I don’t know what I was looking for exactly, when I took a new job that landed me in New York City 2 out of 4 weeks a month, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t found it yet. The job hasn’t turned out quite as expected, and I find myself longing for my old one which perhaps wasn’t perfect but at least where I had a clear path, inspiring colleagues, a great mission, excellent resources and a pretty good life balance (wait, that does sound pretty perfect–oops).
Needless to say, I’m not overly thrilled with where I am now, but I recognize that it’s also been a fantastic learning lesson. I think in life you have to make a few mistakes in order to figure out where and who you are. This feels like a pretty big mistake, but one that I’ll be better for. And despite it all, I still really love NYC and still see the beauty in the people and on the streets. That’s one of the things I want to take away from this experience, and it’s the thing I want to share with you. Because if anywhere defines what America is supposed to be it’s here- the city of dreams, the city that never sleeps, the melting pot, the big apple, the center of the universe. New. York. City.
There are lots of points of entry to Manhattan, but Grand Central Terminal is the only one that feels magical. I don’t know why but every time I’m here I feel like I’ve somehow just teleported to another world. And I guess in essence I have…
Because there is no place, no place at all like New York City.
Lately I’ve been trying to find beauty everywhere. It’s not hard because there are always flowers for those who wish to see them…right, Matisse? He would probably not be so optimistic if he was sardined nose hair to nose hair with all of humanity on the 6 train heading uptown at 6:30 pm on a Tuesday, but I appreciate his sentiment (and I do love flowers and also cleanish subway platforms).
You could read this either way- is it a GOOD moment, or a BAD moment? You choose.
Also choose to caffeinate- and do that at Urban Backyard which is right down the street from where you had your moment so if it was a bad one you can cheer up with a great cup of coffee and if it was a good one you can celebrate with a good cup of coffee. Either way it works. Also, you can throw this up on Insta and get lots of likes, because it’s super cute.
Also possibly one of the most Instagrammed spots in NYC- or at least on the LES– is this place: Freemans. I LOVE Freemans. I love sitting at the bar on a rainy night with a lovely glass of Cab because I’m in NYC but I feel like I’m way upstate in an old hunting lodge, and I can pretend I’m wearing Wellies and tartan pants and a giant wool sweater (even in July) and that’s pretty cool. Escapism.
Um, need I say more?
Also I love murals (remember Nashville?) and I love the Lower East Side because there are loads of them. Walls CAN talk on the LES and they speak to me.
Also obviously there’s a cool bookstore. Coffee and books plus a few (errr ok lots of) other things are really all I need.
Used books are the best because they are. I love the smell of them and the history behind them. Like, who had this book before me and where exactly did they do their reading? Like in the bathroom or on the train or what?
Oh and OK, Citizen M Bowery has a pretty great rooftop bar. But, funny story, this is where I was sitting when I got the email asking if I wanted to come interview for the job that brought me to NYC and turned my life upside down and made me a lil tiny bit crazy. Still a good spot to watch the sunset though. However, I have not been back since (karma and all that).
This might have been the spot where I responded YES! This is my WTF were you thinking moment. Everyone is entitled to one or two of them.
Oh look- another mutual! Probably not the last of this post, but possibly the coolest. Or not the coolest but the one with the best pig. And probably only pig.
Really close by is Doyers St in Chinatown where they don’t write on the walls, they write on the street. This is somehow even cooler.
And just a little farther downtown is the Oculus which is a train station built next to Ground Zero and well, you really need to decide for yourself what you think of it. I think it’s beautiful when it’s lit up like this at dusk.
And, it’s a great place to stop and reflect on the world and how it’s changed (or not changed?) since 9/11/2001 and to buy stuff because it’s also a mall…
And THIS my friends is the roof of the atrium at the Beekman Hotel, which I will always and forever consider my most favorite hotel in all the world.
This is looking down to the lounge from the top floor of the hotel and yes it’s amazing.
Also, they’ll leave the light on for you. Wait… that might be another hotel. But the light will be on, for real.
I can’t really think of anything to say about this (the bar at the Beekman) except it’s just so, so, so great.
And here’s a lovely night shot of lower Manhattan and the moon. I always feel like I’m caught between the moon and NYC… sigh.
But then friends come to town and we spend lots of time NOT acting our age at places like Beauty and Essex. YAY.
But sometimes I feel like this. I sent this pic to a friend on one of my worst days and she said “well, it looks like you’re wearing a really cute shirt at least”. And yes, I was. And then I felt better because you can’t be totally sad when you have a really good outfit on.
And you can’t feel sad when you are surrounded by like 2 bajillion orchids, like I was at Intersect by Lexus .
Or when surrounded by all these lovely bad-ass ladies at Diane Von Furstenburg (and thank you Ashley Longshore for being amazing- muuwah)
I could write a whole separate blog post about all the museum options in NYC but I won’t because I’m sure someone already has, but here’s a picture of the Whitney–which I really like–so if you want to pick one to go to and you can’t decide, just pick the Whitney. Wharhol won’t be there any more but it will still be pretty great.
And since this isn’t a real museum I can include it here with a warning: Do not go to the Museum of Illusion if you are even slightly hung over or tend to get motion sickness. Because the whole trippy place is designed to give you vertigo and a roiling stomach. But it’s fun. Really. Just bring dramamine.
Ok, and then there’s this. Giant bacteria frappe ball pit at the Color Factory. YAY germs.
The Color Factory is a great place to visit. Once. I’ve been there three times now, for reasons I don’t care to discuss and believe me time two and three were a bit underwhelming. But the first time, when it’s all new content for your Insta feed, it’s all right.
And we survived! We didn’t even get dysentery or anything.
In NYC you can feel like a kid, or pretend to be a grown up. At La Mercerie you HAVE to act like a grown up because it’s all quiet and subdued and elegant. And the eggs are really fancy. Also, it’s beautiful and Emily Thompson Flowers are to die for.
But I’m more of a simple girl. All I need is a little love from my barista. And my favorite morning spot is the lounge at The Freehand. Well, maybe not my favorite, but almost my favorite? Anyway, worth checking out…
And the Freehand is close to the Flatiron and Madison Square Park. I love taking pictures of people taking pictures of people taking pictures. This is a good spot for that because it might be one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Also, there are cherry blossoms (but only for like one week in April- sorry).
There seems to be a new installation every single day in this spot. This one represents the fact that of the 150 statues in NYC, only 5 are of women. Digest that. I want to do something really, really great so they’ll make a stature of me and then there will be 6 out of 151.. which I guess doesn’t really change the ratio too much. Why don’t all you ladies try too?
I like plants and I like equality and I believe in love, so here’s a picture that tells you all of that.
Ooooh and this! The New Yok Public Library. Is there a more beautiful place anywhere? No. No, there really isn’t.
It’s an oasis of calm in the middle of chaos.
And here’s some virtual chaos at Dolby Soho. They promise you a journey of sight and sound at the intersection of design and technology. So, why wouldn’t you go? Also, it’s free, so it might be the only thing you can afford in SoHo.
And you can stare down into the abyss and wonder what the heck you’re doing with your life, and why you’re spending so much time in a speaker store.
After that you can walk through the Village and buy stuff at bakeries.
Or whatever. One of the things I really love about NYC is how anonymous you can be. Honestly, nobody really gives a shit what you are doing (or even notices for that matter) so go ahead and do your own damn thing.
Oh, and yeah- this is me. Still. Like Carrie Bradshaw or Marlo Thomas in That Girl (which obviously I’ve only seen in reruns cuz I’m not THAT old).
This is the view from the 33rd floor of the Empire State Building. And holy cow, it puts the city in perspective doesn’t it? So many stories out there… so much possibility. Yeah, it’s a concrete jungle, but it’s beautiful.
And the beauty is in the details. This is the Vessel at Hudson Yards which is amazing and crazy and cool and wonderful and weird and I am determined to climb all of those stairs even though it’s kind of pointless because there’s not even a Ben & Jerry’s at the top like there is at the Eiffel Tower.
You will totally fall in love with the Highline (but only early in the morning before all the people come and when the light is just right).
Also, find a reason to go to Pier 17 to see a show at sunset. Depending on who you see the show might even be beside the point. I saw James here and they were so good I actually forgot where I was- totally transported from this magical spot to somewhere in Tim Booth’s beautiful and free spirited, love-drenched, sort of angsty world. But if you saw a lesser band, you still have the view. And the street tacos, which are pretty good.
See I told you there’d be another mural! And this one in the West Village (part of the Colors of Freedom series by Kobra) is really extra beautiful and echos James’ sentiment that we ARE all one human race, many faces, and everybody belongs here…here in NYC but also here in America and here on earth. We are all just people. Trying to live the dream.
And then my friends, when all that dream chasing in Manhattan gets to be too much, you can head across that iconic bridge to Brooklyn, which seems to me to be kinder, with better coffee, hipper hangouts and space to breathe a little.
See? Brooklyn is especially nice if you can afford a $10 million Brownstone with the best rooftop situation in the city. But even if you can’t, it’s pretty great. I promise. So stay tuned because BK is up next on my list of places to share with you. Til then, I’ll be thinking of you!!! xo