Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Commute

First, grab headphones if you're at work.
Second, push the play button below. 
Finally, read. 

(Editor's Note: You can still enjoy without the music, but it's not nearly the same experience. To truly get that rush, my writing needs a little musical assistance.)

The sunlight’s dancing. Eyes flicker. Wake up.
Routine, routine, get out of bed. Dizzy head. Not enough sleep. Too much sleep? Get dressed… We’re already late. We move like someone pushed "fast forward." Routine, routine, slowly reach for your bag. 
Remember… something? Oh well.
Forget. Forget your umbrella; your homework. ‘Least it’s sunny.
Bread or maybe fruit? Pick your poison, either way we’ve got to go.
More routine.
Lights off.
Bagged lunch.
Heels in purse.
Flats on feet. One last glance. You’re out the door.
30 steps downstairs, then 4 more out the front.
298 steps to the food cart on the corner. Yeah, the one past the Laundromat. White man says go so you go, go, go. Avoid the slow woman in front of you.
Sidestep, sidestep, squeeze by. 
Hurry up the street. Two minutes down Steinway’s all it takes.
That man’s talking to you. Different language. Smile’s creepy.
Ignore button.
Blasé face.
Stare ahead and he’s gone. There’s something sharp in your purse, but no, no. That’s only for the night! Daylight’s for smiles.
Or at least blank looks.
Is that coffee?
WATCH IT! Watch the sidewalk – you always trip there! Two flip flops down, may they rest in peace.
Oh yes sir, we’ll take that. Free sample from the cafe. 
Who could say no?
1,2,3 walk 1,2,3 walk. When did you start counting?
Blue sky.
Warm enough.
Mornings like this make you want to… WALK FASTER! There’s the TRAIN!! You’ll make it if you run.
Past the fish market.
Up the stairs.
Metro card already out.
Thadda girl – you were thinking!
Swipe. Step. Stairs come two at a time.
“Stand clear of the closing. doors…”
No! No! Not if we can help it. Lunge, and your in.
Breathe deep.
1 train down, 1 train to go. 
Squeeze by, and grab blessed metal. Hold tight. 13 minutes left.
Who’s baby’s crying? That woman’s purse bumped us twice.
Headphones today? iPod’s dead.
Stare straight ahead.
Last stop in Queens. Let’s all smash together now.
Rumble, rumble in the tunnel.
59th and Lexington! Out out out…Excuse me and pardon us.
Rush across the platform. It’s not crowded yet! The train’s coming. But walking on the edge get’s you through faster.
5 more steps till safety.
There’s the other train. We just made it to the center of the platform. That’s our rush for the day. Oh but wait,
Man with a large box almost got ya.
It’s okay. Hair’s still in place.
Up the escalator. The left side’s for walking. And of course no one’s walking. MOVE. Don’t you hear the connecting train? Left side for walking, right side for standing…
We missed it. Blame it on the uninformed escalator takers. LEFT is for walking. LEFT IS FOR WALKING. 
No, wait… iPod’s dead.
Bright lights, shuffled feet… next connecting train's coming.
They all pile out.
We all pile in.
Be at work soon.
Doors open and we move. Walk faster! You’ll miss the crowd.
Excuse us! Sidestep sidestep, squeeze by. Through the gate, up the stairs.
Sunlight on your face again – breathe in the day. Take in the city…
Okay, stop breathing.
Keep walking.
Two blocks to go.
You see it? I see it!
Chaos. Foot traffic’s bad today. Bumper to bumper; hip to hip.
 Sidestep… just walk on the grate. Hold down your skirt.
Pull out your ID. Where’s our ID?
We're still on fast forward. 
Orange hand says stop.
White man says go.
Go. Go…
You’re finally there.

You made it. 


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oh No, Oh Snow

I was snuggled warmly in bed.

We’d all stayed up late into the AM the night before. Ivy and I had gone to Brooklyn for a Halloween soirée and then crashed at her place in Harlem. Our plan that morning was to sleep in like the lazy bums we never get to be, walk around the park, and then start…. eh, finish the dreaded thesis.

It was your typical 20-something-grad-student-in-New-York Saturday.

Alas, as I rolled out of bed, something falling from the sky caught my eye. No, it couldn’t be… not yet. Surely not yet.

But it was! It was SNOW. Big fat flakes fell gracefully into the ally, mocking me with their dace-like tumble onto the street.

Didn’t these hateful ice bombs realize they were early!? My mind kept screaming the words “October” over and over again.

“Ivy… Ivy wake up.”
“What, what., what…”
“Snow. Snow… It’s snowing. It’s snowing.”
“Snow?!” she said sitting straight up and then quickly walking towards the window. We stood there for about two seconds, looked at each other, and then screamed like we were cued for a movie:


Don’t get me wrong. I used to love snow and I still enjoy it on occasion. The city is never quieter or cleaner in the midst of a blizzard, and who doesn’t like a little white Christmas?

But. It’s October. Walking 15 minutes from the subway in icy slush with holey shoes, tights, and a dress is… well, I’m whining and I know it, but it was freaking miserable! Ivy let me barrow some winter necessities (thank you!), and yet I still resembled a chattering, blue fool by the time I reached my apartment.

Last winter in New York was unbearable. In fact, we don’t talk about it because it was slightly scarring. Every other day in January we had ice storms that would knock you down on the street, and wind that would cut through your coat - especially near the river. Subways got stuck for hours and my constant walk, walk, walking turned into a routine worth repressing.

Winter wonderland, you are reluctantly welcome back in December. Please stay away until then. You must let we New Yorkers get mentally prepared... or given time to evacuate. 


Friday, October 28, 2011

Mail Bag

Yesterday I got a letter! A big thanks to Anne in Virginia for the encouraging words and actually sending me a hand-written note about my article. That’s a big deal… and it made my night.

If I haven’t already bothered you about it - my first national print byline came out in the November issue of Parents Magazine. Whoop whoop! I helped write the Best Toy Guide of 2011, and yes, we did get to play with the merchandise throughout the summer. (PS - Some of those games for 8 years+ are actually quite difficult… especially before coffee. Should I be worried my own children will be smarter than me at 8!? Eh... I was never very good with numbers.) 

Another big thank you to Anne!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Poor in New York

This arrived in my mailbox over the weekend…


But I’ll probably donate to their charity anyway because I feel bad for laughing so much at this ironic little letter. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Poor in New York

This is exactly what you want to see in your email. 
Didn't I just add $100 bucks to my account? Where did my money go New York?

I retraced my steps... bought a bagel, some coffee, maybe picked up some milk? No, I didn't even do that. Where the h*** was my money going? I'd never gotten an overdraft email/text/alert before.

'Twas a bad moment for Britney Fitzgerald. 

Then I get a call from my mother later in the evening...
Turns out she was trying to be helpful by giving me a little cash for some tickets home. Alas, she pushed the wrong button and BAM - stole my moola!

Not to worry, she eventually remedied the situation. But during the debacle, I was simply left starring at my bank account, planning out the next PB&J.

And that is when I decided:

 I must really love this dumb, crowded, expensive, smelly, lovely, cultural, beautiful, exhilarating city because I was totally willing to fast until my next paycheck ;)


Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Creepy Neighbor

So my neighbor is a clown. I have only seen him in makeup once. His face was painted, and he wore a wife-beater while his tiny black poodle growled at people strolling by. 

Yeah. That was enough for me. 

Unfortunately my creepy clown neighbor likes Halloween. It seems to be the holiday he most relates to, thus the rest of the block must put up with frightening exhibits of oddness... like this new addition to our hood:

Meet Evil Clown Pirate. His ship is a fire hydrant, and his prey are any who exhibit fear. Walk tall Astorians! Do not be fooled. He is only a stuffed mannequin.

But do beware...

When you pass Evil Clown Pirate, resist from exhibiting any form of emotion. With a quick glance to the left, you will see the real evil clown, peeking out from behind his curtains, looking for exactly such a response.

Ah, New York. 
I love you and all of your peculiarity. 


Friday, October 14, 2011

Poor in New York

We're poor in New York. We go to bed too late and wake up too early. We work for $10 bucks an hour. We're forgetful, and at times quite frazzled. But no one can say we're not resourceful.

The letter I left for my roommate:

I think this picture speaks for itself. Yes, those are coffee filters. 
Don't you judge me.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Trip to Occupy Wall Street

The whole world’s watching.
The whole world’s watching.

I exited the Cortland Street subway station, and was almost immediately sucked into a mob of people. Race, religion, political party… you name it. And they were walking right past me, carrying signs or chanting phrases of disapproval. The Occupy Wall Street protests were in full swing that breezy night as the moon, the skyscrapers, and apparently the “whole world” watched. 

Well. Might as well join them.

Two of my friends and I quickened our pace to keep up with the crowd. Journalists intermingled amongst what could have been businessmen and women to homeless hippies. A person walked by with a sign for the Tea Party, while an “End the War” poster grazed my shoulder. It was cramped and the police began closing in, urging participants towards a nearby sidewalk.

All night, all day – Occupy Wall Street!
All night, all day – Occupy Wall Street!

Now I can’t tell you what the #Occupy movement is going to do… if it’s going to do anything. But it has certainly gotten people talking. Blogs are a buzz, news websites have stepped up coverage, and senators are making statements. So then again, I suppose that’s something.

A few weeks ago, the same could not be said. News stations had attempted to avoid coverage of these events. After all, who are they owned by? Yes, very large and powerful media conglomerates, which is exactly what’s being attacked. And politicians wrote off the grassroots movement as a war between classes. But slowly, and then quite surely, downtown Manhattan turned into a constant parade of voices.

And they are angry.

I suppose what fascinates me most is not the political cause, or even the surprising numbers of participants; it’s the people themselves. Their diversity and passions are so extreme, so bipolar! Yet they all seem to have something to say. The general unrest from a brutal economic summer was so prevalent, it was almost tangible…  and now something has sparked. A small explosion of ideals and philosophy has led to hundreds of cities starting their own movements, which now extend to every continent except Antarctica.

So what is this going to achieve? I couldn’t tell you. Are there radicals from both parties surrounded by moderates and independents protesting? From what I saw, yes. Should people be allowed to protest? I would certainly hope so (Democracy?). Can my generation stop being called apathetic? To soon to tell… or maybe I don’t care about the answer (ba dom - ching!). Will this end relatively peacefully? Fingers crossed. Do people hate this movement? Yes, and they should be allowed to. Do people love this movement? Yes, and they should be allowed to.

Because thank God, above all else, we are allowed to speak and think and act for ourselves. Now someone cue “Proud to be An American…”


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Help Me With My Thesis

Can you believe it's that time again? Yes. I am writing another (and let's pray my last) thesis paper. To give you a little history, here is my statement: "What iPad business models are working best to create profitable magazines, and what obstacles still limit this current style of publication?"

I will be analyzing the history of the iPad, studying its turbulent relationship with the publishing world, and doing a case study of three national magazines using tablet technology. 

This is where I need your help. I'm curious about why the consumer (aka you and me) is interested in e-technolgy, and more specifically, the iPad. 
If you have a second, please select an answer from the below poll. If you would not buy an ipad, feel free to tell me why so in the comments section. 

General discussion is welcome, as is passing this link around to friends. Thanks everyone!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Poor in New York

We're poor in New York. Who needs a microwave? 
Kortlyn certainly doesn't. She also happens to look like a postcard from the 1950s. Hence, why she's on the blog.

Melting butter with a candle - Our own example of "roughing it."


Monday, October 3, 2011

Fall Trendspotting 2011

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 in flux. So here’s a list of a few things I’ve noticed trending around town.

1) Divine Desserts - Move over cupcakes and mini-cupcakes. There are two new desserts littering New York’s city streets. First the cake pop. Basic in appearance, these yummy snacks are essentially pieces of cake dipped in flavored icing. Starbucks carries some of my favorite types, with super moist cake dipped in chocolate and espresso. The second dessert trend is the macaron (which I’m finding online as spelled both “macaron” and “macaroon”). These treats are made from egg whites, lots of sugar, and usually some form of almond powder. They look like two puffy cookies held together with jam or cream.

2) Spot On! - I’ve been seeing polka dots all over town. Black and white, blue and tan; you name it. Dare I say spots are trying to trump recent winning trends, like the stripe? No, no… I don’t know about that, you J Crew lovers. But it’s there – so watch out!

3) Loose Braids - This is one of those trends I wish I could emulate, but alas, braids and me never really work. I’ve been seeing girls do this loosey-goosey look all September, and I think I’m kind of jealous. Summer’s parallel trend: The top bun.

4) Website Updates - Facebook isn’t the only site getting a facelift. Pandora was just restructured, loosing the 40-hour listening limit per month. Blogger also streamlined its homepage, giving a more modern look to their site, and Pinterest received a few moderate changes. I feel like I’m forgetting one… Oh yes. There’s also Google+.

5) Tablet Debates - Step aside iPad, if only for a season or so. Amazon has just released the new Kindle Fire at the shockingly low rate of $199. This took the market by storm last week, but what of the Nook Color 2 expected to be released this autumn? I’d say one trend for now is “tablet consumer confusion.”

Things of note: jade green dresses, animal print, organic burger joints, Occupy Wall Street protest, iPhone 5 release (if it’s released…), debit cards that charge you, Hulu Ad Swap, book clubs.

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