Monday, May 28, 2012

Hot Child in the City

Happy Memorial Day, folks!

Hanging out during NYC's Fleet Week last week (pic via Kater)
Now that summer has (un)officially begun, I wanted to share some of my favorite summer-related posts from the archives of "a hell LOVE a town." I hope you will put some of these on your summer to-do lists. I have a pretty packed summer weekend-wise, but I still hope to have a few weekends where I can enjoy all the wonderful things that summer brings to New York and I should have plenty of time after work this season as well. I also have a few items on my 28 Things list that *have* to be done in the summer due to the weather or to when things are open. Stay tuned for those.

In the meantime, remember when I wrote about...
  • How I love biergartens? I've already been to the Standard Biergarten twice this year (although once was in January) and I tried to go a third time but it was closed for a Fleet Week event. 

  • How much fun baseball games are? I've only been to one so far this year, but I *did* get to meet Mr. Met in the Spring, so that should count for something:
  • How amazing Central Park is? CP continues to blow my mind and it's making it very hard for me to move too far downtown because I really want to stay best friends with it. Also, this was my first post on "a hell LOVE a town" so please read and be nostalgic with me.
Hope to see you all this summer!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In Case You Missed It: Spring

Warm-weather Erin is the best Erin, fo' sho'. Spending time outside puts me in an amazing mood. I love eating at restaurants out on the porches/sidewalks, drinking on rooftops, eating outside on the pier at lunch, laying out in the park, and walking home the three miles from Tribeca to Hell's Kitchen.

I can't wait for the beautiful days to be the majority of the time rather than sporadic days here or there.  But until that happens, which I hear is coming soon, here are some Instagram'ed pics I've taken of warm-weather things I've been pumped about.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Poem Lovely as a Tree

Working hard on my 28
I cannot - will not - finish late
So for my second task
My friend Brad I did ask
Great ideas he did give
For the New York life I want to live

In an ideal world, this entire entry would be written in verse, but I am sorry to tell you that it is not an ideal world and I am no Emily Dickinson, although when I was I was nine, I sure wanted to be. I probably have mentioned this before because I think it's hilarious, but I spent a good part of my childhood wearing a black turtleneck with a musical note pin and a red French beret. I spent hours writing poems in my Lisa Frank notebook and then erasing them and rewriting them in nicer handwriting (like with open circles as the dots to my i's rather than plain old regular dots). I even won a contest in primary school when I wrote a poem about how "Reading is Fun (for Everyone)". Basically, I was a really nerdy cool kid.

You can't make this up.

# 2 Go to a Poetry Slam

I was happy to receive Brad's suggestions for my 28 Things list, and the one I was most excited about was to go to a poetry slam. This event is something that I probably would not have thought to do on a normal night but really, because of my childhood dreams, made a lot of sense for me to try out.

So on Friday, Brad and I met in the East Village around 8:30 and walked to Nuyorican Poets Cafe on East 3rd Street between Avenues B and C. This venue held the first poetry slam in NYC 40 years ago and is still going strong. The event didn't start until around 10 but we needed to get there early to ensure we would get in and get seats. There was a separate line for reserved tickets but from what I saw online, it looked like those tickets were $20 and ours were only $10. We got in, got seats in the back, and were ready to go.

What *is* a poetry slam, you ask? I wasn't too sure of it myself, I thought it might be similar to a rap battle. The rap battles in my mind are from 8 Mile where people come up with raps on the spot to trash-talk others in the competition and then they battle back and forth and talk about each other's moms. Turns out it is a competition of prepared poems by a bunch of different poets instead.

The night started out in a similar manner as a stand-up comedy show. Host/SlamMistress Mahogony Browne came out and asked everyone where they were from and got us all to stand up and dance so that we would have enough energy for the poets to feed off of. She also went over how important it was to support the poets and talked about the "Ooo"s and "Ahh"s and "Wowwww"s we could say to show them how much we were enjoying their performance.

Poet Kendrea Mekkah who also runs this website performed five of her own poems as a showcase before the slam started. Then two "house poets" each performed a poem as a barometer to show what kind of performances deserved good ratings. There were six or seven randomly chosen judges scattered throughout the audience who had to rate every poem on a scale of 1 - 10 and then the top and bottom scores were dropped. Then, the slam began, with six poets each performing three times, with a woman whose name I never caught winning and making it on to Nuyorican's national slam team. I feel bad that I don't know her name, but she did say this verse that I really liked:

"Women are silly and emotional. If you find a woman who is serious and emotionless, she is insane."

Each of the poets did an awesome job. To be able to write the poems, memorize them, and perform them with the passion they all had was really impressive. The topics they chose for the most part were a lot deeper than anything I've had to suffer through, thankfully/knock on wood, and topics which I don't wish to venture into on this blog. But, suffice it to say, I got chills during some, teared up a little (surprise surprise) during some, and laughed during some - when appropriate, of course. 

I only wish I had worn my beret.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

A New York Minute

Sometimes the greatest things about living in this city are just little moments that happen out of nowhere. On Monday night, I was traveling home to my apartment after a nice dinner and many drinks with a friend when I heard a familiar song coming from inside a bar near my apartment. It was a slowed-down version of "Brilliant Disguise" by Bruce Springsteen and I stopped in my tracks, hesitated for a second, then walked right into the bar and sat down. "I love Bruce," I explained to the bartender. He replied, "Well no one should sit at the bar without a drink" and poured me a glass of wine, then poured himself one and said "and no one should have to drink alone." The guitarist heard that I loved Bruce and played a few more of his songs for me, each of which I sang along to happily. He eventually moved on to some Beatles and Gordon Lightfoot and I was eventually brought a plate of Russian food - lots of pickles and something that looked like chicken, carrots, and chicken broth in a Jello mold. I opened my bag of McDonald's fries that I had bought myself as a nightcap (classy, I'm aware) and shared them with the guys at the bar. We talked and sang and they gave me some really good (solicited) life advice and I went on my way.

It's little New York moments like this that make me feel like I belong here.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Big Reveal. 28 Things. And a Rickshaw.

Just over three years ago in a P.F. Changs in Delaware with my frousin Christie and her frousin Elizabeth, an idea was hatched.  I had just turned 24 and was reaching a turning point in my life.  I was getting over my first breakup, attempting to find a job in New York City, and trying to figure out how I would move up to the area.  Because I'm never one to do just one thing at once, I decided I would also start a project where I would come up with a list of "25 Things To Do Before I Turn 25," which I've alluded to a few times on this blog.  

The first thing I put on the list was "Learn how to use chopsticks" because of where I was, restaurantwise.  The second thing was "Get a job in NYC and MOVE" because of where I was, statewise.  (No offense, it just wasn't where *I* dreamed of being!)

I can't tell you that I accomplished every single thing on my initial list and I can't tell you that I didn't edit it along the way, but I CAN tell you that this list helped define the new Erin, the New York City Erin who you all know (and hopefully love) today.  There have been attempts at a 26 and 27 list and I *have* done a lot of stuff on each, but they somehow dissolved more along the way.

Just to jog your memory, here are a few things that I put on my lists that I have written about here:
As you know from my last post, I turned 27 last week.  I've once again found myself at a crossroads in many areas of my life.  I'm going to be moving to a new place in August, I'm working on a book, I'm helping organize a huge charity event, and in general trying to figure out a lot about my life right now.  So I decided it was a good time to start the list again and be super-serious about completing it.  I also wanted to do it with a twist.

I'm asking some awesome people in my life to contribute 3-5 ideas each of things I can do in NYC before I turn 28.  I wanted them to be in NYC so that I could write about here and so that I can continue on my journey of being the ultimate tourist.  I asked for a few ideas from each person because I was sure there would be some duplicates and some things that I have already done.  I have been so excited to read everyone's suggestions!  Some of these things I've wanted to do myself, some are incredibly creative, some are things I'm nervous about.

#1 Ride a Rickshaw

So this Saturday, after our delicious brunch at Norma's with Aubrey, my friend Allie Bear (only I can call her that) and I decided to knock something off my list to kick off the project.  My frousin Mike had some good suggestions, including me trying to pull off a Barney Stinson moment from How I Met Your Mother and to run the perimeter of Central Park, but the one I picked was to ride in a rickshaw, the carriage-y things in the park that you can ride in behind a person on a bicycle.  

Allie and I started off around 72nd and Fifth Avenue.  We only had about $8 between us and we knew it would be a lot more so we went and talked to one of the rickshaw operators.  His name was Sam and he was wearing an "Irish" t-shirt so I figured we would bond instantly.  He showed me the list prices and then said he would give us the 45-minute ride for only $35 a person, a $5 discount.  So we made a deal that Allie and I would run to the ATM and come back and if he was still here then he was our guy, but of course, if someone else came along before us, he could take them instead. 

It took us about a thousand years to find an ATM even though there is probably one per person in this city, so when we returned, Sam was just loading a mother + child in his rickshaw and pretended he didn't even see us.  So we had to barter with the next guy, whose name I never caught, so let's call him Larry.  Larry wanted us to pay about $50 each and we got him down to $40 to just take us across the park and go back to Columbus Circle so we could be near my apartment.  He ended up liking us so much (his words, not mine) that once we got to Columbus Circle, he rode around the whole loop again just so we could talk more.

The rickshaw was a pretty cool experience.  I go to Central Park all the time but it was nice to do it while sitting down and Larry pointed out a few touristy things along the way, like the Bethesda Fountain, Strawberry Field, where certain movies were filmed, and we also got to know him a little better.  I tried to ask him questions about his favorite things about New York, but he sadly didn't seem as passionate about this city as I am.  Even when we pried more and said, "Well, what would do you do when you aren't working if you could do anything??" his answer was "Watch tv on my couch!"  That will not be on my official list.

And here is an awkward video of us in the rickshaw, if things like that interest you:


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Older Than I've Ever Been

Sorry for my absence, folks.  I spent a lot of time at the end of April trying to get over the fact that I was turning 27 celebrating my 27th birthday.  My birthWEEK was fabulous and included many more festivities than I deserve but I appreciated it all greatly.  I have the best friends you could ever imagine.

A ridiculously freezing cold Yankee game on Friday night where I wore my extra cardigan as legwarmers/socks:

An amazing afternoon at Boat Basin with the most fabulous friends of all time, including one who SURPRISED me and came up from DC for the weekend and two who kept it a secret from me for a whole week:

An incredible brunch at Recipe where we were so hungry and waited so long that we ordered macaroni and cheese and the jam plate as an appetizer before continuing to indulge in tons of french toast, grilled cheese, omelets, and BLTs:

A delightful dinner at Otto with some of the ladies ("I'm the ladies, you're the ladies, she's the ladies - we are the ladies!" - Girls on HBO), pizza, pasta, and the most excellent gelato of all time:

A scrumptious brunch at Norma's at Le Parker Meridian where I got to eat THIS Crunchy French Toast which probably has a pound of sugar in it:

I've also been spending a lot of time working on my newest project which I am so excited about!  Details to be revealed very soon so stay tuned!

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