Monday, May 31, 2010

Pride and Pause

On this Memorial Day, I thought I'd share the unforgettable evening I had on Thursday. I attended the Salute to Freedom dinner aboard the USS Intrepid (Sea Air and Space Museum). This year's honoree was Gen. Patraeus, Commanding General of US Central Command. I was very excited at the thought of getting to hear the General speak and to attend a black tie dinner aboard such a famous ship (where I could actually wear a bridesmaid dress again!)

Cocktail hour inside the museum, where you could enjoy the various exhibits, was enjoyable. But little did I know that the most remarkable part of the evening would not occur until I sat down at my table.

While exchanging pleasantries with the couple to my left, I asked what brought them to the dinner. The woman started to tell their story but stopped as she got choked up. Her husband went on to explain that their son was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan in January. Their sadness was so great, but they seemed amazingly resilient and were doing their best to remember their son by helping other soldiers through Operation Goodybag. As I sat there listening to their story, what should I say? I spoke from the heart and held back tears as I said, "thank you for your son's service."

I had said hello to the family to my right but they didn't seem especially talkative before dinner. But chit chat about why I would be eating a plate of tofu and grains, while everyone else was enjoying a nice steak, cracked the ice. When I asked the father what brought them to the dinner, he immediately shared his son's story. His son was severely wounded in Afghanistan when his humvee drove over an IED. He lost both legs and sustained a brain injury among other very serious injuries. He was visited by General Patraeus at Walter Reed Hospital in 2008. When the General entered his room and yelled the nickname of the Lieutenant's regiment, he woke up out of the coma he had been in for 22 days. The father agreed when I said that was nothing short of a miracle. The General has kept in touch and the Lieutenant is doing much better and is still in the Army. And on Thursday night, he and his parents were special guests of General Patraeus. Amazing! General Patraeus describes 1st Lt. Brian Brennan as a living hero and I definitely agree!!

I left the ship, extremely proud to be an American, profoundly grateful for the service of our men and women in uniform and with a heightened sense that we much not forget their service.

Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Old Timey New York

Monday, May 17, 2010

Covert Gardening Season II

Last year's rooftop tomato plant was a success! Great tomatoes, my neighbors didn't rat me out and even helped me take care of the plants.

So this year, I decided to expand my operation. San Marzano and Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes. PLUS, parsley, chives, dill, pineapple mint and basil.

The Union Square market was filled with more plants and varieties of tomatoes than I knew what to do with.

I didn't take any tomato plant photos but check out this one... If only my flower boxes got sun, I would bring "Geranium Court" to BH!

I also tried out a chai on the impostor MUD truck parked at Union Square because the MUD truck was missing from Astor Place on Saturday morning. (Come on MUD get it together!) The impostor truck still offers two ice chai latte sizes and tastes just as good, with the exception of a sprinkle of nutmeg that Mud adds to the top of its drinks.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Alrighty, so again blogging has fallen by the way side. A volcanic ash crisis, interviewing for (and not getting) 2 promotions and some other stuff has left me pooped. So let's try this blog thing again.

A few weeks ago, I got in touch with my inner hipster on the Lower East Side. The first stop was the inaugural weekend of the Hester Street Fair. The cool part about it was that people seemed enthused to shop for everything from old bikes, pottery and jewelry to lobster rolls and gourmet shaved ice. The not cool part was how crowded it was. It reminded me of the Brooklyn flea but crammed into a space 1/3 the size with just as many people. TOO MUCH! I'll go back, but not at noon on a Saturday.

Thankfully, around the corner is Cheeky Sandwiches, aka Erin's new favorite sandwich shop in the city! Cheeky serves "N'awlins" style sandwiches, as well as beignets and Cafe DuMond coffee. Matt got an oyster poboy and I had a "grass" sandwich with roasted beets & butternut squash with crispy goat cheese on flautta bread. The other veggie option is a "Veggie muffalata" with pickled vegetables with melted swiss cheese on an olive loaf. Pineapple Big-Shot soda and Zapps Cajun dill potato chips finished off the meal quite nicely. Sandwiches aren't Super sized and were so good I wish I had ordered 2 but it was definitely enough for a fun lunch with really high quality ingredients.

Not only is the food great, but the atmosphere is fun too. The little hole in the wall entrance makes you feel like you've found a hidden gem. Inside, white washed tables, a tin ceiling and mural on the wall transports you south-- a little bit backwater bayou... a little LES hipster. The bow tie, dark rimmed glasses wearing owner is a reason to visit in and of himself. He had a wonderful attitude and you could tell that he is pouring his all into the shop.

Cheeky Sandwiches on Orchard between Canal (yuck) and Hester. Try it, you won't be disappointed!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Tree Falls in Brooklyn

The wind over the weekend did quite a number on one of the trees just down from my building. And unfortunately a neighbor told me yesterday that the beautiful tree in front of my building has to come down too. What's going to block my view of the college kids now?!