When It Rains, It Pours

rain

In case you haven’t guessed by now, I love this city in every light, season and weather condition.

Except.

Except when it’s pouring rain, and you have to get on the subway. On Wednesday after work, I headed to meet Le Boyfriend to see an early IMAX screening of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Normally I would walk from my job to Lincoln Center, but after considering the monsoon, I decided to hop on the 1 train uptown just one stop. I left a half an hour early to make sure I’d have plenty of time to grab popcorn and get a good seat.

The problem is, when it’s raining, every other New Yorker has to do the same thing. Nobody is walking, and it’s impossible to catch a cab—so everyone slams into the subway salty, sopping wet, and smelling like wet dog. But despite the underground crowd, my spirits were high: I had a date, and my journey would only take five minutes. At least, that’s what I thought. Behold, a peek into public transportation life on rainy days:

6:35 PM: A train goes flying by, doesn’t stop.

6:40 PM: Another train flies by, doesn’t stop.

6:45 PM: People start pushing up behind me. I convince myself a mob is forming with plans to push me onto the tracks. Sweat forms under my raincoat, steam fogs up my glasses.

6:50 PM: Thankfully, a train pulls in and opens its doors. I let out a sigh of relief and make myself semi-comfortable next to a pole. Then, as the doors are closing, a gaggle of French girls come giggling onto the train. The car is now beyond packed; I’m praying the pointy thing poking my behind is a man’s umbrella.

6:51 PM: Train hits the brakes. And sits. And sits some more. I look at the time on my phone anxiously because the screening starts at 7 and my Spidey senses are tingling. The tourist teens continue to titter and chatter in française. In a previous life, I adored everything remotely Parisian, but suddenly I hate French people.

6:58 PM: I fly out of the train station and pop open my umbrella. A gust of wind blows the umbrella out of its handle and into the crosswalk. Left holding only the handle, I run into oncoming traffic to retrieve it. A car comes to a squealing halt and honks at me; I give him the finger, scoop up my umbrella, and sprint to the theater. (Did I mention this was the gorgeous “Le Chat Noir” umbrella I purchased under the Eiffel Tower?! See Exhibit A, below. Admit it, you would’ve run into traffic, too.)

Exhibit A.

Exhibit A.

7:08 PM: I burst into the doors, breathless and blind, glasses covered in rain. I assume the tall, dark, and handsome figure in front of me is Le Boyfriend, so I thrust my umbrella at him while I wipe my lenses (Good thing it was in fact him and not a serial killer). Our auditorium is all the way on the top floor, and I fear I’ve already missed some major Emma Stone moments. Luckily, whoever runs screenings knows that in the rain, every New Yorker will be late; we made it just in time.

The moral of the story? If I lived in Maryland, Pennsylvania, or basically anywhere else in America (except for bumper-to-bumper LA) getting somewhere on time in the rain would be much simpler. Reader, you might ask, Wouldn’t it be much easier to quit your whining and leave New York already? But what can I say? I love the pizza and the sparkly lights too much. And so, my adventures will continue, rain or shine.

PS: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was really entertaining—definitely better than the first one. I’d recommend seeing it in IMAX—it made me feel like I was a superhero, jumping from building to building and taking over Manhattan. Wait, what am I talking about? I already am a superhero, taking over New York City one day at a time. Right?! 

A Spot of Tea

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I recently realized that the older we get, the more most of us wish we had paid a little more attention in school. For some, they wish they could remember more of their math lessons; for others, it’s literature, and for me, it’s history. When textbooks popped open to learn about wars and presidents, my head always went into the clouds. But as an adult, when I pass by major landmarks, I find myself constantly Googling. It makes me wish I could remember some of the trivia that was probably right there in those textbooks.

One of my biggest history fascinations in NYC has been The Plaza Hotel (which, for the record, was built in 1907, took two years and $12 million to build—unprecedented at the time.) So when one of my best friends invited me to a birthday tea party there hosted by her lovely mother, I was excited for weeks, imagining all of us dolled up, soaking in the grandeur like it was the 1920s. And it was grand, indeed. We had a three-hour, Eloise-themed sit-down in the Palm Court, an ode to the six-year-old star of the children’s book series. Of course, there was tea, plus mini-peanut butter and jellies, scones, and tiny cupcakes on three-tiered servers.

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Staring up at the vaulted glass ceilings and looming palm trees, I felt like I could’ve been Zelda Fitzgerald on a tea date with Scott—before tea turned into orange blossoms spiked with gin. But I was glad to be me, in a pretty dress surrounded by other women (in pretty dresses themselves) who uplift and inspire me. (And crack me up. Seriously, we need a reality show.)

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I think tea is now officially, well…my cup of tea. And not just because of the magic of the Plaza and the comforting drink (which had me briefly considering making the switch from coffee before I asked myself Who are you kidding?), but because of the idea of taking a break from your day to sit down with friends to eat, drink, and enjoy one another’s company—no cell phones included. Why can’t we all sit for tea with our girlfriends more often? Frolic in the fountain outside like the Fitzgeralds once (allegedly) did? Wander the hotel’s hallways like the mischievous Eloise?

True to my inner nerd, when I got home (well, after a champagne after-party at my apartment, because what’s tea at the Plaza without a Gatsby-like moment?) I did some research, and discovered the hotel offers a free 45-minute tour of the Renaissance-style chateau. Who’s down to go with me? If you come, I promise we can sit down for tea afterward.

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Girls…We Run This Mutha’…


image courtesy of collegecandy.com

So instead of a long ramble about all the things that have kept me from posting this past year (late nights at work, writer’s block, Mad Men marathons on Netflix) I’m just going to dive in to posting again (thanks, Channing, for the motivation—I’ve missed this space!)

On a blog about being a 20-something living in New York, I basically have no choice but to write about the phenomenon that is HBO’s show Girls. I was reluctant at first to give in to the peer pressure, as it was hyped to be a new, hipstery version of Sex and the City, with (yet again) no brown faces. But after a few weeks of hearing a co-worker gush constantly about the story lines and her love for the characters, I decided to give it a shot.

Two hours later, I had watched four episodes and was dying for more. Every Sunday night I checked HBO Go (thanks, Dad, for letting me mooch off your account!) to see if the latest episode was up. The season finale aired last week, and I felt a sudden emptiness knowing it was over. Beyond the hype, the series is undeniably hilarious and realistic. Case in point: in one episode, the main character, Hannah, finds out she has HPV and, after discussing the diagnosis with her friends (including the guy she’s sleeping with) she finds herself at home, depressed and trying to think of something clever to say on Twitter. She then puts on Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” and busts into a random, awkward solo dance session. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself dancing alone in my apartment to a sugary pop song to make myself feel better.

The show’s biggest criticism has been its lack of diversity. But to me, it doesn’t matter. Yes, Hannah the main character and her three friends are all white, but I thought that as a culture, we’d agreed upon the fact that most people hang out with people that look like them in like, 1990. Time to get over it. I didn’t even think about it as I was watching the show because, no matter your background, every girl can relate to dating the guy that says awkward things in bed, or scouring through Facebook for hours when your ex gets a new girlfriend, or having that one friend who has an unhealthy obsession with SATC.

And then there’s the realistic portrayal of living in New York as a young person on a barely-there salary: Asking your parents to help you make rent, ending up at a random warehouse party in Brooklyn, falling asleep on the subway and waking up at Coney Island. The writing is so smart and witty that I both love and hate the show’s creator, Lena Dunham, simply because she took the average girl’s life, made it into a show, and is now on her way to being a television and Hollywood darling—at only 26. Why didn’t I think of that?! Hate aside, I just read that they’ve wrapped up shooting season 2. I’m already ready for Girls to return—maybe by next season, I’ll be able to afford watching it on the actual HBO channel rather than my laptop.

Floor 36 Review: Something Borrowed Was Something Good!

From the Something Borrowed movie site

So remember I was a bit skeptical about how the movie version of Something Borrowed, one of my favorite chick lit books, was going to do based on the trailer?

Well I was pleasantly surprised when I went to go see the movie on opening night on Friday w/ my best friend, who was also the one who introduced me to the book and Emily Giffin. I rarely think that movies do a good job of adapting a book, but this was one exception that I thought was really close. We both thought they did a great job of casting Ginnifer Goodwin as the sweet, self-deprecating brunette Rachel, Kate Hudson as the self-centered, ditzy Darcy and Colin Eggelsfield, an actor I was unfamiliar with, as Dex—I couldn’t stop drooling over him the whole movie, which was perfect, because that’s how I felt about him while reading the book.

I also thought the New York scenes were great. They incorporated Shake Shack, Bryant Park, the Village and the Hamptons, all classic New York places, in a way that didn’t feel overdone, like it does in so many New York-based romantic comedies. Overall, I laughed, I teared up, and talked out loud to the screen—all signs of a good movie that I will buy on DVD.

Unfortunately, it seems like me and my friend are the only ones who had a positive reaction—I’ve read tons of negative reviews, and in the theater on Friday there was only a handful of people, which is never a good sign for opening night. So I guess I won’t hold my breath that the sequel will also hit the big screen…but I sure wish it would!

Cathie Black Is Out

photo courtesy of the New York Times

New York City’s school chancellor Cathie Black is out. She will be replaced by Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott (pictured above.)

Remember back in November when I wrote about being unsure how she’d do in the job? She was undoubtedly great as the former Hearst president—but something never clicked to me about her moving over to one of the toughest education gigs there is.

Sure enough, she stumbled through the job with odd public outbursts and inappropriate jokes about birth control that all showed how wrong she was for the position. And I guess even her pal Mayor Bloomberg had to admit it, as New York 1 is reporting that his official announcement about her stepping down and being replaced is supposed to be coming any minute now.

I do love to see women taking risks and rising to positions of power. And since I first started dreaming of being in the magazine industry, I truly looked up to Cathie Black as a role model and a woman who paved the way. But nothing about this position was right for her, and it was as clear as day. So while I do feel badly for her, I do think there were about a million signs that this was not the right job for her, and she had to have been blind not to see them.

Regardless, I think the bigger question now is, when is New York’s education department going to get it together and think about the children in these schools? Sheesh.

She’s Just Not That Into You

image courtesy of gmanews.tv

As women, we always hear complaints from men that we gossip too much and think too much into every little thing. And for most of my life, I believed this; that when women get together, we gossip and talk over boy problems waayy more than guys do when they get with their friends. But living in New York and riding the subway has proven this myth wrong, simply by paying attention to the male conversations around me.

Prime example: I hop on the F train on my way to work the other morning and walk right into the middle of an animated conversation between two men—one extremely tall, one reaallyyy short—who are probably in their early 20s. The taller of the two is explaining how this girl he is dating has a new iPhone app that allows you to block certain callers in your address book.

And…SCENE.

Tall guy: So we were talking on the phone, and everything seemed cool, and then she said she’d call me back. After a couple of hours, she never called me back, so I called her back. It kept going to voicemail every time I called. I called three, four, five times, and then I thought…

Short guy: *Throws hands in the air to accentuate his aha moment* The iPhone app! She blocked you!

Tall guy: Yea man, I was thinking if she’s blocking other people with this app, maybe she’s blocking me too…but then she finally called me back and said her phone had died.

Short guy: Hmmm. Typical excuse. I don’t know, man. That seems suspect. Maybe she was with another dude.

Tall guy: That’s not even the worst part. Then I went to the movies with Rob the next day, and I saw her there, right there at 34th Street, man. I didn’t think she saw me, so I acted like I didn’t see her. But then she texted me once the movie started like, “so, you can’t say hi?”

Short guy: Ok, ok, ok, so maybe she IS feeling you…I mean, why else would she have texted you? But maybe she texted you, just to make sure you are still interested in her, even if she’s not that interested in you. Or maybe…

And…END SCENE (well, the conversation continued, this is just where I had to get off at my stop.)

I couldn’t help but laugh as I walked out of the train station. If I closed my eyes and imagined their voices at a slightly higher pitch, it could definitely have been a conversation with me and a girlfriend, dissecting whether the most recent guy she’s talking to is really interested in her or not. So people who claim that the romantic advice and all the “He’s Just Not That Into You” stuff is for females only? Well, I’m starting to think that maybe men could learn a thing or two themselves.

Floor 36 Book Review: Platinum

Image courtesy of AliyaSKing.com

Last night, I met Aliya S. King at the Columbus Circle Borders book signing of her new book “Platinum.” I’ve followed her career for a few years now–she’s a talented and experienced magazine journalist with a hilarious and entertaining blog, so when I got my hands on an advanced copy of “Platinum” a few months ago, I was eager to read it. A few weeks ago, I had sent Aliya a review of the book that I intended to post on my blog.

After she read it, I didn’t want to post it since I wanted it to just be for her, but when she told me last night that she truly appreciated it, I decided to share an abridged version on the blog.

“Platinum” by Aliya S King: 4/5 Stars

I started reading it on Friday of Memorial Day weekend and finished it Sunday night, and the only reason it even took that long was because I had the typical Memorial Day cookouts and trips to the pool in between. I’ll admit, at first, I was a little weary because of the title. The name “Platinum” sounded like street lit, which isn’t exactly my cup of tea. But from knowing King’s work (her Vibe story on the death of Al Green’s gf was seriously eye-opening–check it out HERE) I knew it would be a great read, and from the first chapter I was literally riveted and had to keep reading from chapter to chapter.

The book is a look into the lives of fictional wives and significant others of rappers and entertainers. There are not-so-thinly veiled references to real stars (if you read the book, I see Jake and Kipenzi as Beyonce and Jay-z, Clare and Zander as Rihanna and Chris Brown, etc. King revealed at the reading last night that Z and his wife are loosely based off DMX and his wife Tashera). The book is truly supported by King’s writing from each character’s perspective. She really created personalities and points of views for each persona that made it hard for me to pick a favorite–I even felt empathy for Cleo, the character that closely emulates Karinne aka Superhead. Also, the way King leaves the reader hanging at the end of each chapter makes you want to speed through to find out what happens next, and left me grateful to hear that King signed a book deal for the sequel.

The negative: it did feel like a more modern version of a book I had read before (it really, especially with the cover art, reminded me of Erica Kennedy’s “Bling”) but I think that comes along with the genre and isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Books about the hip-hop/r&b industry with hidden references to real people are all kind of in the same realm. I think, however, that the audience that’s reading these kinds of books need something that isn’t just trashy and all about drugs and video girls but something that’s smart and funny, which King provided.

So overall, it wasn’t exactly a deep-life changing book, but it’s great for the lighthearted who are looking for a really entertaining and accurate portrayal of the world of hip-hop and the music industry. And as King said last night, when she used to think about writing a book, she thought of deep, African-American, Zora Neale Hurston style literature. But then she shared that she realized, at the end of the day, “writers just write.” And as an aspiring author myself, that’s a quote I’ll never forget.