Monday, April 30, 2007

Clark Street elevators

The Sun reported this morning that the elevators in the Clark Street subway broke down 400 times over the past two years. FABULOUS! Apparently riders have been trapped inside the elevators more than 20 times and the temperatures inside the elevators have been known to rise about 100 degrees. I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SUMMER! I really need to start training to walk up the 80 foot emergency staircase.

Another fun Clark Street subway fun fact:
According to a former City Council member who represented the neighborhood, the original freight-style elevators at the station were built with leftover parts from a WWII aircraft carrier.

The elevators that are there now were installed in 2000, but problems continue.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friends in New York

Heather was kind enough to invite me to a cooking store opening on Tuesday—fabulous for a number of reasons:
1.I felt “in the know” to be attending an opening party
2.For a girl who has received Martha Stewart magazine since the age of 16, a cooking store opening is right up my alley!
3.Heather is a blast (and single in case any hot and available guys are reading this post!)

Heather’s rules for parties:
1.Stay for approximately 1 hour unless it sucks (we stayed well over an hour)
2.Stalk the appetizer servers like deer in the woods—Heather did this with exacting precision as if she has radar for asparagus risotto balls and gruyere puffs.
3.Make friends with the appetizer servers, ask them about the appetizers and smile so they’ll come back with more.
4.Don’t leave without a gift bag--oh the goodie bag…so exciting! We got everything from knives and graters to tea towels and lime juicers.

It was an evening of wine, appetizers and cupcakes—BRILLIANT!

On top of it all, I am in love with everything at Broadway Panhandler…if only they had everything in mini size for my kitchen! Regardless, I’ll be back to do some damage with my credit card.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

It even happens in New York City

As most who read this blog know, my family is from Michigan and we vacation in Leland, on the shores of Lake Michigan, every summer. This July will mark year #28 that we’ve been making this annual pilgrimage.

But the journey really begins long before July. The journey begins a few months before, on some random day, when we are walking down the street and feel the spirit of Leland. No, I’ve not inhaled one too many city fumes, this really happens…every year. The warm sun hits your face, while a light breeze quiets the surroundings and cools the air. For an instant you are sitting in a white Adirondack chair, looking out onto Good Harbor Bay as a ship passes in front of the Manitou Islands and waves lap quietly but methodically onto the shore.

I’ve had this feeling in Pennsylvania, in DC, even in Germany, but this year I wondered whether it was possible to feel the spirit of Leland in the hubbub of the Big Apple.

Indeed you can! As I emerged from underneath some scaffolding on Second Ave. between 52nd and 53rd earlier today, a breeze cooled the sunlight that hit my face and quieted the cars on the street and the Chinook helicopters flying overhead (Bush was in town.) In that moment, I felt Leland!

Check out the Jolli Lodge blog for pictures of where we vacation.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung from the Promenade in Brooklyn to Central Park in Manhattan. Here are some pictures I've taken in the last couple of days.

An eagle shaped garden decoration on the Promenade. See it? I wonder if it has a special meaning or history.

Forsythia on the Promenade

A glimpse of Lady Liberty through the forsythia

No FKK in Central Park, but seeing a park this packed does remind me of Germany

Central Park Boat House

Me and Heather

Meanwhile, check out this New York Times article about springtime in the city. Good stuff!! (p.s. you might have to register with the NYT to view the article.)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Celeb Stalking

I was on my way to TJ Maxx on Thursday to find a cute spring dress, when I came across a bunch of tv crews and passersby with cell phone cameras. Okay, I’ll bite, what are we all waiting around for? “He’s here for a firefighter fundraiser,” I heard one person say. “I bet he’ll do something wild like arrive on a fire truck,” others were speculating. Wild stunts and “helping” firefighters—was I about to have a TomKat sighting?

Indeed, Tom and Katie were in town for a Scientology fundraiser on 18th street and “everyone” was there to catch a glimpse. The controversy is that the Scientologists are providing “support,” vitamins and therapy, for 9/11 firefighters because some argue that the city has not provided enough help.

When the stretched limo with a “Surrey 68” license plate showed up I thought a sighting was imminent (never mind the fact that little Cruise’s name is “Suri.”) No such luck.

Michael Pena, an actor from the World Trade Center movie was there, as was a city councilman, but the best sighting of the evening was my freshman year roommate Heather. She works for an entertainment/news show and when I heard a short woman with dark wavy hair yelling “councilman, councilman, can I ask you a question,” I knew immediately who was standing in front of me (what were the odds!!??)

After 15 minutes or so, I remembered that I don’t even like Tom anymore and that standing around waiting for him meant that I could me missing out on any number of unknown treasures at TJ’s.

Heather and I agreed to meet up next week… and I did end up finding a cute dress. Mission Impossible accomplished:-)

In other news, I think Robert Verdi from the Style Network lives in my neighborhood!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Honey, what's that smell?

I have a Brooklyn butter dish and shorts that say Brooklyn across the butt, but the latest Brooklyn product has been lost on me: Coney Island perfume. No, I am not joking! It's developers promise it doesn't smell like hot dogs (with or without chili.) Apparently the scent smells like Margarita mix, tequila, chocolate, caramel, cedarwood and cinnamon. Strange combination in my expert opinion...I would almost rather someone smell like a Coney Island chili dog than a mix of all that stuff!

A single bottle costs $150-- that's an aweful lot of rides on the Astroland rollercoaster!

Check out the full article on the NY Daily News website.

Poor Blog

The poor blog has fallen by the wayside the last couple of weeks. It hasn’t been for lack of fun things to see and do in New York. I don’t know, I’ll blame the weather! When will I be able to enjoy warm outdoor weather activities?

In the meantime, indoor activities are keeping be busy. Here are my expert reviews of a couple restaurants I’ve been to recently.

Ever have a craving for a peanut butter and eel role? How about spicy tuna, crispy flakes and banana? Well if you’ve had a hankering for either of those or just a good solid California roll, Ginger on the Lower East Side (or East Village, I don’t know the difference) is for you! The green décor, instrumental pop music and the fact that there were only about 10 tables in the whole restaurant all helped to create a welcoming atmosphere. As I said, the California roll is solid. To spice things up a bit, I also tried a spicy mango shrimp roll—delicious.

Chez Oskar:
Back in Brooklyn, I was at Chez Oskar on Saturday night. A lively French bistro in Fort Greene, a reservation was required for a Saturday evening. At first I was bummed that there was no French onion soup on the menu, but the mild and light carrot and ginger soup quickly took care of the disappointment. The citrus salad was also light and fantastic—greens with orange and apple slices and walnuts with a light vinaigrette. Surprise surprise, I even tried escargot. It was tasty…as long as I wasn’t thinking about what I was eating.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Random Rainy Thursday Thoughts

The weatherman on NBC this morning said the city was under an "urban flood watch." Is that a real warning? How does that differ from a normal flood watch?

In other news, my jacket was staticky yesterday. When I took it off while listening to my Ipod, I could feel the static in my ears. That can't be good! Is that normal?

Finally, if you're looking for a funny movie where you won't exhaust too many brain cells, go see Blades of Glory...good stuff!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The world of blogs

Newspapers in the last couple of days have been filled with articles about blogging: reality blogging, creating a bloggers code of conduct, the effect blogs have on restaurant reviews.

As this blog seems to have become a NY restaurant blog of late, I found the Financial Times article about restaurant blogs especially interesting. John Gapper looks at the power of the New York Times restaurant reviewer versus the power of bloggers who can post reviews quite quickly and in some cases have quite a following. Some restaurateurs are upset at the power the NYT has to make or break their restaurant. Last month, the managing editor of the NYT called the paper, "the central arbiter of taste and culture in New York City." Gapper cautions, however, that restaurateurs who want more diversity should be careful about what they ask for because bloggers might express more wild views to make their mark in the blogosphere.

The article should be free online for a week or so. Click here and check it out!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter

Happy belated Easter!

Here are some highlights of my weekend at home:

The good news is that I found a dining table and sideboard at IKEA. Those who have seen my apartment are surely thinking: “but Erin, you don’t have room for anything else in your apartment!!” Yes and no…I want to use the table the TV is on (kindergarten table) for the coffee table, and the sideboard for the TV and as a dresser. I’m going to keep the table behind the couch and will bring it out when I get the bug to have dinner parties (I can’t believe how long it’s been!)

The horrifying news is that I watched Borat with my parents. I could have rented the last copy of Rocky (obviously a Philly fave.). I could have rented the 2nd to last copy of the Nativity (apparently an Easter choice.) We could have watched the perennial Easter choice, The Ten Commandments. But noooo, I had to rent a movie whose only redeeming quality might have been that Borat’s accent was so heavy I think my mom didn’t understand everything he said…though the images were quite clear:-0 There are funny parts to the movie, but it is definitely not for the whole family!

The cold news is that we made it to the sun rise service at Church. The Presbyterians in Newtown actually have two churches: a Norman Rockwell-esque building for services from September-May and a building that pre-dates the Revolution that is only used in the summer because there is no electricity or heat. The historic church is also used for a 7am service on Easter Sunday and in normal years the ambiance makes up for any chill that might be in the air. But this year it was FREEZING! We brought blankets like we were going to the Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Double Happiness

Take the #6 to Spring Street; walk down Mott until you feel like you’re entering Chinatown. Just past Broome you’ll find a steep staircase that is not suitable for those wearing high heels or those who have already knocked back a few. Carefully navigate the stairs, push through the swinging doors and enter Double Happiness, the speakeasy turned gay bar turned chill, cozy hangout known for green tea martinis. The “Orange Lady” cocktail is also great:-)

From the look of the sound board, I bet the bar is quite lively on the weekends. But during the work week, groups of friends, couples meeting for a romantic drink and those who wanted to relax at the bar could all find their spot.

I should really develop my own special restaurant/bar rating system. Until I do, I’ll just call Double Happiness “a good thing.”

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Sunday morning, 8:30am-- 3 people and I stand outside the Laundromat on Montague waiting for the owner to open the door. Normally friendly neighbors shoot stares that say, “Don’t even think about grabbing an empty washer before I have selected the ones I want to use.” Social etiquette tells everyone that running for the washers like women do for gowns during Filene’s Basement wedding dress sale would not be appropriate, but you know it has crossed everyone’s mind.

The doors open and people file in in an orderly fashion, but the race doesn’t end there. Oh no my friends, the race has just begun. Sort the clothes, load them into the washers, select the cycle, add soap and eight quarters, start! The winner of this challenge gains the right of first refusal to get her clothes into the dryers first (of course there are fewer dryers than washers.) But the race does not even end there! An advanced Laundromat user will be able to calculate whether she can get through the line at Starbucks and read a couple sections of the NYT before having to be back for the oh so critical switch between the washer and dryer.

What a bizarre and probably uniquely New York experience! I haven’t felt that much tension since I waited in line for the last Harry Potter book to be released.

There are other laundry options: you can pay to have your clothes washed for you for 80 cents/pound. Who the heck knows how much their clothing weighs! I admit that I do this occasionally, but I feel guilty every time I do… I am capable of washing my own clothes, but it is a wonderful feeling to wheel in a bag of dirty laundry and pick up a nicely folded bag of clothes after work. Decisions, decisions!

Monday, April 02, 2007

"We Won"

My mom and dad paid an unexpected surprise to the Heights on Sunday to help me plant some spring flowers. The Christmas greens were dead and it’s written in my lease that I have to maintain the flower boxes, so their help was much appreciated.

We found peanuts buried in both boxes. There are some busy squirrels in my neighborhood!

Smile:-) The magnolia tree in front of the building is a couple of weeks away from blooming, which will be gorgeous too.

My mom may be flashing a midwest friendly smile, but inside lies a gardening tiger. She says we are in competition for the best flower boxes on the street. The self-proclaimed verdict: "we won!"