There’s really no end of things to explore in New York City, but insiders know it takes some digging to uncover what’s hidden beneath the city’s surface. Citywide events like Open House New York and Jane’s Walk make urban exploration attainable to the masses. They feed our never ending curiosity by giving us access to sites and experts that would normally be out of reach.
There is a Confucius quote that says:
“True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.”
Shortly after we started blogging we realized what we didn’t know could fill an ocean. It’s been a journey, one we explored more thoroughly in our year-end review after our first full year of blogging. But we’ve received a lot of help and inspiration along the way, and no small part of that has come from other New York City bloggers that we’ve been fortunate to become acquainted with.
I’m not sure if you can tell from the pictures we’ve posted, but I’m kind of… petite. Height-challenged. Runty. Low-profile. Diminutive. Short, okay, I’m short.
Other shorties know the troubles I’ve seen. Trying to discreetly jump to reach something on the top shelf in the grocery store, then finally having to ask for help. Searching for “cute shoes that provide height yet remain comfortable”. (An urban myth, by the way). Having almost every piece of clothing altered. And standing-room concerts? Forget about it.
“Hey, I’m a civilian. I’m not your lawyer anymore. I’m nobody’s lawyer. The fun’s over. From here on out, I’m Mr. Low Profile, just another douchebag with a job and three pairs of Dockers. If I’m lucky, a month from now – best case scenario – I’m managing a Cinnabon in Omaha.”
– Saul Goodman, “Granite State”, Breaking Bad
These simple lines, delivered with gusto by actor Bob Odenkirk in the second to last episode of Breaking Bad’s final season, were an oblique, furtive promise. Though it was technically an end, it was also a beginning. That promise was fulfilled in season one of the spinoff series, Better Call Saul. The flash-forward opening sequence — ironically shot flashback-style in black and white — was set in a Cinnabon at a nondescript mall (presumably in Omaha). And so began the long, winding journey from erstwhile small-time attorney, Jimmy McGill, to the morally dubious Saul Goodman.
To say I’m a fan of Better Call Saul is an understatement. In fact, I would argue it holds its own pitted against its predecessor. In my humble opinion, it’s only eclipsed by The Wire for one of the greatest series of all time. Over its past two seasons, I’ve spent nearly every Tuesday morning around the figurative water cooler discussing the most recent episode and theorizing future plot twists with my coworkers. So when I heard that a pop-up of Los Pollos Hermanos was coming to New York City, I pretty much had an apoplectic fit.
In the summer of 2007, while Justin and I were still living in Phoenix, we made our annual pilgrimage to New York City with great anticipation. Our trips always included an ambitious list of restaurants to tackle, as well as a sampling of plays and musicals. That summer, we were excited to check out an Off-Broadway production we had read about called In The Heights.
At the 37 Arts Theater in Hell’s Kitchen (since renamed the Baryshnikov Arts Center), we were seated in the second row, close enough to see the beads of sweat on the performers’ faces and watch the spit escape from their lips. It was everything we’d hoped it would be: exciting, fresh, funny, captivating. We were so enamored with the performance that we waited after the show to speak to the creator, a young upstart named Lin-Manuel Miranda. But there was no one else waiting, and we questioned ourselves. Was this not done? Were we not supposed to approach the cast? We suddenly felt starkly like out-of-towners, clueless about the lay of the land. He exited the theater, and we lost our nerve. We stood there and watched him go by.
We’re pretty unabashed brunchaholics. We register an abnormal amount of excitement when a well-regarded restaurant moves from serving dinner only to offering brunch. We’ve got a Google Map with a list of restaurants that we’ve saved, with enough potential suitors to secure a weekend brunch schedule through 2050. But our favorite thing to do AFTER brunch? Head over to Russ & Daughters to pick up bagels, cream cheese, smoked fish and any other number of goodies so we can have a second brunch for dinner.
We can’t possibly be alone, because when you step in there on a weekend, it’s packed to the gills. (Hey, did I just pun?)
We love our cat. Chloe is family in every conceivable way.
And if you sense that I’m both unapologetic and unequivocal when making these two statements, let me explicitly confirm your intuition. I am. On both accounts. Full stop.
I do not have a young child, nor do I currently have elderly parents or in-laws to care for in their latter years. (I’m incredibly grateful that they are all, by God’s grace, in good health.) As for my grandparents, they have long since departed this world.
That’s not to say I don’t know something about being a caretaker. For years, I’ve had a dependent, just not one I can claim on my taxes. I’ve cleaned up her messes. I’ve prepared her meals. Even handled her 3P’s (pee, poop and puke). I’ve brushed her hair and cut her nails and attempted, rather unsuccessfully, to bathe her. I’ve transported her to checkups. (And chewed my nails through a few medical procedures.) I’ve soothed her crying on airplanes and hushed her hissing on road trips. I’ve spent untold hours doting on her, reprimanding her, worrying about her and pulling at my ever-thinning hair in frustration.
You know that saying about opinions and how everybody has one? Let’s be honest, you can probably say the same about blogs. There are so many out there, from personal blogs to those run by corporations and news outlets. Standing out is a challenging task. I’ll admit that when I meet new people I balk at mentioning the blog. It’s a part of ourselves out there for public consumption, and each post is an exercise in acceptance and rejection. Giving someone immediate access to that puts us in a vulnerable position.
But blogs are simply one of the many vessels of self-expression. Artists, since inception, have dedicated their lives to it. Acceptance and rejection are woven into the fabric of their existence, because their desire to create supersedes everything.
Artist: Michael Zelehoski
I remember when I first read and fell in love with The Great Gatsby, and I’m sure you do too. Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan captured our collective imaginations, and we continue to romanticize the period described so vividly by F. Scott Fitzgerald. However, the term “Gilded Age” originates from Mark Twain’s book of the same name, which was a scathing commentary on the excesses of the time. “Gilded Age” alluded to the shiny veneer that masked underlying poverty and social ills. California artist Liz Glynn bring us a fresh interpretation of this juxtaposition in her latest piece, Open House, for the Public Art Fund.
We’ll let you in on a little secret. While theater is something we love to experience, it’s not something we love to blog about. It’s a daunting task trying to capture the essence of a play or musical. But when we experience something unique, like we did with Wakey, Wakey, we want desperately to share our experience.
In Will Eno’s new off-Broadway play, Guy gazes out at the audience and says:
“This was supposed to be something different.”