Just a few pictures of some messages I've received in the last few weeks. New York is full of them.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
We've done some major rearranging in the apartment that has led to a homier and much more sensible use of this space (pictures forthcoming). This new arrangement has led to lots of empty space on the walls and we are slowly accumulating art to fill in the holes. I'm really loving our newest print, the Greyscale Kitties print from Stay Home Club. The frame is from Ikea, mat included. All together this cost under $30. I couldn't be happier.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Too often I forget to take a second and look around, to stand still and focus on what's around me. Sometimes it only takes seeing something familiar from a different perspective to magnify its beauty. New York, sometimes you exhaust me but then you remind me why I love you so much.
Damn, you are a beauty.
Photos 1 & 2. The view of Columbus Circle and the east side of Manhattan from The Allen Room at Lincoln Center, 3. An overhead shot of French artist JR's installation at the New York City Ballet, 4. Chinatown in winter, 5. A snippet of Bushwick found on a walk with my friend who came for a visit, 6. A view of south Brooklyn on my morning commute
Thursday, February 13, 2014
When I accepted my first job in New York I had to make a decision on where to live. My best friend lived about a forty-five minute train ride from where my job was located and I had to decide whether to live closer to my work or closer to her. The best piece of advice anyone gave me before moving here was this: If your best friend is in town then you should live close to them. I took that advice and moved into the same neighborhood as my bestie and it was one of the best decisions I made. For the last four years, we've only been about a block away from each other, which makes it easy to spend time together. However, this means that every day my entire commute is almost two hours long. Yes, it can be crowded and annoying on some days but really, I am thankful for that time to myself. I get the majority of my reading done on my commute. I burn through books quickly, sometimes finishing three to four books a week. I've contemplated getting a Kindle or some such e-reader type thing but I just can't do it. I guess I'm somewhat of a purist when it comes to my books. The only thing that has changed is my preference for paperbacks over hardcovers for easy transport. The paperbacks get banged up from traveling with me day after day but I'm not precious when it comes to my books (as evidenced by the photos of my banged up paperbacks - mea culpa).
The last month I've read a few books that I felt were worth mentioning. The writing in all of these books is incredible and engaged me enough to never, ever be sleepy on the train ride back home after a long day of work.
I'm a big fan of Murakami and was anxious to read this book. Even though it was published in late 2011 it took me a while to get to it, mainly because the book in its entirety is enormous. Carrying that tome around on a daily basis would be akin to having a brick in my bag. Thankfully I found a three volume version that splits the novel into three very manageable parts. The beginning of the book is a little slow but, as always, I appreciate the pace of Murakami's writing. He is detailed in the introductions to his characters and I quickly became engrossed in the story. So engrossed that once I completely missed my stop because I wasn't paying attention. (Side note: On the ride back an old Polish woman who lives in my neighborhood stopped me and remarked that the eyes on the cover of this book must by eyes and that she thought they were beautiful. That was a pretty nice moment.) Murakami's plot is, per usual, imaginative and intricate, but for some reason this particular story drew me in.
Full disclosure here - I haven't finished this book yet. I'm actually smack dab in the middle of this intriguing story but I am loving it thus far. When the plot was first described to me I had my doubts, but the person who recommended it me has excellent taste in books and I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. The story follows a family and their numerous dysfunctions (See what I mean! Doesn't sound too exciting, does it?). Franzen creates characters that on the surface appear ordinary and average, people that you pass on the street everyday and don't think twice about, but opens the reader up to the nuances and little bits of crazy that everyone has within them, or at least can recognize in a friend or family member. That's always what gets me with his books. I never remember the details of the plot but the characters always stand out and are sharp in my memory.
If you read one new book this year, please do yourself a favor and read this one. This book is a collection of pieces from Strayed's advice column, Dear Sugar, that ran on The Rumpus for a number of years. The column became something of a phenomenon due to the honest, tender, kind and no bullshit advice. No one knew Strayed was Sugar until the book was published under her name. The letters that make up this collection cover all the big things - love, death, jealousy, grief, finding your way in life, etc. Upon finishing this book I thought to myself that this is the book I will give my children when they are in the throes of teenage angst, when my nieces and nephews are going off to college, when a friend is feeling uninspired or sad. It's that kind of book, and one that I think everyone should own. Reading this book made me feel like I was listening to a friend that loves you unconditionally but is not afraid to say the things that most people are afraid to say to you even though you need to hear it. At times, it made my heart feel like it was going to lift out of my chest from the loving nature of Strayed's responses, it inadvertently made me smile, and once it nearly made me start crying on a crowded train in the middle of a very busy commute home. Reading this book made me feel like I had been given a rare and precious gift that now has to be shared with everyone.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
I took these pictures earlier in the week when we got hit with another round of snow. My girlfriend was in from out of town and I accompanied her to her first wedding dress fitting on the Lower East Side. It was trying getting around the city with huge slush puddles and delays on the train, but the city is always transformed into another kind of beautiful with every new snowfall. We're due for more of the white stuff this weekend. The plan is to make a snowman with our friends and to find some excellent hot chocolate for Jon. Call me crazy but I'm kind of looking forward to more snow.
Sunday, February 2, 2014
I had this past Friday off of work and I made plans to meet up with my coworker in Chinatown. She was born and raised in this neighborhood and has seen so many changes through the years. The one thing that hasn't changed is the celebration of the Lunar New Year. The big parade and celebration usually happens on Sunday, but I was more than happy to have a more low key day in Chinatown to experience the new year festivities.
The first thing my coworker did was serve me some durian. This is not a New Year's tradition but she had asked me if I wanted to try it and of course I said yes. My coworker and her father love durian. I liked it but the smell left something to be desired.
We had dim sum at Ping's and while we were eating we were visited by a dragon! Every Lunar New Year the Dragon Dance Teams in Chinatown visit various businesses to bring good luck for the coming year. The owners and patrons give the dragons money in red envelopes and in turn the dragons bless them. I made sure to get my blessing from the dragon before they left.
We headed out into the streets and I got my hands on a huge confetti popper. I wish I owned a million of these things! We spent the rest of the afternoon walking and shopping until it was time for my coworker to go meet her family. It was a great afternoon and I'm looking forward to next year's celebrations!