Facebook Notes, Revisited

How many times has Facebook changed in the last 7 years?  Ok, how many times has Facebook changed in the last 7 days?  A lot.  Hey, Zuckerburg’s gotta keep up with the Kardashians, too!  If the Kardashians were programmers.  And advertisers.  Oh wait, they are advertisers.  Anyway.  There was once a time when users could write notes on Facebook.  Something reminiscent of a LiveJournal (the original depressing status update).  I think I wrote about three notes in its heyday.  Two of which were so-called “chain notes” where you answer questions like “What was your favorite pudding flavor in 4th grade?” and the people you tag in the note are supposed to answer the same questions.  Wow.  The other note was written pre-Hilgs House and I was too naive and frightened to start a blog at the time.  So I thought, what better time than now (can’t think of something else to write about at the moment) to respond to my 22 year old self!  Ay, caramba.  Please find my 25 year old self’s comments in italics.

August 13, 2009 | NYC: The good, the bad, and the ugly

As I depart the fine city of New York and attempt to take back Raleigh, I have decided to compile a list of what I have loved about New York and the things that I have not so much loved and share that info with you all. So here it goes!

The Good:

  • Food trucks: Mister Softee, Sabrett (hot dogs!), Halal, and Greek food trucks. If you are having a craving for any of these items while in Manhattan just squint your eyes and one will be in reach, I guarantee it!  You will continue to stand by Sabrett. So much, so that when ordering a hot dog on Glenwood, a patron of Hibernian Pub will shout at you from the patio expressing his disgust.  I’m sorry… I’m not sorry!  Street Meat is where it’s at.  Later, you will find yourself driving to a parking lot in the middle of RTP to pay $5 for a “gourmet” cheeseburger from a food truck.  My how times have changed.
  • Delivery boys on bikes: These guys have grace, coordination, and absolutely no patience. They weave through the pedestrians and traffic as quickly as possible to deliver as many orders as possible in their shift to ensure maximum tips.  Although these bicyclists are charming, the ones on Wade Avenue at 5:30pm will annoy you. I am all for sharing the road at a more appropriate time and place.
  • People’s clothes: I love walking through a happenin’ neighborhood on a Friday or Saturday night, everyone is dressed up in what they think is the hottest outfit in their closet, and they are usually right. But the only way anyone’s outfit here works is with their confidence. Therefore, anything goes in NYC!  Confidence is more of a staple than the LBD!
  • Reading: I have always liked to read okay, but with all of the waiting that has to be done here, I have found a new love for reading! You will see why when I write about “The Bad”.  Why didn’t you buy a Kindle?  Oh yeah, you wanted those $200 Tory Burch Flats.  Practicality at its finest.
  • Random live music: Whether it is the electric violinist in the Union Square subway station, the Metropolitan Opera at Battery City Park, the New York Philharmonic in Central Park, the bucket drummers at the 59th st station, the mariachi duo on the actual subway, or the Greek music that always seems to be playing in my neighborhood…you don’t need to stand in line at TKTS to see a great musical, just walk down the street and you’ll find some for free!  Your obvious joy for life is endearing.
  • Sweet tea at McDonald’s: The ad says: “A $1 ticket to sweet tea land” I say: “A $1 ticket to NC!”  You will realize that Sweet Tea is just full of empty calories and causes bloating.  
  • Dogs: Teeny tiny dogs, small dogs, medium dogs, big dogs, and huge white fluffy dogs!! Dogs are everywhere!! New York dogs are the cutest, most well-behaved dogs in the country. Just sit by a dog park in Madison Square Park or Union Square and see for yourself…just beware of doggy doody 🙂  Quailford!!!
  • Bugaboo strollers: Ergonomically correct and very city chic, if you are having a baby in New York, you must get this stroller!  Upon returning to Raleigh, you will work for a children’s furnishings website for two years and learn that Bugaboo is sooo 2009 and Quinny is the apple of every mom’s eye.
  • Parks: My three favorite parks are The High Line, Union Square and Madison Square Park. There is always always always something going on in Union Square (Japanese contortionists, evangelical Christian preachers, free hugs, trombonists, break dancing toddlers) and it houses my favorite thing of all: Union Square Farmer’s Market!!  You now follow Humans of New York on Facebook and experience pangs of nostalgia.
  • Shake Shack: It is located in Madison Square Park and it is worth the wait. I once waited in line here by myself (I do most things alone anyway) for an hour. The best burgers and the best atmosphere!  Ok, yes, Shake Shack is tons of fun!  But you will land approximately 5 blocks from the most delicious burger joint in Raleigh – MoJoe’s!  Your love for ranch dressing will be rekindled and you will find yourself neglecting your @Ranchmerica twitter handle.
  • Duane Reade and other drug stores: Since there is no Target, we relish in our local drug store that has everything you need! Except for all the stuff you waste your money on regularly at Target. So that is where New Yorkers $ave!  You now work within 5 minutes driving distance of a Target Greatlands.  And no, it is not 15 minutes walking distance.  I wouldn’t dare walk from Pier One to Target.
  • Bagels: Another way New Yorkers save is bagels!!! They are the best!! My favorite bagel places are Ess-a-Bagel, Bagel Cafe and Hot Bagel. How will I live without New York bagels?  There truly is nothing better in this world than Ess-a-Bagel.
  • Flower shops: When you are in New York, you have to take pleasure in the little things. In fact, most of my favorite things about the city are the little pleasures it has to offer. One of my favorites is walking down the street along a flower shop and just taking a big whiff of the lovely flowers!  When you decide to actually utilize your personal twitter handle, your tagline will be “I always have fresh flowers in my kitchen”.
  • Restaurants: I don’t even know where to begin with the food in this city. It is just the best. NC has Bojangle’s and BBQ and don’t get me wrong, nothing compares to those staples, but this city has it all! My top three are Penelope, Les Halles and Cafeteria. I also very much enjoyed Blue Water Grill, Max Brenner, Haru and Mesa.  Penelope will always have a place in your heart!  But now that you are a Raleigh Elitist, you know we’ve got the goods, too.
  • Chinatown: The cheapest eats! Prosperity Dumpling has a menu where everything is $1…10 dumplings for $1!!  Remember that food truck rodeo I was telling you about?  Your friend bought 10 dumplings for $10.
  • Bars: Brother Jimmy’s is definitely up there on my list because that is where us North Carolinians feel most at home! The Swamp Water is so much fun! I also found they had the best happy hour: $2 GOOD margs! Frying Pan, McSorley’s, and Chelsea Brewery were also a hoot!  There is a bit of jet lag when it comes to going out in New York compared to going out in Raleigh.  Even though we are in the same time zone, since the bars close at 4am in NYC, it’s like a 2 hour time difference.  Curious.
  • Diners: Julie and I once had a fabulous celebration with pina coladas at Moonstruck (a diner in her neighborhood). I enjoy getting the portobello foccacia at Tastee Corner (a diner in my neighborhood) because it is huge and comes with fries and soup. Very Tastee!!  Looking back at your Tastee Corner experiences, these were sad little times.  My memory is you sitting on the couch with a ray of afternoon light gleaming through the window while People’s Court attempts to make its way through the static.  A Greek couple argues in the distance.  A half-eaten portobello foccacia on the coffee table.  You, popping melatonin.
  • Museums: The Met is the best! It is just the best. I love it.  This statement is short and sweet and I will keep it that way!
  • Brunch: This I am definitely taking with me when I go home to Raleigh. New Yorkers may be go go go go Monday through Friday, but come the weekend, they are the most relaxed Americans! Sleep til noon, stroll over to brunch at two and enjoy afternoon shopping or in the park. Arte Pasta had the best deal with $5 unlimited mimosas and a fantastic eggs benedict! Penelope is also an all-time favorite.  Good luck getting a table in Raleigh.  And if you go before noon, forget the mimosas.  Potluck brunches are totally 2013!
  • My favorite neighborhoods: Murray Hill/Gramercy/Flatiron, SoHo, West Village, Upper West Side.  You will soon have favorite Raleigh neighborhoods, too!  Very specific neighborhoods, indeed…
  • Bloomingdale’s: We have a love/love relationship. I love all the brands and designers that this department store has to offer and it loves my money. Marc Jacobs, French Connection, DVF, Alice + Olivia, Michael Stars, Michael Kors, Tibi, Chanel, La Perla, Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Rebecca Taylor, designer denim, designer shoes, designer handbags, designer housewares, designer furniture…oh the list never ends. The staff is friendly and helpful and wants you to spend! But they also want you to look fabulous 🙂  Oh how I envy your naivete!  I’m still hangin’ on to the remnants of my fashionable self.  They say that people dress like the last good year of their life.  I guess mine would be 2009 because that is when all my clothes are from!   

The Bad:

Finally.  I was starting to think that my cynicism was something I picked up recently.

  • Waiting for the subway: This activity seems to last forever, especially if you do not have a book! But there is nothing worse than waiting for the subway, except for the rest of this list.  Newsflash: I-40 East on a Friday at 5pm.  The worst.
  • A crowded subway: Especially in the summer, there is nothing worse than a crowded subway of people who who do not know how to use deodorant. It also sucks when people do not know how to hold on to the hand rails and fall on you on their way to the ground.  Newsflash: I-40 East on a Friday at 5pm.  The worst.
  • A slow subway: “Ladies and gentlemen we are delayed because of train traffic ahead of us” Have you guys ever seen the episode of Seinfeld where they are all on the subway? And Elaine is stuck on the subway? Yeah so I totally feel for her rage.  Newsflash: I-40 East on a Friday at 5pm.  The worst.
  • Herald Square: It is the worst square of them all. Way too crowded and packed with dumb tourists. Notice how I said “dumb tourists” not just “tourists”. A lot of tourists are totally tolerable, but when they are dumb and in Herald Square…it is excruciating.  I can’t argue with you here.  I’ve not been back to Herald Square.
  • Naked lady in Loft: I don’t really know what else to say about this because that is what happened to me one day. Not in the dressing room, in the entrance vestibule. That is not an appropriate place to be naked!  Ah, only in New York!
  • Solicitors: “Can I ask you a question about your hair?” WTF?!?! No you may not! I have a tip for anyone going to NYC: do not make eye contact with those who are holding clipboards. They will do their best to make eye contact with you and smile to make you think that you know them…but you don’t. They just want to waste your time and make you feel bad for not donating to their cause.  You will still have serious qualms with the whole concept of solicitation.  If you ignore a solicitor, they think you are a jerk, or you find out that they were in fact not a solicitor and actually your long lost best friend from 7th grade.  If you give in to the solicitor, it is inevitable that you will waste 14 minutes of your life.
  • Times Square: Unless you get a seat, it is an anxiety attack waiting to happen.  I’ll stick to visiting Times Square via the television.  Good Morning America, anyone?
  • Rain: There is nothing worse (besides ice) than getting caught in the rain in New York. Except if you are waiting to cross the street and a car speeds through the puddle in front of you and showers you with dirty street water.  Ouch.

The Ugly:

A lot of you could come and visit me or live in NYC or lived in NYC and were able to share items on the above list with me. However, the things on this list were only enjoyed the most when shared with someone. Without friends, no matter where you are in the world, it just is not as much fun.

March 29, 2012

Living in NYC for a handful of months was something I would have never traded for any life experience!  You live and you learn.  I would have regretted not having checked this off my list.  And one thing’s for certain, New York will always hold a very special place in my heart and it will always be one of my favorite cities to visit!  But there is no place like home.  Especially when you live in the awesomest city in the world.