Friday, August 29, 2014

First week in NYC, Rainbow Room, the happiest grafitti

The party I wrote about in my last post was in the Rainbow Room.  I didn't know what it was before, but apparently it's a really big deal.  It's a fancy restaurant on the very top floor of Rockefeller Plaza.  It has some of the most breathtaking views of the city.  It's been recently renovated and we were under strict instructions to not take any pictures while there.  The room is not open to the public until October and they don't want the new design leaked. haha Especially because the event that we were attending was supposedly taking place in December when the rooms new look would already be revealed.  Normally instructions to not take pictures don't phase me and I just do it anyway (but stealthily) but since someone had pulled strings to get us into the party, I didn't want to make him look bad if I got caught.  Therefore, the only photo I can provide you with from the evening was on our way out after the party.  But stayed tuned New Years Eve because...I'll be in the audience of the show and you can get a glimpse of the room then. :)

I love where I live.  I love meandering through Times Square.  Every now and then I'll make sure to walk home through it just because I know that one day I won't live in New York anymore and I want to remember it as my walk home.  It's incredible.

Maybe it's the part of me that has an obsession with Europe, but I am always captivated by street art.  In Italy, the street graffiti isn't really viewed as vandalism. At least from my understanding, they didn't seem to have the same purpose as ours does here in the states. They were poems for their girlfriends, grand gestures of their love, the designs and pictures were very beautiful and creative.  So I passed this gem in Little Italy and had to stare at it for a while.  I love it.

Back when I lived in Virginia, after a particular week when I was struggling with some things going on in my life at the time, I took an impromptu trip to NYC and decided on the bus that I would take pictures of everything that made me happy.  It was amazing to see all of the little things in my life that made me smile or laugh throughout the day.   So a few days ago, I was reminded of that when occasional things would make me do a double-take or backtrack a few steps to photograph quirky details to my day that I wanted to look back on and laugh.  Stuff like this:

Soo...I have recently discovered my fear of birds.  I didn't realize it until I moved to Uganda back in 2012 but it quickly became apparently that chickens freaked me out. haha So embarrassing. Another story for another time.  So when I was walking through Washington Square Park and saw this man (and a few tourists) drenched in birds...I started feeling a bit of anxiety.  How this gentleman and the two tourists standing by him could handle this quantity of birds in their space is beyond me.

One of the things that I love about New York City (and I hope never gets old) is you never know what kind of street performs you're stumble upon.  There are caricature artists, people who spray paint elaborate landscape views of the city on paper, people spray paint themselves metallic...that just stand there and ask for tips, and there are acrobatic/break dancing shows. The latter is what is pictured below.  This gentleman is some version of Captain Jack Sparrow was playing the drums while a friend got the audience jazzed about him running and jumping over a row of 6 people.  I've seen several groups around the city do it but I still find it amusing.  This city is full of so many fun, talented and entertaining people.  Sometimes you've just got to stop and watch.  So I do.

The food in New York City is an absolute travesty for any diet or health regime that you might think you're on. Eataly is one of my favorite places.  It has imported Italian food that I haven't seen since walking around the Italian market on P-days back on my mission.  In fact, I met up with a mission friend in Eataly and it was hilarious how we kept making noises when we saw food we hadn't seen in years.  You can't not make audible sounds at even the memory of what this food tastes like.  Italy just seems to get everything least in the food department.  I found my favorite juice called "Ace" that I haven't had since Italy, and my word, I almost spent the 6 dollars to taste it again. haha But alas, I went around the corner and found this instead:
 It's the Nutella bar.  Yes, if you're going to go to a bar, make it one where mass amounts of Nutella is involved.  This place cracked me up from the moment I entered because it is lined from ceiling to floor with jars of Nutella.  My favorite part, however, was there was a Beauty and the Beast style ladder that rolled along the library of hazelnut goodness incase you needed one of the vats up high.  They make crepes and also put nutella in several types of pastries.  It's the best way possible.

Oh, this weird, creepy Hulk baby is also a Little Italy find.  The huge ones amaze me because I don't understand how artists keep proportion on that scale.  I mean, this one is several stories high.  Maybe it's the part of me that wishes I wishes I still had Art class in the Louvre every Wednesday, but I love to stop and stare at these every now and then.  Even the stand point of how they keep it proportional is fascinating to me.  It's quite an odd concept to paint effectively makes me stop in my tracks nonetheless.

One of my walk homes made me laugh when I saw this bloke:
 Yes, they have a "naked cowboy" (so just a guy with a guitar in his whitey tighties) who is well known in the Times Square area.  This "Naked Baby", however, was new to me.  He's frequently there.  Creepy mask, grown man diaper, a loud rattle to get everyone's attention and Nacho Libre boots.  I don't really understand how and when this person decided this was what he wanted to do for a living but...just wow. haha

Today I went out to Brooklyn with a friend.  We grabbed some pizza at a well-known place called Grimaldi's.  We walked out to the Pier in perfect timing to watch the sun set on this beautiful city that I now get to call home.  There are moments all the time that I look around and try to take in where I live. But tonight, in particular, hit me pretty hard.  It is so gorgeous.  I feel so lucky to live here.  It's a super crazy place to live and it's not everyone's cup of tea.  But I love it here.  It's my new home and very happy about that.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Celeb Sightings, Romantic Pen, Man-baby

So guess who lives in New York City?!  Bah!'s me.  It's so crazy and I keep thinking that this isn't real and I'll wake up somewhere else one day and realize this was just a vacation or a dream.  But thus far...I keep waking up here.

Saying goodbye to the family was naturally a cry-fest.  haha It was so wonderful living with family after being far away from them for a while.  I miss hearing the little feet of my nephews running down the hall to come play with Auntie Mallo...but that would be weird if I had that expectation of my roommates eh?  I just feel really blessed for all of the love and support I've received from friends and family.  It's meant a lot to me. That's all.

About 5 days before I was supposed to be on a flight, I got super sick.  It was worse than I'd been in a long time and it was lasting a longer than usual as well.  After I came to grips with the fact that I needed to deal with it ( sister was insistent that I go to Urgent Care and that she was coming with me. haha), I had some awkwardland tests done that took several days to process. I had to change my flight because I was too sick to travel and found out when I got to Virginia that I have Salmonella.  Gross right?  It was not ideal.  But I'm glad the tests were conclusive and that it was treatable.  What an adventure that was. uncle is outrageously kind and drove me all the way to New York City from Virginia.  We packed up his car and chatted the whole way up.  Traffic was a doozy and the trip took roughly 6 hours.  We had a party to go to that night so I had to do some quick unloading into my apartment.  My uncle had to stay in the car because there wasn't any parking available close to my apartment and policemen kept making him move the car. So as I carried boxes into my apartment (some embarrassingly heavy) while my uncle occasionally did a lap around the block in his car to not get in trouble with the coppers.  All the while, as I'm waddling with huge boxes down the sidewalk, sweating in a really unattractive way and hauling them into my apartment, some girls standing outside a bar had been watching me for a while and one said, "You need a man."  haha Nice.  On my next trip, I had a really heavy box and a worker in the Sprint store next door to my apartment came out and offered to help.  I initially said, "No, thank you." and wanted to do it by myself and didn't want to get him in trouble for leaving work to help me.  But when I had to unlock the door, hold it open with my food and lift this gigantic box in the door and repeat the process for a second door, I realized I was being a bit silly.  I allowed him to help me carry it up the stairs.  It always makes me so happy when people are genuinely kind and selfless.

My uncle's brother has pretty killer cool connections in the city and got us tickets to a pre-taping of a New Years Eve broadcast.  Yes, it will air on New Years Eve but was filmed in August.  Kind of hilarious.  It was a Michael Feinstein variety show with several celebs.  It was fun to be all dolled up and in such a formal setting.  My favorite was Darren Criss came and sang a few songs (you know, from Glee.)  He was fantastic live and so adorable.  Afterwards my uncle's brother was chatting with him like they were old friends and introduced us.  I nerdily wanted a picture so badly but totally pansied out.  My knees were shaking and I'm just not as suave as I'd like to be in those scenarios.  He told me he liked my glasses and that was memory enough for me. :)

After the party we were hungry and went to dinner at midnight (yep, because it's New York City and everything's still open).  After that we finished moving into my apartment around 1:30 or 2:00am.  I was so tired and deliriously happy.  My apartment is like 2 blocks from Times Square.  It definitely has it's NYC quirks, but overall, I'm so happy.  It's so fun to be right in the middle of everything and even when I come home at night I feel completely safe (which is saying something because Africa left me pretty paranoid and freaked out...specifically when it's dark.) haha  Everything is all lit up at night time and people are all over the streets so I never feel unsafe in the area where I live.

Random incidents that have made me laugh recently:
  • The people in Times Square that dress up.  I've seen Woody, Elmo, Hello Kitty, Statue of Liberty, Chewbacca, Cookie Monster, a man wearing nothing but a diaper and a mask of a baby face, and then some girls walking around wearing nothing but paint on their mammaries.  That's real.  It's quite the scene.
  • I passed an elderly man on the street with a green beard.
  • On my way to run errands, I passed a man who was carrying something heavy on a trolly.  He called after me saying I had dropped something out of my was a pen.  And it wasn't mine.  I let him know it wasn't my pen and he said, "Well I had to do something to get your attention."...and then gave me the pen.  I giggled awkwardly, said thanks and walked away.  Apparently if you're interested in a lady, you should offer her office supplies.  Just FYI.
Of course there is more going on but I will stop here for now.  I'm happy.  My rooomates are cool, my apartment location is fantastic, the food is delicious, there's so much to do....I'm happy to be here.  Anxious to start school, but happy and thankful.  I hope you're doing well wherever you are that's reading this.