Monday, August 29, 2011

New York Hurricane Irene Part 3: To Connecticut I Go

Nate Morris had videos streaming from Newport News, Virginia while Kathryn and Grace Fitzgerald were live in Richmond. So we wanted to give you all a report from Westport, CT to show the destruction from Hurricane Irene. Please do enjoy.

Starring Claire and Abby Comey


Saturday, August 27, 2011

New York Hurricane Irene Part 2: Evacuate

I looked up at my ceiling.

A large puckered, dark circle was right above my head. The last storm had successfully damaged my roof, and the impending hurricane was probably going to finish it off.

Time to leave.

My roommate was in VA, so I knew I wasn't getting stuck in our leaky apartment alone. The Comey family in Connecticut are life-long friends that had a bed to spare, so I gladly accepted their invitation for a weekend in Westport. My rolling suitcase was packed at 1am last night, and an alarm was set for 6:15.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Yep, definitely time to leave. Now I just needed to get there before the train system shut down at noon...

No bread left in Astoria.

This pot is almost comical. I also wrapped the couch and TV in shower curtains since the chances of damages are... quite high.

Going into the city was eerily quiet.

Grand Central was deserted when I first arrived. Not a soul was on 42nd street. And I thought I'd have to beat the crowds for a ticket out... turns out New Yorkers don't mess with hurricanes.


Friday, August 26, 2011

New York Hurricane Irene Part 1: We Wait

New York is prepared.

There’s an eerie sort of silence on the streets this afternoon. As I ate my sandwich in some random corporate park with a waterfall, I noticed the absence of people… the absence of rush. I was noticing a cliché “calm before the storm.”

Of course, two places are as frazzled as ever. Duane Read was full of lunch break employees grabbing water, batteries, and flashlights. Big bags of supplies were being pulled out of the store, and I couldn’t help but think drugstore owners must be squealing in delight over the impending hurricane.

“Any flashlights left?” one woman asked.
“No. Ha. Good luck,” a disgruntle employee replied.

The second overwhelmed space is virtual. Twitter has been erupting with constant news updates, Bloomberg tweets, and friendly advice for @bittfitz. In my office people are doing the normal 9-5 thing. But everyone is also texting under the table, tweeting behind open emails, and blatantly calling family members.

No one is sure what to do.

I’m under the impression that New York is slightly overreacting. Maybe it's the Virginian in me, but I only find this type of storm exciting or annoying. Still the images from Katrina are fresh in the minds of most and the general consesus is "better safe that sorry." This hurricane won’t be nearly the same category by the time it reaches our city, but the truth is, when something big happens in New York, it’s always BIG.

The highs are high and the lows are low, my friends.

Here is what we
do know:

1) The MTA is closing all subway, bus, and Metro North
services starting at 12pm Saturday 27th.
2) Staten Island ferry service will be suspended
if winds reach over 46mph.
3) Bridges will be closed if winds reach over 60mph.
4) The Rockaways in Queens are being fully evacuated due
to isolation risks with bridge closures.
5) Zone A residents are being asked to evacuate ASAP. This includes
Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, and some costal areas of Brooklyn,

Maybe we’re going to have the storm of a lifetime. Maybe we'll laugh about this Monday. But for now…

We wait.

The city before it's biggest threat of a hurricane since 1938.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Poor in New York: How to Make A Hardboiled Egg

Beep beep beep. Good morning New York! You are awake! You are ready to take on the day! You have personality and excitement and you have…

No. Food.


While a bohemian lifestyle is often celebrated, the practicality of running on high energy levels around the city with a bum breakfast is zero to none. Eating half a piece of bread while downing a cup of coffee only gives me the shakes, and I usually don’t have milk in the fridge for a bowl (or mug) of cereal. So what’s a commuter to do? 

Here’s the basic trick to survival: plan ahead, my weary ones. Listed below are some examples of my favorite s
hortcut meals.

1) A bagel or ½ bagel is the epitome of a complex carb. Use this meal when you expect to be doing intern errands or running around the city. Prep time is about a minute, and the cost is low. Add peanut butter over a raisin bagel for an extra iron boost. Saver secret: If you love yourself some real, Brooklyn bagels – buy a dozen and freeze them. The bread will last for much longer and you’ll safe money in the long run.
2) Trail mix. ‘Nuff said. I also like the summery combination of fruit and a Yogurt Nutri-Grain bar. Why Nutri-Grain you ask? They have a decent amount of iron (which will keep your energy high) and they’re always on a 2 for 1 sale at C-Town.
3) My brilliant roommate Anna taught me this little time-saver for morning meals. So you want something a little more filling, but cooking and cleaning the pan come AM time just doesn’t happen. Not to fear! The incredible edible hard-boiled egg is here.

On Sunday night, grab a small pot. Place 3 to 4 eggs in the pot and then fill it with water until the eggs are fully covered and sitting about an inch deep. Next, place the pot on the stove, throw in a dash of salt, and begin to boil the eggs. (For all you non-cookers out there, that means put the stove on HIGH.)

Once the water is at a full boil, remove the pot from the heat and set it on an unused burner (aka not in direct heat). The general consensus is eggs should rest in the hot water for 13-15 minutes. If the yolk is green when you eat the egg, it isn’t bad but just slightly overcooked.

Now wrap those suckers up and put them in the fridge. Come Monday morning, you’ll have a filling, protein-packed meal and all you’ll need to do is crack ‘em open. The salt you used when boiling your water should help when peeling off the shells.

Eat the eggs straight for a refreshing, chilled meal. Or if you prefer them warm, set the eggs in a bowl and mash them up with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper. Stick in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and

You are now a hardboiled egg master. I dub thee poor, yet happy... and full.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Damages from New York Earthquake

New York Earthquake, August 2011


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Poor in New York: Under Five Dollars

Let's face it: New York is freaking expensive. Luckily, deals are hiding within each neighborhood and alleyway. My first year in the city was rife with experience, and searching for savings has quickly become routine. Turns out being "poor in New York" is far from impossible.

For "The Student:" Grocery List
1) Pasta, sauce, and cheese is about $5 for a meal that will keep on giving.
2) A bag of apples and a few bananas combined should be $3-4.
3) A crate of eggs and three potatoes should be between $4-5.
4) PBJ sandwiches. Duh. And get creative by adding honey or bananas.
5) Sushi from a deli is usually between $4-5. A bag of edamame is even cheaper.

For "The Twenty-Something:" Drinks
1) Dounkin Donuts coffee is the better deal, but you can still get Starbucks signature brew “Pike Place” without going over $2.
2) By now you should know: PBR at
Welcome to the Johnsons is $3, Crocodile Lounge’s happy hour is 12pm till 7pm, which mean you get Yuengling and free pizza for $3, and everything at Rudy’s is cheap.
3) McSorley’s Old Ale House only serves two drinks:
“dark or light.” And it’s all $5.
4) Bloomingdale’s signature restaurant,
40 Carrots, serves a creamy
Raspberry Cloud Smoothie for $5.
Trader Joe’s Wine Shop will not disappoint. Look out for Three Buck Chuck.

For "The Foodie:" Restaurants
1) A
Brooklyn Bagel with plain cream cheese and small coffee hovers right around the $5 mark. And they are the best bagels in town.
Jin is a Japanese restaurant in the Lower East Side with a $3 happy hour menu where everything is – you guessed it – three bucks.
That includes sushi, sides, and drinks.
3) Prosperity Dumpling has food on the menu for as cheap as $1. Get 4-5 dumplings and a drink for under $2.
2 Bros Pizza has a $1 a slice deal, and if you really want to splurge, they offer two slices and a soda for $2.75. Hey big spender!
5) You can usually get a gyro or falafel on the side of the road for about $5, but its best to ask the price, particularly in midtown.

I recently got hooked on Gnocchi in my uber Greek neighborhood. $1.69 for the pasta (made from potato), and then add some butter and
cheese for a delicious dinner.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

23 in NYC

Moving box
Bagels with lox
Peanut butter
People who mutter
Microwave Potato
Eggs with cherry tomato
Ice cream truck
A whole lotta luck
Giveaway table
Everything with a label
Police siren
Forgetting to iron
Broken shoe
Still “nothing to do”
Without AC
Just being me
Future approaches
Loyalty card
Always being on guard
Key Foods to Whole Foods
Private schools to tattoos
You’re a grad
All nighters
Weekend trip
Copy machines
Living in Queens
Packed lunch
Sunday brunch
Subway mouse
Captions, byline
Flip flips
Blue skies
Red eyes
Now here’s to being 23.
No place I’d rather be.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Resignation Letter

Dear XXXX,

My time at Bloomingdales began a short while ago, back in August of 2010. I was new to the city, fresh from Virginia, and lacking any sort of product knowledge or selling experience. Still (amazingly enough) you and XXXX hired me to join the Bloomingdales ready-to-wear team. Did you know that, in fact, when XXXX told me I’d be working in women’s sportswear I thought I’d being selling Nike pants?


Throughout the year, I made a few mistake – and S. can testify to that. Yes I might have left a sensor on or forgot to cut off an RFID tag, but generally I learned the ropes. Ask a customer if someone was helping them, set up fitting rooms in French Connection but forget about it on Saturdays in Aqua, smile even when taking back a fraudulent return and then secretly call Loss Prevention from another counter... especially when Burberry is inquired about. Open cards, understand the sales, call your clients - these things I learned. And I can really thank L. and S. for their patience, particularly during my first few months.

I also believe I can appreciate customer service at its basic level; it’s no secret and really quite obvious. The way to please an individual (and when I say individual I’m discussing the normal, civil customer) is through the simple practice of treating someone like a human being. The golden rule could not be applied in a better atmosphere, though many will not treat you with the respect deserved. I suppose I have high standards for my friends (and maybe I’m idealistic about humanity in general) but no matter how often respect fell short from either a customer or an employee, there were also these epic moments where people were just being kind to other people.

And that is certainly something to take note of.

But as the seasons went on, and Christmas returns brutally damaged my checks, I grew antsy to accomplish what I had come up here to do: Observe. Edit. Write. Create.

By April I was burnt out and physically exhausted from my 5 hour-a-night sleeping regime. So during the month of July, when I saw a post for a freelance Editorial Assistant position, I jumped at the opportunity. This is want I wanted – this was why I came to New York City.

Thus, I regret to inform you I must put in my formal two weeks notice. I will not forget the Third Floor Book Club, or the time a crazy woman spit over the balcony. I will not forget the people I worked with, or the opportunity I was given. I will not forget the evil woman who yelled at me over the phone, and then after getting what she wanted, telling me I should be promoted to manager. Most importantly, I will not forget being your “Prim.”

Maybe I’ll come back to Bloomingdales after this opportunity. Maybe the economy will have tanked yet again. I’m not sure. I don’t know what the next day will bring, much less the next few months.

But within that insecurity? That is exactly where I thrive. This is exactly where I want to be.

Thank you again for everything XXXX.
We will certainly stay in touch,

Britney Fitzgerald
July, 20th 2011

**Editor's Note: This is a copy of my resignation letter to Bloomies. Some names have been omitted for anonymity.**