Reading about New York

First posted March 19, 2014.

Most of the nonfiction I read falls into the memoir category, with an emphasis on travel. But one of my favorites is Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, a book for book lovers. If you haven’t read it, buy it now. It’s short and you’ll read it so quickly you’ll wish it were longer. I’ve read it a couple times and love all of the essays, but one of my favorites is called “My Odd Shelf”.

It’s about Fadiman’s obsession with polar exploration and the collection of books she has built centering on it. You can read a little of it in this review, but the concept is a simple one: many of us voracious readers have a niche topic which fascinates us, one that the general population wouldn’t understand. I have a few of them – favorite authors that I’ve read almost everything by, girls’ mysteries stories with a focus on Nancy Drew and books about Nancy Drew, and fairy tales. But I’m starting to build a small collection which could be called “Books about NYC that I haven’t finished reading yet.” Not quite like Fadiman’s collection. Oh well.

The only book in this collection that I did finish is called My First New York: Early Adventures in the Big City, and I gave it away. It’s a collection of essays from New York Magazine by notables from all fields about what New York was like when they first arrived, whenever it was. I saw it on the ubiquitous New York tables at bookstores and museums and finally gave in and bought it. It was, like Ex Libris, a quick read, but a good one.

Another “saw it everywhere” purchase was New York Diaries: 1609 to 2009, edited by Teresa Carpenter, which offers snapshots of the history of this city in diary entries from New York residents throughout the city’s existence. I’ve dipped into it, but have yet to read more than 40 or so pages. What I’ve read, though, was fascinating!
When I graduated college I was given The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn as a gift. It traces the history of each section of the borough I’ve lived in since moving to New York, and while I’ve read up on some of the neighborhoods I’ve lived in, I have yet to read all of it.

Not strictly about New York, but my friend gave me a copy of To Marry an English Lord, the book that inspired “Downton Abbey”, and while I’ve only read about three-quarters of it, I was struck by how many of the American heiresses in it were from New York society, and by the portrait of that society it painted.

A book that is useful for this blog: the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: New York City 2014, given to me by the fabulous Allie Singer. Once the weather’s a little nicer I’m going to use it to plan adventures in parts of the city I haven’t had the chance to explore yet.

On my to-be-purchased list: Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I’ve seen it in the Met bookstore (where else) and my fascination with museums means I will eventually get around to buying it.

What’s on your odd shelf? What books do you buy faster than you can read them? And what books about New York should I add to my read-eventually pile?


“The Last Five Years”, the movie

The Last Five Years

I think I’ve more than established my love of musical theater on this blog by now, so it will surprise no one when I say that I watched the new “The Last Five Years” movie, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan, on its opening night last Friday. My friend and I did not go to see it in the theater as planned (Village East Cinema is the only place in NYC showing it this week) because the showing we wanted to see sold out before I managed to buy a ticket. It was a bummer as Jason Robert Brown, the composer, was doing a Q&A, but it may have worked out for the best that we ended it up buying it on iTunes and watching it at my friend’s apartment.

Why? Because it meant that when we got to one of the few line changes in the musical and it turned out to be the kind of moment where we both started laughing and couldn’t stop, we were able to pause until we could breathe, and then we rewound and watched that bit again. (For fans, I’ll say it was the change to the line “These are the people who cast Linda Blair in a musical” that cracked us up – you’ll know why when you hear it.)

If you haven’t heard of this movie, let me try to sell it to you. First of all, it’s the new Anna Kendrick movie! Didn’t you love her in “Pitch Perfect”? My mom tells me “Up in the Air” was phenomenal, too, and she got an Oscar nom for that one! She’s a great actress and singer and she really gives a wonderful performance here, so if you’re a fan of hers, it’s worth a look.

Anna Kendrick as Cathy

And since this IS a blog about life in NYC, I can’t neglect to mention that the movie is set (and filmed!) in NYC. Cathy (Anna Kendrick) lives originally in an apartment in Red Hook; we see Jamie (Jeremy Jordan, from the musical “Newsies” and the TV show “SMASH”) hanging out near the water on a boardwalk and it quickly becomes clear he’s right near the Fairway supermarket in Red Hook. The couple end up sharing an apartment (unrealistically, in my opinion!) on 73rd street in Manhattan, and they get engaged and married in Central Park. Jamie even hangs out in Madison Square Park before visiting his publisher, Random House, which is implied to be in the Flatiron Building, where Macmillan actually is. There are other moments that show snippets of NYC, and together they really ground the story here in the city, in a way that the stage show, which usually has a pretty simple set, doesn’t.

Jeremy Jordan as Jamie

Jeremy Jordan as Jamie

So for the uninitiated, what is this even about? “The Last Five Years” is the story of a five year relationship between two twenty-somethings, Jamie and Cathy. Jamie is an aspiring novelist who finds enormous success very quickly, while Cathy is a struggling actress whose career never quite takes off. It’s told through alternating songs between the two characters. Cathy’s first song opens the movie, showing the end of their relationship after Jamie has left her, and her numbers work their way back to the beginning of their time together. Jamie’s first song tells of the start of their relationship and continues on until he leaves her. In both the show and the movie, their voices only come together in song twice: once, in the middle, when their timelines meet and they get engaged and married, and again at the end as Cathy sings about saying goodbye until the next time they meet and Jamie sings about saying goodbye forever as he leaves her.

It’s a bit of a complicated conceit, but it works. In the stage show, the actors only connect with each other during the proposal/wedding song, but in the movie the two are in almost every scene together, reacting to the other person’s words and speaking occasional dialogue. It adds a depth to each character that I found fascinating, and my friend and I made new connections between lyrics and events that we hadn’t before, despite the fact that we’ve both been obsessed with this show for about a decade. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the cast recording with Norbert Leo Butz and Sherie Rene Scott, and I was thrilled to see a production when I was in college and another one here in NYC two years ago at Second Stage, directed by the composer.

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I’ve been reading reviews in an effort to understand what non-fans might think about this movie, and they’re mixed. If you’re not a musical fan at all, you probably won’t like it, since it’s basically sung through. If you like your narratives to have a traditional narrative structure, you might not like it, since Cathy’s story is told backwards. And if somewhat selfish characters turn you off, as many reviewers seem to have been turned off, you may not like it.

But here’s the thing. It’s a movie about two people in their twenties striving for something they love and falling in and out of love. Yes, they’re selfish, and yes, you come to understand very clearly that these two were not meant for each other. It’s about ambition and jealousy and misunderstanding and being young and moving too quickly. Jamie and Cathy can both be pretty terrible to each other, but their pain is real, and the show paints a picture of why each acts the way they do. Different viewers will come away thinking one or the other is to blame for their relationship falling apart, and that’s okay. I think my opinion changes each time I listen or watch, and that’s what makes it such a great show.

As a teenager I listened to it, loving the hyperbolic outsized emotions of the long songs and dreaming a bit about falling in love. As a twenty-something I see myself and my friends in it as we struggle with careers and love lives and how to fit ourselves into them, or fit them into us. I bet my perspective will change when I’m in my thirties, and I know I’ll be revisiting the movie for years to come. I already half watched, half listened to it again the other night.

The change from stage to movie is a difficult one, as “Into the Woods” made clear. My friends and I have talked recently about how moving to film should add something to the show, something which can’t be achieved in the theater. As good as “Into the Woods” was, nothing exciting was added in translation. But with “The Last Five Years”, the vibrancy of the NYC backdrop made a huge difference, and seeing the characters react to each other made the fact that they weren’t really listening to each other even clearer. My friend pointed out how little true eye contact the two make, despite being together throughout the film, and how much emphasis is placed on the physical aspect of their relationship – there’s just as much lust as love to these two, and that’s something that isn’t clear in the stage show.

There are in jokes for fans, like the fact that the two women who played Cathy Off-Broadway, Sherie Rene Scott and Betsy Wolfe, both make cameo appearances, and that the composer, Jason Robert Brown, has a cameo as the audition pianist who “hates” Cathy and screws up her accompaniment. These are grace notes for obsessed people like me and my friend, but the quality of the music, the acting, and the cinematography stands for itself. The story may be a bit confusing for new audiences, but it’s the kind of complex that is ultimately rewarding.

If “The Last Five Years” isn’t playing at a theater near you, you can find on iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, or other places on demand. Watch the trailer here.

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Going to Target in NYC


I remember the first time I ever went to Target.

No, that’s a lie. I have vague memories of possibly visiting a Target while on a trip Minnesota, before it was a fixture in every major suburb I’ve ever spent time in, and I know there was a time before the Target in my hometown sprung up about a twenty minute walk from our house. But I don’t really remember the Time Before Target, so I don’t remember my first time in a store.

But I do remember the first time I ever set foot in the Target at Atlantic Terminal Mall.

It was late August, and I was moving to Brooklyn. My parents still had a minivan and had driven me here with it packed full of all the things I couldn’t do without. We’d carried them up the stairs to my first (terrible) apartment, and now we were in Target to pick up the other things I needed. I’m sure food, and paper towels, and other cleaning supplies were all on the list, but mainly I remember buying my table, which is now my kitchen table, and a folding chair, which I left at an old apartment two years ago. I love that table, even though it’s now a little worse for wear, because it’s a lovely dark brown wood square table that you would never suspect is a folding table. I’ve mainly only folded it for moves, but I love that I could store it under my bed if I ever wanted to!

That Target trip had a bad ending when, after lugging the table and the other items around the corner to where we’d parked the car (Target’s carts are magnetized so you can’t take them outside the store), we found out we’d been away just a little too long. Brooklyn welcomed us with a parking ticket.

I’ve been back to that Target a fair number of times in my years in New York, and its strangeness never totally goes away. Like many retail spaces in NYC (but unlike most suburban Targets), Brooklyn’s Target is built up. Our Target in my childhood neighborhood sprawls – if you’re separated from the person you’re with, you could walk the large rectangle of the store and miss them completely if you didn’t look carefully enough. That’s probably true in the Brooklyn Target, too, only with the aided obstacle that the store is two floors. An escalator takes you (and your cart on its own moving walkway) from one to the other.

It’s easy to get lost in this Target – for a while I’d forget, from one visit to the next, where exactly certain sections were. I’ve gotten them nailed down on my mental map, now, more or less. It’s a busy store, not surprising as it sits on top of the hub that is Atlantic-Barclays. I try not to go too often, both because it’s overwhelming and because when I do I tend to remember my suburban roots and buy more than I need, and certainly more than I can comfortably carry on the subway. Luckily, there’s an (overpriced) car service line right outside the store. If you’re nice to the guy minding the door that leads outside from the elevator, he’ll even unlock your cart long enough to lead you out to the cars. It’s how I traveled when I spent way too much money one day last fall because I had a gift card.

If you have time to spend, and money to burn, and lots of things on your list, a trip to the Brooklyn Target can be rewarding, as my apartment stands to show. And when you go to check out? Walk further in to the checkout area – the lines get a lot shorter if you do! But if you’re tired, and broke, skip it – otherwise you’ll end up spending more than you need to.

Have you spent time in a NYC Target? How does it stack up to your suburban visits? Or do you avoid Target altogether?

Watching the NYC marathon

First posted November 2, 2013. Updated with photos and links. 

If you live in NYC, you are almost definitely aware that the marathon is tomorrow. If you’re like me, you know at least two people personally who are running. Wikipedia tells me that the first NYC marathon was held in 1970 and has been run every year since, except for 2012, when the aftermath of superstorm Sandy led to its cancellation. My dad ran the marathon when I was a kid, long ago enough that I mostly just remember how tired he looked when we met him in Central Park at the end.

NYC Marathon 2013

NYC Marathon 2013

I’m not a runner, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be one, but there’s something about watching the marathon that makes me want to be. When I lived in Clinton Hill I spent at least an hour each marathon morning cheering as first the handcyclists, and then some of the fastest men and women in the world, sped by. And then the ordinary runners, still faster than I would ever be, ran by in masses. Two years in a row I saw a man running in a Minnie Mouse costume, possibly (hopefully?) the same guy. Sometimes there were couples or groups of friends. Sometimes I’d cheer for someone wearing a shirt from my college, or just slap hands with the people nearest to me as they passed. Last year I knew three people running and got to see one of them go by. This year I know at least two people and can’t wait to cheer them on!

NYC Marathon 2013

NYC Marathon 2013

The first time I went to watch, Time Warner was giving out bells to ring. I kept mine and brought it with me the following year because it’s very easy to get hoarse while watching the marathon. I never wanted a single person to go by feeling un-cheered-for, which was probably silly since they had 26.219 miles to run and surely there would be several times where there wasn’t cheering. But there’s something about watching people in the midst of such an amazing feat that makes me want to support them as much as possible in the only way I can.

Tomorrow, if you live near the marathon route, consider wandering over and checking it out. I guarantee you’ll be inspired by the runners, you’ll probably make friends with some cute kids who are cheering from the sidewalk, and you may lose your voice. Sorry about that last one.

If anyone wants a buddy, let me know–I’ll be out there with my bell!

The rain has started in the city

I’ve been back from Italy for ten days – just about how long I was gone – and fall has officially, well, fallen. In Rome, it got to be 90 degrees. Even in Venice I was fine at night with a sweater. But in the last two days in New York, as rain has poured from the sky and into my leaky boots, I’ve started layering under my rain jacket and wondering when I should pull out my woolen winter coat. I still need to get my AC out of the window so the draft (and noise) stops seeping into my apartment.

Right now I’m sitting on the couch writing this wrapped in a blanket. My heat is on, but it’s still chilly.

Fall 2013, Prospect Park

Fall 2013, Prospect Park

I’ve said it on this blog before and I’ll say it again: Fall is my favorite season. I love the crisp air and the smell of the leaves, apple cider and pumpkins, Halloween, everything. But October is already almost over, winter is peeking over its shoulder, and I’m just not ready. I need to spray my new boots so I can wear them in the rain! I probably need a better fall jacket, and I definitely need some new sweaters. I should figure out a humidifier situation because the heat has only been on for a few days and already I’m drying out. I’d probably be handling this all a little better if I weren’t still recovering from vacation, and if the rainy weather hadn’t brought on some allergies.

It’s hard to stay active in the fall and winter. It’s getting darker earlier – Daylights Saving Time ends next weekend – and between that and the weather I’m going to have some trouble convincing myself to get out and do things in the months to come. So if you have suggestions, send them my way! I need all the encouragement I can get.

But the rain is stopping, the temperature is going up tomorrow, and there’s still so much autumn loveliness to look forward to! Halloween is next weekend, as is the marathon, and the leaves are just starting to change color. I can’t wait to see what Prospect Park looks like this fall – it was spectacular last year.

If you, like me, are already feeling the urge to hibernate, you might like this song by The Doubleclicks that describes exactly the situation I find myself in. Except minus the cats.

Killer Heels at the Brooklyn Museum

This past weekend I visited the Brooklyn Museum for the second time. It’s a little absurd that it took me so long to get back there, considering how long I’ve lived in Brooklyn. The first time I went was for one of the Target First Saturdays, the first Saturday of each month when admission is free and there are special events. It was fun, but crowded, and it was nice this time to be there on a regular Saturday – even though the exhibit we saw was still pretty crowded!

It was my friend’s birthday and as a fan of fashion and great shoes, she suggested an outing to see the Killer Heels exhibit. There was a free tour on Saturday afternoon, so we met there a little early and got our tickets. One of her friends was able to get some of us in for free, but we also learned that the Brooklyn Museum is another pay-what-you-want museum. I definitely need to go back sometime soon!DSC01920

The guide took us around the exhibit and told us some of the history of the shoes on display. The shoes ranged from the sixteenth century to the present day. Some were paired with items that inspired them, like a candlestick or a vase, and there was artwork related to the shoes scattered throughout the exhibit. There were also a number of short films loosely related to the topic of high heels – I really enjoyed watching one of a shoemaker putting together a pair of red heels.

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The exhibit runs through February 15, 2015, so make sure to check it out for yourself! In the meantime, take a look at some of the awesome shoes that are on display there.

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Weekend people-watching

I didn't take any people-watching pictures, so have this lovely picture of clouds I took last week.

I didn’t take any people-watching pictures, so have this lovely picture of clouds I took last week.

I did some people-watching this Sunday in my neighborhood. I wanted to get out of my apartment but was too lazy to go for a walk so I took a book to a nearby coffee shop and sat in the window with a hot chocolate for a couple hours. I drink hot chocolate year-round, no shame, but it’s nice that the weather is starting to be hot chocolate-appropriate.

And apparently it’s no longer iced coffee weather, as I heard the barista tell at least three different customers during my visit. Part of the fun of sitting in the café for so long was watching the flow of customers. When I arrived there was a group of women in their late twenties or early thirties catching up happily over their drinks. After they left it was quieter, but the quiet was punctuated periodically by a dad with a small helmeted boy bearing a wheeled transportation device. No, not the same dad and kid over and over – three different ones, each with a scooter or child-sized bike.

Other customers walked up with dogs and would leave them outside while they ordered, either tied to the fence or with a friend. One white, fluffy dog was so cute I was tempted to walk outside and ask its owner to be my friend so I could play with it. This is an urge that comes on fairly often in Brooklyn, but one that I’ve so far been able to resist acting on.

This is probably a silly observation, but, the neat thing about staying put and people-watching, rather than wandering around, is the sheer number of people who pass by. Lots of couples and parents with kids – not at all surprising in my neighborhood – but also people with groceries or in exercise clothes, people ready to stop at the stoop sale just a bit over from the coffee shop. Just people, out and about living their lives on a sunny September Sunday.

In one of Madeleine L’Engle’s memoirs she talks about that first moment of awareness when she realized that other people were separate from her, that that woman over there would never know her, and she would never know her. In New York we’re surrounded by strangers at all times – a lot of people don’t know their neighbors, and even if we do, one ride on the subway exposes us to dozens of people we’ll never meet. So yeah, I’m aware that other people are separate from me and are living their lives independent of mine.

But people-watching in a coffee shop makes those faceless strangers a little more sympathetic, a little more specific. They’re not just the random guy and kid I pass on the street, they’re a father and son who had that funny little conversation before they headed out the door. They’re the two friends or coworkers of the barista who came in an hour or so apart and separately filled her in on their plans for the evening. Or the cute guy with the laptop who sat turned toward the wall, maybe in an effort to forget about the beautiful day outside and focus on his work.

Hopefully no one was paying too much attention to me sitting in the window, because I definitely started to nod off once or twice. I’m blaming the lovely party I’d been at the night before and the warm sunshine that was coming through the window. Still embarrassing? Absolutely. But probably not as bad as the many post-lunch lectures in college I couldn’t keep my eyes open in.

Did you do any people-watching on this almost autumn weekend? What were the best things you saw or overheard?

PS Looking for something to do this weekend? Bryant Park’s square dance is back on Friday and Saturday nights from 6 to 9, and Sunday from 1 to 4. Check it out!

Staycation in Park Slope

Considering I had a long weekend trip just a few weekends ago, and I’m in the midst of planning a vacation with my mom for not too long from now, a four-day Labor Day staycation was clearly in order this weekend. I needed it. My apartment, which wasn’t looking bad but required a little cleaning and attention, also needed it. And so I had four days wherein I stayed so close to home that I didn’t take the subway and only took the bus once, after a particularly expensive drugstore visit.

???????????????????????????????A delicious and cheap brunch place where Mayor De Blasio has been known to hang out

I ran some errands, saw a couple friends for meals, did some trip planning, and got some reading time in. I also watched some TV and a movie, two things I haven’t done all that much of this summer. I even got up and went to the gym on Monday morning, a little later than I usually go because it was, after all, a holiday, and the streets were quiet besides a few dog walkers and cyclists. The gym was emptier than usual – I had the whole row of ellipticals to myself.

???????????????????????????????The Park Slope library, with random stoop sale outside it

During my errand outing in Park Slope, and when I was meeting up with my friends, I took a few photos of the neighborhood. It’s where I go for brunch and to buy shampoo and return library books (when the library is not closed for the holiday, oops). When friends visit who haven’t spent much time in NYC, they’re usually surprised by Brooklyn. It doesn’t look like the NYC they’ve seen on television or in movies.

DSC01850A pretty church

That’s one of the things I like about living here. Working in Manhattan is a lot of fun, but it’s nice to escape at the end of the day and on the weekends to a place that’s a little quieter. Even with Park Slope’s notoriety, I don’t think there are a ton of tourists wandering down 7th Avenue. I can handle the baby strollers, and there are usually enough cute dogs to more than balance out the small children.

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I meant to take more pictures of the commercial streets, but I got distracted by trees and pretty buildings. Next time I take a walk maybe I’ll get some more pictures of restaurants and stores, or even people.

Well, maybe.

???????????????????????????????A lovely weeping willow

What did you do with your long weekend, and what’s your favorite staycation activity?

PS The movie I was in has started showing in theaters, but I haven’t gone yet! If you see it, let me know if you spot me!

???????????????????????????????Another pretty church! This one has a used book sale every February.


Lazy writing, or, forgetting the details

Sometimes I write these posts in a bit of a hurry. Life is busy, time gets away from me, and it’s the night I’m supposed to post and I have nothing written yet. When I first started the blog (almost a year ago!), I had a few entries in the bank, which was an excellent plan. I also had a list of topics I might someday write about. The bank is now empty, and while there are a few items still on the list, mostly I come up with new topics on the spot. Often, now, they’re timely: I write about something I just did or just heard about.

But when rushing to get something written, sometimes I summarize instead of really taking time to show what an experience was like. So, without further ado, five details that got left out of recent blog posts!
1.       The Empire State Building. On my recent trip up the Empire State Building, I found that while we didn’t stand around waiting in line for very long, it did take some time to get to the top. This was partly because, in order to accommodate the lines that are usually there, there are some hallways you have to walk through. Some of these hallways have rope barricades that zigzag back and forth. These are surely very practical when there are a bunch of people, but for us they were like low hurdles: after zigzagging a couple times, we just started hopping over them. On the way out, we had almost made it the elevators when someone told us we couldn’t go that way – and pointed us to the gift shop instead. Of course. They did have a pretty neat 4D puzzle of NYC there, though!
2.       Summer Streets. (Coming up this Saturday, 8/9, and next, 8/16) When I went to Summer Streets a couple years ago, my roommate ended up on rollerblades because the bike line was too long. What I didn’t mention was how we procured those rollerblades. Around Astor Place, she hopped on the subway to make her way up to 42nd where we thought there was a skate rental. I biked up to meet her there and along the way happened upon the skate rental, somewhere in the 30s. I guessed (wrongly) at her rollerblade size, checked out a pair, hung them over my handlebars, and met her up at 42nd. It’d been years since she rollerbladed, but she gamely put on the too-large blades and whizzed down the dark Park Ave tunnel ramp at Grand Central – and didn’t get hurt!
3.       Freestyle Love Supreme. Early on in the show, the beatboxer set up the beat in an unusual way. While beatboxing, he started miming out… something. What he was doing, we couldn’t quite tell. At one point he seemed to be pulling a heart out of a body (or maybe he was putting one in?), and then a helicopter came by, and then he seemed to have a soundboard that he was messing with. I honestly have no idea what was supposed to be happening, but the noises and gestures he was making were funny, so we all laughed, despite being confused.
4.       King Lear in Central Park. Lear’s fool was wonderful. He was so angry when Cordelia was sent away, and he chastises the king but also supports him. There was so much thought behind every line of his and every action, and my heart broke a little for him, watching him watch his king fall apart. The show runs till August 17, so if tragedy is up your alley, check it out!
5.       Getting lost in NYC. Easiest way to get lost: Let someone else navigate. If I’ve decided that I’m not making the directional decisions and I stop paying attention to where I am, it’s a lot easier for me to get turned around. I once walked around Prospect Park with a friend, before I’d spent much time there, and when we found ourselves back where we’d started I realized my sense of direction had utterly failed me – but I still had a lovely walk.

Going forward I hope to be a little less lazy and a little more detail-oriented with these posts, but I’m making no promises! Any posts or stories you’d like a few more details about?

Getting lost in New York

It’s been a long time since I was a true tourist in New York, someone who didn’t know her way around the city and got lost easily. I took the subway by myself for the first time as a sophomore in college, traveling from Grand Central all the way up to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, even navigating a service change. Since then I’ve made my way on my own. Okay, there’s the occasional brain fart where I forget which direction is west and which is east, but besides that, I can get myself around without too much trouble.

That means that I don’t often just wander the city anymore – I’m always on my way from one place to another. It’s efficient when you have to be somewhere by a certain time, but it means I rarely stop to explore my own city, even when I have people visiting me – especially not then, since I’m always trying to show them the parts of New York I already know and love.
Most of my meandering happens in familiar parts of the city – a walk around SoHo after dinner with a friend, around my neighborhood in Brooklyn, or through Prospect Park. If I’m walking for the sake of walking, sometimes I’ll notice places I’ve never seen before even though I’ve passed them a dozen times, and sometimes I’ll take a moment to stop and just enjoy the sunshine. I forget to do that sometimes when I’m on the phone with my mom, walking home from the subway after work, and it’s important to slow down and be present.
A modest proposal for the remaining weeks of summer: I plan to take one free afternoon, pick a neighborhood I haven’t spent much time in, and wander, without a timeline or a destination. My goal will be to get a little lost, because if I do, I might find myself somewhere pretty neat.
Anyone want to join me?