Thursday, March 29, 2007

Hawke Sighting

Tonight's treat was hearing the great and gritty crime novelist Richard Hawke (aka Tim Cockey) read from his newest work Cold Day in Hell at the Chelsea Barnes & Noble. Much of the story takes place on the Upper West Side and in Central Park - my neck of the woods.

Think yoga and PI's never mix? Think late night talk show hosts could never be pegged for murder most gruesome? Think that crime noir could never be au courant? Read the first few pages of the book and throw out such silly notions. This is a damn good read.

Bonus: The folks at the reading were fantastic New Yorkers. Great conversation before and after (but not during!) the reading. And a shout out to writer/caterer/chef extraordinaire Chris Fisk and her book Sneaky Veggies: How to Get Vegetables Under the Radar & Into Your Family.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Into Great Silence

Now playing at the amazing Film Forum, the movie Into Great Silence .

Watch the trailer here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Juilliard and Jihad

My Trip to Al-Qaeda
Friday nite, despite extreme fatigue, I high-tailed it to Soho to The Cultural Project's production of My Trip to Al-Qaeda, New Yorker journalist Lawrence Wright's one-man-band-retelling of his bestseller The Looming Tower. In the spirit of Al Gore's eye-opening global warming rant, this is more lecture than theater-- but what a fascinating tale. Lawrence Wright is such a gentle, endearing yet brilliant storyteller, relating his experiences in Saudi Arabia and beyond. Added bonus - he's a thinking gal's hummena-hummena in his sweater vest and professor-esque delivery. A must see for current events junkies.

Violin & Piano Recital at Juilliard!
A wondrous treat - a free recital at Juilliard featuring students Noah Geller on violin and Michael Bukhman on piano. Confession - I'm no classical music listener - but this, well, this performance was true magic. Such breathtaking beauty. The joy on Noah's face as he performed and his incredible talent were inspiring and moving. Keep your eyes out for him as he is really, really something. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed the Prokofiev piece (more modern and hardcore technical), but of course rejoiced at the Gershwin, Beethoven and Waxman's Carmen. Here is the full roster of recitals, many of which are FREE.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fighting Fear and City Hall

Fighting City Hall
Today, I went to an open hearing down at City Hall (what a beautiful building) regarding the New York Historical Society's plans to renovate their building (and construct a huge residential tower). You can learn more about that battle in my Mar. 9 post. The hearing was fascinating and the remarks by the community in opposition to the plan were inspired, insightful and spot on. Great insight into city (and real estate) politics.

Fighting Fear
We all have our demons, right? Currently, the one dogging me is 'fear.' I'm constantly fighting that little nasty. So tonight I attended a panel discussion called "Don't Panic: Living in a State of Fear" at the New School. The event was hosted by NY Salon, The Nation & The Economist, and the discussion rocked! I spoke with panelist Frank Furedi, professor at Univ. of Kent in Canterbury and author of numerous books on the effect of fear on society, primarily when it is politicized (for those who know me: okay, yes, I bought his book "Culture of Fear Revisited" just because it has a pic related to Bird Flu on the cover!) He believes that we have lost the capacity to fear with meaning, that a progressive society does NOT use fear to control the masses, and that politicizing fear is always a bad idea no matter how noble the cause.

I talked with him afterwards, and made reference to the fear I felt about moving to New York sans job. His comment? "Well, now, that is just brave!" An expert on fear called me brave!!!!

Friday, March 16, 2007


I'm a chocolate junkie, let's face it. And I'm in a town that appreciates it's cocoa. When even the smallest deli sells Toblerones over Hershey's, you know you are among aficionados.

In Soho last night, a shopkeeper recommended MarieBelle , a Parisian style chocolatier located on Broome St. The shop is charming and there is a cafe located in the back. They show (faintly) Charlie Chaplin films on the wall as well as tout the health benefits of chocolate. Apparently, to harness the most from its antioxidant flavanoids, it is best to drink it. Try the Aztec Hot Chocolate, with a Dulce de Leche crepe on the side if you want to be truly decadent.

Also, check out Leekan Designs, Inc. at 93 Mercer St. in Soho. Tons of imports and interesting items, along with beads!!! Be sure to pet their doggie, though he will get upset when you stop and demand more attention!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Exploring Upper West and Upper East

I've been exploring more of the nearby neighborhoods the past day or so. Central Park is just amazing, and I'm right near the theater where they hold Shakespeare in the Park.

It only takes me 10 minutes to run across the park to the Upper East Side, where yesterday I visited the Guggenheim Museum. With it's Frank Lloyd Wright design (currently being renovated), the museum is one of the most beautiful in the city and a true architectural masterpiece. Speaking of art, the shopping on the Upper East is pretty fancy-schmancy ;-) Take a stroll up Madison Ave. between 75th and 90th and ooooo and ahhhh at the window displays.

Take in some more views of the Park, as well as photos of a quaint bookshop on the Upper West Side and Broadway (see Bookstore Bird, above) in my photos section.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Mimi Meets New York Pigeons

Mimi's first experience with NYC pigeons. She was very excited. They looked at her like "What are you lookin' at?"
Pretty low key day today. Made jewelry and went shopping. Highly recommend Infinity West shoes -- for selection and prices. Located at 2476 Broadway (btw 91st & 92nd).
On the celebrity front, I do think I saw the actor Jeff Daniels today (he's in town for a play), as well as a (maybe???) sighting of the director Kevin Smith scouting locations on Central Park West. If I can't make a positive identification, then I put a (?) next to the name on my Celebrity Sightings list to the left.

Flea Market & Philip Seymour Hoffman

Today was another whirlwind. Started off the day with a glorious run in Central Park. Then went to the GreenFlea Flea Market a half block from my apartment. Antiques, vintage clothing, jewelry, art, original tee shirts, furniture, rugs, textiles, fruits, veggies, breads, plants, flowers, yarn, beads.... anything you want it is likely to be there. See more photos HERE.

Finished the evening with Jack Goes Boating, the Labyrinth Theater Company's production starting Philip Seymour Hoffman (ohmygosh!!!), Daphne Rubin-Vega, Beth Cole and John Ortiz. Like Liev Schreiber does in "Talk Radio," Hoffman gives a masterful, seemingly effortless performance. A true example of one of the greatest actors we have working today. Amazing, gentle, understated.

Another example of the gifts of New York...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The best voice, the biggest heart, the most delightful wit.
Warren, you will be missed.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Learning about the Neighborhood

So I've somehow stumbled upon the best block in the universe to live. I've felt that already, but it was confirmed over coffee this morning with Joe Bolanos, president of Landmark 76. Great insight into the block, called "the Grandest Block in Manhattan" by some. It was the second designated landmark block in the city. Certainly, this is a special place. Joe said that when you come to our block, you are "walking into a time period." He's right. The people are friendly, the block beautiful, and the architecture exquisite. Magical.

We are in the midst of a real battle on the block, as the New York Historical Society wants to begin a $20 million renovation of its landmark building at 170 Central Park West that would also allow a 23-story glass apartment tower behind the society's museum and library. This would significantly alter the skyline and cause enormous disruption to the character and quiet of the block.

Fortunately, Community Board 7 voted against the renovation at its March 7 meeting. Read the New York Times article HERE.

Other news: I'm playing the New York City Marathon lottery to see if I get chosen to run it on November 4. Keep your fingers crossed! I've joined the New York Road Runners, so my chances are a bit better than with no affiliation to a NYC running club. Can't wait to go for my first full run in Central Park! The weather has been a bit too cold, but that is really no excuse...

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Feeding the Soul: Beads and Buddha

Today was pretty fabulous too. As an avid jewelry maker, I headed to midtown to find the bead shops recommended by Randy. Little did I know I would find myself in the middle of jewelry making heaven. Every few steps there was a bead or jewelry supply shop, all different sizes and specialties. The prices are fractions of what I was paying in DC, and in many cases much better than what I find online. A list of favorites:

  • Phoenix Beads & Silver Import, Inc.: Located at 5 W. 37th btw. 5th & 6th. Another location at other end of W. 37th. Best prices on chain and great selection of gemstones.
  • Metalliferous: 34 W. 46th St. btw. 5th & 6th. Floor to ceiling metal findings, tiny aisles, worth the scavenger hunt. An experience not to be missed.
  • Beadalliferous: The bead half of Metalliferous. Some good finds.
  • Beads World, Inc.: 1384 Broadway btw. 37th & 38th.

In the 'small world' story line, the woman behind me at Beadalliferous had just lived in DC for the last 3 months, knew my old jewelry haunt Beadazzled. We had a great chat about jewelry making and some of the galleries she is showing in in DC.


Ended the day at Julia's Buddhist meditation class. The topic was Meditation on the Mind. The class starts with 15 minutes of guided meditation, followed by a teaching, some Q&A, ending with another guided meditation. This session included a brief conversation period with the person sitting next to you.

The class was a perfect compliment to Oliver Sacks' talk last night, though very different. One was a scientific look at the mind, the other spiritual. Can't go into all the teaching covered tonight, but I will say it helped confirm that much of our happiness is rooted in perception rather than circumstance.

Welcome Brunch and other Extraordinary New York Things

Look at the fabulous people that came to my welcome brunch, hosted by the amazing Ann (seated front) & Rick (standing far left)!!! Even more people were there, it was a blast. Check out all the photos in my favorite photos section.

There is so much that has been amazing and extraordinary since moving here. At the risk of sounding like an 'over-the-moon-happy' loon, here are some bullet points highlights:

  • Walking through Central Park, seeing the famous Falconer statue, walking a few steps and seeing a real, live falcon in a tree nearby. Walking to the East Side at 77th and seeing the famous red-tailed hawk Pale Male. A celebrity bird sighting!
  • Going to see B'way show Talk Radio for my birthday, and finding out the guy in the seat in front of me and the woman in back of me were there to celebrate their birthdays too.
  • Finding my amazing apartment, which is half a block from Central Park. Not even knowing how close it is to everything I need. Feeling blessed and grateful to the universe for that. (trust me, finding an apartment in this city can be a challenge. See my broker's information under Helpful Links as well as photos under Favorite Photos).

Small World Stories: True illustrations of how small the world is, or "like attracts like":

  • Learning that my high school friend Robin knows the wonderful actress Randy Danson, good friend of my NYC friend Ann.
  • Meeting Camilla, who moved here from DC a year ago, and for some reason asking if she knew Tancy. Not only does she know her, but Tancy stayed with her folks when she visited Australia. I have a painting of Tancy's from that trip to Australia.
  • At the welcome brunch, meeting a Columbia U. physicist that used to live on U. Street in DC, where of course I lived while there. We were there at the same time.
  • There is more, but I'll leave it there for now.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Science and Art on a Snowy New York Day

Amazing what this city offers.

This morning I went to the Jeff Wall exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Pretty extraordinary -- powerful staged gigantic photos that succeed in telling a story, and thus take you far outside yourself. Great stuff. Some of the work tends to be dark and broody. For fun, see if you can count the number of potential serial killers he has lurking about (kidding, kinda).

At the suggestion of my friend Ann, I became a MoMA member. This entitles me to free access to all exhibits and films, discounts on lectures, members-only previews, etc. Better yet, I can get friends in for $5 each. So if there is something you want to see, let me know first so I can save you from the normal $20 entry fee. Learn more on the exhibits, membership, etc. here.

MoMA has always been special to me. When I'd come up to NYC during my 20's, the museum would be my mecca. I'd make a bee line for it, see all the cool modern art, and then head off into the city. It is thrilling to have such easy access to it 15 or so years later.

This evening, it was up to Columbia University to hear Oliver Sacks, renowned neurologist and author of such books as "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat". His topic was on "Music and the Mind." He was incredible -- filled with good humor, fascinating case studies and sharp intelligence. A longtime fan of his work, I felt incredibly honored to hear his lecture. And it was FREE! Check out Columbia's Web site for details on visiting lecturers.

As I woke up to a light dusting of snow on the ground, making the beauty of Central Park just breathtaking, I had to again pinch myself that I am really living here. Gratitude shout out!

Welcome to New York Newbie!

Welcome to New York Newbie, a new resident's perspective on the greatest city on earth.

I've just moved to Manhattan, and my eyes and ears are fresh and ready to take in all that this city has to offer.

If you are new to the city, planning on moving here, or just want a fresh perspective on all that this grand place has to offer, check out what I'm learning and posting.