Wednesday, December 2, 2009

25 days of Absurdity

In an attempt to expand our target audience here at "to live in this city (," as well as avoid alienating our fan base we have decided to rebrand December as the "25 Days of Absurdity."

Why absurdity? Well.. it's universal. It speaks to the spirit. And the soul. And... we don't have to build any churches or anything. The decorations are inexpensive, the gifts are joyous, and the eggnog is strong and spiked.

Today is day 2 of our 25 Days of Absurdity and we are off to a fairly positive start. Yesterday I decided to outsource my office needs to my father's office at a nonprofit that will remain unnamed. To my delight, I was greeted by quiet hoopla. Let is be said, there was

This morning, the absurdity started early, and simply. Went to starbucks. Got my $0.54 refill, because I save cups, and drink brewed coffee. Walked across the street, and the top commits suicide like a repressed goldfish, leaping off my cup, and into the street. I now have to high tail my poor coffee cup and I for 5 blocks, and attempt to stay clean. Thankfully, the laws of physics were on my side, and the majority of coffee that sloshed did so in the forwards, in front of me direction. But the amount of care I was forced to put into the walk and the coffee... was absurd.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Horns and the Himalayas

Dearest readers (both of you. Hi Mom!) and people who only come here to leave religious propaganda....

I feel little need to comment on my absence, as you can read all about it in the nytimes. I have been trekking the Himalayas with only a single, trusted malamute puppy, riding on his back and throwing back the occasional drink together. Photos shall appear on my facebook, once we clear the copyrights and finalize the book deal.

By which I mean... I started graduate school. And it devoured my life with immediacy and ketchup. That said, blogable, notable things have continued to occur, despite the imminent digestion. I suppose I will find a procastinatable moment to put them down in writing.

A single Highlight, to tide you over:
Being serenaded by a bus driver, honking out a surprisingly musical melody on his horn to win my affection. He most certainly succeeded.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Untitling, or Rather Not

So evidently, I went on vacation from blogging this summer. By which I mean.. I kinda got a job. Which kinda of ate my life. Then I went on vacation, which was wonderful. Then I came back and experienced major culture shock, which was not wonderful, not at all.

Posts are due on the following topics:
1. Bodega Series, part 1: The Hierarchy of Bodegas Amongst Boroughs

2. Bodega Series, part 2:Bodegas and the Recession

3. Culture Shock; Back from the Dead or Return to Hell (affectionately known as my apartment)

4. It's Impossible to Find Good Help These Days

5. Renting out your apartment while you are on vacation, for fun and profit!

6. Why I Should Have Been a Trust Fund Baby.

7. How to Balance 3 jobs, 2 Careers, and a Porcupine on your Head* While Wearing Heels

*Porcupines are an ancient greek euphemism for long distance relationships. The head part was just to be silly.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

New York City Nightmare #14

Time: Friday night, 1:00am.  Me, sober and with a friend.  Walking home along W3rd from the subway.  Weave around groups of drunk people, hand on purse.  Arrive at my block.  Go to purse for cell phone. Cell phone: check.  Wallet: no check.

End of roller coaster style day: down. 

1. Didn't anyone ever tell the pick pockets to go for the drunken tourists instead of the sober locals?  I only have $20 and a roasting plant gift card in there...
2. I look forward to seeing which controversial books/movies are checked out under my name from the public library and never returned. Great.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

They say you can get anything delivered in Manhattan...

And it's true! I can get cupcakes delivered to my apartment from Sugar Sweet Sunshine!  Amazing.  

On the to-do list, stat.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I begin to write this entry with the Lucky Pen.  I am then asked to return the Lucky Pen.  But I want to scribble a Lucky Message on this chinese food menu!   I digress.  Entirely and without shame.

The jury has been out on Queens for some time.  Originally, a place for old people, indian and greek food, the middle aged hip, and Mc Mansions.  Urban?  maybe.  Today I go to a Little League game in Forest Hills.  Although a 10 minute walk from the subway, it reeks of cranky suburban charm.  Chateau Jewels in yellow v. Sign-o-rama in purple.  Clearly, I came out to see sign-o-rama.  In front of me sits a family with 4 kids, a small dog and grandma.  I sit there nibbling farmers market fruit and raw almonds while the woman in front of me describes herself as "a Real Baseball Mom".  I smile outwardly, but my insides shudder of suburbia.  And only a 10 minute walk from the F.

P.S. I can see how this post might be kind of insulting.

Unsolicited Piece of Advice #212-14

I would not recommend walking your guinea pig on a leash down a New York City Street.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave

A while back, NYC started an initiative to give out free condoms (in terrifically designed packaging) in places where those crazy kids might be.  To be honest, I've only ever seen them in a huge fishbowl at the Steve Madden store, and at my gynecologist's office.  I always grab handfuls,  throw them in my bag and proceed to never use them.**  Ocassionally I'll send one to an out of town friend-just for laughs.  As I mentioned, the packaging is quite attractive.

So I wonder-does anyone ever use the free condom?  

To my delight, I discovered, yes they do!  As I walked home from work the other day, i was greeted with the joyous sign of used condom packaging lying in the gutter-leading me to believe that once again, New York City, the land of free condoms, is the place I belong. 

**This is not because I never have sex.  It is because my very large and virile sex partners doubt the quality of the free condom.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Carnival Confirmation I

It's not so much that I question that I live inside a carnival, but rather that in specifics moments the world chooses to confirm this.  For example,  I was coming home  today from physical therapy (that wonderful mix of pleasure and pain)  and I run into a pony on West 3rd St.  No reason.  Just ya know.. a pony*.  And her keeper.  

More examples to follow. Stay tuned.  

*Horses are not rare in New York City, and are typically employed either in the tourism industry (carriages) or as civil servants (police force).  But a pony, in a setting that clearly was neither a petting zoo nor a birthday party, lends confusion.  As it was hanging out by the bars, I can only infer that it was of legal drinking age in the Great State of New York.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Future, and Some Ear Wiggling

Part of me had the idea of making this an impersonal blog.. more like a Magazine Column.  But.. there have been a few serious changes around here that are worth noting, as they will certainly influence future postings.

1. I got into grad school!  Haha Ivy League, you thought you could keep me out, succeeded in undergrad, but I'm back... to shake you up and show you how to rock and roll!

2.  I painted one wall of my kitchen was I thought was "too bright a blue" but, now that we have been living with one another for a while (sized each other up, sniffed like dogs), is actually "perfect for my kitchen blue."   

3. Taxi drivers have some strange obsession with my sister and me.   They are apt to look at us while she's driving her car around the city, and... choose a piece of their anatomy.  For example , just last week,  a driver looked at us squarely, and stuck out his tongue repeatedly.  The week before, another chose to wiggle his ears.  I do not pretend to understand this.  Maybe it's code.  Maybe it's an invitation.  Or maybe, just maybe... they actually rule the world.  And show their power by wiggling noses at young, innocent, helpless gorgeous young women.  Yes, it must be that.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Houseguest's Lament

I recently received a love letter scribbled upon a Chinese food menu.

"My loves!" it began  "Thank you so much for letting me stay on your couch, as enveloping as an oyster shell, and for your unending pools of love, in which I was permitted to dip my feet and wiggle my toes.  For the joy of your fantastic bohemian life you have allowed me to swim in, and the men serenading alcohol outside your window, hidden beneath the flowering treetops, like a monkey, just below the canopy.  Do not forget I have left you a George Forman Grill, facilitating the tantalizing paninis of your deepest and most secret dreams.  I shall return soon, from the cold and mundane world into your cove of the beautiful and absurd."

"Much love, 
_ _ _ _ _ _"

**Parts of this letter have been changed for literary effect, while others in fact, are direct quotes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

And the Feathers WIll Fly!

At this year's annual Urban Chicken Pluck!   Come one come all!  Don't have a chicken? That's okay! They'll be available on the premises for purchase.  Vegans, do not despair- Synthetic options are available  for an additional charge. Inquire at the front desk.  

Afterwards, the streets were lined with feathers.  Our lungs filled with them.  They stuck to our hair and our coats and got caught in Hannah's eye lashes.  No... we were not victims of the Urban Chicken Pluck.  We were at an event far more enticing although equally improbable... Wall Street Pillow Fight, courtesy of NewMindSpace

The Pillow Fight is a tradition dating back to the middle ages, and brought to the New World by Dutch colonists in 1662.  There are now pillow fights on 6 continents*.  Friends of mine, known as Banditos Misteriosos facilitate the Boston edition.  

This year, the pillow fight relocated from it's usual spacious union square to wall street.  I think they wanted to "make a statement."  I am not sure anyone was listening.  But there was havoc!! There were thousands of pillow bearing individuals.  The subway car was full of gleeful pillow bearing adults, and feathers drifted slowly gently down to the subterranean station floor.  I alighted the stairs, walked a few steps, and was confronted by a huge mob of people.  Thousands of people. More like thousands of pillows with legs.  It looked really fun!

But alas, for me, it was not as fun as it looked.  This was not my first mass pillow fight; perhaps my third.  Although the grandest, it was not the most enjoyable.  There wasn't enough space to move-it was more like a mosh pit with pillows.  Also, many individual were in clear violation of pillow fight etiquette.  I witnessed couch pillows, hard memory foam pillows, and head hunting galore.  Perhaps it's time to hand out some citations for overzealous pillow fighting and reckless endangerment of others.

There were some good moments.  Hannah's host sister from South Africa was with us, and although reticent at first, soon embraced pillow fighting goodness.  For some, it was a family event.  I saw one mom and young son pair, decked out in overcoats and bicycle helmets.  After the fight (I'm pretty certain there was a permit, since the NYPD was on hand and supportive) it slowly but surely drifted north.  Pillows fights broke out on streets, in city squares, blocked traffic!  

The pillow fight was certainly epic, but maybe I'm getting a little too old.  I like to run around during my pillows fights, dodge and feint.  I need a little more than just getting my brains based in by an errant chunk of discarded couch.  

*We're still working on getting the Scientists at Antarctica on board.  They declined, citing a lack of excess pillows.  

For photos, please check out NewMindSpace.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hostage Situation

About a week ago I was held hostage on the subway.  Not by guns and the like but by words.  

Rightfully convinced that I had a sinus infection, my sister agreed to drive me to our family doctor, out in New Hyde Park, before her afternoon class.  We had to leave early though, because she would need to drop me back at the train after my appointment, then dash off you class.  I slept at our father's place that night; we didn't yet have internet/tv yet in our new place, and can you imagine being sick with no distractions?  Que horror!

In the morning I get up (very early for me... perhaps 6am?) to be out by 7:30, to meet the sister downtown by 8:30 to drive to my 9:30 appointment.  I'm out on time, my head is pounding and I catch a 1 train down to columbus circle.  As I wait on the A platform, a man starts preaching at a decibel level seriously inappropriate for the 8am hour.  But okay, sure. New York is full of stuff like this.  I can handle it.  I just walk away.  I can still hear him, calling me to take his Lord Jesus into my heart, or face eternal damnation.  I'm cool with eternal damnation.  I'm sick.  I'm not so far away as it.

An A train arrives.   The express.  I get on.. and guess who else decides to get on in my car.  Wanna-be Preacher man (although he is preaching, I am under the impression that there is some sort of training, other than simply finding jesus, that one must undertake to officially be a preacher) gets on too.  My car.  

It is one thing to preach in a relatively open space, like a subway station.  I don't particularly appreciate it, but at least I had the option of walking away.  In my silent 8am A express train, where it is hard to move between cars because they almost never stop and the in-between part scares me, there is no escape.

Preacher-man begins preaching.  He tells us of his crack addiction.  Tells us of his devotion to crack, and how now he has parlayed* his devotion for crack into devotion for Lord, Hallelujah!  When I say tell, I do not mean he went one by one and told us a story.  No, his booming voice echoed in the subway car, making my poor little head feel like it was going to explode.  Being the nice girl I did the only thing I could think of... I yelled back at him. 
                       "Excuse me!  It's a little early! Could you keep it down?" By which I meant could you shut the fuck up.  He didn't look like he had a knife, but he was a bit bigger than me, and an alleged  former crack addict.  You never know.  I received nods of approval and sounds of agreement from my fellow passengers.  

                   But no. Preacher man just kept preaching louder.  I hadn't heard the message.  His message of Jesus.  His message of enjoying the sound of his own voice, and holding us captive to his beliefs.  I shouted at him again, considered violence, then just gave up.  I could have incited a riot against this man, but it seemed a really poor way to go.  RIP, Daniele Kohn, for starting a fist fight with a wanna-be preacher on the A train.  No, Thank you.

*He didn't use the word parlay.  That was my take.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New York Nightmare #1

I recently experienced one of my New York Nightmares.

Personal edict:  When something is free or almost free, and one is in danger of being late and missing the opportunity, taking a cab is not only legal (by all personal standards of etiquette) but required, so as not to miss the free/almost free undertaking.  Besides.. it's not like I'm spending money anyway.

Specifics: $5 yoga class on Elizabeth St. in Soho.  On Sunday.  Note: This price is a steal.  Clearly qualifies as "almost free".

It's 4:45.  I leave my apartment and scurry off.  I'm not sure what the distance is.. I know how many blocks, but I expect it to be more than 10 minutes.  Based on the previously  stated free/cheap rule, I can validate grabbing a cab.  I run a block, no cabs, continue on in this fashion, pausing every so often to gaze about for my yellow saviors.  One comes.  I get in.  It's 4:54.  I ask if he thinks we can get there by 5.  It's not very far, but I wasn't gonna make it on foot.

And then.. traffic strikes!  Oh traffic, you devilish adolescent, lurking beneath the stairs to peak up my skirt!  By 5:07 we are two blocks away, stuck at a red light which we failed to make on the previous cycle.  I hop out, dash through the streets of trendy soho, full of classy shoppers and eager happy hours attendees, yoga mat under my arm and sneakers on my feet.  I arrive, finally (googlemaps got the block wrong a well). I am late.  Too late.  

My nightmare is realized; I took a cab for nothing.  I did not make my class, I am down $9 and a 15 minutes walk from home.  Oh, nine dollars, the thing I could have done with you! You could have been ice cream or thai food.  You could have been a foreign film, coffee, artichokes!

I survived this nightmare, don't get me wrong.  But I was deeply disappointed.  And now I"m down $9 that I shall never see again.  Adieu my darling!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Extra! Extra! Unemployment Strikes Yuppies!

Like King Kong, unemployment strikes again!  Unlike King Kong, unemployment is not a giant hairy ape, so it's a little more challenging to follow it around town, sedate it, and save the hot chick.  Being the nice, well behaved Upper West Side transplant that I am, what do we  do when unemployment strikes?  Do we get helicopters, fly over the city and try to sedate it via force?  Do we storm the pentagon, in an attempt to levitate it? **Of course not!  We're intellectuals!  We create task force.

My temple decided 2 months ago to start a task force of volunteers, therapists, etc. to aid the un- and under-employed in our congregation.  As a member of the perpetually unemployed, I figured at worst there would be free coffee and cookies*.  So I went.  

The first meeting was a "needs assessment" to figure out what members of the community actually wanted.  We were split into small groups, based on availability.  My group was run by a therapist, and was composed of 3 women, all over 50, all single... and me.  Now, I know they didn't do it on purpose, but I can only wonder.. is this my destiny?!  

Although this group wasn't depressed, there was a sense of desperation.  Desperation that I certainly don't feel.  I realized something.. everyone I know is unemployed.  It's no big deal for us, just the staus quo.  "You don't have a job? Great, neither do I, yup sitting here applying, hey look at this great youtube video of a 4 year old narrating a book about kittens!  Ain't it just darling?"  These women are really missing out if you ask me.  One is content to sit in her bathtub all day.  Another just did her taxes to pass the time.. but, and I quote***, she was "not ready to to send it in just yet... might have done them a little too fast".

I may have gotten more out of this session than the other ladies, as I was basically offered a couple job like things on the spot (the beauty of not having 70,000+ salary requirements). 

My Advice?
1. Concerned about credentials? I usually recommending informed lying. (know what dorm you     didn't live in during grad school, what professor you never had, what computer programs       
     you've never seen)
B. Looking to change direction?  Become a career counselor/placement officer.  The demand is 

*There were no cookies.
**Both of these measure would serve to stimulate the economy, if only briefly. 
    1. Helicopters are not cheap, nor are missile sized sedatives, and hey.. pilots gotta eat too.  Plus think of all the merchandising, and the advertising you could sell during special 24 hour coverage tv news.  
    2. Tranportation to and from the pentagon, as well as food and campsite rentals (since we're law abiding citizens) would also generate spending, which creates income and stimulates the economy.  So ha!

***And I hope she never finds this piece... 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Found: Home

Apartment hunting in New York is an unseen terror.  Prices are high, spaces are dungeonesque,  and agents act as though by showing you these places,  they are doing you a favor (fee, anyone?).  They're like terrible boyfriends: they don't call, never write and most importantly, suck on the follow through.  

Most grating is the degree to which New York Spaces are misrepresented:

"Cozy 3 bedroom!" proclaims the ad. 

Upon closer examination this space proves to be a one bedroom with a windowless office and a walk in closet large enough for a twin sized bed.  Every listing is exclusive, every agent has another apartment, just outside your price range.. but also not fit for dogs (or college students, for that matter).

I consider it a blessing then, that I have finally-finally-finally! found an apartment.  The neighborhood is perfect (think funky but safe downtown) and it's a quiet street in a noisy area.  Meaning.. all the hot bars are clubs are a few blocks away, but not on my street.  It's a walk up, but that's okay because its sunny and not super tiny, and adorable and did I mention sunny?  It's a grown up apartment, but lets be honest... I am a grown up.  Yes, I am officially a grownup. 

We were approved yesterday, and ever since I have devoted all my designated procrastination time to the likes of  Ikea and Cb2, and dreaming of curtains and coat racks.
Props go out to Landmark Realty, on Sullivan St. and especially Zane Jacobs (no, not the gay porn star) for offering me deliverance from the world of Manhattan Apartment Hunting.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I just went to the laundromat

We usually drop our stuff off across the street, but they tend to beat the shit out of things.  Hot water, vicious dry cycle... and (to be a princess) I spend way too much on clothing to send most of my stuff there.  I'll typically wait until we go out to long island, to a cousin's or grandparent's place, and do the delicates there,  supplementing by washing in the bathroom sink, like any normal person.

The accumulation had become too much.  My sister and I decided (about a week ago) that it was time.  So... we pack about 100 lbs of very nice clothing into reinforced shopping bags, and lug them 5 blocks, in the snow, uphill both ways.

35 minutes later.. we have 100+ lbs of wet laundry...none of which can go in the dryer because it's too delicate.
                            ......and which is too heavy to carry home.

$4 and the world's shortest cab ride later, we're home.  I am now going to commence in playing loud music, and hanging laundry from every available space in my apartment, until is looks like a boutique that suffers from leaky pipes and full on dementia.