How to Ride the Subway in High Heels

42nd St-Bryant Park

As I teetered towards my subway stop, I debated my approach to my destination. Today is a “do it in heels” day after my flats got soaked in the rain yesterday.

I decide the C train is best, living at the end of the line has it’s advantages. It sits in the station empty until departure time and you’re guaranteed a seat, sitting is optimal when navigating the city in heels. It’s a longer ride, as it’s a local train and stops at every station, but I will sacrifice time in exchange for knowing I’ll have a seated ride.

When I get to the platform, the C is noticeably absent… but she generally doesn’t stay gone for long. I walk down the subway platform to where the front of the train will arrive, I know that all of my options for the rest of the trip are best served if I stay to the front of the train, and it’s more efficient to walk it while I’m waiting than to do it later. This will shave minutes off of your commute time, valuable minutes that you’re planning to squander on the local train.

An A, the express train arrives but I pass on her shorter but crowded standing room only ride in favor of the C’s longer seated one. She leaves me at the station.

I wait, and my desired C train stays away.

Another A arrives, so I take it. I waited long enough. I say a silent city prayer that someone near me gets up at the next stop so I can sit. I ponder my transfer options. To get to Bryant Park, I have several options…

One, screw the whole transfer nonsense and walk from 42nd and 8th Ave. This is my preferred option generally, I need the exercise but it’s not good for high heeled shoes or rainy days.

Two, get off at 42nd St and take the 7 train one stop. Good for rainy days, but bad for high heels. It’s nearly a block long walk underground and there’s a precarious steep ramp involved that I’m terrified I’m just going to topple over on one day.

Three, transfer to the B or D. This could be done one of three places, 145th St is no good because the transfer involves stairs. 125th is iffy because the train is likely to still be full. Lots of people get off starting at 59th St, it’s my best bet for a seat.

I choose option three… I get off at 59th St, and a minute later a B arrives across the platform. I get a seat, I go my two stops, and then I’m at 42nd St-Bryant Park. I note when I get off the train which car and door is nearest to the stairway so I can make for swifter exits in the future. Near the front, but towards the back of the second car… and this will bring me to corner of 40th St and 6th.

I note that the subway exit from the B and D is marginally closer than the nearest one off the 7 to the office. It only takes two street crossings to get to my office, where as the end exit off the 7 takes four.

These are all the little things you think about on the way to work at a new location, when you want to conserve every step. Soon, it will all become routine. I won’t even think about it.

Operation Move Complete!

Well, almost.  I still have to finish cleaning the apartment and pack up the cleaning supplies, but as of today… all of the furniture is out of my old apartment and into the new!

Part one of my move, was well documented by the Blank Canvas Tour and because apparently they just seemed to know that today was the day I’d be gloating about my move being complete, they uploaded the video of my moving day (in which I make an appearance).  Check it out:

Don’t forget to head over to their blog to watch the third day of their trip in NYC, too!

Part two of my move occurred today thanks to Greenbaum Expert Moving. I asked the Twitterverse to send me divine intervention to find a moving company and I ended up getting suggested these guys.  I was impressed right out the gate…. The time  it took between when I hit the submit button on their quote from on their website last Friday to when I got a response from them was FIVE FUCKING MINUTES! And it was a whole paragraph! With things spelled correctly! They didn’t disappoint on moving day either.  They were super communicative all day. They even offered to do my move earlier than expected (although, I missed that call because I was sound asleep and my phone was on vibrate…. after last night’s wedding, I was sort of recovering from a well spirited evening, if you know what I mean). When they were running behind a little bit because of traffic, they called and let me know where they were and that they were on their way. They were fast and got everything done within the 2 hour minimum that I was required to hire them for AND they were good looking. ;)

Grand total for two hours with three men? $300. Not too shabby.

And they have this funny Q&A advertisement. I should have tried to fall asleep in the bed…. Apparently my move would have been free if I woke up.

If you’re moving in NYC, yup. Totally recommend Greenbaum Expert Moving.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Walk Around the Block

I was hungry and craving my newest junk food discovery… Lam’s Hot Fries and a soda. I put on my shoes, I found my keys, and rushed to the door before the cat could notice that I was going for it. I escaped without kitty escaping. Me = 1. Cat = 0.

I opened the outside door and was greeted my a tiny mouse. I said hello to him, and asked if I could take his picture for my blog, and went for my camera. He ran behind a piece of sheet metal. I took that as a no. Apparently mice don’t want to be on the Internet blog stars.

I walked up the stairs and past three little boys hovered around a Lightning McQueen Power Wheels car. I was tempted to say “Nice ride,” to the kids, but I thought that might be construed as weird, so my words got stuck in my throat.

I walked past the old Dominican ladies who are all sitting in a row on their lawn chairs, as they do everyday as soon as the weather gets warm. I wonder if the little old man who sits with them will wave to me or say “Hi” today, and can’t decide whether I want him to or not, but he’s leaning on his cane asleep. I hurry past and wonder why the women never smile.

I turn left at the corner to my favorite bodega, and breathe a sigh of relief. No one has acknowledged me. No one has noticed me. I feel as if I’m invisible. I briefly think about a blog entry that I want to write about something from my pass, and decide it would be a much better idea to write about my journey out. It’s beautiful outside.

I pass my favorite bodega and turn left down the next street, down the block one south for ours. I notice now it’s different than mine. How there are no little old ladies sitting in lawn chairs, how there are hardly any people and the people I do see are young and male. As I near the end of the block, I pass a pair. I smile at them, and the other stares at me suspiciously.

I turn left into the bodega on the corner, my third favorite bodega. I buy a can of Coca-Cola and a package of Lady Linda Creme Wafers for $1.50 from a lady with long fake nails who asks me if I want a bag and a straw. I say no to the bag, yes to the straw. I’m secretly impressed that I got asked about the bag. It’s damn near impossible to get out of bodega without a bag.

I decide to take a walk around the park. While I wait at the crosswalk, I put the Creme Wafers in my purse and open the soda, unwrap the straw and put it in the can and throw away the wrapper in the trash can on the corner. One of the extended city buses stops at the bus stop, covering the crosswalk and I wonder if it’ll be gone by the time the night changes. It is.

I cross the street and enter the park. I walk past the men playing dominoes and past the ladies lining the edge of a tarp playing bingo. Past the parents having picnics with their children. Past the two elementary school aged boys who were arguing over a baseball bat and nearly knocked me in the head with it. Internally I say, “Watch yourself, guys,” but lack the courage to do anything but smile and shake my head. The one in the Red Sox cap looks at me sheepishly. Past the little girl trying to stick her feet and only her feet into an overhead sprinkler on the playground. Past the little boy who looked to be about four years old who cracked me a huge smile.

Feeling satisfied that I’d seen what was going in the park. I walked back down the empty block back to my favorite bodega, and spent $4 on a bottle of soda, hot fries and Smartfood popcorn before heading back to my block, back past the ladies in lawnchairs, the old man still asleep on his cane. The children in front of my doorway gone, but replaced by handsome black men in white t-shirts who don’t smile back or even appear to notice me when I smile at them, and I wonder what their lives are like and I cringe a little when I hear them use the word that white people aren’t allowed to say.

I come inside, and write down this blog post. The cat tries to lay his head down on my hand as I type it out. And when I get to the end? I realize that as I was outside observing all of these things, I have forgotten to take a picture. And then I decide I don’t care. My readers have good enough imaginations.

Friday Night in Coney Island

This past Friday, Anna and I made plans to go down to Coney Island to see the weekly fireworks, and I took a handful of pictures of the adventure for all of you!

IMG_20120713_193334

Our first stop was Nathan’s to get some hot dogs and fries. Well… Anna got a hot dog. I got two corn dogs. We shared the fries.

IMG_20120713_195606

Our next stop was the Wonder Wheel, a 150 foot tall Ferris wheel built in 1920. The Wonder Wheel has 24 cars, 16 of which are swinging cars and the remaining 8 are fixed cars attached to the rim of the wheel. We took a swinging car some extra thrill.

IMG_20120713_200309

From atop of the Wonder Wheel, we got our first glimpse of the beach!

IMG_20120713_200318

And here’s Anna!

IMG_20120713_201429

Then, we decided to take a ride on the Cyclone, Coney Island’s 85 year old wooden roller coaster.

After our thrill ride, we stopped off for a beer and then headed to the water’s edge to dip our feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

IMG_20120713_205044

That’s me!

IMG_20120713_205118

And here’s Anna again.

IMG_20120713_205933

And here’s the shot I got of the amusement parks from the beach.

Then, we headed back to the boardwalk to watch the fireworks, and were subjected to some absolutely horrendous beachside karaoke while we were waiting.

IMG_20120713_214114

IMG_20120713_214159

IMG_20120713_214133

IMG_20120713_214136

IMG_20120713_214213

What did you do this weekend?

Daily Shopping: New York City Style

In my last edition of Sunday Confessions, I happened to confess to my occasional missing of the shopping experience of the suburbs which prompted a question from Alyx that begged for it’s own blog entry so hard that I just couldn’t tell it no. She asked:

I’ve always wondered how normal shopping works in NYC. Obviously you have all those fancy schmancy stores, but what do you do when you need a Walmart, Costco, or Ikea? Do those exist there?

Before I get into talking about stores, I think it’s pretty important to talk about transportation. I don’t have a car. I rely mostly on the subway and my own two feet to get me places. I’ll occasionally take a bus (but for most places I want to go that’s not convenient) and I’ll occasionally take a cab (but those are expensive). When I’m shopping, I want to carry as little as possible over the shortest distance possible paying the least amount possible to get it home.

Which basically means, I want to shop in my own neighborhood whenever I possibly can.

While we have box stores like Target and K-Mart in the city (no Walmart, though!), these stores aren’t in my neighborhood, they’re all the way across town. It doesn’t make sense to trek to Target for my dish soap and toilet paper. These are things I can buy in my neighborhood shops. In fact, there’s not much that I can think of that’s worth the hassle of a trip to Target. I might feel different if I lived within walking distance… but I don’t.

So, if I’m not going to a box store for my household items… Where do I go? To a bunch of different shops in my neighborhood, of course! Here are the sorts of places where I often shop. Oh, and I should probably mention… I live in a poor neighborhood… so some of this experience will vary based on where in the city you are.

1. The dollar store / 99 cent store / five and dime. These stores are full of random household goods, usually of the knock off from China variety. They’ll usually have the staples of cleaning products, basic bathroom toiletries and toilet paper… but beyond that? You have to go in to figure out what they have because it can vary greatly from store to store. You might find basic linens. You might find some basic crafting supplies. You might find basic hardware goods, dishes, cookware, cheap kids toys, party favors… Some dollar store stuff is fine, some of it’s total junk.

2. The hardware store. This isn’t your Home Depot. Usually a narrow, cluttered store that has most of your basic hardware needs. Chances are if you want to find anything, you’re going to have to ask somebody because you’re never going to find it on your own. Nails, screws, and usually a limited selection of cookware that’s typically better than what the dollar store offers.

3. The linen store. You’ll find all your bedroom and bathroom accessories here. The offerings here are nowhere close to being top of the line. This is where you go if you don’t care what your curtains look like, you just need them covered… Stat.

4. The bodega. AKA your corner store. This is where you grab your soda, chips and your smokes. You can also buy a lunch a dollar if you’re one of these guys (put on your headphones if you don’t want your children learning the f-word though):

Our grocery stores are pretty normal… except for the fact that they’re a lot smaller (5 aisles or less generally). Chain drug stores like Rite Aid are exactly the same as everywhere else in the country. By far and large, those are the only shops I really need to visit on a regular basis.

If I need to get something special, I will wander to other neighborhoods to get it… Clothing choices in my neighborhood are pretty limited unless you’re into spandex. If I want higher quality goods, I generally have to leave the neighborhood… whether or not I shop at a department store or specialty shop depends on what I’m getting.

I tend to get clothes at discount department stores like Century 21 or Daffy’s which are kinda like the Marshall or TJ Maxx of designer clothes or I thrift…. but I don’t often buy new clothes.

If I’m getting kitchen related stuff, I’m more likely to go to Zabar’s, a locally owned kitchen shop over going to Bed, Bath and Beyond.

We have a 24 hour Best Buy in town, and we actually have had to to go to Best Buy in the middle of the night to buy a new monitor when James’ broke. Okay, so we didn’t have to, but we did just because of the novelty of it.

There’s an Ikea in Brooklyn. That’s totally a special occasion thing. If you want, you can pay them to assemble and bring it to your apartment… but the one time I bought things there, we paid for a car service to bring us home with our goods.

I find that I shop recreationally so much less now that it’s not a convenient pass time, which I think overall is a good thing.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

Today’s Train Crazy

I was on the train going home from work this evening, nose firmly planted in William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, when all of the sudden I hear a slightly slurred man’s voice yelling, “ALL CHINESE PEOPLE ARE THE SAME!”

My internal monologue says “Oh great, we have a crazy ranting racist. What’s he going to come out with next?”

He then starts ranting about how it’s the law to give up your seat to an elderly or disabled person if they ask, and pretty blatantly directing it towards a Chinese mother who happens to already be standing, her two young children seated in front of her.

Someone ends up giving up his seat to the old ranting man to shut him up. He thanks them and then keeps ranting, repeating that “All Chinese people are the same!” over and over until eventually he finally shuts up…

Until he gets to his stop, where he yells at the woman again, saying the same things and he walks off the train.

She yells back, “Don’t say that about Chinese people! Can’t you see I have children with me?”

OH, MTA. Never a boring moment.

I’ve learned that sometimes you just can’t follow the logic of the crazy people who end up on the subway.

Because, you know… logic would say that if you’re old or disabled and need to sit down, asking the lady with two squirmy kids to move probably isn’t the person to ask for a seat.

And you know, the fact that she’s Chinese has nothing to do with anything in this situation.

Stuff like this isn’t exactly a daily occurrence, but it’s certainly not an unusual occurrence either. Every once in awhile you run into a crazy who’s got a bug up his (or her) ass about something entirely irrational and decides to let the entire train know about it.

It’s uncomfortable. It’s unsettling. Hell, it’s just flat out sad.

But after awhile you grow used to it… You grow used to staring down in your book or the floor, keeping on your poker face and ignoring it.

And now I fear I’ve frightened you all from visiting NYC again… Oops.

The Boston Pops and Time For Three at Carnegie Hall

Fairly recently I became enamored with this string trio called Time for Three. I can’t remember exactly where I tripped over them first, but they’re one of those groups if you search for them on YouTube has about a billion camera phone movies of various arrangements of pop songs. When I was poking around their website, I discovered that they were going to be playing at Carnegie Hall with the Boston Pops.

I argued with myself for days over whether I ought to buy tickets. Money’s been tight, so I’ve been trying to be extra responsible with things. However, I really wanted to see the Boston Pops and I at least wanted to say that I’d been to at least one show at Carnegie Hall. I bounced it off James and he gave me the final push to type my credit card into the box and buy the tickets.

The show was on Thursday, and I have to say… I have absolutely no regrets and the show happened to fall in a week where I haven’t been able to afford to do anything special. I’m so glad that I decided to buy tickets when I had the money to do so.

I’ve been a Boston Pops fan for a long time.

The Pops were kind of like a thing in my childhood. A couple of times a year, my elementary school music teacher would put on videos of the Boston Pops that she’d taped off of channel 2, WGBH (Boston’s Public Television station) and my class would sit there quietly and listen and sit on our carpet squares on the floor. I have fond and soothing memories of the days we spent doing this.

I remember clearly when John Williams retired and Keith Lockheart became the new conductor of the Pops.

I remember thinking that Keith Lockhart was the hottest man in the world when I was eleven. (He’s still pretty hot, if you ask me.)

The Pops in concert are fantastic. They’re so good it sounds completely unreal, and the sound in Carnegie Hall is amazing and it’s beautiful! I wish I had snuck a picture, but I was surrounded by a bunch of older folks who seemed to be the type who would throw a tantrum if they got the sense that someone might be breaking the rules.

Which brings me to the unenjoyable part of the evening…

I don’t think I’ve ever been surrounded by as many cranky, fussy people as I was at Carnegie Hall.

Or maybe it was just the husband in the couple I sat next to.

They were on the end of the row and he got cranky every time they had to get up to let someone in to the middle of the row.

One of the songs that the Pops played was Bohemian Rhapsody and after the song was over the old man said to his wife, “Do you know who Freddie Mercury is?” and she’s like, “No” and he’s all, “He was the guy from Queen,” adding extra emphasis to Queen to make it sound like an extremely dirty repulsive word, “That was surprisingly very good. Who knew?”

They were also the type of people who can’t sit through a concert till the end because god forbid they get caught in the crowd of people when the show is over. They got up to stretch their legs and use the bathroom in the middle of the last song in the first set, and then they left halfway through the sing-along.

Maybe it’s because my mother used to do that… but I really can’t stand it when people do that.

All in all, though. It was an enjoyable experience.


Time for Three covering Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek”

Exploring Highbridge Park

I had one of those weekends where I did absolutely nothing.

Of course, that’s largely because a paycheck I’m waiting for still hasn’t shown up in the mail and after rent I’m largely living on quarters again, but you know… sacrifices made for the life I want to live in the here and now.

But, quite honestly… I didn’t really want to do anything other than sit around and listen to music on real speakers and cuddle the cat.

So, that’s what I did.

Originally, my plan had been to hop the subway and go back to my own apartment for awhile and gather some stuff and come back… but when I woke up in the morning, I decided there wasn’t a whole lot of point to it seeing as I was going to go home for Sunday night anyway.

I might as well just be lazy and enjoy my alone time.

At one point, I decided to wander out.

Despite the fact that I’ve been wandering my way up to Washington Heights several nights a week for over a year, I really have failed to explore the neighborhood outside of going to the grocery store, the bodega where he buys his smokes, the liquor store, and where his bank is. I suppose a lot of that has to do with the fact that I’ve usually be there at night… but you know, there were times when I could have left the apartment to explore and stayed in with the cat.

So, I decided to go check out this park that’s down the street… Highbridge Park.

Apparently, I don’t think I even scratched the surface of it because it’s a heck of a lot bigger now that I’ve looked at the map… but I wandered around for awhile.

I took this after I wandered upon a dead end path… which is probably why I didn’t realize the park is as big as it is… there seemed to be a lot of “you can’t get there from here” parts of the park.

I wish I’d gotten a picture of it… but to the right of those stairs, there’s this little wooded area with one of those strange trees with the twisty multi-stem trunks that are good for sitting on and looking out over the East River and to the Bronx.

I was going to go investigate it after I took that picture, but then a man who looked slightly out of his mind stumbled down the stairs and asked if I had the time. I told him and he thanked me.

And then I realized, that’s probably where the junkies go to enjoy the view.

Just a Day After Work in Times Square

My latest work gig has me working in unfortunate proximity to Times Square. As in, if I want to take one train home instead of two, I have to walk right through the god forsaken mess…. oh, and it’s even more of a mess two days before the big ball drops.

There are people everywhere.

People that don’t understand that it’s really impolite to just stop walking in the middle of the sidewalk randomly because you don’t know where you want to go.

People who don’t understand that it’s really not okay to just stand in the middle of the sidewalk talking to your friend.

People who don’t understand that the only goddamned thing they’re stopping to take pictures of is gigantic ads.

GIGANTIC ADS! Is that what you want to show your kids? I went to NYC and I saw some really fucking GINORMOUS ADS!

No, no. I’m not bitter at all about having to work in Times Square.

It least for me, this is temporary. Poor James has to do it all the time.

So, I get out of work and I’m walking across 42nd Street towards 6th Avenue through the gigantic mob of people that just seems to get thicker the closer I get to 7th Avenue.

Now, normally in such situations the best thing to do is to just hop out into the street and walk around the crowd, but I’d gotten caught on the building side of the sidewalk so I was stuck just pushing onward. I get shoved by someone, probably by accident and probably by another New Yorker because only another New Yorker would do the bob and weave like that but I make sure to mutter obscenities loud enough for people around me to hear.

Remember, New Yorkers are supposed to be rude.

Or at least that’s what everyone who doesn’t live in New York City tells me.

I manage to make it across 7th Avenue and Broadway without killing anyone…. and finally, the crowd thins out, and I make my play to pass a dwaddling couple picking up the pace by about three times.

Out of the corner of my eye I catch a businessy looking woman with a suitcase who’s keeping pace with me. She says, “Oh whew, when you picked up the pace I figured I’d tail you because obviously you know what you’re doing.”

I laughed and said, “Well, I work down here. Otherwise I’d avoid it.”

She said, “I don’t know what I was thinking by booking a hotel around here at this time of year…” and then asked if I knew where it was and if she was going the right direction. I assured her, and then parted ways at 6th Avenue to get on the train.

Moral of the story? We’re not assholes if you can keep pace, fuckers.

Make the Good People Dance

Truth be told, I’ve always been one of those bloggers who tends to skip over the obligatory Thanksgiving blog post. I always mean to write one, but I never quite get around to it. I suppose this is what you might call an attempt, despite being three days late.

It’s been what you might call a rough week where shit went down. Shit I don’t really want to talk about publicly yet despite writing a handful of blog entries not for public consumption which I may consider publishing publicly in a year from now. Maybe. Dust just needs to settle. I may be getting older and wiser.

So, how did I spend my Thanksgiving?

The original plan for Thanksgiving was to go with my friend Suzi and her parents out for dinner in the West Village and then to the Village Vanguard for a show. However, her parents were both fighting off colds so the day of, they decided that it was a better decision to just stay home and get well instead.

Faced with the choice between alone and feeling sorry for myself or going out and doing something potentially fun, I texted James and told him to put me on the list to go see Strawberry Fields at BB Kings.

And being a holiday, I figured I’d dress up in my retro regalia, too. I should have gotten a picture.

Strawberry Fields is a pretty solid little act. I’m not really sure how many times I’ve gone and seen them (they do brunch every Saturday at BB’s) but they always make me smile. There’s just one thing that tends to get to me… The fact that you get a crowd full of people in their 50s and 60s and not a damn one will get up and dance.

They just sit there.

This boggles my mind.

You get a bunch of 90-year-olds and play tunes by Glen Miller Band and those fuckers will get up and dance. They might just stand there barely swaying, but at least they’ll get up. But The Beatles generation? Apparently they’re too drugged to care.

There’s been many a brunch where I’ve sat there depressed as fuck watching the motionless crowd and didn’t do shit to change the situation because I didn’t want to be the asshole to get up and dance.

After downing a martini, I decided that I was going to be that asshole. I ordered a shot of liquid courage (aka tequila) and decided enough was enough.

IT’S NEW YORK CITY ON THANKSGIVING. WE ARE FUCKING DANCING, MOTHERFUCKERS!

So, I did. And it was fun.

Granted, I got more big smiles and thank yous than actual dancers but it felt good.

Thanks for making my Thanksgiving, guys.