West Side Walk

Finally! Finally, we have more than one nice day here in Manhattan. Miraculously, these days are all falling consecutively on the weekend! Ever since October, sunny/warm days have been very sporadic. I think my mind, body, and soul has a hard time adjusting to this New York weather.

Up until now, the coldest place I’ve ever lived was Nashville, (which I personally think has the best of all four seasons). We had a really mild winter here, or at least that’s what everyone keeps telling me. Apparently, I got off easy for my first winter in NY. However ‘easy’ it has been, it has not gone away! I was wearing scarves, hats, and a coat last week. It’s just not right.

So, when Mr. Golden Sunshine decided to make an appearance this weekend, it was impossible to stay in and actually finish that dang ol’ seating chart I keep putting off. Plus, Fiance and Belle were both excitedly waiting for me to get home from work so they could go for a walk. They may not have to work, but I guess they are starting feel a little stir crazy after 6 months of winter.

Fiance had made big plans to take one of our walking tours.

A week after moving here, I found a book called 24 Great Walks in New York. I bought it immediately knowing that this would be a fun and inexpensive way to get to know our new home. We started using the book right away (which turned out to be a perfect combination of popular destinations and lesser-known interesting spots). We were getting a taste of cultural neighborhoods, historical homes, and famous hotspots all while learning how to get around Manhattan. We did about 5 of these walks before Fiance took a 3 month job in Nashville. Walks over. By the time he got back, the weather was cold, and I was already too comfortable with my life here to be excited about taking a walking tour.

Fast forward to sunny today, and we are both more than happy to talk a nice long walk.. Yup, sunshine aaannnddd double fisting coffee definitely makes you want to keep moving. Did I mention it’s half price frappacino week at Starbuck’s from 3-5pm?

We took our little dog with us and started our walk at Central Park.

We exited the park on the West Side and started our walk at Columbus Circle. From here, we walked north to the Lincoln Center. The Lincoln Center is America’s premier theatrical complex and is home to the New York City Ballet, City Opera, Philharmonic Symphony, and the American Ballet Theatre. It is so big and so beautiful. We took a break at the fountain in the middle of the complex and people watched for a little while.

We took a little stroll even further into the Lincoln Center and discovered that it also houses a couple more theaters were Broadway and off-broadway shows are held. There is a really nice infinity pool, sculpture, and, and a really odd elevated park area all meshed together in this small outdoor area. Behind the above ground park we could see the famous school of the arts, Juilliard, and some of their students playing and rehearsing in the grass.

The next stop on our tour was ABC studios, which happens to be located in a really old castle. True Story.

After walking around the long block of ABC studio’s building, we strolled over to Hotel des Artists which was the former home of several famous artists (Norman Rockwell, Charlie Chaplin, and Howard Chandler Christy …just to name a few). We read a few interesting facts about the artwork found inside the hotel’s cafe before continuing on down Columbus Avenue.

The Pythian Apartments were next, its history must have been boring  because all I remember is that it has lots of Egyptian symbols (lions and pharaohs) adorning the front of the building, and that the song “Rock Around the Clock” was written here.

There were a few more statues, parks, and historical buildings for the next half hour, until we ended our walk at The Ansonia. This apartment building opened in 1904, and offered the best amenities the West Side had to offer… telephone service, artificial refrigieration, maid service 3 times a day, and of course…live seals in the lobby fountain.

Three hours and three miles later, we were done, and Belle couldn’t walk one inch further. We took the bus home, made (re-heated) soup, and here we are. I hope everyone has a great sunny weekend and takes the time to enjoy it!

Cheers!

Post by the Pup

Belle again! Mom has visitors this week, and is just in over her head with having fun while working and juggling wedding plans, so once again, it’s Belle to the rescue. I really don’t know what my Mom would do without me. For example, how would she waste all her free time without having me around? Lord knows she spends every spare moment taking the most ridiculous/embarrassing pictures of me.

She snapped this one when I accidently fell asleep in the middle of playing “fetch”. It’s not my fault she always takes ten minutes to throw the tennis ball! Mom, is very easily distracted by the TV.

This one was taken when she was having a great time acting a fool, and I was forced to cover my ears. To think, they yell at ME for barking too loud!

Here’s one she took to send to Dad when he was out of town. I don’t get it…she is smiling like she is sooo happy. I wanted to let Dad know how much I missed him, hence the sad face.

I’ve blacked this one out of my memory completely.

As you can see, Mom is pretty camera happy when I’m around. So next time she says she’s too busy and overwhelmed, please remind her to stop taking pictures of me.

However, it turns out that my picture taking practice has turned out to be useful in my doggy life.

A few days ago my Mom and Dad took me to the big green park (the only place that seems to have grass in this city). I LOVE going to the park! I get to run around, chase birds and squirrels, play fetch for hours with all the sticks I could ever imagine, and no one cares if I potty in this grass.

On this recent trip though, I was stopped….by the PUPARAZZI!

I was just carelessly strolling along, no cute outfit, and my fur wasn’t even fixed, when out of the clear blue this older woman stops my parents and asks permission to take pictures of me.

Mom and Dad looked a little confused, but agreed that it was fine for this complete stranger to take pictures of me for her “compilation” she was trying to get published.

No one asked my opinion. I was not really in the mood for a random photo session at the park. Who am I? Tinkerbell Hilton?! I let everyone know that I was not in the mood by refusing to stand still. I just walked quickly around everyone and made the crazy woman chase me around with a her giant camera and talk baby talk to me while telling me how cute I am.

When she was done she took down Mom’s email and promised to send her the edited versions.

As we walked away I could here Mom and Dad talking about the “crazy” woman, and laughing about her  “compilation”. They even had the nerve to say these things in front of me! Their child who they just allowed to be photographed!! Who knows what website I’ll end up on!!!

….The “crazy” lady emailed Mom the pictures today…

Mom pulled these up, began laughing hysterically, and then called Dad over to look at my “glamour shots”.

Dad, also laughing, wondered how her final project would turn out.

Obviously, I was extremely nervous to see these pictures. They must be pretty horrible.

Wrong. I look gorgeous and glamorous! Who is that famous dog? Me!? Couldn’t be! No wonder that woman with the painted eyebrows and eyeshadow up to her forehead wanted to snap pictures of me. I was born to model. Just look at those cheekbones.

I think I’ve finally found my calling in life. So, for those who are interested, you can book me through this blog. Just leave a comment. I take cash, visa, begin’ strips, and squeaky balls as payment, and I charge by the hour.

(Also, I need a new agent. My momager isn’t cutting it.)

No autographs please!

Woof!

Check out the Square

Union Square is one of the more interesting parks and subway stops in Manhattan. Throughout it’s very long history (it was brought into existence in 1815 ) it has been a gathering place for radicals, protesteors,and demonstrators. Numerous political demonstrations have taken place here over the last almost 200 years, and the Occupy Wall Street protestors are currently occupying the square.

Union Square also holds a “green market” 4 days a week. This market offers tons of fresh produce, and other organic or handmade goodies. And, around Christmas they hold a holiday market where all kinds of handmade goodies are sold…it’s like Etsy taken to the streets. It’s fun to look around at all of the locally grown products, but in my cheap opinion, most of it is over-priced and out of my spending range.

I love getting off at Union Square and taking in all of the fun sights. I can always catch a chess game, a hippy singing, and a protestor speaking about something they’re against…or for.

Nordstrom Rack, Forever 21, Dogmatic, Whole Foods, Max Brenner, and the Strand are all right around Union Square so I pretty much always have a good reason to be in the area.

A chalk artist
Another chalk artist?

A perfect spot to stop and sing a song...if only there weren't 15 other guitarists singing their own songs all around him
A psychic, in case you need your cards read before your shopping spree

One of the local stands at the "green market"

Next time you’re in Manhattan, take a break to stroll through Union Square and smell the hippies, play a round of chess, or just enjoy the view. It’s certainly one of the more unique parks to stroll through.

Cheers!

No Makeup Day

Makeup free day, for both of us

If you read my No Mascara post, you may be under the impression that a “no makeup” would be another way of phrasing the worst day ever. You would be wrong though…a “no makeup” day is one of my favorite days!

choose to have no makeup days on my nothing-to-do-but-stay-home-and-relax-and-cuddle-days. This is also known as “pajama day”, “movie day”, “lazy sunday”, etc. It is so rare that I get a day off with nothing to do, so I planned on taking full advantage of one this Sunday.

I told Fiance of my plans ahead of time so he was fully prepared to do nothing, except hangout with me, of course. I stayed up extra late Saturday night, so I was fully prepared to sleep in as late as possible. I even turned down an offer to eat vegan hot dogs with Zoey because that would require real pants and shoes. Even with all this planning my day wasn’t totally non-productive.

I love to relax and watch TV all day, but it is not easy to do. After I woke up…at noon… I remembered all the things I needed to do that I now had the time to do (Stupid guilt) (i.e. laundry, clean house, clean out closet, wedding planning). Then both Zoey and Fiance informed that it was one of the most beautiful days out in a long time and I should not be wasting it inside.

Fiance agreed to do the laundry, while I get some other things, and as soon as we were finished we’d walk to the park, and I could just go in my pajamas: problem solved.

Doing laundry in the city is a huge pain. It entails carrying all your laundry and detergent to the laundry mat, paying with quarters, waiting forever, and not having any room to hang the clothes you cannot dry. Faince solved the last problem by hanging a retractable clothes line in our hallway/kitchen.

It looks a lot like a fish

He is a genius, and this little tool has been super useful. Except today, it fell along with all of the wet clean laundry. It took an hour to drill back into the wall (after 6 other holes were drilled) because our walls are made of a combination of very old plaster, lead paint, wall paper, and several more layers of paint. The walls basically crack and turn to dust when you attempt to drill or nail into them.

After getting this finished we still ended up hanging our clothes all over the house because we were lazy and waited far too long to do laundry in the first place.

So our park trip was a little late in the day, but we made it, and it was BEAUTIFUL! My favorite part about living on the Upper East Side is being so close to the Central Park.

It is finally nice enough to not wear my winter coat, and  no one cared that I was walking around in mostly pajamas (I decided to wear yoga pants instead of boxer shorts…it’s a little too chilly for that).

 

Belle was SOOOO happy to be outside, playing fetch, and chasing the birds and squirrels. We had a great “no makeup day”.

This was our attempt at a family picture, but Belle couldn't stop kissing her daddy

Now it’s time to put the computer away, and watch several episodes of Game of Thrones, and eat some Chocolate Dreams because that’s the proper way to finish a “no makeup” day.

Cheers!

Tourist vs New Yorker

Police Dog... Working hard or hardly working? eh pooch?

Everyone knows NYC is full of tourists, every New Yorker gets annoyed by them, and every tourist gets the stink eye from a New Yorker at least once during their visit. That’s just common knowledge. I have been a part of both parties. In fact, I often switch from tourist to New Yorker a couple times a day.

I am always in a hurry; whether it’s walking to work, trying to make it to a hair appointment, meet someone for dinner, go to the gym, or get my caffeine boosts. I am somehow always 5 minutes behind, and always have somewhere else to be. It is in these situations that I become so very annoyed with ALL the tourists EVERYWHERE. I mean really…could you and your family of six spread out a little a more on the sidewalk? And, please take your time, make sure you get a picture of each storefront window, street sign, and manhole cover.

On the flip side, I really enjoy doing all the touristy things New York has to offer. Who knows how long I’ll live in the city?! I don’t, and I don’t want to waste a second of the time I have here. There is just so much to see, do, and eat!

This is one reason why I love having visitors. Besides getting to spend time in very close quarters with some of our favorite people, we also get to take them sight seeing, and experience New York as a tourist ourselves.

Over the weekend we went to the 9/11 Memorial with our family. This is an 8 acre area where the twin towers originally stood that has been dedicated as a park and memorial. The two big craters left from the original towers have been transformed into waterfalls and reflecting pools. The park is planned to have over 400 trees that will create a natural green roof over the plaza. It is one of the most eco-friendly parks ever created with it’s own irrigation system to conserve water and energy, and a new system for trees to grown and flourish in an urban pavement filled area. Sounds cool right?

Not yet.

The park is no where near finished, but guests are still allowed to visit. Our visit started out with a very long line where we had to remove all bags, coats, and shoes, put it all in trays, go through metal detectors, and NOT get on a plane by the end of it.

When we entered the plaza (the memorial) it looked pretty depressing. There are hardly any trees planted yet, and the ones that are planted are babies. It’s a lot of gray, a lot of construction, and a lot of concrete.

These are ALL of the trees planted so far

The waterfalls and reflection pools are nice, and they are surrounded with the names of all the people who lost their lives on 9/11, so it’s appropriately sad, but other than that, there is nothing to look at. I am sure the finished project will look great, but I suggest waiting until then to visit.

(You can actually see the memorial from a building across the street. They have nice covered walkway a few stories high where you can look into the memorial….no lines, no hassle, just a nice view!)

One of the new twin towers being built. When it's finished it will be the tallest building in the USA.

You can see the new towers that are a work in progress from several spots in lower Manhattan. We spotted them when we stopped at Battery Park to get a view of the Statue of Liberty. We also spotted hippies with hula hoops, a creepy man dressed like fireman statue taking pictures with kids for money, and lots of fake purses.

See that little speck behind me, that's Lady Liberty.
This sculpture, which stands for peace, was left standing in the plaza between the twin towers when they fell. It's been moved to Battery Park as memorial and a representation of peace and hope. Oh, and that's one of the twin towers in the background!
I wonder if the hippies ever get bothered by tourists?

By nightfall I was ready to be a New Yorker again and rush home for dinner, because once again…I was running late.

Speaking of…am I supposed to be somewhere right now?

Cheers!

NYC’s Above the Ground Park

Tiny Statue on The High Line

I forgot to mention in my last couple blogs that we have had visitors. First, two friends from Disney came to visit for 36 hours, halfway through their stay my future in-laws and two of their friends from Florida flew in, and one day later Fiance’s cousin from Seattle joined us. We have been super busy going from restaurant, to tourist trap, to museum, to Broadway show, to cute shops, and more. Which means I have LOTS of NYC blogs to write!

Unfortunately for me, I missed out on some of the fun because I am a working girl 6 days of the week, but you can read about anything I missed on Zoey’s blog.

I only work a half-day on Saturdays, and this Saturday was super sunny and warm (which has been rare for us in the last 6 months). I was soooo excited to meet up with everyone that I almost ran from my job on the Upper East Side to lower Manhattan’s meatpacking district. I opted for the bus instead, but I was wriggling in my seat with excitement the entire way. Or maybe that was just jitters after my 2 shots of espresso? Either way, I was feeling pretty happy.

We met on The High Line. The High Line is a a park built about 4 stories high on historic railroad tracks. These tracks were going to be demolished, but locals decided to start a “friends of the high line” group to save the historic railway, raised money, and transformed it into an elevated park. While walking around the high line, you can very easily spot the skeletons left behind from the railroad tracks. It makes for a very interesting day in the park.

Now, do not get me wrong, I LOVE this idea. I think it is super clever, economical, environmentally friendly, and fun. However, I do not love the high line.

It is fun to check out and take visitors to see because it is so unique. I do not actually find it much fun though. Every time we’ve been it has been super crowded, and not very exciting. I always feel like I am waiting in line for a ride that I never get to…we just walk in single file line for most of the park and then it’s over.

To be fair, we always seem to go on a weekend with sunny weather. So, maybe it’s much more enjoyable on a slower day.

Even with the crowds, we still had a great time basking in the sunlight and visiting with each other. There were food carts everywhere and Fiance bought me a cucumber lime popsicle sprinkled with chili seasoning and it was the BEST popsicle I have ever had!!!!!! I will go back to the high line again just to get this popsicle.

There were also some cool artsy birdhouses, musicians, arts and crafts, and even a wedding!

I still prefer Central Park, or any park on the ground, but if you haven’t seen an elevated park, The High Line is worth a visit. But, if you are going to visit NYC, you should really call us!

See you soon!

Hil

P.S. I recently heard that they are now trying to build a “low line” in an old abandoned subway station! Sounds pretty cool to me.