|Posted by Nikki Yeager on March 5, 2013 at 7:20 PM||comments (0)|
Every time I forget how much I love New York, something (or someone) comes around that forces me to remember.
Just a few months ago I was on the train after a night out with my cousin. Me and my fiance along with my cousin and his girlfriend had all been drinking a fair amount and had finally made our way back to the train around midnight on a Sunday. Strangely, the 6 train was packed. Rush hour packed.
We managed to sneak the last four seats in a corner of the train and settled in for a quick ride back to my apartment.
Or what should've been a quick ride. Somewhere between 86th and 96th, the train slowed....and then stopped. Dead in the tracks. At midnight.
Everyone let out a collective groan and then we all went back to our own little worlds while I tried to convince my cousin the 6 train is usually very speedy (I really want him to move to NYC!).
While we all made small talk, I noticed a man sitting diagonal from us casually shuffling a deck of cards. So I did what any normal person does on a crowded train at midnight - I stared at him.
And he kept shuffling with his strangely elegant hands. Back and forth. Bridge. Fan. Shuffle. Opposite direction. Shuffle.
He finally noticed me staring because he quietly lifted a card from the deck and showed it to me (a 5 of hearts) and then started doing all sorts of fancy shuffling. With a slight tap on the top of the deck, a card popped straight out into his other hand. He lifted it towards me - the 5 of hearts.
I smiled as he shuffled some more. I couldn't take my eyes off the humble magician across from us, his hands were so darn pretty. Before long my cousin's girlfriend also took note of the card guy so he did another trick (quietly and without drawing attention to himself) and another. And another.
Strangely, no one else seemed to notice.
About 20 minutes into being stalled, he worked up the courage to come over to the four of us and put on a mini performance. He pulled cards from his sleeves, had us try to trick him, showed us moves with some magical rings. It was a midnight show on the six train. And it was freaking awesome.
About an hour later we finally made it home but I no longer felt the need to justify public transportation to my cousin. If he didn't think the spontaneous show made up for the delay, he'd never love new york in the way I do.
Something I would never understand.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on January 31, 2013 at 10:20 AM||comments (2)|
Dear Panera Lady,
You’re making me fat. And poor. Fat and poor. Ever since Panera opened that location right across the park from my office, I’ve been coming in as a devoted (read: addicted) customer daily. It’s been like clockwork.. which you know since you see me every single day at 8:40am sharp.
The thing is, your bagels aren’t even that good. I mean, this is NYC, the mecca of bagels. We have bagels on every corner… and most of them outdo Panera. Plus, my teeth are starting to hurt from drinking too many lattes.
Yet I still leave an extra five minutes early every single day to see you and buy baked bread and coffee every morning. Why? Because of your stupidly contagious smile; it’s driving me insane. I’ve never see someone so happy as you. It’s like you’re on crack every morning.. but in a good way, not a crack-addicty, missing teeth, anorexic way.
What I’m trying to say is this – you are psychotically happy. And it’s not good for me. I feed off happiness like a leech sucking some poor victim’s blood. I love that stuff. And yours is the best kind of happiness, purely genuine.
So every morning I come, not for the caffeine, but for your dose of enthusiasm. You remember my name, you shout HELLO! You greet every single person like they’re a princess. And may the world forgive me for saying this, but I certainly believe I'm royalty every time I walk in…. I think this is a bad relationship for my ego. And my waistline. Really bad for my waistline.
In summary, Panera Lady, I need you to stop being so gosh darn amazing before I get to the fat-point I need to be lifted out of your store by a construction crane. I speak for all your customers in the area – stop being so ridiculously positive before you kill us all!!!!
Thank you for listening, my dear Panera Lady.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on January 25, 2013 at 8:10 PM||comments (0)|
Like usual, I woke up today and got ready for work. Took a shower, went through the whole morning routine and finally started getting dressed.
T-shirt, tights socks.
Turned on the heater so my cat wouldn't freeze to death during the day. He was nestled in his bed keeping warm under his winter fur and random pieces of black clothing he dug up from my closet during the night (there's a reason why we go through 3 lint rollers a week).
Sweater, pants, shoes.
Stopped to wake the boyfriend up considering that boy would never get to work on time if someone didn't kick him out of bed. And by kick, I mean literally put a foot to his side and push.. repeatedly.
Second sweater. Second socks. Scarf. Gloves.
Pet the cat on the head. Got some water to drink, trying to quench my early morning thirst (what's up with that anyways, it's like I magically dehydrate in the night...).
Hat. Second pair of gloves.
Check the weather - 11 degrees as a high for the day,
And off I went.
For the first time since I've moved to NYC, it's Cleveland cold. And it's absolutely, 100%, miserable. Since I've moved here, I've called my friends in Ohio joking about New Yorkers during winter and their thin skins as I walked around in the 32 degree + weather, always remembering the bitter cold, freezing with a few gusts of lake effect wind just to rub it in.
I always reassured new NYers about the winters - "who cares if you have to walk! It's hardly ever below freezing!".
It seems Mother Nature finally got word of all my weather jokes because she is screwing me hard this season. For three days in a row, the high temperature for the day was somewhere below 15.
Which leaves me, an adult, looking like this when I leave my house:
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on May 27, 2011 at 8:29 PM||comments (0)|
I've discovered my new favorite place in NYC - the Chelsea Piers driving range. I know, a weird choice for me, but it's absolutely amazing! Just look at it:
A few weeks ago I dragged my friend Carolina to the driving range so we could finish part #1 of my two part golfing adventure: learning how to hit a golf ball.
We wandered all the way out to Chelsea and found the cutest little Golfer's Club down by the water. You walk in and for $25 dollars can buy 90 balls and for another $5 we got 2 golf clubs. Probably the cheapest of all my 21 things so far!
Granted, we had to spend about 1/2 an hour sitting on a cozy leather couch in what appeared to be Businessman central while waiting for a tee to open up... but there are far worse fates to suffer in the world.
At last, we got our chance to have a go at it. We stepped out onto the fake grass and made our way to the 2nd little area. With a quick swipe of our golf card, a ball popped up on a little remotely controlled tee (no bending over or anything. Offically short skit approved!) and we were ready to go.
Mind you, I've never swung a golf club in my life. BUT I did watch a 10 minute video before leaving my apartment that day. So, clearly, I was an expert golfer right off the bat.
I lined up my golf club, held it just like I saw in the video, kept my eyes on the ball, carefully arranged my stance just one more time and... Swung.
...Nothing but air.
In fact, I wasn't even close. I'm pretty sure I missed the ball by at least four inches during my first three attempts. So I took a breathe, wound up again and instead of paying any attention to what I was doing I flailed my arms, sloppily plopped my legs in a random position and swung with all my might.
Somehow I hit the ball that time. Go figure.
Sure, it may not have been graceful but it certainly wasn't anywhere near as odd as Charles Barkley's swing.
And I'll tell you this much, I may have looked like a bufoon, but I loved every minute of hitting balls towards the Hudson and watching ships go by as the sexy rich guys next to me spent an afternoon smacking balls around and having a grand 'ole time. Certainly not a bad way to spend 25 bucks.
Not bad at all.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on April 23, 2011 at 9:06 PM||comments (0)|
Despite the mixed reviews I, like many other curious minds, just had to see the Museum of Sex. Which is why it's been on my 21 things list FOREVER!
The temptation spiked about 1000% after reading The Pervert's Grand Tour by Tony Perrottet which included a detailed account of Marquis de Sade's life (ever heard of Sadism? This guy was kinky enough to inspire the creation of that word) and a fascinating history of Casa Nova (a connioussuer in much more than matters of the flesh). Anyways, I was ready to fill in all the holes of my recently-read history of sex.
So I grabbed my friend Andrea and purchased a Groupon (5 dollar admission!! Woo!!) before dragging her off to the little Museum of all things dirty.
We managed to swing past the gift shop filled with penis pencils and pheromone sprays- things better suited for a sex store... but not a real sex store, a prudish sex store that caters mostly to blushing bachelorette's during their last party night - and made our way past an intimidating bouncer to a freakishly dark room without windows.
All over the walls were lit with videos of porn ranging from the first upskirt videos to the last man-on-man shots. Unfortunately the accompanying text did little but outline the bare minimum when it came to porn industry details. Simple details about when things were outlawed and when they were finally legalized. For example, the law about 18-and-over started in 1988, the same year porn was ruled legal under the freedom of speech clause. Fancy that.
Both Andrea and I skimmed the text and then headed upstairs where we guessed the good stuff would be.
But alas - only more porn periphenalia and a few pieces of art could be found in the dingy black rooms. That and a suspicious lady-parts smell.
It was strange.
That being said, the entire museum seemed to be more of a photo opp than a.. well... a museum. So we ditched any notion of learning and started snapping pics like everyone else. And boy, were there some interesting pics....
which will be attachedin the next post.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on April 19, 2011 at 3:58 PM||comments (0)|
I wrote this MONTHS ago when this amazing Turkish guy stayed on my couch for a few nights. He's probably my favorite person and I discovered so many cool places while he was staying with us!
A couchsurfer friend of mine stayed a few nights on my horrifically uncomfortable futon after coming back from a meandering trip through Belgium. To deal with the mediocrity of my apartment (and satisfy his newly acquired beer-tooth), he dragged me out to Voldenuit Belgian Beer Lounge in lower Manhattan.
Now let me just say, I know a thing or two about wine, have an encyclopedic knowledge of sake and adore a good vodka. But for the first time in my life, I paid a second glance to the wonderful world of beer.
First came the Delirium Tremens on tap. Admittedly, it was a little watered down, but still much heartier than your typical American beer. With little pink elephant logos all over my glass (and plenty of girly-Republican jokes from my friend), I took a sip of the relatively pale ale. There wasn't much foam in the glass and I swear I tasted some sort of spice after I swallowed but my friend insisted I was imagining it. Overall, though, it kicked any beer I'd ever tried out of the water.
But then came a variety that changed my life: Leffe Brune. With a rich brownish foam on top, I took a look at the chalice holding my new-found beverage. Apparently Leffe is huge in Belgium and just taking a whiff of it, I knew why. Then came the first sip of the heartiest beer I've ever had. Instead of a drink, I felt like it'd be better defined as a meal with it's rich, wheat taste and subtle sweetness. Normally I equate beer to drinking toilet water, especially when it comes to Budweiser or Miller. But this beer, it was nothing but wonderful the whole way down.
At 6.5% alcohol, I couldn't taste much after my second oversized serving. However, I'm pretty sure it was more than the alcohol that was making my head spin. It was the fact I discovered an entire world that I'd never paid any attention: the world of fine beer.
A few days later I found myself stuck drinking my previous favorite brew, Newcastle, expecting the same sense of love. Unfortunately, it did just the opposite and made me remember once again how lackluster beer can be.
Unless, of course, you happen to be at a Belgian beer garden in the West Village. In which case, order away.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on April 17, 2011 at 6:38 PM||comments (0)|
This morning I woke up bright and early for my first surfing lesson ever. It was 7am, raining and 40 degrees outside.
I rolled out of bed and managed to text the surf instructor with my eyes half closed with sleep.
Me: Are we still on for today?
A few seconds later I felt the reassuring vibration from my phone - there was no way we'd be able to go out today.
Him: The wind died down last night and there's no rain. See you soon!
Let's just ignore the fact I need a coat to go outside.
Still unbelieving I managed to haul my exhausted but to the train for my wintertime surf lesson. The guy had calmly assured me that with today's wetsuit technology a little cold weather doesn't need to stop a surfer. I never really bought it.
It took me two hours but I made it to the Rockaway beach with about 10 seconds of walking between the train and the beach to ponder just how stupid my decision to book surf lessons in NYC was. Just enough time to regret it but not enough time to really talk myself back to the train.
The wind blew and I pulled my coat closer to keep myself warm while hustling along the tiny beach road I was on. A few minutes later and I was peeling layers off down to my bathing suit.
And into the wetsuit I went.
Without wasting any time our two instructors marched us down to the waves where the dark cloudy water broke in angry splashes of white. The ocean did not look happy today. Someone really pissed that ocean off.
Two other surfers (the only other people in the world crazy enough to brave the choppy water and freezing temperatures) ran sat in the water about 100 feet away. I adjusted my leash and then looked out again to the ocean.
And without warning our instructors ran off to the side.... one of the other surfers had smashed into the rocks along the edge of the beach. Everyone experienced in the ways of the mighty New York water rushed off to save the poor little surfer.
He struggled. My instructors ran out to the waves. The second surfer flung his board aside and dove in. Before I could even comprehend what was happening, the half drowned man was brought ashore where he stood up, took off his leash and walked away.
My instructor nonchalantly jogged back over: "Ready to go?"
Ummm... sure. Let's jump into the same ocean that just tried to kill that man. Good idea.
Despite my reservations, I'd paid for this lesson and I was getting in that water if it killed me. Without thinking I followed the surfer-teacher out to sea. And by the time I felt the least bit wet I was up to my shoulders in water. Cold water.
But he was right - the wet suit was a little cocoon of warmth and happiness protecting me from all the lay below.
And off we went. I had about 10 seconds of instruction and then the man holding my board gave me a shove.
Instead of paddling I flailed my arms like I had Tourette's and hoped for the best as waves attempted to yank me off my little board and pull me under.
Jumping up shouldn't be hard. But let me tell you this, I'm pretty confident in my ability to make it look impossible.
I slammed my hands down on the deck of the board and pushed my little chicken legs out in front of me. One knee immediately smashed the board and the other leg flew randomly to the side. I stumbled, fell and then rolled around in the 40 degree water for a few seconds.
For another hour or so I made a mockery of the sport and rather than doing anything similar to surfing, I let the ocean beat me up for fun.
By the end of an hour or two, I'd spent about 10 minutes standing on my board and the rest wrestling with an opponent about a hundred thousand tons larger then me... unsuccessfully of course. And after that I can only tell you one thing:
Surfing if probably the best and most challenging thing I've done out of all the others I've tried this year.
I'm counting down the days to go again. Anyone want to come next time??
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on March 3, 2011 at 10:38 AM||comments (2)|
The other day I had a work breakfast for REBNY (Real Estate Board of NY) and of all the strange things to make me stop and think, this breakfast was one of them.
I got there a few minutes early and met up with a few other people from our company. Clad in business casual slacks and sweaters, we made our way to the ballroom of the Roosevelt Hotel. Amidst the many department store suits and middle aged men, we found our white-linen covered table and sat down to a much fancier breakfast than any of us girls were ready for. While waiters brought out silver carafes of coffee and plates full of breakfast food, we half-heartedly listened to the first 2 speakers.
Then came a third - one of the NY government guys from the Communications dept. He was clearly politicking his little heard out for the current Bloomberg administration (something that elicited quite a few eye rolls), but he was doing a fine job of renewing my enthusiasm for NYC. Something I don’t usually need help with but lately Brooklyn’s been wearing me down.
As a city we have the 2nd largest amount of investments in Tech startups, we had a record breaking 48.7 million tourists visit in 2010 alone, our unemployment rate is a good amount lower than the national average and we have one of the most comprehensive train systems in America. Then he went on to say we’re on the cutting edge of new technologies, are dedicating a huge amount of resources to balance our budget instead of waste mass amounts of money, we’re donating money to the arts. Our streets are clean, crime is down, murders are almost nonexistent. According to this man, New York is better than it’s ever been.
While all these positive facts were being stated, the native New Yorkers scoffed and rolled their eyes, “New York better than it’s ever been? You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me.”
But you know what? It is. And I say that proudly as a New Yorker, well aware of my transplant status and well aware I’m not the most knowledgeable person in the world. Which reminds me of a little quote by E.B. White:
“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter--the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these trembling cities the greatest is the last--the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is the third city that accounts for New York's high strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion. “
And it’s true. Those of us who move here from other places have an undying love for the city, we make the New York that brims with passion and overachievement. If for no other reason than to prove we were right in moving here. To prove we too, can make it in such a place. We’re not too weak or two dumb despite our small town backgrounds, funny southern accents or excessive Midwestern conversation.
When that man was shouting out to the old fashioned ballroom full of real estate management companies, he was talking to us, the transplants. The people who felt his fiery passion. The people who agreed, NYC is better than it’s ever been. Better than anywhere I’ve ever been.
And in that REBNY breakfast I felt a new surge of pride for my home, something that sneaks up on you odd places like hotel ballrooms and dirty streets. Something that never gets old.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on February 27, 2011 at 12:25 PM||comments (0)|
Yesterday I made the trek into Manhattan with a friend. We walked down the 86th St. station stairs and onto the platform. With my friend trailing behind me, I sped up to an invisible spot neatly placed between the 4th and 5th poles on the platform and then came to a dead stop.
He gave me a weird look and then let it go.
A few minutes later I realized I probably looked insane to any casual observer. But , there is an art to riding the R train, especially in the monring when you have to fight 1,987 other Brooklyners for one of the few available seats. So just in case anyone ever makes their way to Bay Ridge I figured I'd share my hard-earned knowledge.
1. 86th St. is the 2nd stop on the train and the last stop with any seats available. So I've measure the exact distance from the stairs to each of the train doors. Once descending the 100 year old greasy stairs, park yourself immediately after the 2nd pole or in between the 4th and 5th pole. You'll know which ones these are by counting... or by looking for the group of 10 people who are all huddled together thinking they're smarter than everyone else. And yes, I always think so too when the train pulls up and I'm standing directly in front of a door.
2. Once the doors open I usually speed-walk to the most desirable seat without making eye contact with anyone. If you catch the eye of an older person, you'll have to slow down out of guilt. I solved that problem by looking at my feet and making a bee line for my favorite seat.
As for favorite seats, I've figured that out too after many a morning of trial and error.
Why are the yellow seats so awesome? Because the corner seats have a magical forcefield protecting any sitter from smelly armpits, wet umbrellas and lack of wiggle room. No one can fit in front of you (there's another bunch of seats there) and the person next to you keeps the crowd at bay. You'll be able to easily flip the pages of your paper AND look out the window to see if the express train is coming at any connecting station.
On the other hand, avoid the red seats at all costs. Not only will there be an angry mob of morning commuters trying to steal what precious leg room you have, but you'll also be forced to eat the leather briefcase - or moist umbrella - of the nearest standing patron all the way from BK to Manhattan (turns out briefcases and purses of standing passengers tend to be face-level with sitting ones). Worst of all, you're jammed in between 2 other people who may be wearing huge, puffy coats or could smell like mold or may be spilling their childs' sippy cup full of milk all over your leg (i've had this happen more times than I'd like to remember).
Lastly, the pink seats. Those you just have to watch out for. The good part is that you're in the corner of the train and you only have to sit next to one other person. Plus, corners are great for sleeping which make them morning favorites.
Unfortunately, um, less tidy(?) people have also caught on to that little tidbit of information and favor the corner seats for night long train rides to nowhere. Therefore you have a disproportionately high rate of urine on the seats and/or chances for interesting odors hanging in the air. Just make sure you look before you sit.
Happy R-train Riding!
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on December 29, 2010 at 9:03 PM||comments (0)|
Today most of the trains weren't running.. again.
But what does it matter when the conductors are singing songs, cracking jokes and (most likely) hopped up on one too many espressos?
Today I hopped on the 'r' train, two days after the sixth biggest snow storm in the history of NYC, and settled in for a long, unpleasant ride.
As we pulled up to the 59th street stop (the first stop with a transfer to an express train from BK to Manhattan), a voice came on the speaker to announce the usual business- what trains you can transfer to, what stop we're at, etc.
Instead we got the extended version done by an MTA employee who sounded surprisingly similar to Chris Rock.
Conductor: "We're pulling up to fifty ninth street. Yes, you heard me. Fifty ninth street. The N train and the D train are running today but there are delays across the entire system. The N and the D train are running."
Me: Thank goodness. That saves me 25 minutes. Better stand up now.
Conductor: Interrupting my thoughts, "But think about this. If you see a crowded platform do you want to get off folks? You might wonder "is the D running?" "is the N running?". Yes, they are running. But there are delays throughout the entire system. You might wait on that crowded platform for twenty minutes. You might be there for a half an hour. "
Me: Good point. Should I sit back down?
Conductor: "But you're already on the R train, folks. And the R train makes all local stops. We make all local stops and we'll get you to work real fast. We'll get you there fast and we don't ask any questions"
Me: Well that settles it, I hate questions.
The train slows a little more as it gets closer to the station and all the headphones come off so people can here this man talking.
A woman grimaces at the loud voice coming from the ceiling, I giggle at the situation, a little boy next to me eats his mitten.
Conductor: "Again, this is 59th st and we do have delays all over the system. Now you're already on the R train and the R train is a good train. The R train is a good train."
Finally the ambiguity of train goodness and badness is settled!
Conductor: "The R train is a good train."
Everyone nods with sudden affection.
The train pulls into the station and slows to a stop. The doors open to a very crowded (and inexplicably snow-covered) platform. Inside, we sneer at the fools waiting for the N train.
Little do those people now we're on the good train. The R train is a good train.
Conductor:"Now make room for your fellow passengers. Let's work together now! Step in and don't forget your children!" Remember we're making all local stops and we're going fast."
Me: Firmly cemented in my seat.
Conductor: "We're on the R train and we're at 59th street. Please stand clear of the doors..."
Me: Putting my headphones back on
Conductor: "Unless you want to take the N train...."
And with that the doors close and off we go. On the good train to Manhattan.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on November 22, 2010 at 10:09 AM||comments (0)|
This morning I saw, by far, the most adorable father in the world. His 6'2" self was dressed in stylish Manhattan garb, complete with $700 sunglasses on his head. Holding his hand was a little 1st grader with bright blonde hair.
Cute dad: With a no nonsense voice, "21, 24, 27... what's next?"
Little boy: "mmmm thirty?!"
Cute dad: Without a pause "Then what?"
Little boy: With a HUGE pause, "Thirtyyyyyyyyy.......?"
Cute dad: Silence for another two or three minutes while the boy looked at him with those big blue eyes, waiting for an answer, a hint, anything. "Thirty three. What is thirty three, take away three?"
Little boy: "Um, maybe it's Thirty?"
And then they went on to English. The way the dad fired off question after question, it was clear the little blonde kid on his arm probably brought some a really horrendous test in the last few days.
Cute dad: Plowing on with his finger in a 20 page children's book, "Where was Christopher Columbus trying to go?"
Little Boy: "NEW YORK! N-e-w-y-e-o-r-k-w-e-r-k-n-e-w-w-y-o-r-k-r-...."
Dad: Without looking up, "Hey. Stop being a wise guy. When you memorize all this you can fool around, not yet."
Little boy: Big sigh.
Dad: "Now tell me, what year was Columbus going to Plymouth?"
Little boy: With complete conviction, "NINETEEN!!!"
And with that the dad couldn't do anything but chuckle and kiss him on the forehead. Because why not? Christopher Columbus sailed across the world in the year 19 and that's just how it goes. Good thing that genius little boy set the record straight.
With that, the handsome daddy closed the book and decided to switch to I Spy for the next 7 stops.
And then I decided to love them both.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on November 18, 2010 at 1:54 PM||comments (1)|
Seriously, I've just discovered the new love of my life. And that love goes by the name of "boxing".
I get to punch people (hard), swing my sweaty legs over the boxing ring ropes like they do in the movies, hang out at an actual gym and, the best part of all, wear pink boxing gloves. Oh! And did I mention how hard I get to punch people?!
Yesterday I had my first session at Work in Manhattan. Walking into the gym I felt a little foolish being completely alone and never having seen a boxing ring in real life. But instead of bumbling around awkwardly, some guy at the door showed me exactly where everything was and then introduced me to my very own personal trainer. Who just happens to be a professional boxer.
And that professional boxer, Thomas Baldwin, managed to kick my butt in all sorts of ways for the next 60 minutes. After I ran a good 15 minutes on a treadmill, he came over and confined my little baby hands with big, fat, boxing gloves as big as my head. Then he made me hit him with my left hand, then my right. Then my left. Then my right. Left. Left. Right. Left. Ahhhhh!
Next came the 30 "quick" punches. Now I'm sorry, but after flailing my arms around for 20 minutes the last adjective you could use to describe my punches would be "quick". But I tried, and that's what counts. Or at least that's what I told myself.
Then the ab workout snuck up on me, then the push ups, the weights. Omg I was ready to punch this Thomas fellow in the head (which I guess would've been strangely appropriate if my arms weren't so unbelievably worn out). Anyways, we finished with a good stretch and a little bit of chit chat.
Turns out he agrees with me on one particular fact - New York City makes boys soft and sort of whimpy. Out of 10 girls he meets 5 that can actually box. Out of 10 boys ...well, not so much*. And that's when I decided to like him. Considering I've always wanted to box for the sole reason that it's a "boys sport" and not fitting for females, I got all warm and fuzzy about being part of the tougher gender. Sure, it may only be a Manhattan thing, but it still makes me incredibly happy.
Anyways, I've wanted to learn how to box so I've decided to postpone my marathon training and try my hand at this. It's much more my speed. And seriously, if you've ever wanted to try it out GO TO THAT GYM and ASK FOR THAT GUY. It's like 50/50 boys and girls so you'll never feel awkward and the lockers are beautiful. Oh, and the first 3 sessions are only 40 bucks. Amazing. So do it, it'll be the best decision of your life.
* Not a direct quote, just the gist of the conversation.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on November 15, 2010 at 10:16 AM||comments (5)|
I decided to share a few observations from my ridiculously long commute. Partly because I found them extremely entertaining.. but mostly because my absurd 1 hour trek from Brooklyn means I have to wake up at 7am. And no one who wakes up at 7am should ever be able to write a coherent blog with more than 20 sentences.
1. Even though I was inadvertently molesting four people around me and being groped by 7 more (oh, rush hour, how disturbingly inappropriate you are), no one on the train said a word for 55 long minutes. Because when you're crammed butt-to-crotch-to-arm-to-chest with the people around you, speaking to your fellow train goers is the biggest sin of all and far beyond forgiveness.
2. I really despise people with two phones. Not because it's utterly unnecessary, but because when people decide to go into that weird zombie-trance the iPhone users get stuck in all the time, they never hear the second phone ringing. But we do. Yes, we hear it... for 11 minutes of jingle bell rock. Which is just lovely.
3. Lively train conductors are my favorite. Because when you're smothered with sweaty armpits, dealing with an incessant phone ring and praying for 42 St/Times Sq. to appear, hearing a voice pop up saying, "Seriously, dude. Get out of the train door. I'll let the other passengers push you out if you don't move..For real." makes everything else worthwhile.
I do love this city.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on November 14, 2010 at 2:55 PM||comments (3)|
My parents have never come to NYC to visit me. Not even when I was 18 and sharing my first apartment in Manhattan. Not even when I had that art show that they would've adored. Not even when I invited them for holidays.
Why? Well, because as much as we love eachother it's a pain in the rear end to get from Houston to NYC without dropping a good 500 dollars on a flight. Good news is - that all changed when they moved to Virginia a month ago.
Within the first few weeks they came to visit me in my new Brooklyn apartment and planned to stay the weekend. A quick 6 hour drive and they were settling into a cheap hotel I found for them in my neighborhood considering Manhattan hotels usually start at $130 a night.
Now keep in mind that Bay Ridge is an incredibly safe place to live. I remember asking our broker about crime in the area and she literally laughed out loud, "what crime?" Three months later I can tell you for a fact that she wasn't lying. It's safe as Ohio around here.
So my little Midwestern parents came with their new car and settled in for the night at a cash only hotel a few blocks away. They laughed at the fact they had to pay cash through a bullet proof window, but didn't seem bothered by the harsh surroundings. After all, it's NYC. Even my bank in Manhattan has bullet proof glass protecting the tellers. And did I mention my parents are becoming some of the most adventuresome 50-somethings you'll ever meet with their constant moving and weekly vacations?
Anyways, I get a text the next morning. Being 6am, I glanced at it in my sleep and misread it as, "Come have breakfast with the police." To which I smiled and giggled before rolling back over. Leave it to my mom to find a kindly New York City police officer who wants to share breakfast before dawn.
It never occured to me that her text made absolutely NO SENSE. Until, of course, I woke up at 7am and reread it correctly "The police just left. We're getting breakfast."
So I wiped the sleep from my eyes and dialed, determined to figure out what the heck was going on.
And here's the story as I heard it:
They got back to the hotel the night before and settled in to watch t.v. With a little shifting around they realized that the sheets didn't really fit. Which is when they took a closer look and realized the fitted sheet was completely missing and in it's place were two twin size flat sheets on a queen size bed. The sheets read "NY Department of Health"
So my parents had a wonderful laugh and fell asleep telling jokes about the ridiculous hotel bedding. That's just what you get for $80 a night, right?
It turns out that's not all you get for $80 dollars. In fact at 4am they got a surprising wakeup call with a BANG BANG BANG on the plywood door.
Man: BANG BANG, THUMP THUMP, "GIVE ME THE MONEY!"
Parents: No idea what to do.
Man: Knocking violently "Yo, GIVE ME MY MONEY!!!"
Dad: Taking charge of the situation, "You have the wrong room."
Mom: Shaking with fear, "Dave. Where's my phone. We need to call the police. Where's my phone?!"
Man: Keeps banging on the paper thin door.
Of course the poorly designed hotel only had one outlet in the whole room and my mom's charger was somewhere nestled in a corner. So while her and my dad were shaking with fear, she had to track down the iPhone that never has service in the city, hold it up at odd angled, cross her fingers, get into a yoga position and will the phone to have service.
Finally she managed to dial 911 and report the whole story - still uncomfortably holding the phone at a 20 degree angle above her head, slightly to the right of the toilet.
Dad: Shouting from his place, perched upright on the bed, "We called the police. You need to leave"
Man: Still beating the door with no sign of giving up, "GIVE ME MY MONEY!!! I'M COMIN' IN IF YOU DON'T OPEN THIS DOOR!!"
Mom and Dad: Sit in one place and mentally will him to go away.
Amazingly the man seems to tire himself out after another half an hour and doesn't break the door down or kill anyone. Thank god.
About an hour later another knock on the door comes.
Man-voice: "Open up, it's the police"
Dad: "How do I know it's the police?"
Mom: Still shaking, "Dave, don't open that door."
Man-voice: Long pause, "can you hear my radio?"
Now, a normal person would probably be able to answer that question without a problem. But my white haired father is half deaf and can't even hear a person talking at a normal level five feet from his ear. This police officer (or the Money Man, who knows?) was never going to turn up his radio loud enough for my dad to hear it across the room.
Oh, and did I mention the door had no peep hole? Of course.
Dad: I imagine he smiled a little, "Well, no. I can't hear it."
Mom: In a sharp hiss, "Dave, you're not opening that door."
Dad: In his stern voice, "Sir, my wife will tackle me if I try to open this door for you."
In the hallways there was shuffling and there were voices while outside it was still pitch black. So my parents curled up with the door still locked and pretended to sleep until it was light enough outside to escape the hotel.
And that's when my mom texted me, "The police left."
And in true oblivious-nikki fashion, I ignored her despite their traumatic evening because even pimps and/or murderers looking for money while banging on doors won't wake me up before 10am.
And that is precisely why I doubt my parents will ever make it back over the Verrezano Bridge unless it's with the company of ten armed guards and a skilled sniper.
|Posted by Nikki Yeager on November 14, 2010 at 12:32 AM||comments (8)|
For those of you who haven't heard, I've recently discovered the wonder of Couchsurfing. We just hosted our second guest (an amazing Turkish guitarist) and are already confirming another. Through each email and every couch request I feel like I end up repeating myself a dozen times. Still, I can't seem to share everything I want with new New York visitors. After all, the city can be entirely overwhelming if you've never been here before.
So here's my little guide for all of you coming to visit, feel free to pass it on
1. The subway isn't as hard as it might seem and will save you a ton of money. First of all, always buy a day pass or week pass if you're going to be using public transportation. With just 4 rides (two round trips), you pay for the entire card but if you buy a single trip each time you'll waste time and have to pay 2.25 over and over again every time you enter a station.
Next, there are maps inside every train station but if you're lost ask someone. Trust me, New Yorkers are a lot more helpful than you'd think.
And most importantly, if you know where you need to get, check out MTA Trip Planner or Hopstop and get directions. Both sites will give you detailed directions using public transportation/walking and will tell you exactly how long you'll be in transit. There's no shame in looking it up. People who live here do it all the time.
2. Which neighborhoods are safe? Everyone always hears horror stories about NYC and clings to them no matter what. Few visitors realize those stories are from 20 years ago and everything about the city has changed since then. But if you want to know if the couch you're staying on is in a decent location, find out the neighborhood it's in and then google that neighborhood. For example, Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn can get a little shady and has a horrible reputation (oh! And Jay Z. is from there!).
As a general rule of thumb, anything on a map of Manhattan that's below 110th street is incredibly safe. Generally, the higher the numbers go the more you have to watch out. The exception is the very, very west side of Manhattan. If you stay on that boarder it's decent all the way to the top.
In Brooklyn you want to watch out for Bed-Stuy, Brownsville and East NY. Not always, but generally. In the Bronx try to stay more to the north since the South Bronx can scare the pants off almost anyone.
3. Places to kill time while waiting for your host to get off work. It happens more often than not - your plane gets in at 2pm and you have to kill a few hours until your host gets out of work at 5. So grab a Village Voice and head to one of the following places:
Starbucks- Has free internet, public bathrooms and coffee! Plus, a ton of people use Starbucks for the internet so no one will bother you if you need to hang out for an hour or two. Bonus- there's always a Starbucks within a five block radius of you in the city.
Argo Tea- These only exist in Manhattan so if you're in another borough you're out of luck. The tea is delicious though, the bathrooms are sparkling clean (for the most part) and they have free internet if you make a purchase. The best part is that they have dozens of outlets so if you need to charge your computer or your phone it's a great place to be.
Central Park - If it's not too cold outside go to Central Park. Trains stop along the West and East sides of the park so it's easy to get to and the people watching is second to none. The only downside is that bathrooms are scarce and sometimes it can be hard to find anyone else in the park because it's 50+ blocks long.
4. What to do? If you need help finding things to do while you're in New York you have to check out the places and sites below. The great thing is, if your host doesn't want to hang out you can always get away with going solo. New York is one of the best places to make friends at random!
UCB - The Upright Citizen's Brigade has amazing comedy shows for $5-$15 dollars. When I first moved to NYC I got to see the entire cast of Saturday Night Live during one of the free nights.
Time Out New York - This website has a list of things to do every day. You can limit yourself to cheap/free events or branch out to more popular plays. They have everything and anything you could possibly want to do. It's just a matter of looking.
Museums - All the museums in NYC have a free night. Check out the websites for the MoMa, Guggenheim and The Met to figure out when.
Parks - Especially in the summer you can find everything from huge concerts to chess tournaments to to break-dancing to Shakespeare in one of the parks. The best part is that it's usually free! Just check out the NYC Parks and Recreation website.
For now I think that covers the basics. Also, if you're thinkign of staying for a while it's definitely worth doing a Welcome Tour (if you have the extra cash).
I'm sure I'll add more and feel free to comment so we can all share tips