Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Blog Has Moved

This is a bit of a sad post. 
And I'm not sure I'm giving this blog a proper goodbye. 

To put it simply, the The Why Blog has moved. 

You can find all the old (and new) content at
Please stop by and check out the new site!

RIP, Blogger. 
You've done me well. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Definitions of Summer

A bead of sweat rolls down my back.

We’re sitting outside, and someone is attempting to strike up a conversation with me, but all I can think about is how Grandma used to say, “Ladies don’t sweat; they glisten.”

Well… I must be the shiniest, most glistening being under 
New York’s summer sun.

Dear Grandmother,
I think I’m sweating.

Sweaty, sweat.
Shiny faces, slimy seats.
Everyone looks like blotchy-faced zombies as they emerge from the subway during the morning commute. I pity the men, wearing their undershirts and button downs; their khaki pants and socks—Lord, help the poor gents in blazers. My spaghetti strap dress feels like one too many layers.

Humming, humming. 
AC units and open windows.
I love the sound of fans—the white noise that silences a city. It reminds me of when my sisters and I would sleepover at the Erdmann’s house, and a ceiling fan in their playroom tucked us into our dreams. Sleep often escapes me, but in that house, I was always out like a light. 

Food frying.
Sizzling, smoldering.
One staple of our city streets is the halal cart, serving up hot chicken and lamb with tzatziki-covered rice. But damn that smell in the summer, the heat wave of greasy meat that smacks you in the face. It’s too hot to eat. It’s too hot to woof down pungent lamb. Worst of all, it’s too hot to prepare food outside—where do you think all of that sweat from the man’s forehead, dicing up your roasted onions, is going?

Sunlight, stinging.
Never ending days and electric nights.
It feels like there’s more time in the summer, perhaps because it doesn’t get dark until after 8 o’clock. So we go to work, we go to dinner, and there’s still more time. Time for ice cream, time for drinks. Time before the darkness gobbles up the sky. How lovely to walk home at midnight, knowing we squeezed everything and more out of each golden hour.

So yes…
The utility bills are higher.
Makeup melts in my room.
Candles melt in the apartment.
Bread is kept in the fridge.
Hair sticks to your face.
We sleep in sheets.
We take cold showers.
We search for central AC.

But of course (if you know me) you’ll know I wouldn’t change a thing. 
I wouldn't change the Bryant Park movies,
Or the fireflies.
The fresh fruit stands,
Or the brilliant blue skies.  

New York is viscously vibrant in the summer, and it’s during this season the city feels most alive—like a bustling, breathing creature, ready to explode.
Maybe that's how it is everywhere.
Maybe all warm nights are heavy with expectation. 

And how could you not love the suspense? 


Monday, July 15, 2013

Sleepless Strolls and Sherbet Sunrises

There she was… New York City.

I sat on the Brooklyn Bridge with two friends, unsure of which way to look. Manhattan was on my left, Brooklyn to my right, and the East River beneath my tired feet. The bold, summer sun was about to peek over our city’s horizon.

We hadn’t slept, but adrenaline and caffeine moved us forward. As Kristin, Heather, and I had neared the Brooklyn Bridge’s entrance, our conversation had dropped off and we walked in a quite line toward our destination. Now we stood in between two boroughs, silently watching the clouds move over our peaceful city as she snoozed (because she never truly sleeps).

I was in awe.

It was 5:30AM Friday, July 5th 2013, and I felt lucky; lucky to be living, and breathing, and seeing the city like I was seeing it for the first time. All the different buildings were poking up toward the sky, like manmade flowers reaching for an elusive sun. I couldn’t help but think of the men and women who’d lived and died here before, in this extraordinary garden of good and evil.

As I watched lines of light tear through the sky, I felt a certain pride one only feels for a place they’ve truly connected with—a place you might even call home.

And that’s what New York is, right?
A place I call home.

Which led to another thought… a statement I jotted down on an envelope several years ago in a particularly frantic moment. I’d written myself a small reminder about life, while eating a microwaved potato and drinking cheap wine. The note said:

Home isn't where the heart is because my heart's all over the place. Home is where I’m living—not where I’m residing, but where I’m actually living. Home is the place where I stay up late, and wake up early, because I’ve just got to keep living.

(Editor’s Note: In the original text, I believe I spelled “residing” wrong. The word has been altered for your convenience.)

There’s nothing fancy about that quote.
It’s no mark of literary genius.
But it’s a genuine, hand-written note that I still carry around
 with me in my purse.

In two weeks, I will have officially lived in New York for three busy, insane, lovely, ridiculous, draining, amazing years. And when I watched the sun rise over our city, something happened. Something came full-circle, like I’d always known I would end up standing on the Brooklyn Bridge watching a sherbet-colored sunrise in mid-July.

So as rays of light grazed Manhattan, I thought about that girl from a few years ago. The one who moved up here from Virginia with six plastic bags of clothes and a sleeping bag. She didn’t know anything about retail, but she landed a job at Bloomingdale’s for 12 bucks an hour—and that was good enough for her, because she was already head-over-heels in love with this city.

The best thing about that girl? There are millions of people just like her, who move to New York with nothing but an unshakable thrill to begin an adventure. Those people, the tons of them, are all bent on being here and sharing the now. We (the New Yorkers) are a collective force that hold a special place in my heart.

Just then, the sun erupted over the horizon. A jogger ran past us, and traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge increased. Taxis rushed people home from bars, while commuters crawled in from distant states. An almost tangible shift interrupted the hushed atmosphere…

Another moment was beginning.
Another adventure was underway.
Another story was starting.
It was the birth of a brand new day. 

And thank God we were able to witness it. 


Monday, June 24, 2013

A Special Proposal

“I’m going to go try and flirt with this guy.”

Even as I said it, I knew my sister would barely buy the flimsy excuse. Kathryn looked at me with a strange expression on her vacay-tanned face and cocked her head. “Really?”

“Yeah, yeah… I’ll buy a drink or something.”
My youngest sister Grace chimed in quickly. “Oh my gosh, I’m coming too. I can’t believe you talked to him!” We ran off toward our condo’s outdoor bar, looking like idiots—but we were out of options.

The awkward exit left Kathryn alone with her (uncharacteristically nervous) boyfriend, Hector.

“We’ll catch up to you!” I called back over my shoulder. They were already walking toward the quiet beach, with its imminent sunset.


Grace and I ducked behind a column near the bar. We waited there for a few minutes, got questioned by an excitable security guard, and then headed to the outdoor courtyard where our semi-stressed parents were setting up tea light candles.

So far, the Fitzgerald family collective plus Hector and company had faked a condo rental, improvised a nerve-wracking dinner, and planned a surprise post-engagement party for a somewhat suspicious Kathryn. There had been a few hiccups (“No! You can’t keep the ring in your pocket… I SEE IT.”) but, overall, I was impressed with the family’s ability to remain nonchalant.

Detaching from Kathryn was always going to be the most difficult part of Mission Engagement. When the sisters are finally together, in one place, at the same time, we don’t often separate. It was relatively easy for the parents to slip away and sign fake condo papers with a fake realtor named “Anna”… but Grace and I were trapped.

So there we were, pretending I had a prepubescent crush on a bartender probably three years my junior. Whatever. We were almost in the clear, and I knew that ring was practically jumping out of Hector’s pocket.

But it couldn’t.
The ring needed to stay hidden at least another 30 minutes.

“DO NOT COME BACK UNTIL 8:45,” I texted him. Then I imagined poor Hec looking at his phone, and breaking into a second monologue about what life would be like together. (I later discovered he already had a fabulous speech prepared. His dilly-dallying was instead in watching the sun fully set and walking back toward the condo very casually.)

Horrible traffic on I-95 had delayed almost all of our guests, so only about 9 out of 20 were present. But even as I frantically typed on my phone, cars zoomed into the complex and disheveled friends began running toward our "Best Wishes" decorations.

By the time Kathryn and Hector had arrived—giddy and relived, respectively—nearly everything was in its place. The night turned into a happy celebration of the married couple to-be.

And I, for one, couldn’t be more excited.

The Fitzgerald girls will finally have a brother. We will be more complete as a family, and Kathryn more complete as the beautiful individual she has become. Giving away your younger sister is a difficult endeavor, especially if you’re raised the way we were. But Hector is already someone who understands our family, someone who actually can keep up (and put up) with the excitable, endearing, and at times overwhelming Fitzgeralds.

So welcome aboard, brother.
We already love you so much. 


Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Note to Self

I cannot sit still in summertime.

Let me explain this fact further: I am literally over-stimulated from May to September, as warmth and excitement blankets our city. The constant need to move, move, move and bounce from one thing to the next grows in humid weather, like metal expanding in the hot, sticky sun. 

So yes.
The blog has been silent these last several weeks.
But I’ve been out of town!
And I needed to play in the resurrected, summer sun!
< Insert numerous excuses with dramatic punctuation here! >

It’s also worth mentioning that my current job has me writing and editing streams of exclamation point and emdash-filled paragraphs for most of the day. Obviously I love what I do, but I’m rarely enthused to rush home to my computer—you wouldn’t be either (emdash!).

Still, I opened up that daunting white, blank Word Doc tonight because summer has already started; stories are continuously unfolding; New York keeps turning whether I want to write about it or not.

And then I remembered.
(After some poking and prodding…)
I do want to record this city’s narrative—and our narratives—even if it means finding the time at 3AM to jot down an idea, or type up that ever-elusive prequel to a “brilliant” thought. As E.B. White once said, when talking about New York City no less, “[C]reation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions.”

Hey, you.
One of you special 400 to 500 who still read this dusty ol’ blog.
Don’t let me forget what I just typed. 


The conquering of summer has already started! Here's what's been happening in my neck of the woods:

Pianos have been played.

Goodbyes have been made.

I’ve gotten my first sunburn of the season,

And sat on countless rooftops for no good reason.

We all took a jazzy step back in time,

And visited our favorite dive bar—covered in grime.

There were Tony Awards to watch in Time Square,

As well as Shakespeare to hear in the glorious night air.

We danced on a boat,

And read a sidewalk quote,

And realized there is always something beautiful to note. 


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Best Text Message Ever

This text was sent at 8:43am on May 3, 2013 after I’d accidently called a friend, and left an awkward "sorry-I-butt-dialed-you" voicemail. Their response might be the best recorded text message in history. 

Editor’s Note: Paragraph spacing and certain commas have been added for your convenience, as the words below actually came in one, long stream of consciousness thought.


"Butt dial? Butt dial on the iPhone… are you putting your butt directly on your phone? What? It needs skin contact. So this is my theory:

You were between that stage of being weird and crashing from the end of too much coffee, sweating but not hot, focused but could pass out, and you reach for your phone.

Possibly in a delusional state, you grab it just to feel something other than a keyboard and you start tweeting #fml, #omg, #nycwriter, #semihipster, #bittyfitz. Then as you are tweeting you realize you need some sort of human interaction.

You scan through your friends and family, but they would ask too many questions and your priorities are on entertainment and an insurgence of energy into your mundane, NYC late night writing sesh.

So you call yours truly for some entertainment, and I don’t pick up. You then freak out, throw your chair across the room (it’s not that big) and yell, “AAAHHHH!!,” and you begin to tweet, #AAAHHH!

After your rampage, the energy supply in your body is limited and you close up shop and leave for the day. Walking as if you were drunk to your subway, you stop, get a slice and move on.

Stumbling onto the train, you find a seat that doesn’t require you to make eye contact with a single person and you crash.  Eyes opening slowly, blurry views of black, tan, and brown emerge predominant, and you are in bed looking at your newly acquired One Direction poster wondering how you got home. What’s that in your pocket...!!??

To be continued..."


I’m posting this story because I decided it was way better than the one I was going to tell you this week. 



Sunday, April 28, 2013

When New York is Most Splendid

Occasionally, it’s nice to be home before 3AM.

On more recent weekends I’ve enjoyed hitting the hay by 2—but only after traipsing around the city for hours on end, using my precious liveliness to its full advantage and checking out “this or that.” (Being an energy-filled extrovert is probably quite a handicap for a writer, so I appreciate your graceful understanding.)

Except, now May is right around the corner. With this month comes boozy brunches and freckles; Central Park picnics and visiting vacationers; open windows and exasperated AC units. There are broken sunglasses, broken sandals, lazy naps, the long, extended night, and the seemingly endless light.

Our prologue of summer embraces New York City, and, if you’re perceptive enough, you can feel a tangible change in the reckless air. That electric pulse I crave all winter creeps slowly out of hibernation and explodes by mid-June.

The unfortunate thing about summer in New York is that you move so quickly for months, and then one morning you wake up and the electricity is gone. Spent. Fizzled out, like the broken streetlights on the corner of 41st and Steinway.

Now, of course, this energy I speak of does bleed slowly through some of autumn, and yes, the holidays possess their own specific spirit. But nothing taste and feels (or smells) like New York City in summertime—and I’m hopelessly addicted to this season, for better or for worse.

So maybe I’ll be home before 3AM.
Or maybe I won’t.
Or maybe we'll sit on rooftops for hours and count barely visible stars as the sun disintegrates into the moon. Time is about to blur, as it always does during this part of the year, and I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently since last October.

But a few moments ago, in the midst of a glorious late-April Saturday, I began to feel that buzzing, buzzing, buzzing pulse of the city once more...

"I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone's away. There's something very sensuous about it - overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald