Brew at the Zoo: Halloween at the Bronx Zoo



You’re waiting on a crowded subway platform.  The MTA has announced service interruptions.  You’ve read the notices, and you’re pretty sure you know where you’re going.  So you wait.  And wait some more.  You peer down at your phone.  And pace.  Until rage begins to snake its way through your veins like morphine through an IV.  Twenty minutes passes, and you can feel that flicker of madness barreling toward you down the dark tunnel of your mind, when, finally, a train arrives.  Slowly, in a drunk’s lurching, stumbling, stagger, it draws to a screeching stop at the platform. The cars are packed, tight as sardines, a mass of arms and heads and hands.

You realize there is no room in the car in front of you.  The idea of waiting an unknown period of time for another train — with no promise of a better situation — sends you into a panic. In a frenzy, you run along the row of cars, searching for one with just enough room for you and your companion to fill a space.  You see it, and charge through the door just as it closes.  And in less than a second, the nauseating odor hits you.  Cue the music, then fade to black.  

“The Empty Car at the End of the Train” is just one of the many real-life horror movies New Yorkers can find themselves in.  (“Rent Hike” is another one.)  So what do people do in a city where scary stuff is a way of life?  They adopt Halloween as their holiday and celebrate the heck out of it.  We were scrolling through the endless list of parties and events around town when we stumbled across Brew at the Zoo.

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Scarecrows and Pumpkins at the New York Botanical Garden



In 2003, Lynn and I — as well as our motley crew of cats, Felix and Chloe — up and moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Scottsdale, Arizona on a whim. This radical decision was predicated upon a number of factors: we were incredibly weary of the long winters; we could no longer envision a future filled with opportunities in our professional lives; and there was a discernable feeling that we were in a rut, living out lives that seemed alarmingly predictable and comfortable given our relatively youthful ages. A malaise had set in, as well as a soul-crushing ennui. Something had to change. And so something did: we moved.

The next nine years of our lives were spent in Arizona. Unexpectedly, the change of scenery revealed more about what we’d left behind than what we’d discovered at our destination. In particular, we found a new appreciation for the finite change in seasons we’d previously taken for granted. Sure, there’s a “cooler” period in Arizona, but a mild drop in temperature a change of seasons does not make. Absence, as they say, makes the heart grow fonder.

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Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade



When people find out how long Justin and I have been married, many of them inevitably ask if we have kids.  We do not.  I don’t bemoan that circumstance except for once a year: at Halloween.  Because of this.  I mean, come on.

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The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze



As far back as I can remember, there has been a special place in my heart reserved for Halloween. It’s so much more than a trivial holiday, and so much more than a fixed point on the calendar each year marking the change in seasons. Though I’ll confess: I’ve always loved the contradiction of the last gasps of a moribund summer lending to the the burgeoning intensity of a nascent fall.

For me, Halloween is a time of childlike wonder, creativity and imagination. It’s also a time for quick road trips and late evenings. There are apple orchards and pumpkin patches to visit. There are costume parties to attend. There are horror movies that I’ve added to my queue throughout the year, in anticipation of the perfectly curated scary movie marathon. And, of course, there is an overabundance of candy — at home, school, even the office. I mean, really, what’s not to like?

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New York Fashion Week: Tommy x Gigi



Most kids remember getting up early to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons while they noshed on their breakfast cereal of choice, but I remember eagerly anticipating Sunday mornings at 10 am, which is when Fashion File would come on in Malaysia.  I’d plop myself in front of the TV and watch as models strutted the runway in Versace, Lacroix and Gaultier.  To say the industry has evolved since then is quite the understatement!  Fashion has become more accessible than ever, and now addicts like myself can easily live stream runway shows, refresh social media feeds, or check blogs that are being updated every few minutes during major events like New York Fashion Week.

Designers have already had to increase the number of shows and reduce their production cycles to keep up with fast fashion retailers, but this year designers have kicked it up several notches, with “see now, buy now” being the catchphrase.  While most New York Fashion Week events are still not open to the public, this direct-to-consumer approach has reverberated throughout.  There has been a move to be more inclusive: retailers, beauty brands and even hotel chains are getting in on the action and hosting fun New York Fashion Week events that anyone can attend.  

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Outdoor Movie with Rooftop Cinema Club



I love movies. From the classics to the contemporaries, the small indies to the big blockbusters.  We’ve been pretty open about that here on the blog where we’ve covered a film festival (here), attended an opening week screening (here), or most recently, just waxed poetic about one of our favorite directors (here).  So when the weather warms up, it should come as no surprise that one of our favorite things to do is catch an outdoor movie screening.  

New Yorkers are fortunate that there are numerous free outdoor movie screenings offered in many of the city’s amazing parks throughout the summer.  You could watch The Omen at Bryant Park, Purple Rain at Hudson River Park, American Graffiti at Brooklyn Bridge Park or The Royal Tenenbaums at McCarren Park.  But we’re not the only ones who love movies in New York City, and we’re definitely not the only ones who love free activities.  City dwellers wait in anticipation for the schedules to be released at the beginning of the season and appear en masse for showtime.  In order to find a spot most of us have to turn up hours earlier, often with blankets and refreshments in tow.

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Summer Streets: A (Temporarily) Car-Free New York City



My love affair with New York City started out as a long-distance relationship filled with whirlwind visits, teary goodbyes and months of longing in between.  As my feelings for it grew deeper, the distance became unbearable and the decision to close the geographical gap became inevitable.  Once we were no longer apart, I endeavored to explore it more deeply, anxious to unearth all its secrets.  I was enthralled by its charms and blind to its flaws.  But alas, time is no friend to commitment.  Adorable quirks began to turn into grating annoyances.  Fortunately, New York City is a savvy lover: it realizes when it’s been too trying, too needy, too demanding.  So it does something special to remind you how great it is.  This past Saturday it pulled a little velvet box out of its pocket and gave me Summer Streets.

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