Okay, so I have to admit, after being a child of pop culture, I honestly thought I may see tumbleweed blow across New York City streets during the Memorial Day Weekend. Movies and TV shows would have me believe that everyone leaves for the Hamptons and those without All White party invitations would be left to produce their own entertainment. Turns out, a lot of people stay and my friend Danielle, a former Brooklynite decided to join me. My brother Gylan is my Activities Director so while he hustled down to D.C, I asked him to leave behind suggestions for rooftop bars and Sunday Brunch exclusives and that he did.
We started Saturday with a brisk walk around Brooklyn Bridge Park and stumbled upon a water installation before two scoops of Brooklyn Ice Cream, my choice of course Vanilla Chocolate Chunk.
We hoped back on the A and prepared for the first thing on my Summer bucket list, a rooftop bar. Gylan recommended Spy Glass which has a breathtaking view of the Empire State Building. It was lit up for the holiday weekend and served as a perfect background for what would be the debut of my “Why the Hell Not?” big chop hair do on Social Media. Drinks were expensive, but delightful and they have to charge for the view somehow. The light Saturday breeze categorized the moment as the unofficial beginning of Summer.
A 1 pm reservation on Sunday led us to Char 4 in Brooklyn. We ordered our own meals and split pancakes with Rubar and Sour Cream on top after starting with Beignets. All delicious and a good base for standard Brunch liquids.
But why stop there? Two stops into Manhattan and we found ourselves at Hotel Chantelle or what I would like to now declare the “Gem of New York City.” Our original Brunch destination, we had to settle for the bar since reservations were booked, but we would not be disappointed. There lie in Black and White print, two adult beverages on the menu for $0.92. The Strawberry Lime Rickey and Easy Passage continued to make an appearance at our bar stools and even managed to sneak their way into a pitcher. Beyond the drinks, the atmosphere was my perfect ambiance with a Parisian theme, live music and friendly company. I can’t finish this post without mentioning all the random snap chats that Danielle and I sent to our Friends and family during those pocket saving drinks and I have but two words to share with you. “You’re Welcome.” Until next time.
In honor of Mother’s day today, it is only appropriate to pay homage to the incredible human being that I call my mom. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that all that personality and strong will she possess, indeed helped to shape my brother and I to be residents of New York City.
My mother or Heidi Sue as I affectionately sometimes refer to her as, has always been the fun mom. The one immediately incorporating the latest slang, sometimes in better form than myself, the fun mom you wanted at your field trips and the person you never forget to invite to a party.
For as long as I can remember, I have never shared so many laughs with one person. We find joy in many things, sometimes inappropriate, but most importantly we always find the joy. We depended a lot on each other as I grew up. My brother and I watched our mother get up early mornings to provide for us, teaching us life lessons you could never read from a book. That was lesson number one for us, you have to hustle. And when you get a free day, you do a spontaneous day to the beach. Lesson number two, get some fresh air and enjoy yourself.
When it came to school projects or Halloween costumes, my mother was always so creative. The homework that I turned in with the help from my mother was beyond expectations and always had a extra flair. I certainly didn’t mind sitting in a box painted like dice in first grade. Lesson number three, if you are going to do it, then do it big!
My mother worked for years in the nursing industry and had the utmost compassion for her patients. The older generations that she has taken care of adore her and she treats them with genuine sincerity and love. Lesson number four, be compassionate toward people.
The list of lessons could be a novel. I am not sure if I have ever told my mother, but although I am the daughter, I have watched her grow to become one of the most amazing people I know. I don’t know of too many who have overcome obstacles like her, smiled like her or exaggerated stories so much. She once told people that is was the dad from Beethoven running for President, when indeed it was the DA from Law & Order. My response is always “Oh MoM!”
So Thank You Mom! I know how to go for what I want in life, hustle for the trains and the personality and sometimes language to deal with other residents of New York. I am determined to enjoy every last bit of what this city has to offer and to do it with some flair. I strive to be thoughtful and go out of my way to show my love because of you doing the same for me. But most importantly I have compassion for people, especially those close to me, a lesson valuable in any city.
Happy Mother’s day and Happy Birthday (double gifting at its finest) to the woman I admire most, my best friend, the person who will always be there, my biggest supporter and the person who gave me the confidence to move to NYC. I love talking to you for hours about nothing, listening to your long story short, but never actually short stories and receiving emails with links for the best things to do in NYC. I wouldn’t be here with out you, literally (google birds and the bees if you are unsure of what I mean), and you are actually the best give that I’VE ever received. I am proud to be your daughter. Until next time.
Since I am no exception to the busy demands of New York and life in general, I promised myself a weekend of laying low, which I insisted would include healthy eating, working out and fresh air. On Sunday morning I took a 30 minute drive to the Brooklyn Bridge and strolled from end to end a couple of times and was accompanied by the voice of my mother before a playlist on Spotify. I didn’t have the bridge to myself, but I was still allowed a few moments to capture some flicks and snapchat photos to hopefully inspire a visit. Locks interlock on the bridge in different places with names and dates of people hopefully still deeply in love. The only thing I forgot to do on this Sunday was a put a lock on for myself. I should of wrote Lacey and New York, est. August 2014. Until Next Time.
I would be willing to make a Las Vegas bet that this will be one of many visits to the Brooklyn Museum. The museum always has an exhibit to bring out the inner artist and a policy of any size donation, which welcomes art enthusiasts on any budget.
During my previous visit to the Brooklyn staple, a painting by Kehinde Wiley caught my eye and I made it a mission to come back to his full exhibit. Only he could describe his work best with this quote: “Painting is the world we live in. Black People live in the world. My choice is to include them. This is my way of saying yes to us.” Some paintings and sculptures are based off of classic pieces, some original, but either way, gives the onlooker a new opportunity to see a plethora of art in different shades.
Once Gylan finalized his DVR recordings via his iPhone, he played his usual role of companion and photographer, a necessary position I am waiting to receive a bill for.
Femme Piquee Par Un Serpenet, pictured above, is Wiley’s take on the 1847 Sculpture by Auguste Clesinger of a woman dying from a poisonous snake. The original painting has a vulnerable and morbid tone, while Wiley’s exudes confidence and a hint of erotic undertones. The rest of the pieces in the exhibit make a beautiful connection between a classic ideal of art and a missed opportunity to include the faces that often don’t have the pleasure of being included.
The wall size paintings remind me of Versailles in Paris and the laughs with my brother remind me of the reasons I was excited to come to this city. I don’t know of my many sibling duos quite like us, something I will never miss an opportunity to boast. He may always need my charger and give me a look of innocence when the bill comes, but after 25 attemps he eventually gets a blog worthy shot and after nine months of showing me around this town, he is the ultimate definition of I Love NY. Until next time.
I have officially discovered a way to successfully keep my sanity while living in New York and that is to take breaks and visit home. There will never be enough time to see everyone I love, but the memories we create in my weekend visits will always serve as replenishment.
Just a weekend ago, I was in town for one of my best friend’s 30th birthday, but I first had to get in my Heidi fix. My brother escaped the city that never sleeps with me, but some how managed to sleep most of the drive home, something we will always bicker about and I will always report to my mother. We drove straight to her Holland, NY home and was greeted by a lunch of BBQ Chicken Breast, Tuna Salad and Deviled eggs. We were told before hand to dress warm for an adventure, but not given any more details. An hour later to our surprise we pulled up to The Crosspatch Ranch, and three horses by the name of Luna, Kisses and Kate were waiting for us and a Winter trail ride.
Although I was surprised by the activity itself, I wasn’t surprised by the gesture. She is the definition of thoughtful and I have fortunately inherited her instinct to create smiles and bring a little more warmth to this world.
We hit the trail with the scenery of Mountains as our guide and about 15 minutes in, Luna, the horse assigned to Gylan decided to lay on her side and fix a itch. All I remember is my 6’4″ brother going from upright to flat on a bed of snow. It was established there, that this was Luna’s show, not Gylan’s.
We crossed creeks, we shared laughs, but most importantly it was 120 minutes of just us, a nice reminder of memories from our childhood and time with the person that helped to shape the NYC residents that we are today.
Twenty four hours later, I was dressed in Blue to represent the official induction of my friend Beth into “The 30 Club.” My event planning extraordinaire of a friend, hosted a party at The Foundry on Elmwood Ave in Buffalo, NY. The great thing about Beth is she only surrounds herself with great Family and Friends so the event served as mini reunion and Miss Savannah, Beth’s niece joined me in a Kodak moment.
There will always be a reason, small or large to return home. I have gotten used to the drive and whether my brother is asleep in the passenger side or not, it always give me a opportunity to think of how I can become the star of a Broadway show, fall in love with a Wall Street guru or magically appear in a NYC media campaign entitled ” The Faces of the City.” My imagination runs wild during the six hour drive, but reaching my destination always feels good. I fill up on home cooked meals from my Mother, get campaign quotes on why I should move back from my Dad, invest in a single order of any type of Chicken Wings and most importantly fill up on motivation to conquer this city a borough at a time. The Distances are hard, but the dreams of the lights are worth it and 420 miles has become a easy way to practice my solos. Until next time.
Most of my time in New York City has not been quite as glamorous as one may hope since I have to show up to this thing called a job, but every once in awhile an opportunity arises and there is a reason to dress up and maybe even dress up two nights in a row. One of my dearest friends and former Brooklynite Danielle came in to town and we infused ourselves with scenery, brunch and overpriced drinks.
We had reasons to celebrate so before jumping on the A, so we popped a cork of blush champagne as we got ready for a trip downtown. The internet is a great source for discovering new places and a former NYC resident is a great source for revisiting old ones. We mixed the night up with both, first stopping at La Esquina for margaritas and more than satisfying authentic Mexican food. We began with Queso Funido with Queso Chihuahua, Pumpkin Seeds, Chile De Arbol and Plaintain Chips and I ended with a devine Pork Shoulder over Hominy. The restaurant also has a walk up Taqueria for tacos on the go, a mental note for the Summer.
We walked a freezing block to the “new” portion of the evening, Gold Bar on Broome St, which I had spotted on a blog about best bars in NYC. The decor does not disappoint and neither did the bartender who made our Ginger drinks. If you are indeed “the” bartender reading this, don’t worry, I will come back for you. And if you are the bouncer of the bar, I may come back for you too, thought still pending.
Saturday turned out to be a day of more calories and alcohol, which worked in our favor. My first ride on the G train brought us to SoCo in Brooklyn for brunch. A Buffalo born hostess sat us for unlimited mimosas and the decision of our main entree turned out to be one of the best of 2015 so far. The Red Velvet waffles were full of dense bites and the chicken complimented the meal well since the restaurant housed Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, a Buffalo native favorite.
More scenery in Brooklyn and a random wave into a barbershop spoke for the rest of our afternoon. We made a pit stop in Queens for rest before a night full of Latin music in Times square and my first food cart Chicken plate at four am in the morning, a risk I was willing to take only with Danielle.
I usually don’t adventure out past a certain time, mostly due to the train going local after ten. The fun just isn’t worth the pain of those additional stops. But as a newbie to this city, I take visits from my friends very seriously, especially this one. Danielle studied at the French Culinary Institute and is my go to girl for all things New York. You can have a list full of events and reservations for days, but life is so much sweeter when you have your best accessory in town. Until next time.
Once a year the beer stars align and the temperature drops and it is once again time for Magic Hat Brewing to celebrate their version of Mardi Gras in Burlington, VT. My sophomore year at the event prepared me for the festivities and the cold and as the grapefruit IPA was flowing, Nikki, my unofficially official travel buddy and I sought after the best of what Burlington had to offer.
There was a one “must do” on my Burlington list. Scratch that two things, however, the ice cream empire closed an hour before the internet told me it did, so back to one thing. A visit to the Artifactory, the quirky name for the Magic Hat Brewery, hosts a Saturday morning breakfast and VIP tour. The “Kegs and Eggs” event is much needed after a night of anticipated drinking. I indulged in a Coffee IPA, but more importantly had a breakfast sandwich with a hash brown on it and it may have taken about five minutes for me to recover as I pondered why this was the first time I was having this cuisine sensation. Beyond the recovery food, the warehouse was full of cases, fermentation tanks fulls of beer and home to a Warehouse Manager with a fantastic head of hair.
Due to a previous engagement with shots, Nikki and I needed a little midday nap, but had the energy to discover ice pockets and mountain scenery on a frozen Lake Champlain before we headed in town for a milder round two.
Leaving the city limits is always a treat and to be able to couple beer and Burlington with friends and scenery is beyond a treat. My blog has a title saluting the city I moved to, but it will always stand for something more. No matter the coordinates, I plan on tackling each city with friends I love, an aptitude for adventure and for weekends like these, with plenty of Advil. Until next time.
I know the title may suggest a smorgasbord of NYC eats in one sitting, but the truth is over the last month I have dined at a variety of places, slowly checking off areas of the city with overwhelming food appeal.
My first stop to Amy Ruth’s, a soul food kitchen in Harlem, was an ideal choice for Sunday brunch, a suggestion from a friend and Harlem resident. Food choices as a child are picky and unappreciative, but as an adult you learn to value the house specials, which made ordering simple. Chicken and waffles with the Kool-Aid of the day for me. Grape, being the flavor of the day, was too sweet for me, but I enjoyed the nostalgia and drank water in between. The main entree and side of corn bread made for a fulfilling Sunday and enough sustainable energy for a shopping trip to Target.
I will always have a love hate relationship with Asian cuisine. A brief food poisoning has left a scar, but I hate to be a person who holds grudges. My brother and I chose a restaurant along a row in Chinatown and I was pleased to indulge in some authentic dumplings, General Tso’s chicken and chicken with broccoli and noodles. All portions, large enough to share, good enough to win my appetite back and a bill quite easy to split.
I may have sold myself short by not visiting Little Italy when I first arrived in the Summer. Sidewalk seating and gelato stands sound absolutely delightful right now. After walking past several restaurants that my brother claimed to be “the one” we were looking for, we finally found our destination. My pasta arrived before my Chicken Parmigiana with sides of potatoes and broccoli, something new to me, but the glass of Cabernet, a part of the happy hour special was very familiar.
As much as I would like to be content with baked chicken and a vegetable everyday for summer body purposes, the truth is, if I am going to live in this city, I will have to eat it’s food and I don’t mind sharing my calorie intake with the masses. It will be the restaurants tucked around the corner and eateries just pass the train station that will without a doubt create some of the best laughs and memories during my NY residency, something I’m more than willing to eat for. Until next time.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” – Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland)
An appropriate quote for a appropriate adventure. I never really know where my blog will lead me, trying to hinder on the romaticism of spontaneity. My brother and I decided on Mexican for a Sunday meal at Selena Rosa Mexicana, a delightful treat located on the Upper East side, but it was our idea after that made the day a sweet treat. Gylan had mentioned Alice’s tea cup before and since we were in the neighborhood, a brief nine blocks away, the only response could be “Why Not?”
No wait necessary, the small restaurant has limited seating, but an endless imagination. The walls are covered in murals, paintings and font reflective of the 1865 novel turned film. The 81st street location is one of three Alice’s Tea Cups and although the menu includes tea and scones for everyone’s delight, there is also a variety of sandwiches to fill one’s appetite.
We chose a lighter selection of a small pot of Cholestea, green tea with cinnamon, lemon and ginseng and two mixed berry scones.
Alice’s Tea Cup is quite charming and tea by definition makes an outing a tad bit classier. We tend to chose Sundays as our day for our adventures, because it is the closest thing we have to the Sunday dinners we committed ourselves to with homemade meals from our mother as children. And although we are missing the heart of the three amigos, a scone and some tea on a Sunday still makes for priceless moments on the day that New York City was made for. Until next time.
I may have seen a few celebrities on the streets of New York City since my move here, but the best place to run into stars of all generes and ample selfie opportunities is only one place, Madam Tussauds. My brother and I snagged a deal on Groupon and claimed admission tickets for about $12 less than regular admission of $37. I had some reservations about the wax museum because I wasn’t quite sure how much excitement could be spread amongst five floors, but Madame Tussauds created some fun with props, pictures and very realistic looking wax figurines. I was literally waiting for one of the figures to yell “Boo!” and have a heart attack ensue immediately.
The elevator opens up to a celebrity party where some very famous guests were mingling including Jennifer Lopez, Denzel Washington, Kim Kardashian, George Clooney and Johnny Depp.
Creepy, I know! The other parts of the museum included scenery of big hit movies, music and political figures and even some action hero fun.
We took advantage of some photo opps and I finally got my shot in Hollywood and to make a long overdue Presidential address.
Madame Tussauds is playground for all and something out of the ordinary to break up this cold brick winter. The regular admission price may be on the slightly steep side for what the museum has to offer, but there were a few photos I was able to trick my parents with. It is a playground for all ages and a web for tourists, which if I am learning the way this city works and how to be a New Yorker, it is too cliche to be anywhere where everyone wants to be. Until next time.