Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Truth or Urban Dare?

Last fall, as I mentioned here, Emily and I *dominated* the Hoboken Amazing Race.  This year, we took it to the big leagues and signed up for a similar scavenger-type race in the Big Apple, Urban Dare.  This time, we did *not* dominate, as there were 250 teams and a lot more area to cover.  We actually didn't even get close.  We have a feeling that the team that ended up winning either cheated or knew the bus system really well.  Unfortunately, the only bus I am good at is the one that stops directly in front of my building, so Emily and I walked/ran a little too far between most of the clues.

Team EMF
 Some highlights:
  • Feeling pretty dang popular when 735 (estimated) people all day were asking us "What *is* the Urban Dare?!"
  • While waiting for the F train, talking to another team who was going to Union Square instead of Central Park where we were starting, getting on the subway and hearing the conductor say the train was going straight to 34th Street, noticing that the other team didn't hear, giggling to ourselves that they would have to go back downtown on another train.
  • Going to Madison Square Park without getting a chance to get Shake Shack (oh wait, that was the lowest part of the day.  Still upset about it...) 
  • Making enemies with the pink tutu girls who wouldn't even say "hi" to us when we kept running into them, having them pass us in the three-legged race, commenting that they must have a looser tie than we do so it was easier for them, watching their tie come undone and them struggle to get it back on, passing them and saying "slow and steady wins the race".
  • Waiting outside the big screen in Times Square to see our faces on it only to learn after ten minutes that American Eagle has commandeered the big screen and you have to go in to their store and buy something and wait in line to take a picture for the screen.  Buying a $7 lip balm that I thought would be $2 (it's actually pretty good, so I can't complain too much).  Being on a billboard in Times Square with my name spelled "Erein" and "No Comment" written next to us - funny how I freak out about typos, but on a billboard in Times Square, I see I misspell my name and I claim I have no time to change it since we are running against the clock!
Can I use this on my modeling resume?!?!
  A sampling of the clues:
  • Get your picture in front of the restaurant where Paul Castellano was gunned down.
Too soon?
  • He came up with the design for Beijing's Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium.  Now he lingers in jail while his installation Circle of Animals is on display here in NY.  Get your picture pointing to the animal you would be if you were born in 1893.
The one that speaks Parseltongue
  • Get a picture of two people reenacting the famous WWII photo by Alfred Eisenstadt. --- We didn't even look at the original photo before taking this and look how freaking cute it is!


Monday, May 16, 2011

I Want to Ride my Bicycle

On Sunday, a friend and I were sitting outside having brunch at my *favorite* brunch place, The Eatery (53rd and 9th), and I was enjoying my Scrambled Egg White Tortilla, per usual.  My friend kept saying that he wanted to ride bikes since it was so beautiful outside and I kept just giggling about the image of us on bicycles after a 14-year hiatus.  I was kind of taking his suggestion as a joke, but he kept insisting on it and I realized he was actually serious.  When he pointed out that Manhattan Bicycle Shop was directly across the street from us, we took it as a sign, and went to check it out.  “If it’s less than $10 an hour, we’re doing it.”   It turned out to be only $5 an hour (minimum of two hours) so we signed up immediately and were handed our bikes, which unfortunately had hand brakes, instead of the foot brakes I was used to back in the day.  I realized this would be a challenge and I knew I had to bring my A-game, so we went to my apartment to exchange my Longchamp for my Mets string backpack and my Rainbows for my Nike Frees.  This was serious.

Despite my initial misconceptions and nerves about being run over by other cyclists (as I always have almost-accidents with them while I am running), we rode down the West Side Highway at lightning speed.  Before we knew it we were all the way down in Tribeca.  We got off the highway and rode on the streets / sometimes on the sidewalks, ringing our bells obnoxiously at crowds of people ahead of us.  Now I know that we aren’t actually allowed to ride on the sidewalk, but aside from getting a few glares from people we had rung our bells at, there was nothing saying we couldn’t.  We ended up in South Street Seaport and decided to try the new restaurant, Soul Daddy, which was the winner on NBC’s “America’s Next Great Restaurant,” which we had both watched.  The winner from the show, Jamawn Woods, was actually at the restaurant so we talked to him a little bit and took photos with him, because, why not?

Jamawn, although he of course said everything on the menu was fantastic, suggested the ribs, cheese grits, and corn bread waffle.  In addition to that, because the rib meal came with two sides, we got sweet potato salad.  I’m not sure if I had just worked up my appetite from the intense bike-riding I had just done, but I enjoyed it and would get it again if in the area.  Unfortunately for Jamawn, I think the NYC location isn’t really in a good spot because there isn’t really that much foot traffic in the off-season. 

We then rode the bikes back uptown and returned them, paying only $15 each for a really fun three-hour long activity.  According to Google, if we had taken the most direct route, we would have biked 11 miles that day, but since we were racing around a little on the streets in the Financial District, I think it’s a little longer.  While I was getting ready for work this morning, I saw a news report about a new video created by the NYC Department of Transportation, and starring John Leguizamo.  Check this out, I’m pretty sure it was targeted toward us.


Monday, May 9, 2011

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

When I heard that President Obama was going to be at Ground Zero on Thursday, I decided I was going to do everything I could to see if I could catch a glimpse during my lunch break since I work only a ten-minute walk north of WTC.  I knew that I wasn't going to be able to super-close, but I wanted to try my best because I felt this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  So I popped outside around 12:30 and immediately saw a flood of people standing on the corner of my building.  My first thought was "WOW - there is such a crowd it stretches from Ground Zero to HERE?!"  And then I realized that they were actually lined up behind police barriers and that there was another crowd lined up across the street and I put it together that the President was going to be driving down this road.

A coworker and I (and hundreds of other coworkers, I guess) stayed and watched for about 15 minutes waiting for the President's motorcade to drive by.  A few NYPD motorcycles would come by, then a few minutes later a black van would drive by, then finally we saw the giant trail of motorcycles, NYPD cars, and black cars, vans, and Escalades drive by.  Most of the crowd cheered when the car that we thought held Obama drove by, although we couldn't see him at the time.  I obviously was snapping some pictures.

I also knew that Obama was going to be visiting the NYPD Precinct 1 which I pass everyday on my way to work.  I walked over to see how close I could get to the precinct, but of course I was stopped within two blocks by more police barriers and officers.  One of the officers told me that Obama would be driving back down the street where I had seen him before, so I walked back over to my building again to see if I could see the motorcade a second time.  Sure enough, about ten minutes later, the motorcade drove by again and this time I took a video *AND* this time, I actually saw President Obama!  He was smiling widely and waving directly at us when he drove by!  If you watch this video, after I pan over to one of the cars around the thirty second mark, it's the following car that Obama is.  Please ignore the shaky visual and my reaction of "OMG OMG".  Lame, yes, but it really was cool!  If I knew how, I would try to slow down the video but I have no clue how to currently.

While I was taking the video, a friend from work was taking more pictures and sent me this one.  If you look hard enough, you can make out a head and a hand waving in the backseat.

Whatever you think about politics, you have to admit it would be cool to see the President of the United States on your lunchbreak.  It was especially moving because of everything that had happened during the prior week which sparked a return of patriotism.  It was definitely something I won't forget.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Many Leatherbound Books & Rich Mahogany

Since I work in TriBeCa, I have become excited about The TriBeCa Film Festival the last two years. Not necessarily because of the films (I have a really short attention span and basically watch three movies a year), but because of the celebrity sighting potential (as I mentioned here, I am not a cool New Yorker when it comes to this). Last week, a friend of mine saw Natalie Portman, eight months preggo, at our local coffee shop and I walked by some paparazzi who had just taken pictures of Kate Hudson walking into the Greenwich Hotel, but alas, I had just missed her. The paparazzi were pretty nice though, when I asked them who they were taking pictures of, they said "you!" - which is basically my life's dream, to be followed around with cameras.

A friend got tickets to a Will Ferrell film in the festival on Wednesday night and kindly invited me. When I asked him where the movie was, he told me it was at an apartment on Chambers Street. Although skeptical, I did hope there was some way that this would be a secret viewing at Robert DeNiro's place. Of course, I was fooled, and we walked to BMCC instead of into some swanky apartment fit for MTV Cribs. We had tickets so we got to walk right by hundreds of people who were in the standby line and enter the red carpet area. There was only one person on the red carpet, but it happened to be Will Ferrell himself, so that was really cool to stalk see him.

We got into the theater pretty early and ended up having our seats moved three times, to the seats where *I* said we should have sat to begin with, but that's a long story. Will Ferrell and some other peeps (the director?  the producer?) walked out on stage to introduce the movie. Will mentioned that Chanel's Karl Lagerfield had designed the popsicles they were eating.

The film was an indie movie called "Everything Must Go" and is about Will Ferrell playing an alcoholic who relapses after his boss fires him and his wife leaves him. This is no "Talledega Nights" or "Stepbrothers" and it was interesting to see Mr. Ferrell in such a serious role. Luckily, there were still enough humorous parts included so that I didn't feel like Will had sold out on us. I thought it was really good and ended up being very moving. Should be in theaters soon so go see it.

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