Saturday, Feb 22: adventures on high with free fancy coffee (plus a monster mash & Ukrainian bar!)

Hey, folks!

Last weekend, B and I took advantage of the warmest temperatures we’ve experienced since moving to NY and spent the day exploring Central Park and Chelsea. I’ll have to save the Central Park trip for another post, because that was a lovely endeavor in itself, so let’s talk Chelsea.

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part one

Our first stop in Chelsea was the High Line Park. This story behind this park begins with my beloved NYC Subway system. Before the train was underground in the olden days, it was above ground. Above the streets, above many of the buildings. Up high. Then the glory of the underworld was unleashed and eventually all of the old trains moved down below. The advent of the NY underground left several high line tracks high and dry. Instead of demolishing the tracks completely, a group of awesome citizens came together to turn the landmark into a park.

Not surprisingly, the park is very narrow. It’s more or less the width of the train tracks. Last weekend NYC experienced a brief relief from the harsh frigidity that has beaten us up all winter, so you can imagine that this place was packed tighter than Fifth Avenue and 34th Street during the weekday rush hour. The crowd made picture-taking very difficult, but I’ve included some photos and a video below, courtesy of Time Magazine, New York Guest, Colectiva TV, and Urban Splatter. I hear the High Line park is quite beautiful in the springtime, and I look forward to visiting again soon when the weather brings us all back to life.

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part two

As daylight started to dwindle we wandered into the Robert E. Rauschenberg Foundation Gallery to see Shirin Neshat’s exhibition, “Our House is on Fire.” I don’t know if you guys have yet picked up on this or not, but I’m kind of crazy about art. Furthermore I have a special appreciation for Islamic art as a result of the time I spent studying the Arabic language and Islamic history. Shirin is a very talented Iranian artist who often mixes black and white photography with Arabic and/or Persian calligraphy to capture the complexities and contradictions of the human condition. I have a particular love for her because so much of her work is focused on the experience of women, in particular Muslim women. Her exhibition, “Our House is on Fire,” spoke to what has been lost in Egypt as a result of the war. It was a fascinating collection of work.

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We strolled along for awhile after the exhibition until we stumbled upon free coffee. Not just any coffee- “sexy coffee” (as [Uncle] Tim calls it). Nespresso has created a new pod-based coffee machine (kind of like a Keurig) that gives your coffee a lovely foam. Best of all, they were dishing it out for free in fancy plastic cups, which we have now turned into our daily coffee to-go cups.

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epilogue

After a pit stop home for dinner we headed down to Lower East Side East Village, which has become our new favorite spot.

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More about that later.

When we stepped off the L train and onto 14th street, we headed toward “Otto’s Shrunken Head” to enjoy their epic weekly monster mash with a couple of friends.

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On our way to the bar we passed a Ukrainian bar, the Sly Fox, which offered even cheaper beer than the stuff at Otto’s.

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Our friends were still about 20 minutes out, so we said what the hell and popped in for a round. We chatted it up with a group of people we met, who were gathering for a kind of unofficial high school reunion, finished our drinks, and met up with our people. We finished out the night with two $1 slices (how else?).

And that was our Saturday.

For next time: Central Park & jazz at the Lincoln Center Atrium

Lots of love,

-Cat

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What? Walking. No(t) Where.

Dear kids,

This post is going to be different from the rest, in that I’m not really telling you where I’ve been, but instead filling you in on what I’ve been up to and why I’ve not written enough lately. I will follow it up immediately with another post full of the good stuff, so feel free to skim. I am still aspiring to post more than once a month. So far that’s not really happened, but keep your fingers crossed and hope that I can realize my resolve for weekly posts. Send good vibes my way.

Part of the reason it’s taken me awhile is because there were a couple of weekends when I didn’t really go anywhere specific, other than work, yoga, and the dozens of random walks in between. Walks in New York are their own adventure. I do it so frequently and I’ve become so used to it that even though everything is still new, I’ve come to feel that because I see it every day, you do too and therefore it’s less interesting to you. I constantly have to remind myself that’s not the case.
Uncle Joey summed up walks in NYC perfectly: “you looking back so far you think your head’s gonna fall off.”

Empire State at night

Empire State at night

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Standing right in front of the main Grand Central Station entrance (or one of the main ones) on a clear crisp day. The Chrysler Building was a great backdrop for the Station’s statued arch.

It’s like walking through a forest with really tall trees that push the limits of the heavens, but the trees are actually much wider and taller and made of reinforced steel, glass, mortar, bricks, etc. And instead of dirt paths we have concrete sidewalks. And instead of moles and critters burrowing underground, there are people burrowing underground. I walk here every day, and every day I see something new. Maybe the reason I’ve not written is because I see SO many new things that I get overwhelmed about how and where to start.

near where I work

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I want to share a little with you about what’s up. 1) My new job is awesome. I am challenged creatively on a daily basis, and my coworkers are good, kind, hardworking people. 2) Because a lot of the work I do involves desktop publishing (creating stuff and making it look pretty — usually for marketing), I am now in the process of learning the ins-and-outs of really cool and complex creative computer software that’s a lot of fun to use. This is great because my creative mojo and I have been out of touch for over ten years now, and it’s time to get back in the groove. There was a time when I regularly painted, drew, messed with graphic design, a bit of this, a bit of that… Then I became a teenager and got hooked on the click and chug world of virtual socializing, car rides with friends, and the favored American pastime of farting off. This too will happen to you, but hopefully you will find ways to channel your farting off into creative works of art. Or channel art into creative ways of farting off. Whatever works.

So, kids, here’s what I hope you get out of this note: don’t ever lose touch with your creative mojo, and when you’ve got it, don’t ever feel limited or afraid. The two of you can do anything together. But when creativity is suppressed by anxiety or fear, it’s no longer creativity. And without creativity, all you get is behind.

I love you all so much. It means the world to me that you take the time to read this. I write for you, and I hope we can all be together again soon. (Maybe here in NY?? 😉

-Aunt Cat