what to do in nyc: the arthur ross terrace (located at the american museum of natural history)

so you've been in new york for a few days now and constantly going out for lunch and dinner is shrinking the wallet. rapidly.

here's my best suggestion:

pack a picnic. and head to the museum of natural history (located at 80th street and central park west). if you want to go in, by all means do...a more exciting museum is difficult to find and while they suggest a price, you are able to pay what you want/can (with the exception of certain exhibits, as well as the imax).

but after a long morning of exploring the innards of one manhattans great treasures, ask for the outdoor terrace (corner of 79th and colombus). and plop yourself down under the shade of some trees (there are tables) and feast on the beauty of the landscape, as well as the good (cheap) food you've brought. 

the area was built in the great tradition of european gardens, and you can feel it...it transports you. it feels private and beautiful, is nearly an acre in size, and rests against the glass encasement of the space exhibit. 

if you are coming with small children, pack water clothes for them (but know the boys must wear shirts, no matter the age, and everyone must wear shoes--water jellies and crocs come in very handy) and don't forget the spf, of course. then let the kids run free through the fountains. 

and if you're feeling the need for a calming moment...walk to area against the glass wall, where all the water drains...feel the buildup on your feet and marvel at how small you are in relation to...everything.

the best news is...it's free. you do not have to visit the museum in order to partake in the splendor of the terrace. 

do know that during the winter the terrace becomes a polar rink (a skating rink...but not quite, because it's not ice).

i have to say this is my new favorite place in all of new york. it's a great place to go to feel as though you've gotten out of the city. it is here that i can read, write, have lunch with a friend, and of course... run through the fountains (because i'll never be too old for that).

what to do in nyc: central park zoo

so i've been asked many a time what i like to do in nyc. in other words, people want to know what i suggest. and always, always i think...euf, i'm just about the worst person to ask because i don't get out... nearly enough. 


in truth. 

i do have a few ideas. 

and i'll go one at a time.

so how's this for a start?

when in the summer it becomes unbearably hot and i in turn become unbearably overwhelmed, i take great comfort in the penguin house at the central park zoo. 

the central park zoo, located at the southeast corner of the park, is small and carries a $10 price of admission for adults ($5 for kids). but it is home to an oasis of vegetation and a welcome respite from the daily grind and grit of manhattan. 

so why the penguin house, you ask? it's blissfully cool, you can sit on the bench that lines the wall for just about as long as you want, and those little creatures amaze me to no end. 

you see, they're just about the most awkward little things on land. waddling and tipping this way and that. but then they make up their minds to jump into the water, a more graceful animal has never existed. 

and i think there is something to be learned from that--i'll let you figure out what i think it is.

not to mention, they mate for life and i find that endlessly romantic. 

ps: when going to the zoo make sure to catch the sea lion feeding. the best part is just before the show begins and the sea lions know that at any moment their trainers will arrive with plentiful goodies--so they start to look for them and turn around in around in hopes that the goodies might arrive just a wee bit sooner.

I've been a bad New Yorker.

west village, nyc
photo by moi

Or perhaps I should say, I've been a typical New Yorker.

I've lived in New York for five years and only now do I truly love living in the city. I'm entrenched in the heart of the Upper West Side, saddling up to one of the city's great singles' meccas. I've got Riverside Park on one side and Central Park on the other. It's clean and beautiful and convenient so why need I venture out of my perfect little pocket? 

 I had dinner last night with my friend Kathy, who I know through school. It'd been forever since we'd seen each other, so we agreed to meet up at GOOD in the West Village. In celebration of Fat Tuesday we threw caution to the wind--meaning we had cocktails followed by fries followed by half a MAGNOLIA cupcake followed by free wine and then free creme brulee. How I wish I had photos to share. Last night I went sans the usual date of my ultra sexy Canon cyber shot. We traipsed around the New York's West Village as any two gals should. And I thought, why don't I ever come down here? It's like a whole different city--a city where the careful grids give way to careless, winding streets, low-lying buildings and an energy far more European in tilt. It was here  that Kathy revealed her plan to show me her New York--to remove my Upper West Side blinders and allow me to love the city in new and exciting ways. One condition: some things were not to be blogged about. I would be allowed to give descriptions without giving names--so fearful was she that my blog would prove the gateway for the masses. I told her not to worry. I don't get quite that much blog traffic. 

But this does raise a salient point. All my friends now enter into our friendship or continue on in it knowing full well that they are fodder for my foray into blogdom. I feel like a photographer who has to constantly have consent forms singed. In fact, it was only revealed earlier that evening that Kathy even knew I had a blog. I blushed and stammered. She ploughed right through my blushes and applauded my courage. What courage? And I really do mean that: what courage? I was doing it shrouded in anonymity (for the most part). Well, turns out if you google my name, this blog shows up. Woops, how did that happen? Damn, now I can't complain about that girl I work with, or name the department store I worked for (and now loathe). But this is probably for the best. This blog was never meant to be a forum in which to air my complaints.

A year ago I didn't know what a blog was. And most of my friends are even slower on the uptake. So when I explain all this to them, they get quizzical looks on their faces and kind of shrug it off. And then, before long, they're counting the number of references I include them in. It's funny how that all works.

 The first time I told my parents I was going to start this thing, we fought. I mean we really fought. Hard and long. And so I started it against their wishes--perhaps one of my only acts of true rebellion. Surreptitiously I worked. I would send them my posts copied into email format--as though I had put it together for just them (so uncharacteristic of me, it proved a dead giveaway). They knew--long before I knew they knew, then knew. And then my mom gave me this incredible gift: she said to me that I shouldn't ever censor myself for fear of their reading--all I had to do was tell them to skip a post and it would be done. She now sends me daily emails with inspirational quotes (the quotes scattered throughout are one of the things she enjoys most) and my father sends me his version of a blog (which, go figure, does happen to be private and in email form).

 When I was accepted into Juilliard, I took it for granted that my parents had any say in the matter. I would be going there. No questions asked. So my parents quietly let me soar, they just asked that I keep a journal. That was their only demand. To keep up my writing skills, they said. And so I tried. Truth be told, I wasn't very good at it. Weeks would go by without an entry. And if I did write it was mundane and  broad. Sweeping in nature (and not in a good way). But here I am. Now. When all is said and done. Doing, really, what it is that my parents asked of my four years ago.

 I like blogging. It makes me look at things through a very particular lens. An optimistically skewed version of the truth, perhaps. But truth, nonetheless. And it's not really an act of courage, it's simply the only thing I know how to do (telling the truth, that is). 

And as this blog evolves, so do I.

So thank you for that. All of you. Thank you.