^^ Holy cow, did I just write my first December 52 Project post?? Does that mean I may actually be close to successfully completing this series in its entirety for the year? Amazing. So as you can tell from this photo, which I took from my mom’s front window, it’s been looking a whole lot like December around here. A big ole’, beautiful snowstorm hit last Wednesday (right before Thanksgiving), and managed to make everything super gorgeous. On top of that, Chris and I were lucky enough to have two awesome Thanksgivings — one here in upstate NY with my mom’s contingency, and the other in Jersey with my dad and those lovely peeps. We now officially leave for Australia in one week (wahoo!), so I’m pretty sure these next few days will simply fly by. Happy December friends — here’s to making the most of the holidays! I’ll be back tomorrow with the first installments of our Ecuador trip.
Okay — to say that the 7-hour, 9.5.-mile hike we did of the Inca trail almost killed me would probably be a bit of an exaggeration … but let’s be honest friends — that schiz is hard! I honestly don’t know how people do the full, 4-day trek, with camping and stuff. They’re pretty awesome, that’s for sure!
After spending four days in Cusco getting acclimated to the altitude and checking out some of the other sites, we woke up around 6 a.m. on a Friday to head three hours on the train with our tour guide, Michael, to the spot on the Inca trail where we would be starting our trek.
Anyway, I have a ton of photos from this trek, and it was all hard — but at the end of it what I can seriously say is that I was so incredibly proud of both myself and Chris for having finished it (although let’s be honest — it was much harder for me than for Chris!)
Here’s a bit of what we saw on that hike:
One little tale about the trek that I’d like to share was a sort of adorable one about my lunch. The night before we left it occurred to me that I should probably remind the B&B where we were staying (which was booked in conjunction with our entire Inca Trail/Machu Picchu hike) that I am a vegetarian, since they were packing our lunch for the next day. “Sure no problem!” they said.
Cut to our lunch on this intense hike the next day (you can probably see where I’m going with this). Our guide seemed really nervous about the lunch and kept saying, “Oh I really hope they packed your vegetarian!” He was eager for me to open my lunch so he could make sure it was the right stuff, and when I did he was so relieved. “Oh good, they did pack you a vegetarian!”
“Absolutely, looks great!” I assured him, even though what I was looking at was fried rice with ham.
It was really no biggie — I just ate around it. I figure in circumstances like this, when you’re traveling in different parts of the world and trying to be thoughtful of their own customs and traditions, it’s best to go with the flow as much as possible. Lucky for me, big pieces of ham are easy to eat around ;)
Anyway … after about seven hours of ups and (very few) downs and stairs and switchbacks, I was ready to be done! And thankfully we had quite the amazing payoff at the end of the hike, too:
Not bad — am I right?! When you book the 2-day trek (at least when you book with Cusi Travel), what happens is you hike the Inca Trail all day, ending up at Machu Picchu late in the afternoon. You then take the bus (the crazy bus down the side of the hill where there is barely enough room for one vehicle, let alone the two that sometimes squeeze by each other!) down into Aguas Calientes — the town below Machu Picchu — to spend the night. We then got up super early the next morning to stand in line to catch the bus back to Machu Picchu for a tour with our guide, and we had decided to hike Huayna Picchu as well, so we’d be doing that without our guide around 10 a.m. the following day after our Inca Trail hike.
A word now about the Huayna Picchu hike (before I share some of the absolutely stunning photos) — it’s terrifying. And when I saw terrifying, I mean terrifying! First off, it’s sometimes referred to as the “hike of death,” so you know, there’s that. See that tall-ass mountain that sticks straight up into the sky in the photo above? The one directly to the right of Machu Picchu. That is Huayna Picchu, my friends, and that is what we hiked the day after our Inca Trail hike. It’s 8,920 ft high, with barely any handrails or cover of any kind, and only 400 people are allowed to climb it every day in order to keep it from being too crowded. (If you want to learn more about the hike itself, if you’re considering it, I would read this, which has some really good info to prepare you before you decide either way.)
I’m going to be honest — I didn’t do any reading about the hike before we took it on. I had a friend who had done it a few years earlier and she recommended adding it to our Machu Picchu visit before our tour guide even recommended it to us (you have to sign up way in advance, since like I said before, only 400 people a day get to climb), so I took her lack of “Oh by the way it’s seriously scary and hard” conversation as proof that, you know, it wasn’t seriously scary or hard.
That was obviously my bad. (I will definitely be asking you for more info the next time you recommend anything travel related to me, Faye!)
Anyway, I’m now so incredibly glad that I didn’t do any reading about the hike ahead of time, because it may have scared me away from actually doing the hike, in which case I would have been robbed of an amazing feeling of accomplishment, not to mention these amazing, once-in-a-lifetime views:
I mean … you can see why people chomp-at-the-bit and laugh at the potential of death to do this hike, right? Still — don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
And that, my friends, was pretty much our 2-day Macchu Picchu and Inca trail tour! Of course there is a ton that I’m leaving out about Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail itself (I mean we spent two full days at these places, so obviously there’s a lot to take in here), but if you’re interested in learning more about the amazing history of the place, I would suggest checking out this History Channel stuff about it, because they’ll do a much better job at describing it than I ever could hope to.
After Huayna Picchu, we caught the bus back into Aguas Calientes to grab a bite and do some shopping, then we caught the train back into Cusco to spend one last night at the Cusco B&B and in town before catching our flight to Ecuador early the next morning to start the second phase of our adventure — Quito, the Amazon and … drum roll please … the Galapagos Islands!
In honor of my favorite holiday, though (oh hey, Thanksgiving!), I’m going to go ahead and give the blog a break for the rest of the week. I’ll be back next week with the rest of our adventure, though — so for now everyone … enjoy your time with friends and family and loved ones on Thursday — I know I will!
Oh hey there friends! Happy Thanksgiving week! To be honest, while I loved pretty much every single thing about traveling for the past four weeks, if I had to pick one week to be home, it would be this one. I welcome the fall weather, football games and eating myself silly on Thursday — here’s to the holidays!
But before all that happens, I’m hoping to get a few posts up about our South American adventure, since every day I wait is a day that more and more details slip away — and I hate that.
I thought I’d start out with some general details about our trip, in case that helps anyone who might be planning a trip to Peru in the near future, as well. For starters, we arrived two days early to allow ourselves to get acclimated to the altitude (we took the pills to alleviate altitude symptoms, too, and I’m really glad we did, since we barely had any problems at all with that), and that was something I’d highly recommend to anyone else planning a visit. We picked Hotel Torre Dorada to spend the first three nights in Peru, and it turned out to be the perfect spot to get acclimated. It was a little further from the city center, but the hotel offered a free cab service to and fro, so that really wasn’t a problem. Breakfast was included, and the rooms were super comfy.
Anyway, while we did spend the first two days getting acclimated, we also explored a bit of the city center and ate at some pretty tasty restaurants (Inka Grill for dinner our first night and Pacha Papa for lunch the second day were two highly notable places. Everyone who heard we were going to Cusco told us to also hit up Jack’s Cafe, which we did, and while I found the food to be good, it wasn’t a place that I particularly felt was truly authentic or anything all that amazing. If you’re looking for a good place for something easy and breezy like sandwiches or salads, though, this would be a good place to try.)
^^ Super narrow streets and alleyways chock full of people made walking an interesting proposition as it was, but add in the high altitude and suddenly walking up even a couple flights of stairs would leave us breathless!
^^ There are quite a few churches in the main square in Cusco. We didn’t happen to visit any of them, but they sure were pretty to look at.
^^ All of the children wear uniforms to school in Peru, whether they go to public or private school, which I thought was so interesting, and not such a bad idea.
^^ How funny was the balcony at this restaurant/bar? We took to lovingly referring to it as the “long skinny” bar. Still, the view was pretty unforgettable.
While there’s so much I could say here about Cusco, in an effort to avoid making each destination’s blog post way too long, I’m going to go ahead and reiterate some info from an email I sent my family and some friends after we had been in Cusco for a couple of days:
— The difference between a llama and an alpaca is that alpaca’s are shorter with shorter ears.
— The heaviest rock the Inca’s moved back in the day was 130 TONS. A couple years ago as an experiment the Peruvians tried to move a 30 ton rock using the traditional anchor methods the Inca’s would have used. It took 250 men and 30-40 minutes to move it 100 meters. The quaries where these rocks would have come from were four to seven miles away, across a river … so you do the math.
— After they finally evicted their corrupt president in the 1980s (who literally used to smuggle cocaine on his plane bc it wasn’t checked at the borders — although he did also eradicate national terrorism and helped set up a public education system) and put in place a new president, tourism skyrocketed. Tourism is now the biggest industry in Cusco.
— They eat guinea pigs here. And alpaca. ‘Nuff said.
— The women here carry their babies in bright bundles on their backs. It’s sort of adorable.
— The city of Cusco is actually higher elevation (10,991 ft) than Machu Picchu (7,874).
On our third day in Cusco we began our tour with Cusi Travel (which I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a Machu Picchu tour group), which included first a tour of some of the areas surrounding Cusco and Sacred Valley, as well as our Inca Trail hike and visit to Machu Picchu (we added on the Huayna Picchu hike to our tour as well, but I’m getting ahead of myself now …)
^^ Alpaca’s at Sacsayhuaman (pronounced “Sexy Woman”) outside of Cusco.
^^ View of Cusco city from “Sexy Woman”.
^^ We stopped at an animal rescue place on the way to Sacred Valley and got to see some pretty cool things, to include Condors taking flight.
^^ A visit to Ollantaytambo would be high on my list of things to do in Cusco as well. The indentions to the right in this photo were actually the “bank” of the Inca’s, where they kept the currency of the day, which was food. It was up so high because that kept the food dry and out of the elements. In the middle you might notice what appears to be a face carved into the mountain. It’s rumored that the Inca’s actually carved this face into the side of the mountain, but not everyone today actually still believes that to be the truth — some say it’s just coincidence.
Anyway, check back tomorrow for the next and last installment of our Peru adventure — the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu and Huayanu Picchu. Bis bald, friends!
^^ Well friends, this is the fourth and final photo that I’ll be posting for the ’52 Project’ series from our trip to South America. We saw this little guy when we were about halfway through our bus ride from Escazu to Tamarindo, Costa Rica, and he pretty much embodies what I think of when I think of Costa Rica. Vibrant. Lively. Fun. Pura Vida, baby! As I type this I’m sitting at my mom’s dining room table back in upstate New York. We arrived home from our trip around midnight last night, and I’m looking forward to going through all the photos and posting some more in-depth info from the trip which was, without a doubt, the trip of a lifetime.
^^ Hey guys! So once again our internet abilities is forcing me to post a 52 Project photo on a Sunday instead of a Monday. We are currently in Escazu, Costa Rica, and we leave bright and early tomorrow morning for our 5th and final destination of our South American tour — Tamarindo, Costa Rica. The photo above, though, is from my new absolute favorite place on earth – the Galápagos Islands. There is so much I can’t wait to share about this trip, but I can say without a doubt that the Galápagos Islands are one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been. I’m making it my travel mission to get back to this place again. Bis bald, friends – my next post will be coming at ya from back in the States. Massive bummer.
^^ So I know it’s Sunday, not Monday, but Chris and I will be in the Galapagos all this week with no internet connection, so this post comes at you now or never, friends ;) We just arrived back from the Amazon today, and it was an absolutely spectacular time. We loved the lodge where we stayed, and we saw so many amazing creatures and had tons of adventures. For example, the shower in our lodge was screened in at the back and offered a full-on view of the jungle, and the second night we were there I just happened to catch the little guy above and about a half dozen of his friends playing in the trees right outside. Can’t say that’s something that’s ever happened to me before! Much more to come on the Amazon in the upcoming weeks — bis bald friends!
How’s it going? So Chris and I are currently in Quito, Ecuador, awaiting our flight out to the Amazon rainforest tomorrow (squeeee!). After the Amazon it’s on to the Galapagos (my No. 1 travel bucket list place, by the way … No big deal), then Costa Rica. We’ve been having an amazing (and somewhat eye-opening and life changing) time in South America so far, and while I don’t have time to share a ton of details right now (plus who can blog on an iPad? Not me!), I figured I could at least share some photos.
Here’s a bit of what we’ve seen so far:
Bis bald, friends! More deets to come later!
^^ Happy November friends! Chris and I are now in Quito, Ecuador, on our way to both the Amazon and the Galapagos. We finished our tour of Peru, and it was more than we could have hoped for (reference the photo above of myself and Chris, enjoying the view of Machu Picchu after trekking up the Inca Trail. I was hoping to be able to blog more, but to be honest … I’ve been exhausted! And we’re about to head into no-Internet territory, so even these weekly photo posts may be late coming. But needless to say, it’s been a pretty once-in-a-lifetime experience so far — and we’re so looking forward to what else is coming. Bis bald, friends!
^^ Well friends, it’s been an insane week. Chris and I packed up the past six years of our lives in apartment 4W in NYC, and we left yesterday for the first leg of our four-week South American tour, landing in Cusco, Peru, early this morning (hence this photo). I’ll do my best to keep you guys updated as the trip progresses, but I may not always have the Internet. Stay tuned!
Earlier this year when Chris and I were coming home from STOMP, I randomly stopped to snap a shot of the Astor Place subway sign.
When I downloaded the photo onto my computer back in January, it got me thinking about how my current work stop was Bleecker. And how I used to get off at Grand Central. And how you can transfer at Grand Central to the Shuttle or the 7 to Times Square …. all of which led me to concoct this post — The A’s, B’s, C’s and So On of New York City Transportation.
I sat at my desk, and it only took me about 20 minutes to come up with a subway stop, train line or mode of NYC transportation representing every letter of the alphabet.
Of course it took me months to actually find the time to make it to each of these stops to photograph them, and unfortunately I ran out of time in this, the last full week of us actually living in Manhattan, so I have to admit that some of these are a bit of a cheat. Most of them, however, are not, so without further adieu, here, my friends, is the outcome of my brilliant plan … an alphabetic representation of Manhattan transportation [for what it’s worth ;)]
^^Hunter College (68th St.): Shot on 10/23/14
Connected to the 6
^^ Port Authority (on 8th and 42nd): Shot on 9/27/14
Connect to buses in New York and New Jersey
Well here we are friends — at my final entry in this ‘In NYC’ series. Chris and I officially leave the apartment on Saturday, and we fly out to South America on Sunday to start our new journey.
But we won’t go into that just now. For now, let’s talk about something fun … like shopping in New York! There’s no better place to do it, friends. Here are a few of my favorite haunts.
Where to Go Shopping In NYC
1. Chelsea Market [for any and everything]: Especially around the holidays, Chelsea Market is one of my all-time favorite places to shop (and even just hang out) in NYC. They have some seriously delicious eats, dozens of retail stores and, as an added bonus, it’s close enough to the High Line to hit up both in the same day. That would be one of my ideal ways to spend a shopping day in Manhattan.
2. Union Square Farmer’s Market [for produce]: Check out amazing produce from local farmers every Monday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Union Square at the Greenmarket. In peak season there are around 140 regional farmers, fishermen and bakers, selling their goods smack dab in the middle of the city. It’s a pretty fun experience.
3. The West Village [for a picturesque stroll]: With its cobblestone streets and nooks and crannies, nothing says old-timey New York quite like the West Village. Go for a stroll here and you’ll happen upon tons of boutiques, cafes and other gems. (Or get a feel for the lay of the land ahead of time with this guide on the best places to shop in the West Village.)
4. Century 21 [for discount clothing]: For great clothes at knock-out prices, my husband swears by Century 21. You’ll have to do a little digging here (and have a lot of patience), but if you can handle the crowds, you’re bound to score some pretty awesome finds.
5. The Strand [for books]: If you’re a book lover, plan to spend hours in this literary Mecca. Chris and I just hit up The Strand a few days ago to sell back some of my old books that we won’t be taking to Denver (hello $30!), and I was reminded of how awesome this place is. Their tagline is ’18 miles of new, used and rare books’ … don’t you want to see that?
6. Grand Central Market [for treats]: I’ve mentioned the Grand Central Market before on this blog (most recently regarding the awesome cheese options they have there), but it’s worth mentioning in the shopping section, too, because it’s just that awesome. With about a dozen individual sellers, anything your little heart desires, you can find it here. Candy. Breads. Cheese. Fruit. Coffee. Tea. Chocolate. While it’s relatively small in size, the Grand Central Market is a treat-lovers haven.
7. Gotham West Market [for a smorgasbord]: If you’re with a group of people who just can’t agree on what to eat, Gotham West Market is the place to go. I’ve talked about this place before here, but with their eight artisanal food options, there’s something for everyone. It’s also close walk to the Hudson River Park, so you can eat a little, take a little walk, then eat a little more. My favorite things in life.
And that concludes my ‘In NYC’ series, friends. I hope you found something that piques your interest, or that inspires you to add to your ‘must see’ list the next time you’re in town. I know these places will always be on my list when Chris and I make our way back to the city to visit (which we plan to do a lot).
Bis bald, friends. I hope everyone’s having a great week.
^^ My melancholy (and that’s putting it very lightly) string of farewells continued this past weekend with drinks and dinner at some friends’ new apartment in the Bronx (served with an appetizer of sobbing, done by me) and a Sunday afternoon meet-up at Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho for some cookie shots with amaretto milk (above) and flaming smores. The tastiness of these treats did not, however, quench my sadness :/
Welcome, friends, to the 8th installment of my In NYC series, wherein I discuss the most amazing places in the city to eat cheese. I know that sounds odd (it felt odd just typing it), but cheese is something of a thing here in Manhattan. People have their own favorite places, we’re all about the artisanal cheeses, and you absolutely do not show up at someone’s place without bringing a block of your stinkiest findings along.
So, friends, here are some of my favorite places to load up on this tasty treat.
Where to Get Cheese In NYC
1. Murray’s Cheese: With monthly clubs to join, classes to take and an entire section on their website dedicated to simply teaching about cheese, Murray’s is about more than just tasting cheese — it’s about learning everything is there to know about this delicacy.
2. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: I’ve mentioned Beecher’s before on this blog, so I won’t go into too much detail here again, but I’ll just say that I love the fact that you can actually watch them making the cheese at Beecher’s. [And their downstairs cafe and wine area helps bring this place to the top of my cheese list, as well.]
3. Lucy’s Whey: Granted this is a neighborhood fave and maybe a bit out of the way for your average tourist, Lucy’s Whey (located at Lexington and 93rd in our hood, or 425 W. 15th St.), has a lot going for it. The staff is always super friendly at the store in our neighborhood, and have been very helpful when I’ve stopped in. Plus their little cafe is a great place to grab some lunch.
4. DTLA Cheese [Grand Central Market]: Mostly because of its fun and fabulous location in the Grand Central Market, DTLA Cheese makes a great pit stop when you’re heading in or out on Metro North.
5. The Cheese Counter at Fairway Market: If you don’t have the time to seek out a dedicated cheese store, hop on into a Fairway Market and hit up the Artisanal & Gourmet Cheese Counter. With over 600 types of cheeses available and classes to boot, the Fairway Cheese Counter can certainly hold its own against an actual cheese store.
6. Vitner Wine Market [dying to try]: Along with everything else on the menu here, the cheese plates sound out of this world. [Hey Cow Plate with Brie, Teleggio, Raclette and Aged Gouda … I’m coming for you.]
And that’s it for the cheeses, my friends. My last ‘In NYC’ category [which I will justbarely squeak out while we’re still actually living in NYC] will be Shop In NYC.
Bis bald, friends!
Last night I ticked another rooftop bar off my NYC bucket list with two friends who I needed to say goodbye to before we leave. The place was The Kimberly, and the rooftop of the hotel is an enclosed bar (although I think during nice weather it’s actually open) with a fantastic (on a normal day without fog) view of the Chrysler building and midtown Manhattan. It’s expensive for the cocktails ($18), but the beers are $8 (which is par for the course in midtown, pretty much), and the guacamole and fries were pretty tasty, too.
^^ These ladies are pretty much the best. See that glow-ey building in the back? That’s the Chrysler, in all her foggy glory.
I’d recommend checking out The Kimberly Hotel rooftop if you’re in the midtown area — it’s definitely worth at least a pit stop.
^^ Well friends, it begins. Our rounds of saying good-bye to friends as (possibly) the last time as Manhattan dwellers has commenced. Last week I saw an old boss and a former co-worker, and tonight and tomorrow I have drinks with old friends, as well. Over the weekend I headed to my parents’ house over in Jersey to spend some quality time with my sisters (at a winery, naturally), and help my parents babysit our nephew while my sister and her husband went to a concert.
Were you guys fans of the show “The Office”? Well in the series finale, there’s a scene where Andrew Bernard says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ole’ days before you’ve actually left them.” Well that’s exactly what this feels like to me, friends, the good ole’ days. And I’m feeling very sad to leave them …
So I haven’t updated this series in a while, have I? With our days in this amazing city numbered, I wanted to make sure that I got through the last three categories I had mapped out, so welcome to today’s tour — the best places (in my humble opinion) to take photographs in NYC.
So without further ado …
Where to Take Great Photos in NYC
1. Top of the Rock: It’s touristy for a reason, my friends. While the Empire State Building is a nostalgic must for many visitors, if you hit up the Top of the Rock you’ll be able to actually take photos of the Empire State Building — along with the rest of the city.
2. The Boat Basin/Hudson River Promenade: If the river’s more your thing, walk yourself on over to The Boat Basin for some beers, and while you’re over there take a stroll down the Hudson River Promenade (which is especially gorgeous in the spring when the trees are blooming).
3. The Staten Island Ferry: A quick ride on the Staten Island Ferry is an easy way to get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty … without all the horrible lines.
4. Madison Square Park [for Flatiron and Empire State Views]: The park in and of itself is quite lovely (and often full of art and sculptures from local artists), but it’s also the perfect spot to take stunning photos with either the Flatiron or Empire State Building in the background.
5. Pier 25: Two summers ago now, a friend of mine rented a sail boat for her now-husband’s 30th birthday, and Chris and I were just lucky participants on that trip around the NYC harbor. We set sail from Pier 25, though, and let me tell you — the view was some kind of special.
6. Dying to try: Manhattanhenge: Friends, I’ve had the best of intentions for many years now to catch this yearly Manhattan phenomenon. Alas — it was never meant to be. Manhattanhenge — so coined by Neil deGrasse Tyson, “occurs when the setting sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough’s grid.” If you’re lucky enough to be here during one of the two times a year that this happens, get thyself to a good vantage point (clear cross streets include 14th, 23rd, 34th. 42nd, 57th, and several streets adjacent to them), and bring your camera!
And those are them, my friends — six great places to take photos in Manhattan.
See ya next time for … drum roll, please … the best places to score cheese in NYC. (We take our cheese very seriously here, friends.)
^^ This past weekend we celebrated our fifth (and final that we can actually attend) wedding celebration. This one was for my freshman college roommate, and it was held at Sleepy Hollow Country Club in Tarrytown, NY. Although the day started out gloomy and rainy, by the time we all made it back to the Country Club for the outdoor cocktail hour and photos, the skies had cleared and the sun was glorious. It turned out to be a beautiful day! Congrats to Carla & Ryan — we love you guys!
So yesterday was my last day in Albuquerque.
It really was an amazing, educational and exciting trip. Between the gorgeous scenery, delicious food, tasty drinks and fun activities, I’m not sure if I could say exactly what my favorite part of the trip was — I just know that it was all pretty spectacular.
For my last morning in New Mexico, the Albuquerque Convention & Visitor’s Bureau had set me up with an appointment at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm. I would be having breakfast with Nancy, their director of hospitality and sustainability, but my itinerary mentioned that I might want to show up a bit early so I could take in the “beautiful grounds”.
Ummm — they weren’t kidding when they said beautiful. Before getting to the photos, let me share a little bit about the Inn and farm, in general. The land where the Inn & farm are currently located was originally inhabited by the Anasazi (ancient pueblo Indians) in the 14th century, and in 1716 it was made part of the Elena Gallegos land grant. The original rach was owned by Ambrosio and Juan Cristobal Armijo, but it was reassembled by Albert and Ruth Simms in the 1930s. Today the Ranch encompasses 25 acres, which includes both the Inn and a working farm. The area still features many important works of art and craftsmanship from back in the day, including John Gaw Meem (who was widely considered New Mexico’s greatest 20th century architect), Walter Gilbert (one of the only Albuquerque artists to have worked at Los Poblanos) and Laura Gilpin (one of the most important photographers of the Southwest). The Greely Garden was created by Rose Greely, a pioneer female landscape architect and designer of the 1932 formal Spanish-style gardens at Los Poblanos.
In addition to the beautiful land and artwork, the restaurant menu changes daily, and always features fresh ingredients right off the farm including eggs, honey, fruits and vegetables from the fields.
^^ The lavender fields weren’t in bloom right now, but how amazing are they?
^^ We had these fresh figs with our breakfast. And while of course the figs I ate in Calabria that were grown on my family farm will always be No. 1 … I must say these were a seriously close second.
^^ Although it was cold the morning I ate breakfast here, in warmer-weather months this portico is open to the Inn guests for them to eat their meals outside.
^^ Organic is the name of the game here, and Nancy, who I ate breakfast with, does a great job at making sure they Inn stays as up-to-date as possible with the newest and best sustainable, organic practices.
^^ This library. To. Die. For.
^^ The kitchen is a masterpiece, as well.
^^ The Farm Shop is a must-visit if you’re in the area. I learned about the different types of lavender (and got to smell them both) and tasted real balsamic vinegar — not that crap you buy in the store. Holy crap, friends — I don’t think I’ll ever feel the same way about the fake, store-bought kind again!
^^ Gorgeous lavender bundles! If only I weren’t flying home!
And that, my friends, was it. Spending my last morning on the farm was a fantastic way to end the trip with a bang. And while I would highly recommend doing any one (or all!) of the things that were on my itinerary, if you do decide to visit Albuquerque (and you should!), there is so much else to explore … the possibilities are endless.
Thanks again so much to the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau — you sure weren’t kidding when you said Albuquerque has a lot to offer!
Bis bald, friends — I’ll see you soon!
Welcome to my second day in Albuquerque, my friends, wherein I woke up supremely early to do something that I was in my heart of hearts really hoping I would get to do while I was here — a hot air balloon ride!
I rode with the Rainbow Ryders, and it was everything I had hoped it would be and (so much) more. Despite the fact that I was woefully unprepared for the frigid morning air (wear sweaters and coats and closed-toe shoes and scarves if you’re lucky enough to go on a ride!), the weather warmed up pretty quickly, especially since we were standing right under blasting fire for an hour once we started on our way …
^^ Have I mentioned yet that it’s almost Balloon Fiesta here in Albuquerque, wherein hundreds of thousands of people flock to the city to watch the world’s largest (I can’t back that up, but seems like it should be!) hot air balloon show? Anyway, the field where all of this will take place is where we all go to set up the balloons.
After the ride, we toasted with mimosas and muffins back in the Balloon Fiesta field, and they even gave us these cute certificates to take home. It was a truly Albuquerque-ian thing to do, and I’m so glad I got the chance.
After the ride (which starts at 6:15, but the way), I had a little time before my lunch meeting, so I took up one of the suggestions from the Albuquerque Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (who invited me out here, if you’ll remember) and visited Wagner’s Farmland Experience. Even the road out to the farm is picturesque, with little fruit stops and restaurants on the way, and the farm itself had some pretty spectacular views.
^^ Who doesn’t love a good petting zoo?
^^ The 2014 corn maze is up at Wagner’s right now and I thought … “What the heck? It can’t be that hard, right?” WRONG. I am seriously directionally challenged, my friends. Lucky for me a group of elementary school kids were tackling the maze and I followed them out of the thing. (Not without lots of confused looks and questions, though.) And a big shout out to my husband for trying to help me find the way out of the maze, from all the way back in Manhattan, using Google maps :) I’m not sure if that’s cool or creepy …
^^ The end of the maze led you out to a cute little pumpkin patch.
So, once that adventure was over, it was back into the car to head to lunch at El Pinto, a spectacular New Mexican restaurant with an amazing outdoor garden and eating area (and even more amazing tequila, as I would come to find out).
^^ The house Margherita is anything but ordinary.
^^ They even bottle personal tequila for patrons who can purchase it at the restaurant and keep it there for any time they come in.
^^ Oh, and by the way, a warehouse in the back makes 25,000 cans of salsa each day to distribute. This is their special version specifically for Balloon Fiesta weekend.
^^ And here was my tequila tasting. All in a day’s work, friends, all in a day’s work.
^^ After lunch I was taken to the back to see the warehouse and the garden, where the restaurant is starting to try to grown some of the foods that they’ll later prepare.
^^ Dessert was the restaurant’s version of a tiramisu, called Levante. It’s made with biscochitos, the traditional New Mexican cookie (they were declared so by the New Mexico Legislature in 1989, and were first introduced to Mexico by Spanish settlers who brought the recipe from Spain). This dessert was every bit as decadent as it looks, my friends.
After lunch I had stops at two breweries. The first was the Red Door Brewing Company, which actually just opened its doors about three weeks ago. Their cider was actually my favorite drink (that and the milk stout), and it actually has the highest alcohol content, as well. (Boy do I know how to pick ‘em.) Since it was early when I got there (around 1:30), there weren’t too many other people around yet, but three cyclists came in about 15 minutes before I had to leave, and it was really great talking to them. One of the two men in the group was with the traveling tour of Wicked, which is in town now, and the two others were taking him around on their own, self-made Breaking Bad bike tour. (Ummm, here’s where I admit that I’ve never watched the show. Sorry Albuquerque! Before I come back I promise to give it a go!)
After Red Door I moved on to a brewery staple here in Albuquerque — Marble Brewery. This place had a nice patio outside where they bring live performers, too.
While I’d love to say that I kept going strong after Marble Brewery, the truth is, friends, that this gal needed a little nap. Unfortunately that means that I’ll probably not get to make it out to the Nob Hill area of the city, which is disappointing. But I still have one more fun activity planned for tomorrow, so that leaves me with a bit of something to look forward to after what can only be described as an amazing, entertaining trip.
Dinner Wednesday night, by the way, was at Mas, the tapas restaurant right inside my hotel, and I was given a tour of the hotel as well, which turned out to be especially important since apparently I was seriously missing out on so many amazing facts about this place.
But let’s start with dinner. Hot gouda apple bake w/ crostini, patatas bravas (crispy fried potatoes w/spicy mayo), bruschetta de la boca (toasted bread w/ mushroom-manchego cream, fried egg & truffle oil) and grilled artichokes w/spanish goat cheese, orange zest and mint.
And those were our appetizers.
Dinner for me was the classic veggie paella – and absolutely everything was to. die. for.
And now a bit more about this amazing hotel. The hotel has been around since 1939, when Conrad Hilton completed it as his first New Mexican hotel for $700,000. At the time, it was the tallest building in New Mexico, and the first in all of New Mexico to have air conditioning.
In 1984 the building was placed on the National register of Historic Places, and after being purchased a few additional times, it was finally sold to Gary Goodman in 2005 and promptly shut down for four years for $30 million-worth of renovations. Despite the renovations, though, a lot of the original existing structure runs throughout the hotel, still.
^^ While Goodman originally envisioned this room directly across from the restaurant to be open as a sort of nightclub to the general public, he quickly realized that the general public didn’t necessarily mesh well with the upscale clientele staying at the hotel, and so now only private, ticketed events happen here.
^^ I know this isn’t the greatest photo, but please stick with me here. So one of the hotel staff currently working at Andaluz actually has worked at this hotel ever since it first opened its doors. When Goodman purchased the hotel in ’05, he turned to this staffer to learn more about what the place was like back in its heyday. During one of these conversations, he learned about a mural — this mural– that had been painted on one of the main walls as you enter the hotel and that had since been painted over. So he commissioned an artist to recreate the original painting from old photos. This is exactly as the photo was back when the hotel first opened, with the one small exception of the third figure’s ankle, which is slightly off the ground. The artist did this to leave his mark on his work, but otherwise the painting is an exact replica.
^^ These casbahs can be rented out and hotel guests can have dinner and drinks in them privately.
^^ So this wooden structure — which is actually much larger than this photo lets on — was originally commissioned to hang in the elevators, but didn’t pass fire code. So the panels were quickly removed and sent to the basement, where they spent many years until they were moved up to the main lobby for all to enjoy.
^^ So I know this might seem like a mistaken photo of the floor, but it’s actually seriously cool! So back in the days when the hotel first opened, the reception area used to be where the casbahs are now situated. The bellman would stand in this one spot, because he had the perfect vantage point to see guests coming in from both entrances. And for this reason alone, that very spot is actually worn out in certain spots, and when you stand on it, you can feel the dipping where the bellman’s standing has worn out the tile. That’s pretty incredible, is it not?
^^ The library is definitely one of my favorite rooms.
^^ And this is Ibiza, the 2nd floor, outdoor rooftop bar for the hotel.
Which brings me to one final note about this awesome hotel – it’s sustainability. From their solar heated water systems and compost system to the building’s seriously advanced energy management system (the rooms literally use sensors to detect when a person is in the room or not and uses that to determine when lights/heat/air should be on and off), Andaluz is one of the greenest spots in Albuquerque hands down.
Alright friends — well that’s been the bulk of my trip, for sure. I head back to good ole’ NYC tomorrow after a quick pit stop at one more place. It’s been a whirlwind, but it’s been so much fun. It’s been real, Albuquerque … and I have a definite feeling you’ll be seeing me again some day!
Bis bald, friends!
So these past few days have been a whirlwind, but I wanted to try to get stuff down as it’s happening, so I’ll do my best to get through this post (even though my eyes are drooping as I type — so please forgive any typos!). The good people at the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau so kindly invited me out to New Mexico for a press trip, which of course I happily accepted. I flew out early Monday morning and arrived around 5 p.m. Monday evening.
And I’ve been on the go ever since.
So of course I have about 1,000 photos to share, and I figured the best way to go about this (at least the first two-days’ worth) is to explain via photo what I’ve done so far on my trip. For starters, I’m staying at Hotel Andaluz, which is located conveniently in downtown Albuquerque and is so stunningly modern and wonderful I can’t stand it. I’ll be having dinner at the restaurant here tomorrow night, too, so I’ll be sure to share how that goes.
Anyway, on to a bit of what I’ve seen so far. Hold on to your hats kids — it’s been a wild two days!
I’m not gonna lie friends — as our weekends slowly whittle down during our last full month living here in the city, it seems like every single thing we decide to do is important. That’s why I’m pretty happy with our weekend choices from last weekend, if I do say so myself.
To start off Saturday, we had to break in some new hiking boots we bought for our trek up Machu Picchu, so we decided to do that with a heart-pounding, rock-climbing hike up Breakneck Ridge, which is where we went for my 30th birthday, ummmm, a few years ago :/
Anyway, Saturday was a glorious day for a hike, and here’s a bit of what we saw:
Needless to say, our shoes are more than broken in after that hike. You can take a bunch of different trails on Breakneck, but we chose the same one we did for my birthday, which is about 3 miles and includes a whole lot of rocks to climb, and a whole lot of spectacular views.
After working up a sweat that morning (way more exercise than I’m used to, friends), I was beyond excited for our dinner plans at The Monkey Bar with some of Chris’s family friends who are in town visiting from Australia. It had been my suggestion (of course), and I couldn’t wait to go there again. We had made the reservations online, and when we arrived were a bit sad to realize that the main dining room was closed, and we were seated in the bar area. It turned out okay, though, because the piano player started about halfway through our dinner (and was fantastic), and afterwards we asked the manager if we could take a stroll through the main dining room to check out the painting that lines the back wall. Not only did he oblige, but he handed over a smaller depiction of the painting that contained a key for who everyone in the painting is.
So we spent a couple minutes walking around the entire length of the room, checking out the painting. This was much closer than I got to it last time we were here!
After dinner we decided to stop off somewhere for a nightcap, and here, my friends, is where living in Manhattan really comes in handy. Because every now and then you might say, “Hey, how about a nightcap at that cute place we passed on the way to dinner with the jockeys outside,” and stumble into some place with so much history, just accidentally.
So the place we ended up, the pace with the jockeys outside, was actually the 21 Club. It was only fitting that we ended up here after dinner at The Monkey Bar (what with its own prohibition era history and folklore), because the 21 Club has plenty of its own amazing facts to tout. According to their website, ” ’21’ has never been a private members club. Even in the dangerous days of American Prohibition, the front door was always open to the public, although it’s fair to say that certain ‘guests’ wouldn’t be welcome.
A receptionist or ‘screener’ would be employed to keep certain characters out, including gangsters (most notably John Thomas ‘Legs’ Diamond, who wanted a cut of the business) and federal agents (at least until prohibition was repealed in December 1933).”
Apparently the place has a disappearing bar from when they used to need to hide the booze at a moment’s notice, and it’s also been featured in more NYC movies than any other restaurant, including All About Eve, Sweet Smell of Success, Written on the Wind, Wall Street, One Fine Day, The Associate, Sex and the City, The Apprentice and Rear Window.
There are some pretty amazing facts about the place here, as well, my favorite being about the eclectic collection of toys that hang from the ceiling in the dining area. Apparently they started out as an ego contest. The first was a model plane from British Airways, which they hung over the table to impress investors. When Howard Hughes was dining there it caught his eye, and he insisted the place hang one of his planes as well. And so began the bragging-via-toys contest. These days the collection includes a model PT-109 boat from President Kennedy, a baseball bat from Willie Mays, a pool cue from the set of The Hustler, an Air Force One flyer from President Clinton, ice skates from Dorothy Hamill and a tennis racquet from Chris Evert.
According to the site, the staff dusts each of the 1,000 pieces on a regular basis, treating them as priceless antiques which, I guess you could say they are.
So Saturday was, for all intents and purposes, the perfect, old-school New York night. Exactly the kind of night I would like to have as we begin to wind down our time here. (And I begin to start crying every single day. Seriously. Don’t even get me started.)
Sunday we started what I’m sure will be a heart-tugging, emotional round of farewells to friends throughout the next couple of weeks. We met up with one of my best friends from high school and her (brand new!) husband for brunch at The Smith in the East Village.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Anyway, this week I’m doing some traveling in New Mexico, and I’m really excited to share all that information here soon, as well. But for now, bis bald, my friends! I’ll be back soon …
^^ I’m not gonna lie my friends — it was hard to pick just one picture from this past week to share. (More on that to come later.) But here she be, the one photo I decided to pick– my husband, manning the camera on our glorious Breakneck Ridge hike on Saturday. Gotta love a man who can wield a camera — am I right?
Well, Chris gave his notice last week, and I’ve told all my freelance clients as well — we’ll be taking the months of November and December to travel, then we’re moving to Denver at the beginning of January.
I haven’t thought this much about Manhattan since I was a naïve college freshman, majoring in journalism and dreaming of the day I would move into my own tiny little apartment anywhere I could afford in this amazing city, working my way up through the ranks at the magazine of my dreams.
Of course now that we’re moving away, all that I can think about is how I got here, and what a wild ride it’s been since.
My Manhattan chapter never involved most of the things I originally thought it would. The dingy, shoebox sized basement apartment. Unemployment. The vast debt and, in some cases, even vaster loneliness. My Manhattan story started out as a light at the end of the tunnel. After a particularly difficult breakup – which culminated with my moving back in with my parents in New Jersey for a period of eight months at the ripe old age of 23 — I was eager to take the first thing that came along if it would start me on the life I knew I was meant to live – the one that was waiting for me in Manhattan.
Instead of a dingy basement apartment, though, the first offer that came along was a humongous (by New York standards) bedroom in a converted 3-bedroom apartment in an elevator, doorman building in the Upper East Side — with laundry in the basement, to boot.
I remember the day I met Alexis – the girl who would become one of my first Manhattan roommates – in Bryant Park. I had just come from my internship at Jane, which I loved, and the stop to meet her was right along my route back to the Port Authority along 42nd Street to catch the bus back to my parents’ house. Alexis wore soccer shorts, sneakers and a t-shirt, and I was immediately at ease. “I can do this,” I remember thinking. “I can move back in with roommates after having lived with only my parents and my ex-boyfriend for the past two years.
And I can do it in Manhattan, too.”
Maura and Alexis were great roommates. We got along, were friendly enough and were always cognoscente of each other’s personal time and space. We were never rude or disrespectful … everything was just fine. My room in Normandy Court was so large that it basically fit most of the worldly possessions I had up to that point, and what I was missing, Maura and Alexis had provided for the apartment, having already lived there for two years before I arrived.
From the September I moved into Normandy in 2007 until the April I moved out in 2008, my Manhattan life was moving along exactly as I would have expected it to. My two best friends from college also lived in Manhattan, and having Alexis and Maura as roommates – girls who I genuinely liked – curbed any of that loneliness I had heard about and prepared for. I had moved on from being a not-at-all-paid intern at Jane to a not-so-well-paid freelance editorial assistant at another magazine, and then on again to an ever-so-slightly-better-paid on-staff EA at another magazine, and that was just as it should be. Because I’m a bit of a freak and there’s nothing I love more than budgeting, I made it work (with the help of a little bit of credit card debt in the process, of course).
Then, when I was least expecting it (and to be honest, not really exactly wanting it), I met Chris. In the most spectacular of New York fashions, I met an adorable Australian on New Years Eve at a gypsy punk band concert who was leaving to live in Canada in two weeks.
After we remained together the entire time Chris was gone (naturally), and he moved back to the states to accept the full-time job his internship had offered him and to continue our relationship (obviously), it was time to leave Normandy Court – the place that was my first official home in Manhattan – and find a place to live together.
I searched all over this island – midtown, the West Village, Chelsea, etc. — and settled on the second-to-last apartment I saw, one that happened to be only one block from my former residence at Normandy. That one-bedroom, fourth-floor walk-up between 2nd and 3rd Avenue would become our home for the next six years. It’s where we adopted our first pet together – a rabbit named Nugget – and then our second, a cat named Penny.
It’s where we lived when we got engaged five years later, and then married. It’s the apartment where we took wedding photos, had our first arguments, discussed our future and talked about having babies. It’s the apartment where I went through another magazine job, then an online editor job, until finally settling on fulltime freelance writing, and where Chris moved up the ranks at three different advertising companies.
We turned 30 living in the apartment, bought our first Christmas trees together in this apartment and celebrated our one-year anniversary here.
This apartment. This one-bedroom, fourth-floor walk-up apartment.
And this Manhattan. My Manhattan. I became an adult here. I founded my career here. Met the love of my life here. Got married here. I’ve cried here. Gone into debt here. Become financially savvy here. I’ve made oh so many amazing, wonderful friends – friends that I more than a little bit worry that I’ll lose when we move.
But this place, for all its laundry list of amazingness, has taken a lot out of me, as well. It’s exhausting living here. And I’m tired of schlepping heavy bags with me every single time we’re traveling (which is a lot). And I’m tired of overpaying for our (albeit well-loved) one-bedroom apartment. I’m tired of subway rides and crowded everywhere. I’m tired of the humanity, the concrete, the sweltering, airless summers.
Slowly, one by one, those amazing, wonderful friends who I met here are all starting to move away, as well. Of course many still remain, but for some, growing up and becoming a real adult means leaving behind those not-yet-fully-formed dreams we all had of living in Manhattan. I’m not sure if I ever thought that I’d live here forever – but I sure as hell always knew that my life would have a Manhattan chapter. Coming up on 32, though, as friends all start to marry off and buy houses and have babies, I have to wonder: “Can I accomplish everything I want to in life here in Manhattan?”
Saving money for future goals (house, kids, travel) has slowly become a game of randomly picking and choosing when we can actually enjoy this city and go out and spend time in it. Sure, there’s a lot to do that’s free, but there’s also a heck of a lot more to do that’s not.
I’ve loved my time here even more than I think my naïve college freshman self could have imagined. Living in New York means so many things – and you do become a bit hardened after being here for seven years. To me, it all boils down to one thing: Do I want to wait until my Manhattan memories become something I resent? Isn’t it better to go out on a high note, feeling like you took absolutely everything you could from this place that you love – and that you gave back just as good as you got?
Writing this essay right now, staring out at my fire escape watching the goings-on on the street below, I’m not so sure anymore.
What I know I’m happy about is the fact that our new apartment – wherever that may end up being – will contain so many artifacts from our life here in New York City, both outright and subtle.
- The kitchen gear that I picked up when I worked as an assistant to the food editor at a magazine.
- The huge pop art, close-up photo of myself and Chris that was brought to me by a company during a deskside meeting at one of the magazines where I worked.
- The old-timey map of the five boroughs that Chris and I found at a vintage store in Saratoga Springs.
- The ‘New York City Walking Tours’ tourist cards that were left here by Chris’s parents after one particular visit – along with all their other ‘Must Do in New York’ memorabilia.
- The Christmas tree ornaments purchased at the Bryant Park holiday booths.
- The plants we picked up at the Home Depot on 58th St. and somehow managed to keep alive.
- The New York Post I kept from the first time Obama was elected as President.
- The gorgeous chair I bought from the Pier 1 that used to exist on 3rd and 87th, that I carried all the way home by myself.
I’ll take less tangible things with me, as well, the memories that, as long as I write them down, will hopefully never fade. Things like …
- The first time I saw a movie in Manhattan. I don’t remember which movie it was, but I remember the theater – a huge one in midtown, and I went with my college roommate, who also lives here. I remember feeling so grown-up, and so exhilarated, from that most mundane of activities.
- Walking to my subway station for the first time after moving here, dressed in a skimpy dress and little black heels for a night out on the town, and the homeless man cat-calling to me from a nearby bench.
- Going to the expensive, all-natural grocery store near Normandy Court the first time I needed groceries after I moved in because it was the first one I saw, when all along there was a Gristedes literally in the basement of our building.
- Getting yelled at by a fellow resident of Normandy Court the day I moved in, all because I went back to check on my boxes when I realized I was leaving them in an unguarded area. He followed me down the hall like a deranged person, yelling, “What do you think, I’m going to steal them!? Maybe you don’t belong here in New York City!” I laughed at him and kept on walking, until the doorman told him to leave.
- Spending every day possible in the city with a high school friend the summer before I moved here, traipsing from bar to bar in SOHO, making friends with bar tenders and flirting with boys.
- Standing in the longest line I had ever seen in Central Park for a chance to see a free Vampire Weekend concert with Chris, and getting caught in torrential rain while doing so, the concert blaring in the background. We never made it in.
- Running my first half marathon in Central Park – two hill-filled laps around it – and all of the hours of training I put in with friends in the months before.
- Performing an entire month of jury duty here — enough said.
- Volunteering in Harlem for a months-long afterschool literacy program, and becoming seriously attached to my “little”.
- Coming back from an office outing in the Hamptons and watching from the bus as cops pulled a cyclist out from under a car that had hit him. He may or may not have died in that accident, and I’ll never forget being stuck in that traffic, watching the tragedy play out.
- Attending a black tie charity fundraiser event at the Marriott Marque in Times Square and being so embarrassed that I couldn’t afford to donate more than $20 to the cause at the time … but feeling fabulous in my little black dress at the same time.
- Celebrating a friend’s birthday with a trip to the Museum of Natural History for their once a month Friday night dance party – an event for which we paid $25 of our meager EA salaries – and then getting so drunk at her apartment before we even left that we stayed for five minutes, caught a taxi back to her place and spent the rest of the night taking turns throwing up our vodka Sprites and $25 sushi dinners.
- Zesty’s, oh Zesty’s. The most amazing little pizza place that used to live on the corner of 95th and 3rd. Many a drunken night my friends and I would stumble in there, ordering the pasta pizza (you can do that when you’re 24) to soak up whatever the drink of choice had been for that night. Then later, watching as Zesty’s was the first of every single business on 3rd Ave between 95th and 94th St. to be put out of business by the building owner so he could build (yet another) high-rise apartment complex there.
- The Indian food restaurant that used to live on the corner of our street, which was ranked a D for cleanliness and that I’m pretty sure gave me food poisoning.
- The insanely adorable little bridal boutique in the West Village, recommended to me by my editor at the time, where I bought my wedding dress (a short little Sarah Seven number, purchased right off the rack).
- The day Chris and I got married at City Hall, taking our wedding photos in the City Hall building, and on the steps of the building across the street that everyone thinks is City Hall but isn’t. Taking pictures in front of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building and in Madison Square Park. In Grand Central and the Highline and Central Park. Our cranky driver, who had no idea he was meant to drive us around all day on New Year’s Eve while we took photos. Eating our first dinner as a married couple at the restaurant at The Standard, and staying in one of their corner rooms that first night, surrounded by windows and the fading city lights, watching the Empire State Building put on quite the little light show at midnight.
- My first real date with Chris, wherein I was so nervous before he showed up to my apartment, not quite remembering anything in particular about him from the drunken, hazy night before, when we had met. Him showing up, adorable, handing me a six-pack of Corona he had bought at Zesty’s because you don’t show up empty handed. Deciding to go for a walk to find some place to eat – then walking down 3rd Ave. all the way into the 50s from the 90s, not finding anywhere – or not wanting to stop talking to bother looking – and turning back up on Lexington and ending back at my place, where we ordered Chinese food and chatted with my roommate Alexis about her experience abroad in Australia.
- The man who threw up in front of me on the train, and the man who peed in front of me at the subway entrance the very next day. The young girl having a seizure on the train, the man in a business suit who fainted, the homeless man with no legs who roams up and down on the floor of the subway cars, miraculously, begging for money.
- The way our subway stop is lined with Christmas trees to purchase every December, all December long, and picking one out each year for our place, the size of the tree growing in proportion to our salaries.
- Taking the subway into Grand Central when I worked in midtown, and entering my building which was directly across the street from the Chrysler building. Then later, taking subways to Astor Place, Union Square and finally, Bleecker Street, as my jobs all brought me farther and farther downtown, but never away from my beloved – if overcrowded and perpetually stalled – 6 train.
- Walking to and from my apartment at Normandy to my job on 42nd and Lexington as many days as I could – a straight 2.8-mile walk there and 2.8 miles back.
What it all boils down to is if moving does turn out to all be a big mistake, I think I have enough memories to last me for a lifetime.
Because Manhattan – you will always have just a little piece of my heart.
As I mentioned yesterday, my sister (who went to Penn State and met her now-husband there), picks one football game every year for our whole family to go and tailgate at, and this year’s game happened this past weekend, and just happened to be against UMass, which is the college my younger sister went to.
Sibling football rivalry — gotta love it.
Except that UMass didn’t play very well at all. But oh well, tailgating and going to the game was still fun! It was, however, much different to do tailgating with a toddler ;)
^^ My family takes tailgating very seriously. This was just breakfast — bagels with poached eggs and three different kinds of cheeses and ham and bacon. We had all kinds of salads, chili, sausages, guacamole and hoagies throughout the day, too. Not to mention the drinks ;)
And that was this year in a nutshell, my friends. I hope everyone else had a fabulous weekend and is looking forward to welcoming the official start of fall with open arms. (I know I am.)
Bis bald, friends!
^^ We spent this past weekend in Penn State (where my older sister went to college and met her now-husband) with some of my family (including this adorable little guy above). Every year my family picks one Penn State game to attend and tailgate beforehand. It’s always a pretty amazing time. More photos to come tomorrow.