Life Recently: Late Summer Edition

Hi friends,

Summer certainly came and went in an instant, am I right? Mine was … ummm … interesting. There were a lot of things that happened with my family this summer that kept me busy, but along the way we still managed to have lots of NYC fun and, thanks to our plethora of weddings this fall, I was able to spend a lot of time with friends at multiple bachelorette parties and other fun events.

Here’s a bit of what’s been going on, according to my iPhone:

photo 13^^^ The gorgeous gardens at The Cloisters.

photo 12^^^ Drinks on The Refinery Hotel‘s rooftop.

photo 11^^^ Soaring high above New York City on our helicopter tour with HeliNY Tours.

photo 10^^^ Witnessing a stand-off between Penny and my friend’s cat Libbie, who Penny will be spending a lot of time with when Chris and I travel later this Fall. Hopefully they’ll eventually get on better than this photo suggests!

photo 9^^^ A little silly fun at a friend’s beautiful Red Maple Vineyard wedding over Labor Day weekend.

photo 8^^^ The amazing pink sky and white moon, as seen from my parents’ front yard. No filter needed, my friends. Amazing.

photo 7^^^ Taking a little stroll along the Hudson to The Boat Basin Cafe when a friend came for a visit.

photo 6^^^ We never got to walk the Brooklyn Bridge like we wanted to, but we did get to drive over it in a taxi 😉

photo 5^^^ Being a Broadway Baby with Lisa on our way to see This Is Our Youth.

photo 4^^^ For one of the bachelorette parties I attended this summer, we decorated our hotel room with Hawaiian-themed decor and wore tacky Hawaiian shirts, because this particular friend spent three years living there. We did a pretty dang good job, if I do say so myself!

photo 3^^^ While nightclubs certainly aren’t my thing on a regular basis, chillin’ with some old friends from high school for a couple nights at some were a lot of fun.

photo 2^^^ Atlantic City turned it on for us during one friend’s bachelorette. The weather was amazing, and we had a ton of fun.

photo 1^^^ Andddd … my little sister is engaged! ‘Nuff said 😉

And with that, I release you, summer 2014, into perpetuity. Here’s to fall. And amazing travel plans. And cooler weather. And tights and boots and sweaters and scarves. Here’s to new beginnings and saying goodbye (for now!) to friends and beloved places.

Sigh.

Back in the Borough: When Old Friends Come to Visit

Hi friends,

So I just had one of my dearest friends come to visit me in NYC, and oh the fun we had. She was here from Friday through Tuesday, and because she used to live here, there was none of that usual pressure of checking out all the touristy spots or rushing around to do as much as possible. Instead, we could pick and chose which activities meant the most to us, and isn’t that just always the best way to do things?

Anyway, I miss her a ton, and I was going through some of the photos I took while she was here and thought I’d post them to share a bit of what we did since, you know, I thought it was so much fun 😉

Just some food for thought!

01Me_and_Lise^^ I met Lisa at Penn Station on Friday (I was coming back to the city from my parents’ in Jersey, she was coming from Virginia), and before we even dropped our bags off at home we stopped at Blockheads, an amazing Mexican restaurant with even more amazing drinks called Bulldogs. (Tiny Coronas mixed in with Margaritas — yum.) Anyway the combination of Bulldogs and the beer we drank when we did finally make it back to my apartment may or may not have contributed to the silliness of this photo.

02Refinery_Rooftop^^ Granted this isn’t the best photo, but the next night we met some friends for drinks at the Refinery Rooftop, which is a pretty lovely little spot in midtown to grab a quick drink.

03Times_Square^^ After drinks we walked over to Times Square to catch a play …

04Our_Youth^^ Which was This is Our Youth, with Michael Cera, Kieran Culkin and Tavi Gevinson, now in previews at the Cort Theater.
05Me_and_Lise2^^ While we had every intention of walking the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday to meet up with friends at their apartment on the other side, we were lazy for the first half of the morning, and instead ended up grabbing a cab …

06Brooklyn_Bridge^^ And taking photos out of the window of the back seat.

07Empire_View^^ After dinner at El Cantinero in Union Square, we walked down to Washington Square Park and caught a glimpse at the Empire State gleaming in the background through the Washington Square Arches.

08Fountain_View^^ And we sat by the water fountain.
09Me_and_Lise3^^ And we took selfies.

10Hudson_River^^ The next day we walked all the way from my apartment on the Upper East Side to the Hudson River all the way as far as  you can go on the West Side.

11Boat_Basin^^ Which is where the Boat Basin is, a cute little outdoor cafe that sits right overlooking the water.

12Boat_Basin2

And that, as they say, was that, my friends. You know — in case you’re looking for ideas for when your own bestie comes to visit you in NYC 😉

Bis bald, friends!

Back in the Borough: Do in NYC

NYCBackground_Do

Welcome to the third installment of my Things to Do in NYC series. This time I’m comin’ at ya with a list of some of my favorite activities in NYC. You don’t have to be a tourist to love these things — Chris and I partake in most of them on the regular, even though we live here.

There’s really no limit to the number of things you can do in this city, and this list is maybe a bit unconventional. I didn’t include things like taking in a Broadway show (always worth it) or visiting the Empire State Building (an ancient tradition). Some of these things might take some planning, and a couple of them are seasonal, but to accomplish some or most of the things here will, I promise, make you one very happy person.

What to Do in NYC

  1. Bike in Central Park: Whether you rent your bikes from one of the many stores available near the bottom entrance of the park, or just pick up a couple of Citi Bikes, biking through the park will still allow you access to some of the most beautiful areas of CP (although be cognoscente of the areas where you are supposed to walk your bike, and not ride it),  and it might just save you a little bit of time in the process. Be warned, though — biking around the outer loop of Central Park is not all fun and games. There are some pretty tough hills to tackle, my friends, especially in the northernmost  section of the park (otherwise known as the Harlem hills). Don’t be embarrassed if you have to get off your bike and walk it up in this area … I certainly did.
  2. Walk The High Line: The High Line will always hold a special place in my heart, since Chris and I stayed at The Standard Hotel overlooking The High Line the first night that we were married. But even without a sentimental reason to visit, The High Line is still pretty amazing. This public park is actually built on a set of old freight rail lines elevated above the city on the West side. It’s free to enter, and there are tons of snack and drink vendors along the walk. There’s also a fun seated section with a huge window overlooking the street where you can sit and watch the cars drive by as if from right underneath you.  After you’ve walked The High Line, stop off at the The Standard Biergarten for some drinks and pretzels [my fave!]. Another warning for you: this place gets packed, so if at all possible, I would make your High Line walk as early as possible, so that your visit to the Beer Garden is on the earlier side, as well. [Check their hours to see what suits your schedule.]
  3. Watch Shakespeare in the Park:  So this activity definitely takes some planning, but if done correctly, it can really be a spectacular day. The hardest part about this suggestion will be actually getting the tickets for admission. There is an online ticket lottery, but the chances of actually getting tickets this way are slim-to-none. In my opinion, your best bet is to camp out for them — and camping out is half the fun! As you may recall, I did this one day last summer with a friend [and I’m hoping to do it again this summer], so I won’t go into a ton more detail here.  You have to get there super early  [I’m talkin’ 4:30 a.m. early] to even have a shot at getting the tickets, but you can camp out and read, and local restaurants send out delivery men to take food and drink orders, and park performers stop by and serenade you while you wait — it’s all part of the experience. Tickets are handed out at noon [they’re free!], and the performances start around 6, so after you get your tickets you have the whole afternoon free before you have to come back for the performance. [Perhaps a nap will be in the cards?!]
  4. Visit DUMBO: Brooklyn has its own set of fun adventures to partake in, so I’m only going to include this one thing here, since visiting the DUMBO [which stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass] section of Brooklyn provides you with the most amazing view of Manhattan, as well as access to a ton of other activities, like pop-up pools in the summer, Jane’s Carousel for the kids, lots of shops and restaurants and ice cream, etc. Check out more about DUMBO in this post that I wrote about my visit there last year.
  5. Ice skate in Bryant Park: If you know me at all, you’ll know that ice skating in Bryant Park is absolutely one of my favorite pasttimes. [So much so that my husband’s first ever Christmas gift to me was a pair of skates and a lock specifically to use for the lockers at Bryant Park.] Anyway, it’s not just the skating rink at Bryant Park that makes it so special, it’s the entire Winter Village. The pop-up shops surrounding the rink provide the most festive ambiance for a late-night skate, and they play old-timey music and you can stop by Celcius afterwards for a hot toddy. The rink usually opens in November and closes around February (although the shops close right after the holidays), so that’s plenty of opportunity to dust off the old skates and go for a twirl! Skating is free here if you bring your own ice skates and lock.
  6. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge: I mean … enough said, right?
  7. Dying to Try: A Visit to The Cloisters: A visit here is definitely on our NY to-do list. The Cloisters are technically a part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, although they’re actually located in Fort Tyron Park (check out directions here). I’ve heard that the grounds are beautiful, and the extension is used to exhibit the museum’s collection of art, architecture and artifacts from Medieval Europe. Pretty cool.

So those should keep you busy for a while! Up next: Bee-boppin’ around NYC. [AKA, the best places to listen to some music!]

Bis bald, friends!

Back in the (Different) Borough: A Weekend Morning Stroll Through DUMBO

HI friends,

I hope your weekend’s going well! I met up with an old friend of mine from junior high this morning in DUMBO (an acronym for the Brooklyn neighborhood that stands for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass”) to help her look for wedding dresses. (SQUEEEE!!!)

Anyway, DUMBO. It’s the cutest area—even when the weather is crappy, which it was this morning. I wanted to share some photos of the stroll we took after shopping here:

^^This cute little pooch was patiently waiting for his owner to come out of that store. I couldn't resist taking a photo.
^^This cute little pooch was patiently waiting for his owner to come out of that store. I couldn’t resist taking a photo.
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^^The Bride!!
^^Hello Brooklyn Bridge!
^^Hello Brooklyn Bridge!
^^The carousel at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
^^The carousel at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
^^We're always so serious.
^^We’re always so serious.

photo6

^^This photo wall extends along the length of the park and has some great artwork.
^^This photo wall extends along the length of the park and has some great artwork.
^^Stolen from Istagram, thank you very much.
^^Stolen from Istagram, thank you very much.

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^^From the photo wall--look at this little munchkin!
^^From the photo wall–look at this little munchkin!
^^These kayakers were determined, despite the fact that it was raining pretty heavily at this point.
^^These kayakers were determined, despite the fact that it was raining pretty heavily at this point.

photo12

^^If you squint REALLY hard, you can see the Statue of Liberty in the middle. I can't wait to go back on a clear day and take my good camera.
^^If you squint REALLY hard, you can see the Statue of Liberty in the middle. I can’t wait to go back on a clear day and take my good camera.
^^All of my favorite mommy bloggers have been talking about the "the pop-up pool in Brooklyn." Well today, I finally got to see it!
^^All of my favorite mommy bloggers have been talking about the “the pop-up pool in Brooklyn.” Well today, I finally got to see it!

photo14

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And that’s DUMBO! I’d recommend a trip to that area if you’re visiting Manhattan–it’s got really spectacular views of the city, and a lot of great restaurants. It was just a short walk from there to Brooklyn Heights, where we walked along the famous Montague Street and ate breakfast at the Heights Cafe. (The Portobello Omelet is seriously delish! I’ve definitely had better Bloody Mary’s in my life, though.)

Bis bald, friends! Happy weekend!