Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A New York Thanksgiving

We were walking down a road on the Upper West Side towards breakfast.

“Ah the warm glow of the ever-open Dunkin’ Doughnuts…” I said to Ivy, a friend from school and fellow Pub Club member. Suddenly a woman interrupts me, looking slightly scared and waving her hands franticly.

“The baker didn’t show up! We closed!” she continued with hesitation, like I might take a whack at her face (which may or may not have been considered…).

“Closed?!” we both say back to the poor girl who was working the 5am shift on Thanksgiving.

“Yeah, there no doughnuts. We can’t open!”

“But what about the coffee fairy?” I asked, still slightly delusional at this unheard of hour in the morning. There was always coffee, right? I mean, black, steamy deliciousness usually just magically appeared each time I walked into a Dunkin' Doughnuts. There were mountains of coffee beans in the store room - that I was sure of - unless... Could the baker possibly and stolen the blessed beans? That is a crime punishable by death.

She sort of laughed at me, probably relieved to know that I wasn’t going to hit her. But now there really was a dilemma: we needed caffeine – and fast – because we had woken up at a ridiculous hour to attend the annual Macy’s Day Parade. And the crowds had to be beat.

After searching a few street corners and locating a random deli, Ivy and I partook in a healthy meal of muffins and soda, only costing us about $3 each. Oh to be graduate students in the city! Quite a glamorous lifestyle, my friends.

But it was fabulous to line up along Central Park West and watch the floats pass by us in real life, not just on television. It was crowded, but we had our tactics to finding the ideal location.

“Pardon me, excuse me,” we said to strange individuals who stopped at the most bizarre viewing points. I assume they didn’t realize more space was available ahead, but to get through to breathing room we had to squeeze by some pleasant and some not-so-pleasant people.

“Dad… dad wait up!” Ivy repeated this phrase several times to the large man who was in front of us, clearing a path. We didn’t know him in the slightest, but no one was going to yell at the two daughters of a 350-pound man.

Haha... sneaky.

“Dad, where’s mom?” I ask. “Dad, I’ve got Jimmy’s balloon.” “Dad, it’s so hard to get through the crowd.”

Dad, Dad, Dad. Thank goodness the man never turned around or looked at us curiously. We would have just laughed, and possibly said something along the lines of “Hey Dad (wink wink)… keep going!”

Finally we reached a spot with less people and a stoop where we could stand to better view the parade. It was an ideal location and right beside the Dakota, where John Lennon was shot and Yoko Ono lives to this day. Occasionally we would look for her through the top floor windows, but of course the main events were Tom the Turkey, Snoopy, Kanye West, and Santa.

So Happy Belated Turkey Day, and check #56 off “The List.”

The man of the hour, Mr. Santa Claus

Kanye West

Joan Rivers

Jessica Simpson


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trend Spotting 2010

There are a few fashion and lifestyle trends I’ve noticed when walking the streets of NYC. Whether it’s a person strutting their stuff in Soho, random subway commuters, or an Astorian hipster, people definitely try to achieve a certain look. Fashion, food, books, movies and more are constantly balancing between being “in” or “out.” So here’s a list of a few things I’ve noticed happening around town.

1) Leg Warmers/knee socks – Everywhere I go, some girl has her leg warmers or socks pulled outside of her boots. I’m not even going to deny that I’m totally going to follow this trend. As soon as I get some boots, I’ll also get some awesome socks– they look SO darn warm. Summer’s parallel trend: neon tights.

2) Lil’ Baby Cupcakes – I can’t even tell you how many bite-size cupcakes are being sold everywhere. From street carts to bakeries, the baby cupcakes seem to have attacked the city. But are these yummy assailants worth a buck or two? Meh, depends on how hungry you are. Summer’s parallel trend: lil’ baby cartons of coconut juice.

3) Knit everything – It’s getting cold. November has been relatively mild, but let’s face it New York – you have bitter winters. So I’m not particularly upset with the chunky knit sweaters, hats, and gloves. But I really love those fingerless gloves, with attachable mitten coverings. All the better to text with, my dears. Summer’s parallel trend: Ray-Band everything.

4) Boston Terriers – A friend just got one. A neighbor just got one. I can’t go into Urban Outfitters without seeing these puppies all over notebooks or as random figurines. There everywhere – and have maybe formed an alliance with the lil’ baby cupcakes to take over NYC? Summer’s parallel trend: Owls – I don’t know why every wanna-be-hipster has an owl necklace.

5) Mustaches – This summer was the season of the beard, which is a little strange since personally in summer I would like to shave off all of my hair. Never the less, that seems to have gotten old, because now I’m seeing some crazy mustaches. Thus many men look 1980s chic – or like pedophiles. You chose.

Other random trends: bedazzled headbands, holiday sequins clothing, Harry Potter reminiscences, Kanye West, and bad upcoming super hero movies.

*Note: Editor does not agree with or condone all above trends.*


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Random House Party - Part 2

So I was like,

bittyfitz (Britney Fitzgerald) "@mauzaid sorry for the tweet spam, but one last question. r u going 2 the event tomorrow? i dont even know if i can afford it"

and then he was like,

mauzaid (Mauricio) "@bittyfitz Ah I know, but i really want too, looks awesome and we’ll get to meet A LOT of people we SHOULD meet! I don’t wanna go alone!"

and then I was like… duh, I’m definitely going and I don’t even know why it was a question. Com’on Brit. Get with it.

After we had spoken to Becca on the 6 train (click her for previous story) and been invited to a Random House cocktail party, we realized this was simply an offer that couldn’t be refused. Drinks, food, books… what more could inexpert “publishers” ask for?

Our party of industry amateurs consisted of Mauricio, Claire, and I from Pace University’s graduate publishing program, and my friend Laurie, who is an avid book lover interested in the field of marketing. After much tweeting, texting, emailing, and facebooking we were finally able to assemble at 7pm in the Random House lobby.

Welcome to 1745 Broadway, New York, NY.

Working all day in heels and rushing through Soho to get uptown in time, I could only hope that my hair wasn’t a mess and my caffeine wasn’t fleeting (I know you don’t care if my hair was a mess or not – but in the moment I did, and I’m giving you a sneak peak into my psyche so the full effects of “thrilled” and “excited” can be noted).

The party was intended for young professionals in publishing, most being under 30. Because the National Book Awards were taking place in New York that evening, bosses were attending that function while the younger employers were gathering for the Random House “House Party.” A metaphor for this event might even be: “while the parents are away, the kids will play.”

So play we did.

Our merry group of misfits met several employees from other publishing companies, including Simon and Shuster, Doubleday, and Viking. One girl even told us we had more guts that she did, “coming to an event like this as students.” Her comment was a tiny bit funny because we didn’t really realize we would be the ONLY students attending the party, but of course this just made the evening all the more exciting – and no one seemed to mind our lack of experience.

By the end of the night, I was holding a Brooklyn Lager and overlooking the streets of Manhattan through a wall of glass. My friends were to my side, and the National Book Awards were being projected onto screens behind me. But I was having a moment. Staring into the distant lights of Times Square, I couldn’t help but smile to myself, taking mental pictures of the atmosphere panning out all around.

It was one of those moments – you’ve had them before – where you feel yourself stepping back and watching life, almost like an intriguing movie or television show. You’re there, living and breathing in every detail, yet you can be removed from the situation and analyze - almost retrospectively but “in the moment” at the same time.

And then you wonder, “what’s going to happen next?” But as soon as you think this, there's a sudden snap! You’re displaced from the film version of life you've just been watching and the real world speeds up around you, leaving one to ponder if they were ever really reflective in the first place? Or was that simply another trick of the mind…

NYC. Random House. Cocktails. Books. Friends.

It was quite a moment.

All pictures belong to Guest of a Guest and can be found at this website.


Monday, November 22, 2010

A Random House Party

“and that is why you should intern with Penguin.”
Applause trickled through the lecture hall. Every student still had a thousand questions, and a certain desperateness probably sparkled in our naïve, publisher-wanna-be eyes.
I was at the Pace University downtown campus because a friend had randomly forwarded me information on a meeting with Penguin publishing house recruiters. Skipping my bagel, I jumped in the shower and began the trek towards greater knowledge in my given field.

But wait.
What was my given field?
A younger woman from The American Publisher’s Association was making rounds at the meeting, asking each student this very question.
“So what most interests you?” Becca inquired, grinning at me. I looked down at the list of possible internships. Publicity? Online? Ebooks?
“Eh, Editorial?” I tried to reply like it wasn’t a question. Truthfully the decision between a magazine, a publishing company, or a literary agency for an internship has yet to be elucidated. Never the less, Penguin recruiters were smiling at me, and the last expression I wanted to show was that of the irrevocably confused.
Now – here’s a little back story.
Editors at publishing houses are not the same as newspaper copy editors. You don’t even need to be punctuation obsessed. Erase that image of an old man with horn-rimmed glasses, pouring over manuscripts in a dark room, looking for hanging participles.

Not me. Only sometimes. And sans pipe.
In fact the majority of the editorial department’s work results from acquiring stories, maintaining a profitable author list, overseeing contracts, and being the general advocate or promoter of a book they enthusiastically believe will succeed.
I could do that… right?
"Yes, I'm interested in editorial."
After a brief question and answer session, my friend Mauricio and I headed towards the subway. The 6 train would be barreling through the tunnels at any second, and it was almost time for my class uptown to start.
So let the usual New York race begin… down the stairs, through the turnstile, down more stairs, avoid that woman, say sorry to the man you bumped, zip up your book bag because some random person told you it was open, say thank you to the random person, get on the platform for the subway… and then run into Becca, the woman from The American Publisher’s Association, on the 6 train.
We talked about the meeting. Mauricio and I listened eagerly to her advice about the field and asked a few more questions concerning the the general internship process. She had worked in several aspects of the industry, making her anecdotes all the more appealing.
Then, quite suddenly, we were being invited to a Random House Publisher’s cocktail party.

Oh my.
To be continued.

Random House lobby


Friday, November 12, 2010

A Few Changes

I know I should be working on that paper for electronic publishing, but alas, 3 am is my creative time. Homework can't be done, and blogging (or facebooking, tweeting, etc.) often prevails.

So I've added a navigation bar to the top of "The Why," although don't bother clicking the links yet; they all say "Coming Soon." Consequently, I had to delete the Krishnamurti quote that used to reside under the title. It was simply too cluttered! No worries, I'll find another home for "The Why" blog's motto.

All this movement got me wondering... do I want to change the color of the title? Do we have a preference of yellow or white font? Do you even care? Don't worry, I'm not sure I do either. Yet still the question arises...

Classic #1 or...

Bright and Cheery #2?

Meh. I really just need to do homework and stop pondering the bigger questions of life... like blog fonts.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Yeah... No, I Can't Really Do That

This is all I have to say about work today. Actually I WOULD say a lot more, but blogging about work is supposed to be done with "discretion," which I may or may not possess, depending on any given day.

Free speech? Forget about it. Biting the corporate hand that feeds me? I think not. Besides... the company is fine. It's people in general that have me wondering.

Anyways - this is what happened to me today. Go 35 seconds into this clip. I might as well have quoted the movie...

Yes. I said that. I'm under the impression that what you give people is what you get back, so I'm sure everything will come full circle (oh yeah crazy people - watch out!)

But thank goodness for grad school.

And 53 seconds into that clip I agree with as well!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To You, Darling Blog

My Dearest "Why,"

We've been together for quite a few years now. And I know that just recently you got a facelift. But there still need to be a few changes in your general appearance. Please don't think me vain, but half your appeal comes from your format, and I know there are a few things we could change. But how? Well, let me worry about that...

Just know that I'm thinking about you dear "Why Blog." No, no big surgery is required. You just need a simple nip here; a little tuck there. But then again, who doesn't? Don't be offended! Goodness, who would have thought you to be the defensive type. Listen, in the next month or so I'll be working on a way to better organize your pages - that's really all I'm thinking about!

And you - well, you just keep doing what you're doing.
Always and forever,


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday's Things New Yorkers Say

This week, the city seemed full of advice. Almost everyone I spoke with had something to tell me or a hint to getting by in NYC. I tried to scribble down a few of their thoughts.

At the Quays Pub in Astoria, a guy at the bar speaking to me:

“And what ever you do, don’t become a cynic,” he says. “No, ha… I won’t,” I reply. “You say you won’t, but you’d be surprised…” he finishes, taking a sip of his drink.

Oh how ominous. I’ll have to watch myself. Can I just also mention the fact that this conversation seemed to be right from a movie? Dark bar and a beer included.

In a department store, shopping for coats:

“Yeah, I really need a winter coat,” I say looking at a long puffy jacket. “No girl, what you need to do is just hibernate. December’s not bad, but FORGET January! Just sleep though that month,” the saleslady says.

Winter in NYC does not sound promising.

And then there’s always this: On the N train during Halloween; conversation between two 20-somethings, one guy and one girl.

“What are you again?” the drunk Batman says. “I’m a schoolgirl!” she says, obviously a little annoyed. “Oh good, good, I was hoping that was your costume. Otherwise I was going to have to take you back to the principal’s office (insert stupid grin). But then he might get me for bein’ bad (then a questioning tilt of the head). You’re like over 18 right?”

HA! I laughed out loud I think. But the girl left at the next station. Poor perverted Batman had to go home alone. Maybe he should start looking for a Robin instead.

The Halloween Parade described in one picture.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Me, the Bartender, and the Pig

This week was....what I expected. It started with a midterm, which led to lots of coffee and very little sleep. In fact I pulled my 1st graduate school all-nighter before working an 8-hour shift at Bloomingdale's and attending a pancake breakfast in Newark for the middle school students. But no complaints.

By Thursday I finally felt prepared to present my project on publishing fiction novels to the class. Afterwards, a group of girls and myself decided drinks and food were a necessity, and opted to try Shake Shack for their infamous burgers – which by the way, were no let down. We have been meeting almost every week for drinks or homework and have since dubbed ourselves The Pub Club (which infers both our graduate program and after class past time).

Now, several members of The Pub Club had very interesting evenings…

So you know that song “Jump and Jive” from the big band era? It was by a man name Louie Prima, who coincidentally happened to know the Carpenters (Dad's favorite band). But that’s neither here nor there. Just keep this thought in the back of your mind for a moment.

The point is, I walked into a bar named Rudy's with two members of the The Pub Club. One of the girls had friends in town that are part of a band, so we thought we’d meet up with them for some food and drinks. They just happen to be in a band with Louie Prima Jr… who just happened to be at Rudy's. It’s all coming full circle isn’t it?

Then it got crazy. Keep up with me here.

So at this little whole-in-the-wall in Hell's Kitchen, you can order any drink of your preference and get free hotdogs. I know I’ve blogged about this amazing offer before, but it’s a deal worth repeating. Anyways, we all met LP Jr. and his other band mates, which, let me tell you, were quite the cast of characters. Long hair and sunglasses to rat-pack inspired threads...the whole bit. It really made me want to follow around bands and capture their personalities with a pen ("Almost Famous" equals my dream). We also met a strange Austrian man who called himself Barak Obama. But again I digress...

And then it happened.

At first quietly… “Do-do-dodadodo.” Music was building and bellowing from the far end of the cramped one-room saloon. The packed bar knew something magical would happen any moment now because someone (some genius!) had slipped a few quarters in the ol’ juke box.

Then that beat kicked in and the saxophone took over your soul! The slow bounce and bob-your-head dance of the crowd was becoming a full on Swing. Suddenly with great gusto, we heard it:

Baby, baby it looks like it's gonna hail!

Baby, baby it' looks like it's gonna hail!

You better come inside

Let me teach you how to jive and wail…

Some of The Pub Club

Well LP Jr. was going insane. After all, this was his father’s song. But there was a general hype throughout Rudy’s. Everyone was moving, moving, moving right along with the tune, as the bartender danced, whapping the tap beer selections and running up and down the restaurant, hotdogs flying. He even took a picture of our group and told us to text him anytime we were in the neighborhood so he could "have our drinks ready."

I’m not sure that night is repeatable without Louie and the band. Still, I don't doubt we'll return.

Oh and how could I forget! There was this infamous picture of the one of the girls, with the bartender, and a giant pig sculpture that sits outside the restaurant. Not only did we "convince" Louie to give us the rights to his memoirs that night (because we’re going to be publishers, right?) but we also decided to write for our up-and-coming-completely-imaginary-at-the-moment publishing house. Hence the title of The Pub Club’s memoirs: “Me, the Bartender, and the Pig.”

Because that’s where it all really began.