Riding out the Fear

*Edit: I apologize for the messed up spacing, it all looks good on the back end so I’m guessing its some glitch

New York City just pulled that classic Midwestern move of shifting from winter directly into summer. Today was 82* and humid. Tomorrow we have a high of 89*. I’m sweating just thinking about it.

So why yap on about the forecast? This stuff is crucially important because as soon as things warm up the city transforms in a few ways. People suddenly pour out of their little brick hermit caves and sun themselves on picnic blankets in parks. Merengue music begins blaring out of open car windows. The ice cream trucks emerge out of hibernation and are suddenly on every damn corner.

The warm weather is great. Until it’s not.

Because it gets HOT. And it gets HUMID. and the sidewalks just bake all day in the sun until they cook every random piece and drop of anything that has landed there. Things smell really funky. The worse part? the subterranean subway stops turn into swampy, damp tunnels of nasty.

Ugh.

To limit my exposure to the above mentioned urine swamps, I do my best to avoid the subways during the summer months. Last summer this meant walking everywhere, which also kept with my status as an unemployed person because subway rides are $2.75 each way. Yes, you read that right, $2.75 each way. So if I take the subway up to the grocery store and back again, I’ve just added $5.50 to my grocery bill. Do you see why people pay the extra couple bucks to just get things delivered?
One great alternative to the subway that’s faster (and more fun) than walking? A bike of course!
I’ve been tempted by the CitiBikes around town, which are the same concept as NiceRide in Minnesota and Hubway in Boston. Citibikes are everywhere, more prevalent than in both of the aforementioned cities. That said, they are also the most beat-up and abused bikes I have ever seen, and don’t bother calling their help line, you’ll just get a busy tone. How New York of them.
I’ve wanted to sign up for a CitiBike since the day I moved to this city but Selemon has been really against it. I can appreciate that he appreciates my life so I’ve respected that desire (he saw someone get run over by a bus on a bike, which I’ve also seen in Minnesota, and is most definitely traumatic). Buuuuuuuuut my work is about a 35 minute walk and an equally inefficient subway ride, yet only 13 minutes via bike. There are also designated bike paths (bike lanes separated from the actual road) along 1st and 2nd Avenues, the one-way roads I take to and from work.
I consulted some more seasoned New Yorkers and no one was terribly encouraging (my boss told me to just assume every single person was going to hit me and every car door was going to open) but I pushed ahead.
I paid the $150 for a yearly membership of unlimited rides, and you guys, its great. I’m 11 rides in and really happy with my decision.
I mean, I haven’t gotten hit yet, which is fantastic. I’ve also learned that while I should assume everyone is going to hit me, I can’t hesitate, because there is no room for hesitation in New York City streets, and it makes your bike wobbly. And before you ask, Mom, yes I wear my helmet.
I took some pictures on my very first CitiBike Ride, which was as nerve-wrecking as it was gorgeous. The second half of my ride (and the pictures) are from an actual bike path along the Hudson River because obviously I’m not going to take pictures while attempting to stay alive biking down 6th Avenue.
I consider this a big step forward in getting comfortable in this city. It may be risky, but it makes me happy and it makes me feel more at home, more capable of exploring, and just more “a part of things”. I don’t like letting fear make decisions for me, and as long as I’m reasonably safeguarded (again I have my helmet, don’t ride with music, etc) there’s no reason to hold back from an efficient way to get around that makes you smile. Plus, pedestrians are hit with enough frequency to prove that walking isn’t a slam-dunk in safety either.
My favorite part? This all means I have an even better way to avoid those forthy subway swamps! Wins all around :)

image1Nothing beats the view of the Hudson River along the West Side Highway. I drink in these moments. Isn’t biking the best? The subway doesn’t have views like this.

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The bike path! This is actually the only time I’ve been on an actual “path”, which means it was a great place to start. Plus, I just love that Freedom Tower, don’t you? It’s so shiny! So pretty! So regal!

image3 (1)I had to take a picture of my very first CitiBike. Thanks for keeping me safe, CitiBike!

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Opening Up

Hey there,

I took a yoga class the other day at the kind of studio with plates of prepared fruit and instructors that are supernaturally friendly. Obviously I loved it. And the instructor talked a lot about winter and how we spend so much time rushing around, hunched over. All my Midwestern friends know the look…when your shoulders hurt hurt hurt and you do the mental recall of when you last lifted weights and you realize…nope, no weights. Just a lot of bitter cold.

It makes you hunch. It closes you in. Emotionally, socially, physically.

And that hippie-dippy stuff the instructor was saying suddenly made a lot of sense. Because there I was, missing writing here. But simultaneously wanting to close off and protect the little world I was building each day. Happily figuring things out and getting into my own rhythms as a woman in this city. Finally working, finally settling, suddenly felt like a task best done alone. And letting that 5 PM darkness signify an end to the day. A time to rest…to just be.

…and now the weather has been warming, blossoms have been blooming, trees will be green soon and I’ve been itching to write a post.

While I have so many things I could record…my job, a honeymoon in Thailand, trips to Philadelphia and DC, my mother’s visit, fostering two puppies…the list goes on.

For now I’ll start by doing a good chest stretch (the antidote to all that hunching) and simply say “hello, friends. I missed ya.”

Aren’t you so glad it’s spring?

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Just Don’t Block the Sidewalk

My mom is coming to visit in March! I am very excited and it will be here before I know it. With that in mind, we had a discussion about what to pack and my mom expressed a desire to “not look like a tourist”. I know the feeling well. Selemon and I are planning a trip right now and I too want to be prepared and fit in. That said, when my mom hesitated about looking like a tourist I didn’t think about shoes or coats. My only thought was to mutter “just don’t block the damn sidewalk”.

Because really no one cares what you’re wearing or doing. We only start to care when you suddenly stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Ugh, that’s the worse. Or blocking the stairs to the subway. Or walking in big groups and therefore taking up the whole sidewalk. Basically, just don’t get in the way.

And that reminded me of this fantastic GIF guide to NYC. I can’t paste it all here, but click this link to be taken to a very thorough (and adorable) rundown of all the things you should know before an arrival in the big city.

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It’s Official!

After two months of waiting on grant money, subcontracts, and signatures to travel between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Columbia University, and NYU, the signature I was most waiting for, mine, on an offer letter finally happened. After a very thorough medical exam, I was declared immune to all the right things (thanks for the chicken pox, big sister), absent of the bad things (TB), and finally cleared to officially join the NYU College of Pediatric Dentistry.

Big sigh of relief and a very hearty gulp of champagne.

After sitting in on some meetings this week and meeting all my lovely coworkers, I will *officially* begin Monday…as in tomorrow.

It feels really good to know I’ll have a paycheck with my name on it. And more importantly, because I am a human and humans need community, it just feels good to have an ID where my name and face share space with the logo of a well-respected institution.

It’s easy to forget how necessary it is just to feel like you’re accepted and a part of something. These past 6 months have been a really big lesson in that. A lesson on what it takes to feel happy and content and whole.

And I gotta say, by the end of my unemployed time, I had gotten pretty good at it. I now consider myself excellent company, more so than I ever have before. Maybe its age, maybe its a result of necessity, but I’m glad that comfort with me is here.

I had promised you all I’d share it from the rooftops, so here I am on my proverbial rooftop, announcing my gainful employment. Now I must absolutely thank you all for your support and encouragement while I was in the dumps, I super appreciate the love that was sent my way. I know work isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, far from it, but I am looking forward to being on the other side for a bit.

Happy almost Monday…

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I’m not dead

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Hi Friends,

It’s been a while right? Sorry to drop off the face of the Earth.

The truth is, I’ve been here all along. Plugging away. Walking down streets (dodging the puddles of dog urine that fill our New York sidewalks), trying to convince myself I’m not craving a bagel with scallion cream cheese and lox (I am craving a bagel with scallion cream cheese and lox), and sort of hating January.

I think January sucks no matter where you are.

Freezing Minnesota or mild New York, its just a weird in-between month. Between the holiday hangover of too much everything, and something, anything, better. Let’s just hit fast forward.

So, while writing makes me significantly happier, I’ve been avoiding it. Like taking my probiotic tablets and showering everyday, I avoid it, because while it makes me feel better….ugh, the effort. And I don’t have anything interesting to say anyway.

Mostly I’ve been working out. What?!? That just came out of left field, but its true. I got a Classpass (which I’m embarrassed to say Selemon got me because it sounds so…well, eye-rolly…”my husband cares about my fitness”…ugh, right?) but I really have wanted this since I moved here. truly.

It’s a membership that lets you work out at a bunch of gyms. So I have spent my days of January trying hot yoga, and bootcamps, and aerial yoga, and spin, and pilates, and all that jazz. Dudes, I love it. My arms are shaping up and I have something to do every day. I think they should subsidize it for all unemployed people. Public health, ya’ll.

In other news, I finally got things finalized with NYU and thanks to some awesome negotiation coaching from a friend I managed to eek out a significant amount more than I was initially offered, which actually makes me happier than…well, the offer itself. Not really, but it makes me happy, you know?

So I’ve been spending my days working out, waiting to start actual working, and wishing January away.

Ugh, I hate wishing time away. It’s so wasteful. But January just sucks so I hardly feel bad about it.

Today the city was shut down. We got 8 inches of snow. I’m not blaming the mayor here, I think he did what was best. It’s hard managing the biggest city evah with millions taking public transit and crazy weather patterns. Better safe than sorry.

But all this snow meant I really wanted some ramen. Oh man I could taste the salty, smokey broth warming my mouth. The slurp of the noodles. the perfect creaminess of the eggs. Oh god lord, its heaven. So I walked to our ramen spot but it was closed for the storm, so I walked to another. Closed. A third. Closed. What is the world coming to?!?! But as a result of this epic Ramen Odyssey (that its official name now) I witnessed a city that was in the glorious throws of a ridiculous age-indiscriminate snow day. Kids were out of school, adults were out of work, and NYU students were standing around smoking (that’s what they usually do, but they seemed to smile more). It was lovely to see and added a festive air to the whole thing. A city out playing in the snow. Adorable, but better with some ramen in my belly.

I eventually found some on St. Marks and it kinda sucked.

I guess that’s a bit like my January. You have high hopes, you try really hard, and its still always a bit of a let down.

But at least I finally wrote about it.

At least I finally wrote about it.

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Progress

In the past week, I have been stopped by lost people needing directions four times and each time I was able to help.

If that doesn’t make you feel like an absolute rockstar in a new city, well then, I don’t know what would.

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Also, Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

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Russ & Daughters

Selemon and I adore the Food Network chef Ina Garten and her husband, Jeffrey. In fact, after watching an episode last night Selemon and I laid in bed and talked about what was so great about them and if we could ever be “Ina and Jeffrey”. Strange? Probably. Adorable? Definitely.

In the episode we watched Ina and Jeffrey were in the city (they live in the Hamptons and Jeffrey spends his weekdays teaching at Yale…just in case you were curious) So they were in the big city and planning a picnic in Central Park. Like I said, super dang adorable. To prep for the picnic, Ina went to Russ and Daughters, a Jewish deli/appetizer spot in the Lower East Side. Selemon isn’t usually one for random explorations of the city, so when he suggested we check it out, I happily agreed.

So on a dreary, snowy/rainy day (we still haven’t had a proper snow in NYC) we headed East on Houston Street to Russ and Daughters.

As a quick primer, Russ and Daughters has been around forever, or as their website tells me, 1914. It’s known for its pickled and smoked fish, and as this episode with Ina demonstrated, bagels with cream cheese and lox. If you want to learn more, check it out here.

Mostly, I was excited because it was shown in an episode of Louie. ( <- click for link)

So Selemon and I headed off and here’s our adventure:

Like all good, well-known places in New York City we squished into a large mass of people in a small space. This is pretty much par for the course at this point. To guard against any risk that I was over-glamorizing this New York experience, here is a photo of too many people in a tiny room. You see that number on the wall? That 76? We are 94. At one point I had to move because I turned around to what I swear was an older man appearing to lick the faux fur hood of my coat. Maybe it got in his way, maybe I caught him at a strange moment of sticking out his tongue. One will never really know. But hi, New York, thanks again for being so weird.

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Lots of spreads, roe, and the beloved “smoked trout mousse”

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So many fish options! I tried the belly lox (it’s what Ina chose) but the salt-curing left it a bit too salty for me. Instead, I  opted for the Scottish Salmon and Selemon chose the Gaspe Nova. The smoked salmon really was incredibly silky and delicious.

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Hi, Darling!

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More spreads and salads, including a chopped liver salad in the upper left corner. We weren’t brave enough to try that, but if liver is your thing, I bet its fantastic.

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Waiting for our bagel sandwiches to be assembled!

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Then I had to stop by The Bean and get a coffee because you just can’t eat a bagel sandwich without some coffee. The Bean is a super cute little coffee shop that allows dogs inside, which means I was able to pet some puppies and make friends with them while waiting for my cup. (of course, I went home and promptly began looking up rescue dogs…for the millionth time)

Overall, the sandwiches were good but I won’t go through all that trouble again. I prefer my bagel a bit fluffier than their smaller, chewy bagel but the smoked fish was spot on.

Hope you’re all enjoying your weekend! Thanks for playing along!

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