Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bottega Del Vino

If you are looking for a fantastic restaurant/café that will transport you back to Europe, I wholeheartedly recommend Bottega Del Vino on 59th street between Madison and 5th. I couldn’t help but smile when I walked through the front door. The sunny yellow walls, dark woods and intellectual-looking clientele totally reminded me of my trips to Italy or afternoons at cafes in Berlin. I don’t even drink coffee, but I had an iced latte to really get into the mood.

Very close to Central Park, I can totally picture having a relaxed Euro breakfast while reading the NYTimes and then heading to the Park for a walk through the fall leaves and crisp air with someone special.

A smokey NY observation

I am not sure if there are any statistics to support this, but I am struck by how many working women in midtown smoke cigarettes. My sample size is small-- those people who walk with me from the 6 train in the morning and back to the E train with me in the evening--but the conclusion is unmistakable...tons of women are lighting up--YUCK!

Why is this? Is it that more women work in the few blocks around me? Unlikely. Is it that midtown jobs are stressful? Perhaps, but then why aren't men lighting up too?

The Department of Health released a study recently, which said that 17.5% of New Yorkers smoke and more men than women light up. Perhaps that is true overall, but something funny is happening on 3rd Ave.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Washington Square Park

I occasionally wrote from Berlin that I had "Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm in Berlin" moments. I have the kind of moments in New York-- as I drive over the Manhattan Bridge, see the city skyline and realize that I live here or as I sat in Washington Square Park recently and felt like I was living in a movie. Where the soundtrack playing in the background?

Washington Square Park is quintessentially New York. The arch anchoring the park is spectacular, commemorates the 1885 centenial of George Washington's inaugaration and was modeled after the Arch de Triomphe. You might also recognize it from "When Harry Met Sally." But there is a grittier feel to the park and a cast of characters that balances the arch's grandeur and reminds that you the arch is Paris but the vibe is all NYC. Musicians play, homless sleep, men play chess, children peddle bikes and dogs romp.

Grab a donut from the Donut Pub or a Bagel from Murrays on a crisp weekend morning come to the Park and watch the world go by. You'll be glad you did!

Some of the vibe and characters can be seen in the pictures below. Not sure what these people were preparing for, but they were very serious about their craft!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Take the FORE to the Bronx

Take the four train to the end of the line in the Bronx (Woodlawn) and you will arrive at the Mosholu golf course and driving range. It took about 40 minutes door to door from midtown, and the course was very easy to find once I got out of the subway station.

I went to use the driving range but the course looked great, especially for beginners or those looking to play a relaxing 9 holes. My complaint about the driving range is that you can't use your woods and the balls are designed to only go 50% of what you would normally swing. But you can't beat the price at $5 for a bucket. Long story short, to be able to easily get out of the city, see grass and hear more birds than sirens, I can deal with only swinging my irons.

There are other driving ranges in the 5 boroughs, but by my estimation this is the easiest range to get to on public transportation. Chelsea Pier is in Manhattan, but the prices are too outrageous for me to go there on a regular basis. You have to take the subway and a bus to get to the ranges in Brooklyn.

Did I get funny looks and comments carrying a couple clubs on the subway? YES! But it was fun to talk to people on the subway, plus I enjoyed the "don't mess with me" effect that carrying 3-ft long clubs around seemed to have:-)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Play Ball!

Matt bought tickets for us to attend one of the most quintessentially New York (perhaps even American) events of all: A New York Yankees baseball game. I was psyched to see a game and even more excited that the Yankees were playing MY DEE-troit Tigers.

We made a healthy wager on the game...loser has to buy tickets to the winner's movie of choice (plus popcorn.) I was confident that we'd soon be watching Becoming Jane and not Superbad for a variety of reasons... Tigers beat the Yanks on Thursday, the weather was perfect, I was wearing my bright orange hat and I had arrived with the perfect cheer..."We're all behind our baseball team; let's get 'em Tigers." Even better, I was hit on the should with bird poop as we entered the stadium, a well known good luck sign:-)

Yesterday was military appreciate day at the stadium, so we were treated to a parachute jump by the US Army's Golden Knights and a flyover by 2 F-15s. Very cool, and of course added even more Americana to to the day.

Rodger Clemens pitched first and Gary Sheffield was one of his first opponents. Sheffield has had a great career since leaving the Yankees but was not well liked when he was in New York and so was vigorously booed everytime he was up to bat.

(One-eyed) Freddy walks around during the game with a go Yanks sign that has a metal pan attached to it. Fans can bang on the pan with a spoon

The last name of the coach of the Tigers is Leyland!!

Simply put, my singing and bird poop did not help the boys from the Motor City. Though they had some good hits and had the bases loaded at one point, it was not their day. By the time Rivera was brought in to pitch, it was pretty clear that the Yankees were going to win. The W would have been nice, but short of the that, the day was great!

Rivera action shot

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Molto Michigan"

Okay, my last post was mean, I'll admit it. Plus the press officer in me should know that a story dies when you don't respond and lives on when you make a big deal out of it.

So in the spirit of moving on, click the link below for an awesome article from the NYT about Mario Batali vacationing and cooking in Northern Michigan. My favorite quote: "Michigan is my anecdote to Manhattan." So true! Enjoy the article about Mario, as well as another about the Farmer's market in Benton Harbor, MI, which appeared earlier this week.

Mario says Mangia in Michigan

Benton Harbor Farmers Market


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mean People Suck...

...and will now be ridiculed on my blog...

I returned home this evening from my latest adventure, Simply Pasta for dinner and the Bourne Ultimatum afterwards, and was shocked to find this comment on an old posting about GW friends visiting for the weekend:

"Anonymous said... You seem really, really obnoxious. I don't mean to offend, you just might want to take a long look in the mirror."


Obnoxious is posting a mean comment. (Vengeful might be writing a whole posting about a mean comment, but that's another story.)

Anyway, Mr or Ms Meanie hails from New York City, uses a PC and was looking for a review of the Cornelia Street Cafe. Cornelia Street is a great restaurant but I hope that wherever he/she has brunch this weekend, he/she gets food poisoning! :-P

FYI, I recommend Simply Pasta and the Bourne Ultimatum (and I didn't even see the first two flicks.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I had a fantastic weekend in the Catskills! We stayed near Tannersville, a town that is busy in the summer because of the Katerskill Falls and camping. In the winter, the town's claim to fame is Hunter ski resort.

As usual, the story of the weekend can best be told in pictures...

The view from my bedroom window and the back porch of the house. Replace the Hudson River Valley with Lake Michigan and I would have thought I was at Jolli Lodge

Mini golf was the order of the day on Saturday. You can see Hunter Ski Resort in the background.

I spy with my little eye...

...The Hudson River Valley and North Lake

Is this art?


A setting sun greeted us as we drove back to Brooklyn. From this perspective, the city looks as peaceful as is actually was in the mountains this weekend

Friday, August 10, 2007

Who What and Where is a Catskill?

In Michigan you go “up north” for vacation; in Philly you go “down the shore.” During the summer in New York City, it seems that people go either to the Hamptons or to the mountains. Not sure that I have any desire to be part of the Hamptons craziness (see Sex and the City season 2/episode 29). But going to the mountains sounds like something to experience. Is it like the Poconos or Leland perhaps? This weekend I will find out! Matt and his parents are heading up to the Catskills for the weekend and I was lucky enough to be invited to tag along.

The golf clubs, swimsuit, shorts, sweatshirt, and of course the camera have all been packed. Full report on Monday!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tip jars

Was is the etiquette with tip jars at non-waitress restaurants? They seem very popular in the city and I see quite a few people putting money in them. Starbucks, Krunch Pizza (great place on 2nd Ave at 52nd), California Tortilla--they are all over. I don't feel compelled to add a buck to the cup, but maybe I need to get with the program. Thoughts?