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Posted & filed under Art, Dining & Nightlife, Entertainment, General, Getting Away, Non Native New Yorker.

1. Brunch at The Bailey: When walking through the Financial District early on Sunday morning, you’ll spot a tour group or two, standing around taking pictures of the New York Stock Exchange – but will be surprised by just how barren downtown can be. Practically alone in this concrete wasteland, you’ll walk down Wall Street, looking for a potential eatery, and spot The Bailey. IMG_20140608_105726cOn the corner of William and Wall Street,

The Bailey Pub & Brasserie demands attention with it’s blood red, pressed-wax-seal logo, and intriguing decor. Inside, the classic, red leather seats, chocolate wood furnishings, and eye-catching art, will all pale in comparison to the enormous, white marble bull poised just above eye level, near the front entrance. New Yorkers love brunch – who doesn’t love brunch – but early enough on Sunday, you’ll find only a couple of other patrons as you sit down and peruse the Prix Fixe Brunch menu. Starting at $18.95 – with two drinks included – this beyond reasonably priced brunch, will be exquisite to your eyes and palate.

2. Charging Bull: Walking off your brunch bulge and buzz, you’ll traipse down Wall Street, towards Broadway — taking in the sights. The same bermuda shorts, and Canon-camera-clad tour groups will still litter the streets, but now they would have doubled in number; you walk passed, feeling superior to their stopped-in-the-middle-of-foot-traffic ways — but knowing that you’re just as impressed by the architecture, that you pretend to be jaded by. imgresMaking your way towards Bowling Green, you’re practically bowled over (see what I did there?) by the iconic Charging Bull. This bronze beauty stands alert and angry as tourists crowd around, posing for pictures and fondling his equally impressive bull-parts. You almost want to join the horde, wait in the queue, and grab a snap or a handful yourself – but instead you purchase an adorable miniature from the ideally situated vendors, and continue on your journey.

3. Battery Parkmonuments_koreanwarYou’ve ventured into Bowling Green, seen the beautiful fountain and foliage, traversed across State Street, and find yourself in Battery Park. The grounds will be cluttered with visitors, hoping to catch a ride to see the prettiest 151-ft tall lady around. You’ll make your way through the throngs, and amaze at the East Coast Memorial, with the always impressive New York City backdrop – gaze out at the tiny lady from along the waters edge – circle around the Castle Clinton National Monument – find the hidden New York Korean War Veterans Memorial – and ultimately, walk back to the Picnic kiosks in bosque; their advertised, sensibly priced drinks sound like the exact thing you need to combat your impending dehydration.

4. Manhattan By Sail: IMG_20140608_140337cSitting in the shade with a cup of water (or beer) in hand, you’ll notice that it’s almost time to board — you’re not going on a ferry, but rather have come prepared with a pre-purchased ticket for a ride on The Clipper City. This 158-ft long ship, with masts and rigging reaching up to 120 feet, is the newest addition to the Manhattan By Sail fleet. Walking towards the south end of Battery Park, you get in line with your fellow passengers. As you anxiously await boarding, a gentleman with a trumpet will park himself right next to the ship, to serenade the soon sailors with a little Sinatra.

Aboard The Clipper City, a bar at the center of the ship offers refreshments and snacks, and since a sober Sunday this is not, you’ll indulge in their white wine sangria, and prepare for the most breathtaking photo-ops of Manhattan and Ellis Island. An hour and a half of pictures – drinks – conversation with strangers later, you’ll be astounded by your capacity to fall in love with New York City. 20140608_151424c

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Posted & filed under General, Getting Away, Humor, New Yorker Insider, Non Native New Yorker.

We all have to go there eventually – the dreaded Department of Motor Vehicles. Even if you don’t drive, you need some sort of identification — at the very least so you can buy booze without having to seem like a desperate teenager trying to justify not having an ID.

I have a Florida license and as it turns out, it just expired. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem – since I don’t drive in New York, and most bars and liquor stores can tell I’m over twenty-one (a big thanks to the places that can’t) – but I plan on visiting California next month, and will be driving from San Francisco to L.A. I figured this was a good enough excuse to turn over my old, expired license, and finally become a card-carrying New Yorker.
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I looked up all the necessary procedures for changing your address, and renewing your New York license – just in case; filled out the forms and printed copies of bills and things that I wasn’t told I’d need, but I sure as hell wanted to be ready for anything. I found the locations that provided the aforementioned services, and made an appointment for the closest one; I wasn’t about to wait all day at the DMV; I was preparedness personified.

Come Monday morning, I made my way to License Express on 300 W 34th Street. I was a full thirty minutes early and almost excited as I reached the location – until I noticed that the windows were papered off and covered with signs that read, “We Moved!” Why didn’t the internet warn me?! No matter, I’d just walk the couple of blocks to the new location; I was still early for my appointment.

The new location was much nicer than the old one – from what I’ve been told – and there was hardly anyone there. I walked up to an employee by the door and told her what I was there to do. I handed her my appointment printout with a smile – which quickly faded when she said, “you made an appointment for the wrong location.” Great – there goes that. She handed me a slip with the address: 366 W 31st Street. Not too far – I walked over and figured maybe I’d lose an hour or two; it was still early.

I raced up the escalator to what I later found out was the new location to the midtown DMV previously located on 34th street. Walking up to an employee, I let him know what I needed, and he went over the cursory checklist.
“Do you have your old license?” Check.

“Do you have your social security card?” Check.

“Do you have your birth certificate?” I need that?

“What about your passport?” Damnit.

I was determined to take care of this; I wasn’t about to get discouraged.

Racing through midtown, I  entered the 34th street station – took an N train back to Astoria, sped towards my apartment – rifled through my box of pictures, mementos, and important documents – found my passport, made the trip back to the DMV, and finally got a ticket to be served; B589 – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget it.

IMG_20140630_133055The room was much more crowded than when I first arrived, nearly two hours prior, but I assumed – seeing over thirty servicing windows, and hearing a different number being called every couple of minutes – that I wouldn’t have to wait too long.

I picked a corner of the room and stood, staring at the screens that showed which numbers were called, what windows they were to go to, and which numbers would be called next. I had about twenty people ahead of me – or so I thought. The prefix must’ve implied the service – I heard at least six different prefixes. I had countless people in front of me.

After about an hour, I identified the windows that were assigned to the B prefix, stood in front, and waited. Another thirty or so minutes passed, and it was finally my turn – but first, a lady whose number was called twice and passed over, stepped in front of me, claiming to be next. The courteous, albeit slightly annoyed DMV employee behind the counter, informed said lady that her number was called twice and she failed to appear in the allotted time; she was to go to the help counter where she would be given a new number. She walked away in a stink, and I smiled, handing over my documents – knowing you should always be overly sweet to the people of the DMV; they’re capable of both making and ruining your day with the slightest act.

One minute later, I nervously posed for the first driver’s license photo I’ve had to take in thirteen years, and was told to wait for my number to be called again so that I could pay; couldn’t take too long – paying was the quick part, right? Wrong. The documents are input into the system by the same person that charges you; the first person you meet is only there to make sure you have all the necessary forms and documents – and in my case, to take your picture.

20140630_152210Another hour passed while I stood by the windows with the credit card machines. A seat opened in front of window eleven and I hurried to take it – noticing that this and window twelve were the ones primarily calling the B prefix.

Behind window eleven sat a well-groomed woman in her thirties. I smiled in her direction, hoping my niceness would help to end this endeavor sooner rather than later. Another hour or so passed and as I observed, taking note of her casual pace; when others around her finished with their victim, the next was called almost immediately after — but she just sat, leaned over the partition to chat with her neighbor, scrolled through her phone on the desk, chewed on her nails, and even got up to pace the room behind her.

Once she returned to her seat – as the numbers neared my own – she finally called the next: B586. The number flashed on the screen, followed immediately by B588 – both were to go to her window. She got out of her seat again, only to return minutes later – and was confronted by B586, ready to pay and get out of there.

“I called 588 not 586,” she said with certainty – but B586 wasn’t having it; he pointed to the screen, which clearly showed his number and her window. She defensively asked him to calm down – as if he was wrong to be upset – and proceeded to take his documents. As I watched in disbelief – anticipating my own uncomfortable interaction with window eleven – my number flashed on the screen; B589 to window sixteen.

I beamed as she stapled my old license to the form, thanked her too eagerly as I swiped my credit card, and waved enthusiastically as I walked out – six hours after I first walked in; good thing New York licenses are valid for eight years.

 

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Posted & filed under Dining & Nightlife, Entertainment, Fashion, General, New Yorker Insider, Non Native New Yorker.

“We look forward to welcoming you to dinner, decadence, and secret delights at Queen of the Night,” read the top of the invite I received from Drew Davis, Chief Brand Ambassador for the Concierge Sales Network. He organized a ladies night with six other women from around the city that are more or less associated with the hotel and hospitality industry – aside from the lovely Thuy Diep, who’s a notable fashion designer and met Drew through their neighboring office spaces – and gorgeous Gabriela Pires–a designer for her own line of beachwear.

The dress code begged for something astounding — something “you thought you’d never have the occasion to wear.” I had just the dress — a white, floor length gown that I’d bought without purpose, and truly thought I’d never have the opportunity to wear.
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Dressed and ready to go, I walked over to the Paramount Hotel. Drew, Emily Yarbrough – director of marketing for the show – Laila DeMesme – Director of Corporate Sales for The Knickerbocker hotel – and Thuy were the first to arrive. Soon we were joined by vibrant and bubbly Joanna Buiza and Jennifer Trcka – Area Sales Managers at Hersha Hospitality Management. Céline Bossart – Marketing & Editorial Coordinator at Luxury Attaché – and Gabriela joined us as we waited for the cocktail portion of the show to begin. We spoke with Emily about what we could expect from the show — she warned that we could be potentially be taken by the arm and included in the performance; no one was sure what this meant – well except Drew who had been in attendance four times prior – but we were excited by the mystery of it all.

Promptly at 7:30 pm, the doors opened and our group was escorted by Emily to the outside entrance that opened to an intricate winding staircase, leading to the underground space which housed the event. Instantly, we were met by servers dressed in an odd mix of butler and mime – white halter vests with a black trim and buttons, black Bermuda shorts with white cuffs, black knee highs complete with sock garters, and black and white oxfords; they held trays with two drink options — a vodka or bourbon beverage was offered. Each taking a drink, we stood and waited to be allowed onto the floor.

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Spying a group of seven beautiful women, a server pointed to our party and instructed us to go left into the room. What we found was a large banquet type space with a traditional stage on one end – haphazardly cluttered with chairs – an oval stage in the center – with a masked woman in a trailing blue cape – and a bar on the opposite end. Scattered around the center stage were tables of varying sizes–and on those tables, were performers doing a series of seemingly random acrobatics.

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First to catch my attention was the large oval table closest to the velvet rope cordoning off the center of the room – on it was a blonde woman in a yellow knee length dress, and above her was a performer doing a handstand; they were face to face in the most intimate way. It took me a minute to realize that this woman was clearly a guest. I knew what to expect—slowly, different women from our party were led away by one performer or another, and were incorporated into the intriguingly bizarre act. We lost Laila early on; Joanna followed shortly thereafter; Céline was the last to go. Each were treated to a different oddity — each appeared to find it difficult not to laugh while they were forced to maintain eye contact, or hugged, or danced around by a trio of masked men. I was sure my turn would come soon — but was relieved when the center area was opened to the audience, and the seating began.

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We stood by the largest table – hoping to reserve as many seats together as possible – and watched as the woman on the center stage, shed her large blue cape, and the performers joined her on and around the stage in an elaborate number that resulted in the jumble of chairs being carted off the other stage and placed around the tables.

Our group made it’s way to a round table directly in front of the stage which once held the chairs. Shortly after sitting down, a man with a microphone asked everyone marked with a Q, to stand.

Joanna was fortunate enough to be one of the few selected. Our MC chose a standing gentleman and asked him to pick from the ladies that stood and present her with a kiss; the woman he chose was instructed to do the same with the remaining gentlemen, and said man was asked onto the center stage. He participated in a process of elimination, whittling down the options from a few items held up by performers circling the stage. Ultimately, he ended on a hammer and was instructed to hold onto it at his table while the show proceeded.

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Meeting the queen on the stage at the end of the room, the MC poured her a glass of wine, poured himself a glass, and toasted to the queen — followed by a flooding of performers dancing and tumbling, as servers weaved around the tables with trays of plates, glasses, and utensils – carafes of wine and water – and an offering of large olives, green grapes, baguette, and butter.

We dined on appetizers and drank as the show continued to unravel around us. A young woman in a muted and juvenile version of the queen’s gown, appeared on the stage–as aerialists hung from hoops around the room, and a man with a giant ring spun around the center stage.

Once the spectacle slowed, the MC appeared and called the gentleman with the hammer back onto the stage; he was gloved and instructed to use the aforementioned hammer to smash a terracotta statue in the center of the stage. The hammer hit the statue, and the lights blared as the music swelled.

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What immediately followed could only be described as a darker, Grimm’s fairy tale version of Beauty and the Beast’s “Be Our Guest.” Servers in black rubber aprons appeared on stage, holding metal cages filled with bowls of dinner sides – roasted rosemary potatoes, and a green salad was presented on our table – followed by the entrees on platters and boards – we were given a spit with a roasted suckling pig wrapped in bacon.

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Drew, being familiar with the protocol, stood from the table and started eyeing the neighboring meals attractive alternative; guests traded their lobster, giant head of cauliflower, and ribs, for cuts of our pig. He placed the lobster on the table, and Joanna reached over to tear a piece of lobster for herself and Gabriela; I decided I’d do the same. The stubborn crustacean refused to give, but I gave it a good yank and it split – spewing scarlet sauce all over poor Joanna’s white dress. I’m sure if the room were brighter, they would’ve seen my face instantly resemble the shade of splattered sauce. I tried to apologize, but with the noise and activity, it was difficult for me to relay my reparation. Gabriela and Jennifer on either side of her quickly used their napkins to rub white wine into the stains while I decided I was no longer hungry, and tried to stave my embarrassment — accident prone, even in evening wear.

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As the meals were devoured, the performance flourished. The story-line began to take shape – there was an obvious romantic plot, as well as a succession of power between the queen and her ingenue. I don’t want to spoil the adventure – you’ll just have to see it for yourself to find out what happens. If you’re looking for something to do in the city, that’s different, exciting, and entertaining to no end, Queen of the Night is the show for you; it’s definitely worth the hype.

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Posted & filed under Art, Entertainment, Interviews, New Yorker Insider.

Kennedy Moore – founder of Ask A New Yorker – and I were recently invited by Cristyne Nicholas – chairman of The Broadway Association – to their annual Tony Awards Luncheon. Founded in 1911, this not-for-profit business association’s main focus is the cultural and economic betterment of the Broadway Theater District. Never having been to an event of this nature, I wasn’t sure what to expect — but was very eager to meet and mingle with some of the association’s distinguished members, as well as potentially, a couple of people from the Tony Awards panel.

Kennedy and I arrived in front of Sardi’s at noon. With an obvious old school New York feel, the space was framed by deep burgundy walls – decorated with dozens of celebrity caricatures that date back to the twenties – and carpeting to match. Upon entering the room, we were handed a couple of Annual Tony Awards Printable Ballots – which listed all the categories and nominees – for us to select our picks for the 2014 award winners.

Caricatures

Right away we were greeted by Pat Addiss – lead producer on A Christmas Story: The Musical – and currently producing Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, as well as The Fantasticks. She was refreshingly colorful, in a silk scarf and a necklace adorned with dozens of zipper pull tabs. Pat later introduced us to Kathleen O’Connor from the New York Historical Society. Kennedy, Pat, and Kathleen discussed a recent trip to Barcelona – celebrating the famous Dali house and museum – and I found myself at a loss, never having been to Barcelona myself; but was surprised by the infectious energy in the room.

We casually conversed with a couple of other guests – including Drew Davis, Chief Brand Ambassador of the Concierge Sales Network – prior to sitting down for lunch.

Once most of the meals were finished and the coffee and tea was served, Cristyne walked up to the podium and began to introduce the panel.

From left to right: David Rooney, Jesse Green, Imogen Lloyd Webber, & Jeff Lunden

First to the front was David Rooney, moderator for the event, and also film and theater critic for The Hollywood Reporter; a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Rolling Stone; and most recently served on the nominating panel for the acting categories of the 2013 Gotham Independent Film Awards. David was followed by Jesse Green – the theater critic for New York magazine, formerly a writer for the Times Magazine and the Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times, as well as the author of several books – and the lovely Imogen Lloyd Webber- author, broadcaster, and the News Editor at Broadway.com. Last but certainly not least was Jeff Lunden – an arts reporter and award-winning radio producer, that has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition — as well as Studio 360, Marketplace, and Voice of America. As a theater composer, Jeff wrote the score for the award-winning adaptation of Arthur Kopit’s Wings – produced at the Public Theater in New York, and the Goodman Theatre in Chicago.

David started the discussion with the mention of Broadway’s economic impact. According to The Broadway League, the industry contributed $11.9 billion to New York City’s economy. Recently having been to see Wicked, I knew it wasn’t cheap – but the figures were impressive nonetheless. David also went on to state his surprise with the wide assortment of Broadway audience members he recently encountered. “I’ve never seen this many teenagers and 20-somethings at a Broadway Play on a weeknight,*” he said in regards to a showing of Les Mis.

I began to take video after about five minutes – mainly because I’m a terrible note taker; but later thought I could perhaps use a clip or two on Ask A New Yorker. Unfortunately, the energy and dynamic in the group was so refreshing and entertaining, that not much audio can be heard above my constant eruption of laughter; however I was able to make out enough of the discussion to find some gems.

Room Divider

After a bit of an overview on how the nominees are selected, we reached, according to David, “the fun part – the handicapping […]” He said, “Jesse, let’s start with you; for best musical, what should and what will win?*”

“Well, the nominees are,” he replied – pausing for the laughter to subside. “Aladdin, Beautiful […], A Gentleman’s guide to Love and Murder, and After Midnight. There’s controversy everywhere; as Imogen said, why wasn’t there a fifth? Well we know why, but there were several musicals that certainly would’ve made a good fifth; and in my opinion, a good fourth and third as well,” he said, almost as an aside.  “[…] The word around town is that Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, is going to win; that would be the traditional choice insofar as it’s tourable, it’s a big hit now, and it has a great central performance […] I thought the musical that best fulfilled what it intended to do and gave me the most joy, personally, was After Midnight […]”

Imogen responded with, “[…] I would like it to be Beautiful, but I think it’s probably going to be A Gentleman’s Guide […]”

“Believe it or not, I agree with you, Jesse,” said Jeff. “I think the best time I had in a musical was After Midnight — just because I thought it was kind of joyous, it was inventive, and of course it was a great score – it  wasn’t a new score but it was a great score […] I think Gentleman’s Guide is going to win […]”

“I agree,” said David. “I do think it’s going to go to Beautiful […] That show connects with audiences who grew up with Carole King’s music […] Personally I would be happy to see A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder win. […] Now let’s move on to Musical Revivals – is there any competition at all?*”

“No,” said Jeff definitively, whose concise answer appeared well received by the audience – and agreed upon by the panel. While it may not have been Jesse’s favorite, everyone felt that Hedwig and the Angry Inch was definitely going to win that category.

Imogen followed up with, “And if you look at the grosses and everything else, that’s the big hit; I mean, you cannot get a ticket for it.”

Skipping ahead down the list –  David said, “[…] lets just do a quick sweep of the actors. Who’s the slam dunk for the Actor in a Musical?*” Right away,  the group unanimously agreed Neil Patrick Harris –  as Hedwig – would be the winner in that category; adding, “Does he deserve to win?*”

Tony Awards Luncheon

“Does he deserve– who deserves? Who deserves?” Jesse replied with a shoulder shrug and a quickly following guffaw from the audience. “No, I didn’t actually think his was the best performance in the year, but I’m fine with it. I think he’ll do more […] to bring people in, than anybody else would.”

They reviewed several other categories and, running short on time, David breezed through some of the shows that are going to be seen next season — asking, “what are the sure bets you think we’ll be talking about this time next year?*”

Without missing a beat, Imogen retorted, “Harvey Weinstein will be very angry you didn’t mention Finding Neverland.”

After a short back and forth among the group, Jesse responded with, “the only announced new musical […] for the fall is Sting’s musical, The River –”

“The Last Ship,” interrupted the other panelists.

“The Last Ship,” Jesse echoed, “The River is Hugh Jackman’s […]– all this maritime theatrics […]”  a roar from the crowd  interrupted; “[…] I liked it very much […]”

“[…] I imagined from what I heard of The Last Ship, it’s an intimate little show—*”

“No, no. It’s a very big production,” corrected Jesse. “I mean, there’s a giant ship.” His slightly sarcastic response drew one last laugh from those in attendance – and with a bit more banter, the discussion ended.

Cristyne and her crew reminded the crowd to hand in their ballots – stating that anyone whose entire list of predictions is correct, would be rewarded with tickets to see the winning show. I didn’t hand in my ballot because, A: I wasn’t exactly able to mark my selections and listen to/record the discussion – I didn’t think I would win anyway; and B: my journalistic ethics forbid me from being anything but objective and impartial; but it was mostly A — either way, it was an amazing and slightly surreal experience for me. I will definitely be watching the Tony Awards tonight, if at the very least, to see how right the panelists were.

 

*David Rooney’s quotes, pending approval.

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Posted & filed under Dining & Nightlife, Entertainment, General.

People Everywhere
It’s impossible to be a total hermit in NYC. Sure you could hide in your hovel and order Seamless while watching Netflix until the end of time, but even then you’d have to interact with the delivery person – and if you’re actually a participating member of society, you can’t go anywhere without being bombarded by a sea of unfamiliar faces. You walk out of your building and onto the sidewalk, and you’re instantly met with foot traffic like you’ve never seen in your suburban, car-driving cities. Instead of being a metal, faceless vehicle speeding down the people-barren streets, we’re all now bodies walking down the pedestrian-crowded sidewalks.

Unless of course, you’re like me and live a little off the main areas of the city – in which case, you have to walk a block or two to get to the street that’ll take you to the train that’ll lead you into the city – but even that street, at 5/6/7am, is more populated by pedestrians than any of the streets I would walk along in my little suburb of Miami; and that’s just the sidewalks. Now that you’re not driving – assuming you’re not one of those few that feel the need to own a vehicle in the city with one of the best public transportation systems in the country (more on that later) – you’ll be taking the subway a lot, along with thousands of other New Yorkers. You’ll meet an assorted collection of characters – from performers, to pariahs. You’ll see the old and decrepit, and the young and insipid. There’ll be those that’ll strike up conversations, and others that’ll glance and look away far too often for it to be just coincidence. Not one day will go by where you will ever feel alone, unless you let yourself forget how many of us are here, in this exact same place, feeling exactly the same way.

Public Transportation
Remember before you moved into the city? I do; sitting in traffic, feeling the road rage bubbling up within the serene exterior; hating complete strangers solely based on their driving abilities – or lack thereof. Not anymore! Now I can comfortably walk to my train, sit and read whatever novel I’m currently enthralled in, and before I know it, I’ve reached my destination; and I’m surprisingly less tense than when I left my house. Don’t like to read? Take a nap, listen to music, draw, chat with strangers, meditate. It doesn’t matter – you’re not driving! It’s so liberating knowing that not only are you contributing to the reduction of dangerous gas emissions, but you’re also reducing your own stress, and lets face it, probably a bunch of other drivers’ stress as well.

No Shortage of Activity Options
New York makes exploring infinitely easier than Miami ever did. You can step outside and walk a few blocks to the closest subway station, and take that to wherever. You exit the station and realize you are in a new playground, park, neighborhood you’ve never seen. There are endless things to be exposed to – whether it’s street performers, beautiful architecture, or the many different faces of the NY residents. Are you hungry? Walk out of your apartment and practically run into a halal, fruit, or waffle vendor – not to mention the infinite array of reputable restaurants. Thirsty? Walk to the corner and you’re in a market, pub, or bodega. Not only are there countless entertainment options for adults, but there are so many things for kids to do in this city, as well.

In my neighborhood alone, I have found over 10 playgrounds, only by walking a few blocks — all of them complete with some sort of water feature – automatically making it a free water-park. Everything is infinitely cheaper than the activities we’d find in Miami. The Central Park Zoo, for example – albeit small by comparison to some of the major zoos – is less than $20 for one adult and one child, together; while the Metro Zoo in Miami was over $30 per adult. The Natural History Museum has suggested prices, but if one is on a budget, they make whatever contribution they can afford and have access to 4 floors of amazing exhibits. Every weekend there’s a street fair, farmer’s market, musical event, that you can just stumble upon while out and about; and although I have yet to experience much of the night life, I can say with certainty that there is a richness and availability in nighttime-NY, that surpasses any night-owl’s expectations.

Art and Music Everywhere
Are you having a particularly uncultured week? Have you been watching mind numbing television, and reading celebrity gossip while listening to the latest Miley Cyrus single? Do you want to feel a little less trashy and a little more classy? Just go outside. There is art and music all over this wonderful city. The Time Square subway station alone is a smorgasbord of musicians; from your traditional acoustic guitar, to your eclectic 5 piece jazz band – even the occasional pan flute ensemble makes an appearance. You have your acappella groups, solo singers, and rap artists all interrupting the silence of hurried people rushing to and from work — and that’s just the Time Square station. Head over to Central Park and walk along the Central Park Mall to see numerous artists drawing/painting/spraying – their amazing works displayed for sale at a very reasonable price. Hear the sultry sound of an alto sax as you cruise toward Bethesda Terrace. Pass underneath and find yourself in the most flawless acoustical atmosphere – not to mention beautiful – being used as an outlet for the greatest on-the-spot opera you’ve ever heard. Oh and did I mention the violins? You can’t help but fall in love with this city – just let it serenade you.

Seasons
I grew up in eternal summer. Sure we had “winter” – as in, break out that parka you never wear because the weather man says it’ll be 40°F out – but we didn’t really experience anything akin to fall or even spring. Our trees never changed colors or beautifully blossomed after hibernating for months – heck, our trees are mostly palm trees. Palm trees are great, don’t get me wrong, but after 20 odd years of seeing palm trees every day look exactly the same way, they tend to get pretty boring. The only time palm trees get exciting, is when we have a hurricane and one has fallen over onto a house/car/electrical wire.

Miami has a lot more grass, I’ll give you that, but New York definitely has more color. I’m a fan of green, but there’s something about seeing those leaves go from their usual hue, to the bright oranges, yellows, and reds, that just takes my breath away. Maybe it’ll get old after I have a few autumns under my belt, but I don’t see how. That’s the beauty of seasons. Just when you’re starting to feel that maybe you’ve had enough of the heat, a breeze blows by which reminds you that the cold is just around the corner. A corner which I’ve come to discover, is dreaded by most New Yorkers – but I love it. I love layering up my sweaters and coats, and stepping outside, practically sweating because I’ve layered too much, but feeling that freezing wind on my face and knowing that in single digit temps, more is always better — and don’t get me started on snow.

I’m obsessed with watching the snow fall. It’s so calming – so elegant – so magical. Sure it gets annoying having to trek through multiple inches of snow day in and day out, potentially slipping on ice; but remember, it doesn’t last forever. Just when you’re starting to feel like you’ve had enough of the snow, it begins to melt and eventually, disappears altogether; and just like that first magical snowfall, which fills everyone with child-like wonder for the beauty of nature and the impending holiday season, you experience the novelty that is that last snowfall in late March or early April – even more magical than the first because you know this’ll be the final time you see it for another eight or nine months. Then comes spring. It’s amazing to me, how everyone habitually begins planting their buds the minute the weather is remotely right. The white barren world of winter is wiped away by a colorful assortment of fragrant flowers. Seemingly overnight, trees begin to blossom and bloom in the most beautiful way; covered in little puffs of flowers – which from a distance, resemble little balls of cotton decorating all of the once naked branches. I never even knew trees could look like that. I’m experiencing my first spring in New York, and I can’t decide whether it’s the city or the season that I love.

Opportunity
The number of staffing agencies looking to place valuable employees with the right employer is just astounding. If you know where to go, you can have numerous job opportunities in a matter of days. Sure not everyone has the best resume, but these people are paid to get you hired. They don’t even ask anything of you – just that you dress accordingly, and probably change around the format of your resume a bit so that you don’t highlight that decade old award you received in college that isn’t anywhere near relevant to the career you’re looking to pursue. They followup with you like your mother calling to make sure you’re eating okay and getting enough sleep – you know it’s for your own good, but if you fail to focus on the positive, it can get a little overwhelming. That’s how much these people want to get you hired. If you’re a hardworking, intelligent person, you should have no trouble finding a good paying job in this city that only wants you to thrive.