New York City Senses

southern view from central parkThe photos in this post are not related to the text… just some photos I’ve been taking this week randomly.

I’ve been living in NYC long enough now that I’m starting to take my surroundings for granted. I get annoyed and flustered at the idiocy of others constantly surrounding me and the weather has been crap. Even summertime heat that I was so longing for during the treacherous winter months has worn me out (being completely drenched in sweat before my work day even begins is not great). This all makes me pretty sad. I love this city. I do, I really do. I love it for the exact reasons that are wearing me down. I love the people, the noise, the dirt, the inconvenience of it all. I wanted to do something to make me focus less on my discomfort and more on my surroundings so I started sitting down every chance I get to write about my what I see, smell, and hear. Every now and then my emotions find their way into these exercises too.  Continue reading “New York City Senses”

A Comparison: Life In NYC vs. Orlando

I spent last week soaking up sunshine, reminiscing on good ol’ times, and remembering how much I miss Orlando. Weird. I know. Never in a million years did I think I  would miss O-town, but low and behold I do. Very much. The sunshine. The people. And the the overall warmth I feel being here. I also spent a great deal of time thinking of things that NYC hasn’t lived up to, making it very hard to get excited about going back.

DSC_7477 Continue reading “A Comparison: Life In NYC vs. Orlando”

Reggie’s Guide to NYC: Coney Island

Ok. So I’ve survived a full year in New York City and my weekly updates have come and gone. I’m starting a couple new series on here (cue suspenseful tunes) that will surely knock your socks off 🙂

To start, I’m going to be posting a weekly ‘Reggie’s Guide to NYC’… not to be mistaken for another guide list. I am not an expert on nyc. I’m also not an expert on where to go in nyc. This guide is a work in progress… as I visit a place/series of places I’ll post about them with a first hand experience take. Sometimes it’ll be my first time there… sometimes not.

When I visit other cities, I prefer activities that revolve around doing something other than browsing the latest tourist attraction. Hopefully my series of posts will give folks (that’s y’all) an idea of what -else- you can do in the city other than trek to Time Square and stare at the pretty lights (although I can see how that can be appealing). I normally take a bunch of advice from locals myself and then act on them, think of the Reggie Guide as a 2nd filter to all the bullshit that could potentially waste your precious time in this beautiful city.

I’m still working out the kinks and structure.

My first Reggie Guide features Coney Island. Not your typical carnival/fair/theme park…. mainly because it’s something of all those three put together on a permanent (sort of) basis; located on the shore of Brooklyn. Did I mention it’s 95th birthday is Memorial Day 2015?

Best people watching experience I’ve had so far. 

Family-friendly, but be weary… it’s not disney. 

The boardwalk is nothing short of a cultural firework display… so many colors and shapes and sizes… and so many sounds. Walking about a 7 minute stretch, we ran into a latin band playing along side giant speakers, a guitar player with soul, karaoke, a hip hop DJ (there was a full blown dance sesh in the middle of the boardwalk) — all intermingled with the sounds of screams echoing from within the imaginary walls of the park.

coney3This is definitely no Disney… walking up to the gates of the park various versions of ‘Get Low’ could be heard booming from somewhere within.
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coney1 coney10There’s no shortage of shops and food hubs, but it all feels so authentic. I have a distaste for theme parks mainly because nothing feels real… but at Coney Island, even with the sparkly new rides, there’s an aura of historical authenticity in the air. You can feel the presence of the last 95 years.

I think the quote “… perfection is the antithesis of authenticity” is perfectly suited for Coney Island. 
coney6When visiting Coney Island, you might as well plan to go to the beach. It would be a damn shame not to. The beach here gets packed so carry light (I wouldn’t bring a tent unless it’s off season). All the food, drinks, ice-cream, and alcohol you’ll ever want is just steps behind you. If you feel the extra couple of feet is too much to bear, simply wait 10-15 minutes and surely, some lovely gentleman will walk briskly by with hushed offerings like “beer” and “water”. [IF you walk down to Brighton Beach, every so often your friendly drink seller (a dude who just got back from the nearby store) will also carry offerings of the “Vodka” varieties.

coney11Don’t expect the beach here to be your perfect nature getaway (it’s more like a nature got away). You’ll be surrounded, as I mentioned before, so the attraction here has more to do with the beautiful array of folks and not so much the pristine nature. 
coney7 coney8The way tickets are dealt with here is a complete mess. I kind of feel like they keep their crazy irrational methods the same to maintain the historical integrity (or that’s what I keep telling myself). Each ride costs a different amount of ‘credits’ and you buy ‘credits’ at the ticket booth. I’d suggest looking over the rules before heading out so you know exactly what to expect. The folks working the park try their best to explain, but it’s not their fault the system was made by someone who had a personal vendetta against rational thinking.

coney2 coney9 coney12Cyclone: one of two original rides still active in the park (Luna Park). Built in 1927 & declared a NYC landmark in 1988.

It is pretty gosh darn cool to ride a coaster that old! I’m not going to lie, the rickety structure had me worried for a minute. 
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To Bring:

* small bag (or light Backpack)

There are lockers inside the park and a place to either store your bag while you ride. Either way, you don’t want to carry something heavy all daylong.

* water bottle (you don’t want to spend $2.50 on a water bottle that could have cost you nothing)

* Sunscreen (trust me, you don’t want to learn the hard way)

* light towel (for the beach)

* cash (in case you loose the feeling in your legs and you decide to buy a drink from a passerby)

TIPS:

* Nathans Famous Hotdogs (the original) is here… if you want to be all historical and all, make sure you go to the original location (corner of Stillwell ave & Surf ave)

[There’s a special express line for hot dogs, fries, & beer… use it. Otherwise be ready to wait in line for-EVER]

* Eating cotton candy while riding the ferris wheel (Wonder Wheel) is recommended… because duh?

* Check the weather before coming, specifically for Coney Island, and be prepared. This area has a pretty big breeze going (especially right on the beach)

coney14The D, F, N & Q all end at Coney Island… from Manhattan, expect to take about 1 – 1.5 getting here.

 Have you ever been to Coney Island? What did ya think?

Week 49: Umbrella Fiasco Part II, I’m Not Your Fucking Sweetie, & Rooftop Picnics

When I first moved here, I thought for sure I’d found my permanent home. Although I’ve had my doubts in the past month or so I’m certain that I was right. Knowing myself I think I’d like to try living in another place, if nothing else than for the sheer thrill of new things and change (because to be honest, I’m kind of an addict to change). When things are said and done, however, I know I’d rather be nowhere else but in this city. And there is something to be said about winter… as much as I struggled through the dreary days, it was ultimately my choice to do so. There is no particular need for me to live in NYC. I didn’t have to stay here. I did so because I wanted to.

I was walking to a bar in the West Village today from work and it started raining. Of course I had my computer with me in my backpack and due to good planning (I’m patting my own back here I know) I brought my giant umbrella. Everyone else’s umbrella’s went up and suddenly I was stuck between the forces of .5never moving miles per hour tourists and fashion gurus who just had to be more important than everyone else. I was in SOHO. At first I was super frustrated. For once, I thought, can the weather just stop making my life more difficult?! I did my best to shield my backpack from the rain, getting my face rather wet in the process and getting more and more annoyed with each tick of my umbrella as I weaved in and out of people walking too damn slow. For some reason I remembered my first weaving umbrella experience… It was so joyful. I remember feeling like James Bond, loosing my umbrella to the wind, and gleefully skipping and wading through people to catch up with it. I got soaked, but I could care less. In fact I was thrilled that I got soaked. I was thrilled that for once in my life the simple act of walking on a side walk was a challenge. A challenge I chose to take on… and to be honest this particular scenario is just a metaphor for every aspect of life in NYC. Everything is a freaking challenge… from grocery shopping to having to finding a place to live to getting from point A to point B without punching someone in the face. This is why I was in love with NYC to begin with and this is why I’m now realizing I’m still in love with NYC. I just needed some sunshine to give me some perspective. The dreary days of the winter were all part of that challenge… and perhaps I can do better kicking that challenge’s ass next year.

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A note to a stranger:

If you refer to me as ‘Sweetie’ ‘Honey’ ‘Beautiful’ ‘Sexy’ or any other derogatory (when used by a stranger, yes these are incredibly derogatory) term please note your inquiry will be met with my middle finger. /rant #imnotyourfuckingsweetie

I’m not normally a violent person. I’ve spent the majority of my life keeping a very balanced inner peace that I hope to have projected onto others, but as of late that peace has been turned upside down. Unfortunately the city has a lot to do with it. The fact and reality that I have to fear for my safety on a daily basis simply because I’m female is absurd. This idea has really brought some inner anger out in me this year and I have made it my personal goal to obtain some serious ass kicking skills. Besides the obvious health benefits, I want to feel safe. At the very least, as safe as my male friends.

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On another note, I went to the Cherry Blossom festival at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens this weekend and although the greenery was kind of lackluster (with the exception of a few distinct locations) a great time was had. Most of the Cherry Blossoms looked like they either were already dead or have yet to really bloom, but the Daffodils, Lillies, and Magnolia trees were all around beautiful!

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After the gardens, we took to our roof (which has an insanely awesome view of the city and the Statue of Liberty) for a mini picnic. A great Sunday indeed.

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I tried Umami Burger (yum) this week and watched site specific (uber cool) theatre at Washington Square Park… overall this past week has been beautiful (I think I used this word a ton in this post)! I hope next week will be just as awesome. I’d like to start giving myself some weekly goals, so here it goes:

* Finish your book (Naked by David Sedaris)

* Include Yoga in your daily activities

* Disconnect from technology for 1 day

* Bring some more art in your life (museum, symphony, whatever.)

Do you have any weekly goals?

Week 48: I survived my 1st winter. Just Barely.

April 12th – 19th

Holy shit. I had no idea what people meant by weather affecting your mood/state of mind. I was uber freaked out about being cold so I prepared [and prepared some more] for all the physical beatings the weather would bring this winter, but boy did I have it coming! I was so concerned my feet might get wet, that I completely ignored the weather’s ability to make me question things. Like why in the fucking world I chose to do this to myself. Needless to say, all my sweaters and boots could not prepare me for what was to come.

Before I release a dreary tale, I’d like to say that I am now enjoying an afternoon in a coffee shop with the door wide open. I’m wearing a t-shirt. Life is good once more.

Things I learned from the winter:

1. Leave the city (some place with sunshine, and lots of it) in March. 

I was doing pretty well in regards to mental capacity all through January and February, but then came March. A time that I normally associate with sunshine, brought one disappointment after another. When the first 40s appeared, I thought I MADE IT! I skipped on the streets, pre-maturely put away wool sweaters, and opened my mind to new (and warm) beginnings. Too bad for me, winter was not even close to being over. Mid-March proved to be my breaking point. A beautiful person had passed away well before her time and the sky literally lost the sunlight. I thought I was doing ok, but by late March I found myself whirling into something I hope to avoid next year. I don’t think it’s entirely due to the weather, but I’m 100% certain that it played a huge role. I found myself dreaming (and daydreaming) of sunlight… I even missed the Florida weather.

I don’t know if I’ll be quite as down next year, but to be certain I’m already planning on leaving for the sunshine in early March.

2. Buy a sun-lamp. 

WTF is a sun lamp? I’m not even sure I’m referring to it correctly, but essentially it’s a lamp that produces similar effects as sunlight. I’m getting one for next year’s doom season for my room.

3. Be Prepared. Mentally. 

I had no idea what seasons felt like before now. My understanding of how the change would [and could] affect me was non-existent. Now that I’ve been up the mountain and back, I can at the very least understand what’s happening and prepare myself mentally. Meditation and many trips to the sauna will be good practice to keep myself balanced.

There are plenty of folks who will have zero clue what I’m talking about. Even friends here were unaffected by the dreary days and complete lack of sun. I guess it’s a personal thing. I learned something new about myself… that’s a plus.


Spring.springslope1 springslope2 springslope3 springslope4 springslope5 springslope6 springslope7 springslope8

Spring. For the past several months the city has felt like a dark and dreary place that was almost always silent. As if permanently on mute. This week someone finally turned up the tunes. I hear laughter coming from outside my window instead of shouting and honking (although that might just be select hearing on my part). Folks are flocking to the streets. Tourists are snapping their photos and staring blankly on google maps – right-in-the-middle-of-the-street. Groups of people are celebrating the blooming flowers with wine and cheese, wine and veggie sticks, wine and fill in the blank on stoops all over my neighborhood. It’s like they’re celebrating the victory of a long and dreadful war. All is well again.


4.11.15- My first celebrity sighting.

I got my hair done today. Zosia Mamet was sitting right next to me the entire time getting her hair did too. I didn’t realize who she was for like the first 20 minutes as I kept staring at her and thinking “Where do know this girl from? Do we have mutual friends or something?” I’m not sure if she noticed, although I don’t think I was hiding it very well. Anyway, it eventually came to me. I was skeptical of my ability to properly identify celebrities so I went to Google for help. Zosia has distinct hand tattoos. That was my confirmation. I didn’t want to intrude on her ‘me’ time, but she seemed nice to her stylist and was reading Agatha Christi part of the time. She also wore a bunch of rings.


I haven’t posted in a while, so here are some photos from the past couple of weeks:

karaoke1Karaoke in an East Village bar for my birthday. My roommates killed it.

Karaoke2I am so grateful for this lady.

liftingI started lifting weights in order to keep myself sane. In 2 weeks I start Muay Thai. I may be a little obsessed… but I figure this is a good type of addiction.

museumI went to the met. I was tired and slightly hungover before going inside…I left still tired and hungover, but uber satisfied.

pillowfightThere was that pillow fight in Washington Square Park. I was hoping that it would take over the entire park, but due to what I can only imagine to be safety laws, that was impossible. The whole fight was contained to the center of the park which made for little space to really make a good swing. Nevertheless, it was glorious. 

pillowfight2

prospectparkProspect Park on a lovely 66F day. The place was packed with picnic goers and volleyball players… I practiced yoga. Without having to wear a sweater! 

prospectpark2Post yoga walk through the trails.

whatIworeI am so glad that the winter is finally over, but it was quite the learning experience. Now that it’s over I can definitely appreciate the hardships (first world hardships) that came with snow, sludge, and complete lack of sunlight.

whatiwore2Happy Spring everyone!

Week 44: Hats Off to Turning 25 & Hearing Voices.

Birthday’s are the time of the year that I like to really take a step back and appreciate all that surrounds me in my life. Sure, I try to be grateful everyday, but the anniversary of my coming to existence is an extraordinarily important time to take a second and dissect. I’m not even remotely close to where I thought I’d be at 25, but for a while now I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no way even my imagination is wild enough to concoct what the combination life + my determination is actually capable of producing. I was trying to figure out what I’m really glad I ‘have’ (other than the obvious family, friends etc.) and concluded it’s all in my head.

I’m the biggest pessimist I’ve ever met. That little voice in my head that is constantly telling me something isn’t realistic or I’m not capable of achieving this or that is my biggest driver. I love putting that voice down. I could give a shit what the rest of the world thinks of my endeavors, I am always fighting to shut myself up first and foremost.

(Please, before you go saying ‘That poor girl!” Don’t.)

I kind of sound a little crazy. Literally. Yes, I hear voices in my head… if you’re thinking you can’t relate, I’d suggest you dig deep. If you’re not a pessimist like me, perhaps it’ll just be a friendly voice to keep you company when everyone else sucks. You might look [and sound] a little nuts walking along the street talking to yourself, but it’s only the boring folks who’ll think anything of it anyway.

I used to take my driving time to reflect and chat with my other half. When I moved to this world of public transit, I used to get slightly red faced as people looked at me funny, but it didn’t take long for me to stop caring. Maybe I’ll be the focus of their conversations when they get back home to Kansas… “Honey, it was so interesting… we saw this strange lady on the train with giant hair (she must not own a hair brush) who kept mouthing words to herself. She must partake in that Obama Cult pastor Harry keeps telling us about. They’re turning all our people kookoo; damn bastards!”

{I never know where my reflections will take me.}

Other than reflecting, my parents came to town to visit! Much fun was had. On my birthday, we went hat shopping… my favorite kind. Naturally a photo shoot followed:

hats2 hats3 hats1 hatselfie hatselfie2

Being a tourist and getting to see the city with fresh sets of eyes for 6 days was really fun and exhausting. Next week won’t be nearly as exciting.

hatshopping meandmom russandd washparkCheers.

Week 43: Russian Pop Songs from Hell, Escargot, & Abigail.

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 Just another Monday ride to work:

A Russian pop song starts to play at the opposite end of the train car. The old Russian man rolls a shitty speaker sitting in a mini-bed on wheels. At first, it’s just loud instruments, but wait… there’s more. The old Russian man starts to sing into a muffled microphone with little idea of the key. Every now and then on the belty parts, you can hear the song’s original singer lightly edited out. He walks back and forth with the music and mic blasting through the entire train car, which as if on purpose continues to stall in between stations. Sweet victory comes after the ending of the 2nd song… he quits his musical endeavor and peace has returned.

Just another Friday night:

The echo of the saxophone vibrates through the station as I sit reminiscing on my life. The dude sitting next to me licks his fingers as he eats from his whole foods paper bag. There’s chatter everywhere… it’s only 10pm on a Friday. I’m cold… I feel a chill to the bone. A stylish duo pass by wearing floor length leather jackets and matching Jimmy Chu booties. The sax is still roaring. I can feel it’s soul passing through the vibrations of my purse. I’ve had too much pork. And gin. Thank goodness the F is finally here.


Let’s take a step back right quick… to Thursday. My roomies and I went out for drinks and dinner in the west village to celebrate my upcoming birthday. Mary Alice chose the spot. Amelie wine bar. The place was packed solid. The host must have recognized MA and sat us at the bar without a reservation. BOOM. Every single staff member from the bar tender to the host and runners had French accents… the wine had to be good, right? We got a bottle of champagne instead. Cheese, duck pate, and beef tartare, and escargot was had… it was a first of many new foods for me. All incredibly delicious.

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That’s a Martini Francais behind the gooey Maringe (sp?). To avoid sounding too douche… I’d like to add I have zero clue what’s in it, but it was YUMMY.

So grateful to have these lovely ladies as my roommates.


I ended my beautiful week with a brief photo shoot with one of my incredibly talented friends Abigail. She sculpts for a living and a passion and although we only had 30 minutes together on Sunday I left so incredibly inspired. I’m going to make a full post with all the photos, but for now here are just a few.

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Abigail1 Abigail2Abigail3

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