Category Archives: Nolita

The Post-Gym Dash: Interrupted

There are moments when I feel less than aesthetically pleasing, but the moment in which this is most pronounced is when I depart the gym– sweaty, sticky, and quite literally a hot mess. I make a mad dash down the block to my apartment, avoiding eye contact with the few individuals who grace the New York sidewalk at 6:45 in the morning. And 99% of the time I am successful in this dash.

Just not in this specific instance. On a Friday in mid-August the sanitation department was out and about doing what they do best, disposing of trash. And while they often begin their shifts early in the morning, as to avoid rush hour traffic, they usually pay me– the literal hot mess– no attention.

But on this particular morning an unfortunate amount of attention was paid in my direction. And I– not yet caffeinated– actually responded. Yes, while making the turn onto my block, Cher Lloyd on full blast, a sanitation engineer began screaming, “You are the most beautiful woman in the entire world!”

Now me, being in my least aesthetically acceptable form, could hardly believe he was referring to me so I kept walking– wondering where this beauty he spoke so highly of was. But then the engineer tapped me on the shoulder and repeated the same sentence. And I, for perhaps the second time in my life, was rendered speechless.

Apparently he interpreted my silence as his cue to continue this pseudo-conversation. “So, chica, you married? You single? Is it complicated?” And I, for some illogical reason decided to perpetuate this absurdity and said, “I’m not married.” At which point I continued walking, and the engineer followed.

“Chica, you Puerto Rican?” I shook my head and continued towards my front door. “Hey, it makes no difference. I could make you very happy. I’m good husband material. And you are so beautiful… so marry me, yes?”

And after one swig of my Brita-filtered water bottle, I said, “Sadly I have to decline.” But the engineer vowed to not give up so easily. “I’m on your block each Friday at this time if you change your mind. Which I know with time you will do.”

The goods news, of course, is that I was proposed to by a man enamored with my post-gym “beauty”. The bads new is that said man is a sanitation engineer who makes a living throwing crap in a truck.

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Bring it, Irene.

Like any child, I went through a variety of professional aspirations: actress, police officer, unicorn. But perhaps the most notable career goal I had was becoming  a professional storm chaser. However, East Coast living tends not to be the most conducive to said profession, and so I have been relegated to the realm of law… at least until this weekend.

With Hurricane Irene looming on the Southern horizon, I was finally granted the opportunity to embrace my inner storm chaser and take to the streets of Lower Manhattan. With my two finance roommates by my side, we ventured towards Broadway. The iPhone-loving roommate then carefully photographed the pre-storm preparations.

First, the MTA closed down mass transit, forcing us to remain within walking distance of our apartment. Granted, we live in Nolita, and if were were to be stranded in any neighborhood of the city, it certainly is one of the neighborhoods with the most pizzaz.

Then, mistakenly thinking a few clothing stores would be open– given that it was was a weekend in the summer– we ventured towards H & M. However, it appeared that the Swedish owners, unaccustomed to hurricanes, traded in their sales for their safety:

And like any good aspiring Jewish mama would do, I then suggested we head towards our closest grocery store, Dean & Deluca. Sadly, my favorite gourmet eatery, fearing the worst and possessing an unusually large amount of extraneous cardboard, had closed for the day:

So, like any 20somethings, we decided to head to our local liquor shop, aptly named “Wine Therapy,” and picked up a bottle of Chilean red wine. Yes, the liquor shop, despite the ominous warnings, did not take heed.

If only Starbucks had felt the same way. Instead they greeted me with the following sign: “Blame the weatherman. Not us. Closed until further notice.” I would have cried, if not for my excitement about the impending storm and the materialization of a childhood dream.

Sadly this here biddie has developed a bad case of the sniffles, and so I am confined to sipping a rare Indian blend of herbs and praying to the cold gods that be. Bring redemption my way so I can begin my visual assessment of the destruction Irene left in her path.

Of all the Duane Reades in all the City.

I love early morning strolls through downtown. Most of the City is still asleep, with no intention of waking before noon, and I can frolic, a.k.a. pull a Gene Kelly in “Singin’ in the Rain,” and go virtually unnoticed. It’s the ideal time to put on my Adele playlist and simply glide through the tree lined streets of Nolita.

It’s also the perfect time to take care of my household needs without contending with rowdy and impatient New Yorkers. Simply put, this is my time. I look forward to these momentary silences and am greatly perturbed by those who dare to interrupt them.

This may explain my strong visceral response to this morning’s interruption. On route back from caffeinating, I stopped in at my local Duane Reade. While attempting to track down Tom’s Organic toothpaste (insert judgment here), I heard a familiar voice say, “Is that you, Yaffa?”

It was the Doctor; the ex who broke up with me in a very memorable email. Beside the Doctor was his now fiancee, who seemed more in love with the idea that she is wedding a surgeon than the man behind the scrubs. She whispered, “Who’s Yaffa?”

Curious as to how he would reply, I made no effort to answer the question for him. His answer, “She’s a serial bridesmaid who I met last summer.” Turning to me, he then asked, “So what number wedding are we up to now?”

His fiancee jokingly remarked, “Well maybe she could be a stand in at ours.” Not even remotely amused, I waved my iced cappuccino in both of their faces and stated, “I really must be off. I have coffee shops to attend to and criminals to prosecute.”

As I bid the two lovebirds adieu, I could not help but fume. Of all the Duane Reades in all the City, they had to walk into mine. And, as per the Doctor’s very special talent, mock my Orthodox lifestyle. Also, did I mention they disrupted my Sunday morning quiet time?

The walk back to my apartment was less than idyllic. In place of listening to Adele, I felt compelled to turn to angry rock chick music (i.e. Alanis Morisette), and I’m not going to lie, I did a little angry rock chick diddy. Even the early rising hipsters gave me a round of applause.

When I arrived home, I realized that my two roommates were nowhere in sight. I had the apartment to myself (a recurring theme, as of late), and determined it was time to embrace my inner Aretha. Blasting “Respect” from my iHome speakers, I engaged in a spontaneous karaoke session. And, ladies and gents, it was therapeutic. All my anger and all my frustration was carefully orchestrated toward my living room window– rather than the individuals who sparked it.

I succeeded in anger management and determined that my next (and perhaps first) big capitalist venture will be to create an anger management clinic, in which the primary therapy employed is non-stop karaoke. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Aretha and her fellow Motown mates will be heard throughout the rehabilitation center.

Adding “exterminator” to my resume.

I am a raging women’s college educated feminist 99% of the time. But every so often I have a uniquely New York experience that forces me to endorse certain deeply rooted patriarchal notions. In this particular instance, said experience involved a quintessential city character: the cockroach.

Despite my attempts to keep my apartment devoid of any bit of urban filth, I had failed to deter the most common New York creature from taking up residence in my bathroom. While one of my roommates prepared to take a shower, she noticed a certain creepy-crawler suddenly sneak out from behind the toilet.

Shocked, disturbed, and apparently resourceful, she immediately captured the cockroach beneath a nearby plunger. Then she calmly exited the bathroom and notified me of the gigantic bugger’s arrival. Together, we determined to be brave– to be Wellesley woman who will take down any and all potential adversaries, be they human, reptile, or arthropod.

Searching for the heaviest object for which we did not fear destroying in the midst of our cockroach-induced madness, we determined to employ the aluminum foil box. I called it my personal baseball bat and informed my roommate to lift the plunger so I could dismember the bugger leg by leg.

However, as she lifted the plunger, we noticed he was no longer there. Panicked, enraged, and desperately desiring to smack the life out of an invertebrate insect, I was determined to continue the search (and the eventual murder) of said cockroach.

And with a little help from the One Above, I suddenly realized that the cockroach had buried itself in the interior of the plunger. Instructing my roommate to open the front door, I watched as she shoved the plunger into the building hallway. Instantly, the cockroach went scrambling out of the household item and into the walls of the hallway.

Despite the fact that my suspicions had been confirmed, I lost all control and demanded the door be slammed. Without a bottle of Raid in my hand, I was ill prepared to handle a lean, mean creepy crawling machine. I expressed such sentiment with the release of a blood-curdling scream, which in any other city and on other block would have aroused neighbor sympathy, but instead was met with complete silence.

It was at that moment that I determined to embrace my inner chauvinist and call for reinforcements. The Conductor was back in town and conveniently singing his little British heart out at a nearby karaoke bar. I called him on the verge of tears, and exclaimed, “Get. Here. Now. Don’t. Ask. Questions.”

While waiting for his arrival, my roommate and I decided that we inevitably would have to employ the Raid bottle and spray the hallway down. As long as the cockroach was alive, he could potentially re-enter the apartment, and frankly, yours truly was too caffeine-dehydrated to take that chance.

My roommate– the surprisingly sassier one between the two of us– grabbed the Raid can, and as if possessed my an exterminator spirit, began feverishly spraying the hallway down. Instantly, the cockroach abandoned its hiding place and revealed itself.

And like any sassy girl would do, my roommate jumped at the opportunity. Repeatedly exclaiming, “Die, bitch, die!” she sprayed the gigantic in-vertebrae to death. It was both horrifying and gratifying. When the Conductor finally appeared, I assigned him the task of disposing of the roach’s remains. He complied and then spent the remainder of the night consoling me.

Simply stated, I was an emotional wreck. I likened my brush with the cockroach to that of my experience with the upstate New York rattlesnake. On one typically Jewish summer camp field trip, I decided to exchange the concrete jungle for the tree-filled wilderness. And during this exchange, my friends and I– dressed in long jean skirts, button-down shirts, and Yankees baseball caps– found ourselves in a small alcove beside a waterfall, when we suddenly heard an eerily proximal rattle.

We, more fearful of our impending brush with the snake than the rather significantly sized body of water beside us, determined to plunge directly into the waterfall. If we were about to become sacrificial lambs, we refused to let it be to a reptile. And so fully clothed in Orthodox attire, we jumped… and miraculously survived the ten foot fall.

For the rest of the summer I met with the camp guidance counselor. She tried to work through the trauma with me, but I never fully recovered from the incident. And now, nearly two days after my urban insect experience, I find myself equally disturbed by and unable to forget the cockroach that stole my innocence.

I only pray that my first experience with the aforementioned insect is my last. And if not, at least I am taking proper precautions by sleeping with a bottle of Raid next to my bed. Take that, sucker!

 

Never underestimate the power of a tiramisu cocktail.

Courtesy of Ms. Samantha

My mother’s words of feminist-laden wisdom: Never underestimate the power of a woman. My post-feminist adaptation: Never underestimate the power of a foofy (a.k.a. of the stereotypically feminine variety) cocktail.

To celebrate twenty two years of my personally inspired insanity, my Wellesley friends and I opted to indulge in my alcoholic drink of choice– the infamous tiramisu cocktail. First introduced to the drink during my junior year abroad adventure, I soon came to value the cocktail with a shot of espresso and hint of mocha.

And when I returned to the Empire State, I scoured the local bars and restaurants, attempting to rekindle my alcoholic love affair. But the Almighty One Above, perhaps fearing for my liver, would not arrange for such a reunion. I was forced to return to my daily routine of espresso, sans liquor and courtesy of Starbucks.

While Starbucks satiated my initial craving, I was a Wellesley woman on a mission. I could not be stopped, and upon signing my Nolita lease, I determined it was the appropriate time to revive my failed tiramisu cocktail search efforts.

Nolita, situated just north of Little Italy, is only steps away from some of the most decadent Italian bakeries in North America. And perhaps the most notable Italian dessert– tiramisu– can be found, purchased, and devoured at almost any local bakery or restaurant.

Well, where there is a dessert, I reasoned, there must a caloric and highly alcoholic equivalent. Indeed, with a bit of sniffing and all around snooping, I tracked down the one restaurant which listed the beverage as a local favorite. And then I conveniently arranged my birthday dinner to convene at said restaurant.

Needless to say, it was the night of magical living. And it was followed by a spontaneous return trip to my apartment, where the Gentile Giant and the Asian Roommate demonstrated the importance of stature in accessing basic kitchenware. I also display an affinity, or as some have argued, fear of tupperware:

the kitchen: where the real magic happens

Not exactly a drunken debacle, but a memorable evening nonetheless. And in the words of Dr. Seuss (from who I derive all life advice worthy following),

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy [gal] who’ll decide where to go.

Here’s to a year of paving my own road– one $12 cocktail at a time.

Living a Nolita Fairytale.

When your grandmother spends $1000 on a beautiful wooden piano, you feel compelled to take a few lessons. And indeed when a ten year old version of myself suddenly found I had a new musical instrument in my possession, I enlisted the services of Hannah from “Andy’s Hall of Rock.”

As the only individual without piercings in compromising areas, Hannah seemed the quintessential externally defined version of normal. In slimming maxi dresses, she defied the Ramone-inspired dress code at Andy’s.

When, after only 10 lessons, Hannah left New York to start a life in West Virginia, I was hardly surprised. I also determined that without Hannah I could not continue to feign musical talent, and so I put my grandmother’s feelings aside and allowed the potentially melodious instrument to gather dust.

However, I soon entered my teen years and Vanessa Carlton, a singer with a gift for the piano, became my idol. Suddenly I was willing to spend ungodly amounts of time beside an aspiring punk rocker at Andy’s if it meant I, too, could live the “Nolita Fairytale”:

My mother, however, was hesitant and, like a good New Yorker, skeptical. I had a tendency to aspire to be people that for a variety of  athletic and musical limitations I could never actually become.

When I was nine, I wanted to be Tara Lipinski, the figure skater who won the 1998 Olympic gold medal. I enlisted in classes, and within days I was wearing a hockey helmet because my lack of grace necessitated its presence.

Then there was my David Beckham phase. My coach assigned me to defend the goalie, and when I failed to adequately complete that task, I was permanently reassigned to the sidelines. After one season, my soccer career came to a sedentary close.

And so instead of allowing me to re-engage in a musical rendezvous, my mother instructed me to live the lyrics rather than play them. Well, avid readers, today I made my lyrical dreams a distinct reality. Along with two lovely Wellesley women, I became a proud renter of an apartment in Nolita.

Aside from the fact that we live across the street from the BEST CUPCAKE SHOP in North America and on top of an adorable shoe boutique, we are also within walking distance of two excellent coffee shops: Cafe Habana and Gimme! Coffee. And with a name like Gimme! Coffee, I believe I may have found my soulmate– or perhaps soulbuilding?

I may be living paycheck to paycheck, but I am determined to maintain the caffeinated lifestyle I have grown accustomed to. And with a fifteen minute walk to work every morning, I am going to need all the Gimme goodness Nolita has to offer.