x the monthly rent (yearly salary must be at least 40 x one month's rent)
Management company: Larger company that owns the building, sometimes use brokers to rent the individual apartments
Landlord: Individual owner of a property, can also use brokers
Super(intendent): Maintains the building. Can usually call 24/7 with building problems, lives on or close to the premise.

So there are some terms to get you started. There are more to know, once you start looking to buy. Like co-op, co-op board, pre-war, brownstone, townhouse, classic 6 - and the list goes on. But for now, I'll just leave you with this cozy, kitchenette-sized glossary.

August 31, 2009

Rental, Sweet Apartment Rental

No, your eyes don't deceive, that is indeed a one-bedroom apartment for $2500 a month. To rent. Which is what most of us do here. Why? First, NYC is a transient city for many so it doesn't make sense to buy if you're only here a year or two. Second, the average home price in Manhattan is $975,000. Third, please see the second reason.
So where do you start when you want to rent an apt in NY? With this:
• What's your budget?
• Do you want roommates?
• How important is location to you? (want to be near the subway, live in city or outside, etc)
Regardless of your situation, start by asking friends if they know of available apartments, people looking for a roommate or if they know of a good broker.
Broker: If you'll live by yourself and your budget allows for a broker contact a brokers office (you pay a fee if you rent one of their listings, usually equal to a month's rent). If you know what area you want to live in walk around and you'll find broker's offices with apartment rental postings in the window. Or look on craigslist under housing > apts/housing > all apartments.
No broker: Not impossible, but harder to find. Start with craigslist, the most popular aparment listing site in NYC. Look under housing > apts/housing. You can filter it by "no-broker fee" apartments, but even some of those are listed by a broker and you'll pay a fee if you rent it.
Roommates: Craigslist is the way to go if your friends don't know of anyone looking for a roommate. Look under housing > rooms/shared.
Location: A general rule of thumb on most pricey to least pricey: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Staten Island. Also, usually the closer you are to the subway, the higher the rent.
Paperwork: There's no set rules on what you'll need, but here are guidelines:
Roommate: reference letters and a letter of employment - along with security deposit, first, last month's rent (so monthly rent x 3).
Your own apartment: A letter of employment, pay stubs, W-2, bank statements, a copy of your ID, reference letter from current landlord - and you'll need to pay for a credit check ($50-$100). If it's a broker-listed apartment you'll typically need monthly rent x 4 (first, last, security, broker fee). Ex. if your monthly rent is $1550, have $6200. And many times they'll require that you make 40x the monthly rent so if your monthly rent is $1550 you'll need to make $62,000 a year.

Finally, know that unless you have unlimited funds you'll have to make sacrifices. It can be in size, neighborhood, distance from subway - and many other things you'll discover. You may not have a sink in your bathroom, your shower may be in your kitchen - oh, where there's no oven. You probably won't have a dishwasher or washer/dryer--but what you will have is NYC. And trust me, she's worth every penny.

August 27, 2009

A New Yorker's Fridge

Three bottles of water, seltzer, eggs, a lime, a stick of butter, and some hotdogs. Wow. My fridge is kind of overstocked in NYC terms! Sad, but true - for the fridge, anyway.
NYC is known for it's vast array of cuisines, fusions of cuisines, hyped (and over-hyped) openings of restaurants, lamented closings, food trends and dinner clubs. There are countless NY foodie blogs, food walking tours and enough friends to entice you out to dinner.
So now you see that NYC is all about food. NYC is also all about tiny apartments so we don't usually entertain at home, we meet out. Because first you'd have to have room for a table. Then you'd have to have extra chairs. Then you'd have to convince your friends to travel to your apartment when in the end, everyone is going home in different directions. Much easier to meet at a central locale.
My mom kids me when I call her after work and say i'm going to the grocery store. "To buy a tomato and some butter?" Yep, pretty much. NYers food shop like Europeans. Besides big grocery stores and delis, we're lucky enough to have small, family-run speciality stores (meat store, cheese store, bakery, etc) so we can pick up individual items, on an as-needed basis. Most of us don't have cars so it's easier to make a few small trips a week (if you actually do decide to eat at home) then to load up.
And last, kitchen space, two words that don't belong together here. An apartment I looked at to rent had 4 inches wide x 12 inches deep of counter space. That's it. In the entire kitchen. I told the broker I sometimes cook so that's not an option for me. He said "It's not a problem for most people who see it, they eat out or order in." And this is true, many NYers don't set foot in their kitchen except to throw away delivery containers or fill up a glass of water. I've even heard of people unplugging their fridge and using it as storage space. I wish I was kidding.
Now if you'll excuse me, I must see what I can make with eggs, lime, butter, seltzer, and hotdogs. A delivery call to my favorite Indian restaurant, I would imagine.

August 26, 2009

Uptown, Downtown, North, South, East, West?!

NYC is easy to navigate - once you get the hang of it. Like any other city, it takes time to get comfortable with directions, landmarks, and shortcuts. I carried a big subway map my first 2 years. I missed stops, got off at the wrong stop, walked the wrong direction after getting out of the station. But I learned some tricks that will hopefully help you too:

• Most of the city is based on a grid system, divided into streets and avenues. If you start south and walk north you'll find 1st St., 2rd St., 3rd St., etc. East to west is 1st Avenue, 2nd Avenue, etc. We also have lettered avenues (A, B, C, D) that start east of 1st Avenue.
• Below Houston St. (The Village, Soho, Financial District, Little Italy, Chinatown, Lower East Side) is NOT based on a grid system and has name streets so...take a map.
• Coming out of the subway can be disorienting so a) look for the next street to tell you whether you're going north or south or b) know that the traffic flow of the avenues alternate going uptown and downtown, so if you figure out one avenue (6th Ave. flows uptown) then you know you need to walk with the traffic flow to go uptown/north. From that you'll know that 7th Ave. traffic flows downtown, 8th Ave. uptown, etc.
• Streets are distinguished by "east" and "west," as in "E. 16th St." or "W. 53rd St.," with the dividing line being 5th Ave. So E. 16th St. becomes W. 16th St., west of 5th Ave.
• Also, starting from 5th Ave. are east/west addresses. 5th Ave. to 6th Ave. has "west" addresses 1-100. So 65 W. 58th St. would be between 5th and 6th Ave. Need to get to 325 W. 58th St.? Add 100 for every avenue so...it's between 8th and 9th Ave.

Again, these are things I've learned over time so don't worry if it doesn't all make sense right away. And last, one of my favorite pieces of advice: put away the map, wander around and get lost. Because sometimes the best experiences are the ones you find by accident.

August 25, 2009

Laundry Day. Sigh...

In this picture we see beautiful trees, a building dating back to the late 1800s and a guy carrying his...laundry down 6th Avenue? That is correct.
In NYC you'll find three things on just about every block: a deli, a nail salon, and a laundromat. The last because most old apartment buildings aren't equipped to handle a washer's water pressure so sadly, it's a no-go on the washer. But do people still do it? Sometimes, yes. (Bad people, baaaaaaad.)
But for those who play by the rules, your nearest laundromat becomes your friend. Some people use bags with handles (see photo) others use a big drawstring bag and throw it over their shoulder and others use a push cart. Or, for a little extra money, you can either call a laundromat to pick up or you can drop it off and they'll have it ready for pick up at the end of the day. The key there is 1) making sure everything can go in the dryer and 2) picking it up before they close - easier said than done with busy New York schedules.
Now I'll paint you a picture of laundry day in August: walk down five flights of apartment stairs with 30 lbs of laundry; carry it across an avenue and up a block. Get to the laundromat to find four housekeepers filling up all the washers, grab your 30 lbs, head to the next one, three blocks away. Sit in the unairconditioned room with 15 dryers going and when yours is done, head back to your non-central air apartment and hope the window unit cools your room down fast enough to put away your warm laundry so you can take a nap from all the lugging and the heat. Yeah...laundry day.
This isn't a complaint, it's just the way it is here. There are many things that go on in New York that become "normal," but once you're elsewhere you realize "oh right, hamburgers aren't supposed to cost $15 and laundry's not supposed to be an ordeal."
So if by chance you're lucky enough to have a washer and dryer, please cherish them. Say thanks for being so convenient. And give them a little hug - for me, and the rest of laundry-slinging NYC.

August 24, 2009

Brunch. Lunch? No, Brunch.

Me: So, I'll meet you guys for brunch.
Gemma (visiting from London): Um, okay so...see you at lunch.
Me: Oh, did you want to meet on Friday for lunch instead of Saturday for brunch?
Gemma: No, Saturday works. Wait...what's "brunch?"

Ah yes, brunch: the marriage of breakfast and lunch. That magical time when it's perfectly acceptable to consume three Bloody Marys at 2pm while catching up with friends. Oh right, and there's food. Lots of fantastic food. Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine, pancakes, muffins, bacon, sausage... Why oh why can't it be the brunch-friendly weekend right now instead of stinky 'ol regular menu Monday?!
Yes, brunch gets a special menu and it only comes out on the weekends. And bonus, no one is hovering over you, with the usual "are you DONE" look, waiting to seat the next guests. I do believe that brunch and flea markets are the only occasions that NYers function at a leisurely pace. (Just remember to tip well if you're on a three-hour, all-you-can-drink mimosa spree as you are keeping the waitstaff from other tips.)

Things to know:
--Many restaurants serve brunch, but not all. Google "brunch NYC yelp" or "brunch NYC chowhound" to start
--The most popular brunch time is 1pm-3pm, oftentimes expect an hour or more wait
--Brunch can range from $10-$75, depending on where you go

So the next time you're visiting NYC with friends ask if they want to "do brunch." They may be confused at first, but it's nothing a few Bloody Mary won't help clear up.

August 21, 2009

Subway Etiquette

In yesterday's post you learned the basics of navigating the New York subway system. Now you'll learn how to make the ride more enjoyable for you - and others. The MTA provides a set of written rules (posted at stations), I'll provide a set of unwritten rules.

In the station:
• Have your Metrocard ready when you get to the turnstile so as not to slow down others
• If you're lost ask for help, NYers don't mind
• Don't stand too close to the platform's edge while waiting for the train

On the train:
• Don't stand in front of the the doors. Let passengers off first, then board the train
• Hold onto something. A pole, the railing above, your sister
• Don't stare. NYers are suspicious by nature so glance around, but don't stare
• Don't talk loud/be obnoxious. Remember that it's a public train, not your car

Getting off the train:
• Step lively, keep moving. This also applies at the top of stairs and station exits
• If in a group, walk up the stairs single file so that those entering can get through

It may seem like a lot, but really it's just common sense. New York is a crowded, bustling city so if you remember to keep moving and be aware of those around you you'll be fine. (Letting go of the pole and exiting this post lively...)

August 20, 2009

A,B,C,1,2,3: Subway Fun

Although the best way to see New York is via your feet, you're never far from your destination with the elaborate 22-line subway system, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's fairly easy to navigate, but here's some insider info to help:

1) We call subways "trains" (1 train, A train).
2) Train lines: There are number lines (1,2,3) and letter lines (A,B,C), each has it's own color.
3) Local/express: There are local trains (make all stops) and express trains (stop at certain stations, allows you to transfer to a local). For example, the A/C/E run along the same line (it's blue on the map). The A is express, the C and E are local.
4) Uptown/downtown: Subway lines generally run north and south, but stations are labeled "uptown" or "downtown." If you're at 68th St. and you want to go to 14th St. you take a "downtown" train because you're traveling south - or downtown.
5) Metrocard: the card you'll need to swipe at the turnstile to ride the train. Purchase one from the agent or vending machine at the subway station. The kind you'll need depends on how often you'll be riding. There are one-time, daily and unlimited use cards.

Now you have the tools to navigate the NYC subway system. So when someone says, "Take the uptown A to 14th St, then transfer to the C local," you'll know what they're talking about. Right?
6) (nods head) Right!

August 19, 2009

NYC = Five Boroughs. (Five...what?)

New York City role call: Brooklyn! Queens! (The) Bronx! Staten Island! Manhattan! Yep, the gang's all here.
Here's how it works: 8.2 million people live in New York City, but not all on the 22 sq. mile island of Manhattan. Instead, the population is spread out over "boroughs" (or counties), created in 1898, each with its own elected president. But no matter what borough you live in, you reserve the right to call yourself a New Yorker.
Now for fun insider info: we call Manhattan "the city." So if you're in Brooklyn and a friend asks "do you want to go to the city?" they mean Manhattan. However, if you're addressing a letter to someone in Manhattan you write "New York, NY," not Manhattan, NY.
And last, we call Bronx, NY "The Bronx." It's named after Jonas Bronck, the first recorded European settler in that area (1639). He acquired a bunch of land, but besides him and his family there wasn't much around, so the only reason people would go was to visit "The Broncks."
So there you have it. Five boroughs, one city, endless history.

August 18, 2009

The Corner Deli

Me: I'm going to the deli to get cash.
Mom (in Texas): Why would you go to a national sandwich chain instead of a bank?
Me: No, not like Jason's Deli. It's like...a tiny grocery store, with an ATM machine.

Need cash? Go to the deli. Need laundry detergent? Deli. Need a six-pack of Sam Adams Summer Ale, turkey and swiss on a toasted onion bagel, and some cat food for Mr. Mittens? Right you are: the deli.

There are seemingly thousands of delis in New York (eight of them are within a few blocks of my apartment). Not all are on the corner, but a good portion are. You're never far from a deli, but the best ones are your local ones, whether near work or home. They're run by the same three or four friendly faces and oftentimes they know what you want when you walk in. "Coffee, two sugars?" Yes, please. "We got a new flavor of Doritos in." Sigh...they know my weakness.

So the next time you're wandering around New York and need a cold bottle of water and a pack of gum, you know where to go. Just beware, they may try and tempt you with a new flavor of Doritos. (Yes, please!)

August 17, 2009

NYC Breakfast: Egg on a Roll?

Day two in New York: Breakfast. In Texas we have breakfast tacos. Figuring that wasn't happening here I asked a hotel employee what people do for breakfast. He said, "Go to a deli." A what? The only deli we had back home was Jason's Deli (a sandwich chain) and that was just for lunch. So I found a deli. I stood in line and listened as people ordered "egg on a roll," "egg and cheese on a roll," "bacon, egg and cheese on a roll." Like...a fluffy, buttered dinner roll that we use down south to sop up gravy? Why would you put an egg on that?!
Turns out it's a kaiser roll. Ooooooh.
Also popular for breakfast here are bagels (with or without cream cheese or butter), pastries and donuts. Oh, and coffee. Lots and lots and loooots of coffee.
So I've come to realize this:
Hyperactive people + oodles of coffee - breakfast tacos + egg on a roll = a New Yorker.
Good morning!

August 16, 2009

If I Can Make it Here...

June 29, 2000: three suitcases, no apartment, no job, didn't know anyone. That's how I moved to New York.
I booked a room at the Chelsea Lodge (pictured above, but sadly, now closed) for nine days where I used my a/c window unit as a refrigerator, balked at the price of canned tuna at the grocery store, and shared one toilet with eight other hotel guests. I was off to a memorable start.
My move was made easier with a savings and a list of friends of friends to contact. I found a job and two couch stays (until I found an apartment share for August 1) through that list. Since then I've spent nine years telling non-NYC friends and family stories of life here to which the response is usually "No! Really?!" Yes. Really.
So whether you're thinking about moving, visiting or you're just browsing, this blog will give you insight into what 'Ol Blue Eyes meant when he said, "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere." (Exiting this post with high kicks...Neeeeeeew Yooooooooooork...)