Sunday, November 15, 2009

Holiday Shops at Bryant Park

Today was a pretty nice day for November...the temperature was in the mid 60s. And since Chris had a lot of school work that he needed to do, I decided to go into Manhattan and do a little Christmas window-shopping. Per Chris's suggestion, I headed to the holiday shops at Bryant Park. Seriously the most versatile park I've ever known, Bryant park becomes this winter-shopping-wonderland in the months of November and December. The ice skating rink is situated in the middle of the park with around 100 individual shops in greenhouse-esque buildings. The normal things to love about Bryant Park - Wichcraft, seating, ping pong etc. - are all still there as well. I had a lovely time browsing the shops and then grabbed some tomato soup and a goat cheese sandwich from Wichcraft, and sat and watched people ice skate. I'm really ready for Christmastime in the City now!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It Really Is a Small World, After All

Two things happened this weekend that made me realize what a small and crazy world we live in. Sunday morning, Chris and I went to church at Redeemer on the upper east side. It's a pretty huge church that has multiple services and this particular service meets in a large auditorium at Hunter College. Well we sat next to this couple and came to find out that they were visiting from North Carolina, grew up in SC, and went to Clemson. Then, it turns out that the people they were staying with live in our neighborhood in Brooklyn and also went to Clemson. What?! So crazy!

The second thing happened as a result of reading the Brownstoner blog, a blog that has a reputation for reporting on all things Brooklyn. They posted about a family who recently launched a blog documenting the renovation of a Victorian style house on Albemarle. When I saw pictures of the street I thought that surely that can't be so close, just south of Prospect Park. It also got me feeling guilty that I had never ventured to that neighborhood. There are so many parts of New York City - so many parts of Brooklyn - that we have never explored and probably won't ever get the chance to. So, partly feeling guilty of not knowing my own community and partly doubting that such a place existed so close to my neighborhood, I decided to go on an adventure. It was a beautiful, 65 degree day, perfect for a walk. It took me about 25 minutes, and sure enough, there is a whole neighborhood full of BEAUTIFUL, huge, victorian style houses. It absolutely blew my mind. The neighborhood is called Prospect Park South and was planned in 1899 to be a "country in the city." Amazing. I can't get over how this exists so close to us.

On the way, I passed the corner of Windsor Place and Terrace Place, so of course I had to get a picture! I heart Windsor Terrace!

The Laforces Visit!

Way back in early October, we tested whether or not our apartment could handle six people when the Laforces - Keith, Megan, Eric, and Emily - came to visit! Although our tiny apartment was a tight squeeze for the crowd, we managed and we had a great time with them. This was the first time we had gotten together since Emily and Eric's wedding so it was fun to spend time with the newlyweds.

The subway system decided to shut down that weekend...literally. Every subway line except three (two of which were shuttle services) had some sort of service disruption that weekend. The F was not running from Church Avenue to Jay Street and was replaced by...dum dum dum...shuttle buses. Normally when this happens, we just stay in Brooklyn for the weekend. But of course we didn't want to do that this weekend, so the Laforces got to enjoy the shuttle buses with us ha. They were great sports!

Saturday we walked around midtown and that night we went to see Avenue Q, which was hilarious. We are so glad they came to visit!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

5 More Visitors

I'm not so good at this blogging thing...

So since it's been over a month since I've posted anything, I have missed 3 separate groups of visitors. First, my cousin Lindsay came to stay with us on her way back to Cairo. It was SO good to see that girl! We don't get to see each other very often, and I'm really glad that we got to catch up, especially since there were Preacher Cookies involved. :)
Next were Tara and Andrew! It was Andrew's first time in NYC, which is always fun. We walked around midtown, went to FAO Schwartz, Burger Joint, and the Museum of Natural History.

Then a couple days later Rebekah and Javier came up to visit! They had a bit of bad luck with the weather, but eventually got to see a match at the US Open...the one where Serena went crazy, nonetheless. We had a great time exploring Central Park with them....for four hours? It was a long time and a lot of walking, but a lot of fun too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swings with a View

Last weekend when Lauren was visiting, we went out to Governors Island. None of us had ever been out to GI and Chris's coworker had a group of people out for her birthday. We caught a free ferry from South Port over to the island and then rented bikes to ride around. It was a gorgeous day and it was so fun to ride a bike for the first time since...I don't even know when. I wish we had read up on some of the history beforehand... we ended up just making up stories. In case you're curious, it has a really interesting history that you can read about here. The majority of buildings from the military fort still remain and personally, I think it would be the ideal place for a university campus.

We rode our bikes around to the other side of the island to get a better view of the Statue of Liberty, when lo and behold, there was a playground with swings. So of course we had to stop and swing. Swinging, while looking at the Statue of Liberty to my left and Lower Manhattan to my right was probably one of the most ridiculously amazing experiences I've had in NYC thus far.
After we got over the amazingness of the swings, we (finally) took our first NYC picture with our Tiger Rag. Go Tigers!
It was so great to be able to spend time with Lauren again! I will miss our Duplin Carolina Red occassions. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Two Weeks and Two Visitors

It has been a while since I have posted, but I have good excuses..these past two weeks have been a bit crazy around here! Chris wrapped up the gaming class that he took this summer, which resulted in this really addicting subway game. I had surgery to remove a tumor on my breast. And we had two wonderful guests on back-to-back weekends. Katie, a friend who I have known since elementary school, visited two weekends ago and Lauren, a college friend and roommate, came this past weekend. It was so much fun catching up with both girls...I miss them already! It was also a bit tricky playing host, because both had been to NYC several times and had seen all of the tourist attractions. However, we were able to find a few things to do that neither they nor Chris and I had done before. I might have to break these up into two posts....

Weekend 1:
Since I was a bit out of it on Friday, I was glad that a girl from Chris's program had invited us to come watch The Muppet Movie at one of the piers at Hudson River Park. Yes, it was supposed to be a kids movie...but really, who could pass that up? Then, Saturday, we went into Manhattan and took part in Summer Streets. For 4 hours on Saturday, Park Avenue and other streets were closed to automobile traffic from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park. We just walked, but you could also bike or rollerblade without worrying about cars...a relief in NYC.

Saturday night, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time! It was beautiful to see the skyline lit up at night.

Sunday, Katie and I went to MOMA. I have to say, I think MOMA is my favorite of all of the art museums in the City. I've been 3 times now and there's always something new and unique. this time, Katie and I took part in the art...

The exhibit is called "Measuring America" and plays off of the notion of measuring children on the doorway as they grow year by year. We were both at the bottom of average. Long story, but the lady tried to make us go to the back of the line and I was confused/stressed and forgot to smile! Anyway, it was a fun weekend and I enjoyed getting to spend time with Katie!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

1 Year NYC Anniversary

Today marks our 1-year anniversary of living in NYC. It was this time last year that I got an ulcer from Chris driving a Uhaul across the Verrazano bridge. It was this time last year that I tipped the movers twice as much as they charged because I was so impressed that it took them 30 minutes to unload the Uhaul that had taken Chris, Justin, Daniel, and I 5 hours to pack. It was also this day a year ago that we had our first slice of Joe's pizza...ahhh, Joe's.

We had a fairly busy weekend. We finally made it to the movie theatre, the Pavillion, that is 3 streets up from our apartment, to see 500 Days of Summer (wonderful movie). We made our weekly run up to the Farmer's Market and got some eggplant, apples, and green tomatoes. Saturday evening we had a picnic in the park with our neighbors outside of the bandshell where there was a free concert. Then today we went to church, went to see a play up at Columbia that Grayson was in, and then went to Flipsters on 7th Ave for some amazing burgers. I say all in all, it was a pretty good 1-year NYC anniversary.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

High Line

Last Friday, a group of coworkers went on a little excursion after work to the newly opened High Line. The elevated rail line was built in the 1930's and was used to keep hazardous freight off of the city streets. In 2006, renovation began to turn the high line into a public park. When completed, the park will be about a mile and a half and stretch 20-odd blocks. The first phase opened a month or so ago and runs about 12 or 13 street blocks.

I was quite impressed with the variety of plants and flowers incorporated, and almost wish that they had placemarkers so I would know what kind they were! I loved that the benches were designed in a way that they seemed to come out of the concrete. And of course, I appreciate that they kept some portions of the rail line and that some of the lounge chairs rested upon old wheels from the rail cars. There is a portion of the High Line that expands into a mini amphitheater, and is the perfect people-watching spot as you can sit and look down at 10th avenue (or is it 11th?), but also, in the opposite direction is a clear view of the Statue of Liberty in between the buildings. I recommend that you go check it out if you haven't yet.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New York Philharmonic

Every summer, the New York Philharmonic puts on free concerts in the City's parks. This past Wednesday we were lucky enough to be able to experience the Philharmonic playing in Prospect Park, very close to our apartment. We met up with a group of people, spread out blankets, had a little picnic, and enjoyed the music. It's amazing how many people were there, but how silent it was as soon as the music began.

Me, Chris, and Andrew, who is in the Cinema Studies program with Chris. Yes, I am wearing a sweatshirt in July...

All of the people waiting for the concert to begin.

Our neighbors Scott and Nicki

After the concert, there was a fireworks show that was just icing on the cake of a perfect evening in Brooklyn.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sleepy Hollow

To celebrate the Fourth of July, we went to...Sleepy Hollow. I mean, that is a completely acceptable Independence Day vacation, right? Okay, so maybe it's better suited for Halloween, but one set of neighbors were out of town and had said that our other set of neighbors were welcome to use their car. So they decided to take a day trip out of the City and asked us to come along.

It was so nice to be able to spend the day out of the City, though very weird to be riding in a car! We spent a couple hours walking around the Sleepy Hollow cemetery, which really was quite beautiful. You can kind of tell from the picture that it was in a very natural setting and felt a little more like a park than a cemetery. There were no headless horseman sitings.

We then ate lunch in Tarrytown, which was adorable. I wish I had taken pictures of this cute little town, right on the Hudson river. We also got to see some fireworks from Nyack that night, right across the Hudson. Anway, it was a nice trip, and great to know that it is all just an hour's drive from the City.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Test

On Sunday afternoons I like to catch up on people's blogs and see what interesting things have happened during the course of the week. Harrison had a link to another blog that I had to click on ...Do You Belong in NYC? Well, I took the test and must say that I failed miserably. I am definitely not an optimizer on most levels, I have never had the highest career ambition, and I would always choose to live a happy life as opposed to an interesting life.

I have thought about this notion of "where do I belong" recently as I spent a week at home preparing for my sister's wedding. It was a gorgeous wedding (she was a beautiful bride!) in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. It is funny how the first day back in the south feels strange, the second day a little less so, and then by the third day I am completely acclimated and ready to move back. I really miss being close to family and friends and nature. I miss the pace of life.

That being said, I'm so glad that Chris and I are currently living in Brooklyn. It has given me so many new perspectives on life and there are an abundance of opportunities that we would not have had otherwise. Also, I think it's great to live somewhere different and far away as newlyweds. It helps your marriage to grow even stronger.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Do I really live in New York City?

Every now and then I really cannot believe that we actually live in New York City.  I am in no way a city girl, but it's surprising how quickly I adjusted to living here.  I get so stuck in the day-to-day routine of work that I sometimes forget that I live one of the most amazing cities ever.

Last night I flew back from South Carolina.  I was home for my sister's bachelorette party!!!  But on the flight from Columbia, the Delta Sky magazine was all about New York City.  I couldn't believe all of the amazing events featured in the magazine...and they are all going to be happening in MY city!  So amazing.  In July the New York Philharmonic is playing for free in Central Park and Prospect Park.  So I can literally walk out my front door, walk a block, grab a slice of pizza, walk another block, and sit and enjoy the NY Philharmonic for free.  AMAZING!

Of course, there's nothing like floating around on the lake in South Carolina either...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Special, Just for You

New York is famous for its bagels.  They're delicious and hard to resist...especially when they are shoved in your face by way of street vendors.  There is a street vendor immediately outside of the subway stop directly across from my work building and I began to give in to this delectable temptation about once a week.  Sometimes twice.

The first or second time I got a bagel (plain with cream cheese), the vendor held up a packet of jelly and said "Special, just for you" and tossed it into my bag.  This made me giggle...(who puts jelly on bagels anyway?) but I appreciated the gesture.  So from then on, he'd give me grape jelly, special, just for me.  After a while, he stopped saying anything.  He would just hold up the jelly so that I saw it, and toss it into the bag.  I wanted to be like "Hey Bagelman, am I not special anymore?"

One day I showed up and before I could even speak, he just nodded, and reached for a plain bagel with cream cheese.  That's when I knew that I had been eating too many bagels.  Sadly, a new vendor showed up shortly after that and it has been several months since I have seen my grape-jelly-giving friend.  I hope he is still somewhere in the city selling bagels and making people's mornings simply by saying "special, just for you."

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Prospect Park/Farmer's Market

Well the cold finally went away, and then came the rain.  It rained for six days...straight.  It finally stopped raining friday morning, but picked back up tonight.  Now, I love a good thunderstorm. But there's no two ways about it...rain in New York is just miserable.  From the dirty water being splashed everywhere, to wet subways, to trying to figure out what height to hold your umbrella so you don't hit the umbrellas on either side of you as you walk down the street with millions of other miserable New Yorkers...and tourists...bleh.

BUT!  The rain gave us enough of a break for our Saturday morning outing.  We live about two blocks from Prospect Park.  Prospect Park is the Central Park of Brooklyn.  They were both designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and while Central Park is 843 acres, Prospect Park is 585 acres.  So it's not quite as big as CP, but still a whoppin big park.

Every Saturday there is a farmer's market at Grand Army Plaza at the top of the park.  We live on the southwest side of the park, so it's about a mile and a half walk through the park to the farmer's market.  It's a really nice walk this time of year, and it was really cute to see little kids playing baseball.  The park is one of the things that really made me love this neighborhood when we first moved here.  Then when the weather got cold, I almost forgot that we lived right next to it.  I'm so glad to be able to enjoy it again.  And I look forward to going to the farmer's market every week!  This morning we were able to pick up some fresh rosemary, potatoes, and spinach.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Street Shopping

One of the great things about living in New York is that you don't have to go into a store to find great deals...they're right on the street.  I'm not talking about the people trying to sell you fake Rolexes and Louis Vuitton purses (don't even get me started on Chinatown).  I'm talking about stoop sales.

Instead of yard sales, people in my neighborhood of Windsor Terrace and the adjacent neighborhood Park Slope will have stoop sales.  It's so fun to go walking on a Saturday morning and see all of the different items for sale.  Weekends are also a great time to go perusing for items that people have just decided that they no longer want and have put on the street.  Often times you can find used furniture that is free and up for grabs.  I have seen many a nasty couch.  However, I've also seen some pretty quality items.

On the way back from our gelato outing last week, we encountered a desk and dresser on the street next to ours.  We sure could use some extra drawer space...

So we got a small 3-door dresser in good condition for absolutely free!  Hooray!  Today I spent several hours switching my winter clothes with my summer clothes and rearranging them into the new dresser.   I have never been so happy to put away my winter clothes!!!  Yay for spring in New York!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chick-Fil-A Freudian Slip

It has been a long time since I have posted anything on this blog.  There are many excuses but I think the biggest one is that I originally started this blog as a being-frugal-in-NYC blog and then I was turned off by the thousands of blogs that I saw that were very similar.  None that necessarily catered to the NYC niche, but frugal blogs in general.  So, I kinda quit.  And now I would like to begin again, but with no intentions of a theme...just a place to relay some interesting thoughts, share life events, or report on the happenings of the crazy NYC.

I was staring at the computer screen for about 10 minutes, getting nowhere, when Chris irritatedly says "Just write something down and let's go get Chickfila!"  Of course, there is no Chickfila in NYC (except the one in the canteen on NYU's campus...which is not a real chickfila and is pretty much dead to me.)  This is one reason that I know I could never truly settle down in NYC.

He meant to say gelato.  Today is the first weekend of warm weather in the city and it has been so nice to be able to enjoy our neighborhood and the park again.  There is a place a couple blocks from us that sells soup in the wintertime and gelato in the summertime.  So now that I have officially written something, it's time for Chickfila!!! Er, gelato.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


FreeNYC is a website that I stumbled upon when we first moved up to the City, forgot about for a while, and just fell in love with again.  It is a great resource for events around town that are free or very close to free.  Events include movie screenings, open houses, live music, art exhibits, happy hours, and more.  It's a great way to explore your neighborhood and get to enjoy all of the opportunities that this city provides without going broke.  Enjoy!

Wake up call: College Football

There are many many differences when it comes to life in the City compared to where I came from, but there was one disappointing difference that I wasn't prepared for.  Nobody here cares about college football!  It's awful!  Coming from Clemson, where football is your life in the fall, this took some adjusting.  I mean, you go into a sports bar and all they have on is Jets games and Mets games, and pshh...

So to overcome those post-college-football-blues and to better prepare for next year's season in the City, here is a list of places that host alumni groups and whatnot for specific colleges.  It's so great to be able to watch the game with fellow alumni/fans.  However, since Ship of Fools is about an hour trek from our abode in Brooklyn, we were so happy to find some local spots to watch the game: Brooklyn Burger Bar on 7th Ave and The Lighthouse on 5th Ave.