Monday, June 29, 2009

This NY Moment: Madoff Sentenced To 150 Years

Came across this sign at a store in the Village a couple weekends ago. It struck me as funny but also weirdly opportunistic. In any case, with news of Madoff's sentencing, I thought it a fitting post.

Monday, June 22, 2009

NYC Rant: Crappy Spring & Summer Weather

You knew this was coming. Sooner or later, I was going to jump up on my soap box and complain about the weather we've been having. I think I've been more than patient with the forces that be. Every winter, when I'm wearing three layers of clothing and it's gray outside, and I only get seven hours of sunlight and I'm nearly freezing to death, I remind myself that spring is on its way. Soon, you'll be strolling around the city under your parasol, dressed in your cute summer dresses and your sandals, I tell myself. You'll be eating on that great open patio at Gigino's on the Hudson. It'll be 8 pm and still be warm out! You'll be picnicking!!

But really, I feel like a parent who's promised ice cream to her kid and then found the ice cream store is out of business. Aside from a few warm days (which weren't necessarily sunny), it's been cold, wet and overcast all spring long. The meteorologists forecast a day in the upper 70's but it always feels like mid to upper 60's to me. Or, if it is warm, it's disgustingly muggy and rainy.

In my nearly six years of living in the city, I have never experienced a spring like the one that just ended, and I'm not optimistic about summer, which officially began yesterday. I'm not the only one complaining--I have heard some truly loyal, entrenched New Yorkers, people who've been living here for decades, complain about the weather too. Even the ducks in Battery Park are regretting their decision to fly back for the summer. (these two were sitting in the public infinity fountain in front of Ciao Bella a week ago).

The entire city seems to be waiting with baited breath for the sun to come out. In the meantime, we shuffle around optimistically in our shorts and flip-flops despite the pools of rainwater and the fall-like temperatures, looking crankier and more dejected than ever. We spend our weekends letting our plans for picnics and trips to the Bronx Zoo lapse in favor of a good nap.

I'm reminded of the scenes in The Day After Tomorrow where Manhattan is iced-over, and there are news reports that people are fleeing to Africa where the weather's fine. Whatever the reason, I'm hoping the sun returns, because acceptance of life in NYC is being severely tested by these marathon days of gloom.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happenings: First Visit to the High Line

As long as I've lived here, I've been hearing about plans for the High Line. What is it? An elevated park on what used to be a train track, I was told. I couldn't picture such a thing in theory. But this Saturday, I finally saw it for myself.

City Guy, a couple friends and I braved the heavy gray skies after brunch and walked the rainsoaked wooden planks. The completed section runs from Gansevoort to 20th St, but entered on 18th St. When done, the park should be a mile-and-a-half long and extend north to 34th St. It offers a rare elevated perspective on the river and the Meatpacking District and Chelsea and is beautifully landscaped with plants that were supposedly growing on the abandoned tracks (trains haven't run there since 1980).The architecture is well thought out, although I did almost trip on a couple inexplicable bumps in the cement near some benches (to discourage skateboarders?). Some of the benches were sleek and reminiscent of playground slides, but so narrow that anyone with a large behind might feel less than fully supported. Others were more like beach chairs or beds, sans the adjustable back support. In any case, no one was sitting, as they were wet wet wet. My favorite feature were the windows on the pedestrian bridge over 14th St(?). There is tiered seating so you can while the hours away staring at traffic pass below. The fishbowl view from the other side was actually more interesting.
In this covered bridge above Chelsea Market, an employee from City Bakery manned a small food cart with baked goods and coffee, but wasn't getting much business.
What is this striking architectural giant? Anyone know? It strides the High Line perfectly. Saw lots of people taking pictures, but just one runner. He didn't look very comfortable, navigating the flower beds and benches--plus how satisfying could a half mile run really be? The rest of the High Line is still in construction. Looking through the locked gate at 20th St where the completed section ends, we saw plants waiting for new homes. A nice addition to the city and another bonus to living downtown and on the West side. Should be nice when it's complete.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happenings: VitalJuice Pop-up Wellness Retreat

I love that in NYC you can just be walking down the street and stumble upon some great show. event, restaurant, sample sale, or in today's case, free health fair. This one is being held in the now defunct (so sad) Virgin Megastore in Union Square, so you wouldn't know it was there if some flyer girl didn't tell you about it as you were about to cross the street and head into Whole Foods.

"The VitalJuice Wellness Retreat is going on today," she says.

"Is that some kind of drink?" I ask. No, it turned out. VitalJuice is a website where you can sign up for Daily Candy-esque daily email blasts about health and wellness. I was skeptical, but I had some time, so I stepped inside. I'm glad I did.

Going from booth to booth, I racked up the following goodies:
  • A bottle of Strawberry Kiwi HINT water -- 0 calories!
  • 2 Soyjoy bars - one mango coconut and one berry flavored
  • 1 Attune bar - a new probiotic health bar
  • $5 coupon to Whole foods (plus three-bean quinoa salad samples)
  • A bag of make-your-own-trailmix from Keri Glassman, maker of Keribar, a new nutrition bar--only 140 calories!
  • food samples from nu-kitchen, a personal meal delivery program (tasty bars!)
  • sample of GNC's wellbeing line -- I chose the "be-Energized" formula - just add to water and drink before working out and burn 3x more calories (really???)
  • skin mapping consultation and eyebrown shaping and Dermalogica product samples from Oasis Day Spa (one of my favorite in the city!); Danna, the aesthetition and Evelyn, the eyebrow expert, were great; they were also offering free massages
  • online skincare product consultation from mySkin
  • sample of World of Grains crackers (pretty good) and coupon
  • ...assorted other coupons
Oh, and Crunch gym was offering free classes. The event ends tomorrow, so there's still time for you to check it out. The only requirement for getting in is signing up for the VitalJuice email.