what to do in nyc | fort tryon + the cloisters

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There's a place high up north on the island of Manhattan that hardly anyone speaks of. And yet. And yet and yet. It is beautiful and quiet and the air is cooler and cleaner and the view! Fort Tryon Park is, in my not so humble opinion, one of the most beautiful things you might hope to see in Manhattan--in large part because it so very much a departure from what you expect of this city. It is lush and hilly and the bluffs on the other side of the Hudson part to reveal what surely inspired so much art of the American romantic and transcendentalist movement.


It is an always welcome pause.


It is also home to The Cloisters (the branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to Medieval artwork). Yesterday was just my second time visiting this museum and I had forgotten how lovely it. It is too small to be overwhelming and wonderfully mixes indoor and outdoor space.


It is my suggestion that if you're visiting New York it's worth riding the A train to 190th and taking the elevator up (follow the signs to The Cloisters). It will empty you at the entrance of Fort Tryon. Walk through the park to the museum, enjoy your fill of Medieval architecture and relics, and then have lunch or brunch or dinner at New Leaf Cafe--one of my very favorite restaurants in New York because it feels nearly out of place, nestled as it is in so much vegetation. These three things (as well as the time for the commute) will fill a full morning or afternoon.


{As I research what to do + where to go in Paris--with absolutely no prior knowledge of the city, it has got me rethinking how to advise people visiting New York. There is so much information I take for granted and I think when I return from my sojourn I'm going to work to revamp any tips/tricks/ideas for really getting the New York city experience when you've only got a little bit of time}.


Happy Monday, I have a feeling it's going to be a good week!



christmas in new york

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(My grown up shoes. The glitter leaves a trail...perhaps, inevitably).

photo 1-28Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 8.16.56 AM(That Chagall in the background may be one of my very favorites. Ever).

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(Thank goodness for friends who understand the importance of a damn fine cheese plate).

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For all of the things to do in New York, and all the glamorous places to go, almost nothing beats a house party.


I find that so much in this city belongs to the public domain. Walking and taking the subway and traveling and eating--nearly everything is done in view of others. There's a reason everyone gets comfortable with crying in public here, you sort of have to. And because so much is public, that makes the private spaces that much more sacred. Not just anyone can be invited over the threshold and into your home. So when someone does open their door for you, well, it can make for a really lovely evening.


I'm so lucky to have the girlfriends that I've met in this city. I'm keeping them for life, that much I know. Even when, as I imagine will happen, time and fate scatter us across the country (or the world), I'm keeping them.


Good food, good wine, much laughter, and an apartment all lit up with lights and stories...I wouldn't have it any other way.


Sunday nights have a way of inviting in loneliness like no other, but last night--well, last night was good. A family night in the most expansive sense of the word.


A perfect start to the holiday week.



my new york | the one with street art, full coffee shops, and hanging lights everywhere

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My good, good friend Alisha and I met for coffee this afternoon. I suggested Peels because it was warm enough out that we'd be able to grab lattes-to-go and then wander. Waiting for her to arrive, I hung out on the corner just outside the restaurant. Funny thing about New York, there are certain places in the city that make me feel so very uncool. When I was in college it was any part of SOHO. Now, it turns out, it is the corner just outside Peels on the Lower East Side. The New Yorker in me was born and bred on the Upper West Side--where sweaters and button-downs and penny loafers are still, by-and-large, the norm. And coming from Texas--where women wear pearls and men gingham shirts... well, my style leans toward a certain blue-blooded-Americana. Sure, every once and a while I'll pull on an oversized hat or some distressed biker-boots, but if you drop me off in certain parts of downtown Manhattan or Brooklyn, I mostly feel wildly out of place--like everyone is in costume and I've missed the memo.


Today I discovered that the corner outside Peels is one such place--a place where everyone seems to be just a little too good looking--where everyone knows each other and wears expensive retro sunglasses and Native-American-inspired-caftans. It's the sort of corner populated by people who seem to ooze too-cool-for-school.


And here's the thing, as I get older, I have less and less patience for just those sort of people. Because the hipster thing has happened. Am I the only one who's ready to see what happens when hipster grows up? An evolution or aging process is in order, no?


I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'd take authentic over glamorous any day of the week.


I've gotten off topic.


This is all to say, that when  Alisha arrived, I grabbed her by the arm and pulled her in the opposite direction.


The air had quickly turned from cool to cold and it seemed that every coffee shop we passed was packed--the people looking all cozy and warm (and firmly planted) inside. Which is how we found ourselves in the basement of a coffee shop in Chinatown.


I like Alisha because she doesn't have time for the nonsense of "cool" either. Also, she's one of the very smartest people I know (she was home-schooled, so a huge kudos to her parents).


In that tiny coffee shop basement we grooved to good music, and sipped lattes, and talked about life's big things. She groaned when I told her how I lacked a certain amount of courage when doing something-that-as-of-yet-will-not-be-discussed-here, and I smiled as she told me about the first time she ever laid eyes on the man she's now married to. And then we talked about faith--faith in a higher power, in ourselves, in the lives we're now living, and in the people we hope to be.


And then we wandered--me with the big camera, her with her good eye for street graffiti.


I think the very best thing about my very favorite girlfriends here in New York is that when we're together we're constantly mistaken for tourists. And we're okay with that. We treat the city like it's an explorer's adventure.


No room, nor time for cool. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

a very-merry-start to the Christmas season

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Last night was one of those perfect, perfect nights. I got to spend it with my friend Alisha, who may very well be the smartest person I know, as well as the funniest. We went to a really lovely party and had just enough booze that we decided it necessary to head crosstown for a baked potato and spinach dip. And because I am a person who almost always has a massive camera in her purse (and who almost always never takes it out), we thought it really important to pose along the way--just as ridiculously "model-esque" as we could.

The results were, inevitably, spot-on.

We're thinking about sending these out as Christmas cards...obviously.