Category Archives: in and around NYC

Touring: The New York Public Library

I recently stopped by the New York Public Library to take a walk around the inside. Thinking back I don’t know if I have ever even been inside the NYPL before.

First, as I was walking up the iconic steps up to the library, a woman walking just ahead of me fell. Scared the crap out of me. Surprisingly, this woman wasn’t me, but she tripped over some misplaced construction equipment (safety fail by the way). Several of us went right over to her to make sure she was okay. Human kindness at its finest as there were quite a few of us checking on her.

Second, I was surprised at how many people were inside on a weekday. The place was packed. Packed! And not just with tourists checking the place out.

People were working on the libraries’ desktops, personal laptops, netbooks and blackberries. Seats in the various reading rooms were hard to come by for sure.

Because I am nosy, er, curious, I wanted to see what people were doing in the library. I snuck a few glances around. People were writing papers, doing research, playing on Facebook, perusing Google and <gasp> reading.

There were a vast amount of people, and all ages, ethnicities and gender. Who are these people? Are they students? Writers? Researchers? My curiosity was piqued.

I did log on as well to check out any must do’s or sees at the New York Public Library. Thanks to one site, I found out there was a Map Room. Imagine that. Right up my alley. I immediately packed my bag up and set off to find this Map Room.

Inside, there were globes, maps and so many people just as in awe as I was. I could have spent hours checking out old globes and maps and just releasing my inner explorer.

The library had beautiful architecture and an amazing collection of books. In fact, I stumbled upon an entire wall of World Book Encyclopedias. Remember those?

Have you ever been to the New York Public Library? What were you looking for? Did you find it?


Mortality Check

This morning a 41-year-old woman was killed by an elevator in her midtown Manhattan office building en route to work.

She works in the same industry I used to, and in fact, I had a very similar job as she did.

It was a freak accident but it is a grim reminder that life is very fragile.

There were apparently two other people in the elevator that likely saw this woman get killed.

My heart breaks for every one of these three people and their families.

It is clearly time to reassess your mortality.

Wandering Earl

I had the opportunity to meet Wandering Earl this week.

Very cool. For those of you that think I travel a lot – I haven’t even scratched the surface compared to Earl.

Take a look at his blog. Get inspired!

Never Forget.

Never forget. September 11, 2001.

Ten Years Ago

I had just quit my temporary job in Pennsylvania just before Labor Day and I was focusing on getting a job in Manhattan. I would waitress at night and look for jobs and set up interviews during the day.

Ten years ago today, I had an interview in New York City, on Madison Avenue. Ten years ago tomorrow, I had another, in the Empire State Building. At nine in the morning.

On my way leaving the city on Monday, September 10, I found myself transferring trains at the World Trade Center to catch the Path Train to Newark where I would catch a New Jersey Transit train home. While walking towards the Path Train in the basement of the Trade Center, I thought to myself, I should go up to the top of the Trade Center. I haven’t been up there since I was a kid.

I  convinced myself not to take the ride up. I had a date later that night. I was getting picked up at home to head into Philly later that night. So I didn’t go to the top. I figured there would be more opportunities.

Little did I know, there wouldn’t be.

Holy Moly!

Check out this water. The Hudson River has been this lovely shade of brown for days now.

Am I back in Argentina? Am I in Tigre, to be exact?

Unfortunately, no. And while Tigre’s water was brown, the locals took great care to keep it clean. This water…I wouldn’t dip my toes in much less wash dishes in.

Note: In order to get the full gist of this post, you will need to click both links!

Wear you down Weather

With all the excitement about Irene, I didn’t even mention the earthquake that rattled the Northeast last week. Probably because I never even felt it.

I was at work on the 6th floor in an iconic building in New York City and didn’t feel anything. People all around me did. Truth be told, I was a little bummed I didn’t feel it.

One of the women I sit near actually thought she was getting dizzy and had taken a sip of water. She didn’t say anything until after it was announced that there was, in fact, an earthquake. If she had said something sooner, maybe I would have felt something!

And since hurricane season lasts a few more months, this Gawker article on prepping for the next hurricane is definitely worth a read. And for you naysayers, who are you kidding, there’s definitely going to be another – another something anyway. We just had a hurricane, an earthquake and a tornado warning in one week.

Number one: I couldn’t stop eating

Hurricane / Tropical Storm Irene caused significant flooding and damage on the Eastern Seaboard this weekend but hopefully everyone is safe.

My post-hurricane/tropical storm observations from my own home.

1 – During ‘lock down’ I COULDN’T STOP EATING. We had bought some food (read: unhealthy crap) that we don’t normally purchase so it was a bit of overload. But not everything was unhealthy. Bananas, granola bars, popsicles, bread. It didn’t matter. I couldn’t stop eating. Besides small leaks in my apartment, the biggest personal problem I have with Irene is the weight she put on me. Anyone else have the same problem?!

2 – The boyfriend and I prepare for emergencies very differently. I heeded the advice of elected officials, I taped the windows, I moved my irreplaceable (after human life) items into the closets, I filled the tub with water, I made sure we had wine and beer and canned goods and snacks (okay, so they said canned goods and food…I interpreted it my way), I slept on an aero bed in our foyer away from glass windows. I was under the assumption that our windows were going to blow out. The boyfriend, not so much. He made sure we had bottled water, he filled up used water bottles with tap water in case we needed more water to flush the toilets (because he drained the tub I filled), he made sure we had flashlights (even though the batteries were supposed to be used by 2003), he slept in the bed – next to said glass windows. Maybe we make a good team.

3 – I feel bad for the newscasters. I know that I once wanted to be one of them, but boy is it tedious, not to mention dangerous. And I got sucked in with the best of them. On Sunday evening, yes Sunday, when I asked the boyfriend, ‘Where did Saturday and Sunday go?’ he replied, ‘We watched the news, a lot of news.’ And just like that my weekend was gone.

4 – While I give New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg much credit for speaking Spanish during his press conferences, he might want to have a translator to speak on his behalf. I do hope it is sincerely appreciated by Spanish-speaking New Yorkers because he does give it a valiant effort.

5 – Whatever your political affiliation, you have to love New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s ‘get the hell off the beach’ speech. If you haven’t seen it, click the link I provided right this second. HILARIOUS. PS – he is right, although I admit that I may have waited a little bit longer just to avoid  the traffic.

6 – Social media is here to stay. I have believed this for a long time but for you naysayers…news was out there relaying information as well as local governments. I admit, I followed a few more relevant Facebook pages and Twitter feeds that would give me the information I desired. And some with not so relevant information…but hey, with 10K followers in just a few days, that’s impressive.

7 – Note to self: when stores are restocked, create an emergency kit – including D batteries and duct tape. No where could D batteries be found. Duct tape — I eventually found a few more rolls, but they weren’t at the hardware store. Now I realize the importance…I don’t want to be THOSE people at the store again. I want to have that stuff at the ready.

8 – We should be thankful it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Prepare for the worst, expect the best is a good mantra.

9 – I prepared for the windows to blow out and I also prepared to lose electricity. I had games, a deck of cards and candles ready to go into the bathroom. I also made the boyfriend and I pack a little emergency bag in case we had to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Laugh now, but I don’t think it was a bad idea.

10 – I am a little annoyed by the MTA and the PATH trains. You shut them down for the first time in history and you get them back and running in less than 48 hours? Why? Why? WHY? The storm happened over the weekend. You couldn’t just make a public plea for people to stay home on Monday?

While there are many people who think this was too much preparation for something so little, I do think the public officials did right by their constituents. Mother Nature is unpredictable and while there is significant damage up and down the Eastern Seaboard, you never know what could have been.

Irene Is On Her Way

The hurricane is en route and with a vengeance. Now I’m just waiting for the power to go out.

Yesterday, the town I live in issued a voluntary evacuation and a directive to get your car off the street (in another town or in a multi-level garage). Today, the town issued mandatory evacuations if you live on a garden or first floor apartment.

The boyfriend and I don’t have a car and we live on the top floor of a 13 floor building. We decided to stay.

We face the Hudson River. Thoughts of a tidal wave have passed through my mind.

It remains to be seen if we made the right choice. All of our furniture is off the balcony. With multiple trips to buy tape (hot seller!) we have taped our windows.

We’ve got a wall of windows in the bedroom and a sliding glass door in the living room. I made the boyfriend put this plastic tarp over the windows in the bedroom.

I filled a plastic crate with photo albums and other irreplaceable items. All of my possessions are in this apartment, so after human life, I have chosen items precious and after human life, irreplaceable, to me. This crate is in another hall closet. I moved out the less important vacuum and suitcases to make room.

I also took my important paperwork and stored it on high shelves in the closet. I made the boyfriend take down a gorgeous framed picture off the wall. That, too, is in the closet.

Clearly I have no idea what Mother Nature wants to do but if I have ample time to prepare I am going to ‘hide’ some stuff.

Because our apartment is high and we get wind on a normal day, I am assuming the absolute worst. I am going into this thinking that our windows will blow out and we will be spending a good portion of time hanging out in the bathroom (the only place in our one bedroom apartment with no windows) until we can move to safety.

Oh and yes, I already have an evacuation bag packed. It just has my toiletries and medicine and pajamas. I would just have to grab my glasses or contacts (whichever I am not currently wearing).

Call me crazy. I like to call myself prepared. With the rearranging of furniture thanks to the addition of balcony furniture now in the living room, my floors got cleaned. So did the bathroom since I expect that we will be spending time camping out in there in the next few hours.

I will leave you with these thoughts from my observations earlier today.

1 – If there are calls for evacuations, why do the news people show up? For our entertainment? If said power goes out, no one is watching and they are right in harm’s way!

2 – Why does the news ‘reward’ idiots with getting them on camera? Example (this is not verbatim but pretty close).

Newscaster: ‘Hey you know there’s an evacuation of all of the beaches in New Jersey?’
Idiot: ‘Yes.’
Newscaster: ‘Ten why are you here? WITH your small children?’
Idiot: ‘To watch.
Newscaster: ‘When are you going to leave?’
Idiot: ‘When I get hit with a wave’
??? They really aired this on television today. I wanted to smack this idiot.

3 – If there are mandatory evacuations and people choose to stay, they should also choose to rescue themselves. This especially annoys me with the people at the beach. Why should a first responder be put in harm’s way, the unpredictable and unforgiving ocean, because someone failed to acknowledge a MANDATORY evacuation?

That’s it for now. Am sure to have more hurricane observations once Irene makes her way to my area. I will post again when I get the electricity, that I am banking on losing, back.

In the meantime, wherever in the world you may be, stay safe.

We may have cowboy boots on, but do you live in a barn?

Yesterday I went to the Kenny Chesney concert at the Meadowlands Stadium. I don’t know why the NYC metro area does not have a country radio station, but the stadium was packed and it’s clear there are loads of fans, myself included.

Of course there were the requisite fans, those who had been drinking all day and were to the point of total and utter obnoxiousness, pushing and screaming their way through crowds of people. And then there were the subtly obnoxious fans…more specifically, the girl who sat in front of my friend and I…in our first of three seats.

First, when she wanted to cut through our row to get to her seat, in the row below, she did not say excuse me, she just sort of barged through the area pushing and shoving into anyone in her way. Is this a barn? Are you a wild animal? Am I showing my age?

The kicker, which started as soon as she sat down, was that she used the stairs as her personal coffee table. She had her beer, her phone, her sunglasses, and later, her fries, all laid out on the stairs. Where people walked. We wanted to tell her that sunglasses belong on your head, your phone in your purse, the beer fits in the handy-dandy uber-convenient cup holder in front of you and your empty thing of fries goes in the trash. Really?

Here’s a photo. I was about to take the picture to document her obnoxiousness with all of her stuff laid out on the stairs. But it turned into an action shot as the guy in the green shorts just kicked over the fries when he had to zig zag around her personal table. I believe the phone and/or the sunglasses landed on the step below.

Perfect timing.

ps – Awesome concert. Even with this girl and the rain (which managed to be the heaviest part of the downpour just as the Zac Brown Band finished up and they were setting up for Kenny), it was incredible. If you have never seen Kenny Chesney live, you have no idea what you are missing. Country fan or not, he puts on such a great show.