Sideway Stories

Monday, September 24, 2012

Do you remember that book, Sideway Stories from Wayside School?  Oh man, I loved that book.  It's about this messed up school where, instead of the classrooms being built all in a row next to each other were accidentally built one on top of another.  I'm pretty sure I read it at least a dozen times when I was a child.  Last week, I visited New York's real life version...

Rather than an Oklahoma/Texas style shopping center built all in a line along some major highway, these stores are built one on top of another, right along 116th street and the East River.  Now, East Harlem is not a neighborhood I visit frequently/ever.  But I had to go to Costco for work.  I hate Costco.  Here is why...

I do not understand the point of places like Costco.  I mean, yes, I know that those families with TLC shows and 18 children shop in bulk.  I just think that Costco is everything that's wrong with America.  Why would you possibly need ten dozen eggs, giant rolls of toilet paper, clothing, and a bread maker all from the same place?  At least there is jewelry.

And at least it was an excuse to go to Target.  For as much as I hate Costco, I love Target.  Note to boss...thou shalt not send Katie to Target with the company credit card.  I mean, really...who thought that was a good idea?

So since I had been shopping and had a staff meeting that night, I decided to surprise my staff with a little treat.  I am a good boss...or I at least try to be a good boss.  Now, you should know that rice krispy treats were a staple in our house growing up.  The Chief would make shapes like pumpkins or christmas trees out of the marshmallowy buttery goodness and then we would decorate them with icing.  Think, cookie cake but with rice krispies.  Also, you should know that I love smores.  What's not to love...chocolate, graham crackers, toasted marshmallows.  Enter the smores treats.  

Here's how it went.  

Melt butter.  All good things start here.

Melt marshmallows.

Add golden grahams.

Throw in some mini chocolate chips (or the whole bag if your hand slips like mine did).

Spread in buttered pan while picking out the really good pieces to eat immediately.

Lick spoon.

OMG, delicious people.  Like a campfire treat without the fire...I live in New York City people.  Fires are frowned upon.  So so so good.

Or so I thought.

I rolled up to staff meeting, unveiled the treats, and heard a chorus of complaints.  Seriously.  Here's how that part went...  "Are those marshmallows kosher?"  "Did you use gluten free cereal?"  "I'm a vegetarian, I can't eat that."  And on and on and on.

Dear college women of New York City: I am almost absolutely certain that one smores treat will not kill you.

Now, I'm all for inclusivity, but sometimes it gets a little ridiculous around here.  In a department and job so focused on food for every imaginable event, I am supposed to make sure that the food I order or provide (which is almost always required), meets the following categories:

Gluten Free
Dairy Free
Nut Free
(and some other things I can't think of right now)

People, it is physically impossible to do.  And more importantly, I just don't want to.  I generally eat very healthy food (except for those occasional trips to Max Brenner).  I'm all for helping college students develop healthy eating habits.  But this is ridiculous.  Craziness up here.

And so I gave my smores treats to my friends, who ate every bite.  At least my friends love me.

Just A Few Questions I Have

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Ah Siri, where would we be without you?

New York State of Mind

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Last year, one of my super fantastic New York friends once told me that one day when I flew back into New York I would be glad to be back, instead of being sad my weekend home was over.  And I finally believe him.  

Last week, I had a New York first.  I purchased a plane ticket to Oklahoma with less than 24 hours notice, in order to deal with a little (big) family-related medical situation (no worries, all is fine now).  On Tuesday afternoon, I spent approximately not quite $700 to be in Oklahoma on Wednesday morning.  And at 4:28 Wednesday morning, I was standing on the corner of 116th and Broadway hailing a cab.  I landed in Dallas to a beautiful sunrise as big as Texas, and by 9:45 a.m. I was on the runway in Oklahoma City.  The Chief actually met me at my gate instead of baggage claim, since she literally got on my very same plane to head to a business trip.  We hugged at the gate and she handed me the car keys.  True story. 

But anyways, after a particularly rough week/weekend in Oklahoma and very little sleep, I was more glad to see that New York City skyline than ever before.  The plane flew right along the Hudson River, right next to the best skyline in the world.  And as always, it's the best reminder of just how much I love this city.  

Now, I have a love/hate relationship with Glee.  Lots of times I kind of hate it, but I love musical theater and Broadway and anything even closely related.  And then Glee goes and pulls a number like this, and I just can't help but love it.  

And I love that song, especially the Hudson River references and the Riverside shout out.  I live on a block right between Broadway and Riverside.   And this is my view from my favorite "running" route, Riverside Park.  I start at 116th and run along the outside path until I get to 96th street, where I curve into the park just in time for my favorite spot in the entire city.

"There's a place in Riverside Park at 91st street where the path curves and there's a garden.  Brinkley and I will be waiting."  

One day I will get a puppy and name him or her Brinkley.  I found a beagle puppy yesterday and really wanted to get it and name it Brinkley.  Sadly, it already belonged to someone else.  But one day, I'll name a puppy Brinkley just out of respect to my favorite spot in this city, memorialized by one of my favorite movies (the other is Sleepless in Seattle...see a pattern here?).  Okay, maybe it's my favorite spot because the world's best movie ending took place right here.  I don't care.  Hopeless romantic and not apologizing for it.

In case your day needs a boost, here's the movie ending...

Maybe one day you and Brinkley will be waiting, whoever you are.  But really, that would be kind of awkward I guess.  I don't look so cute when I run.  Think, Phoebe on friends.  And really, I use the term run in a very loose sense of the word.  It's really more like a fast-ish type walk in which I occasionally run a block or so before returning to my walk.  But just when I need a little inspiration to keep going, the city always surprises me...

New York Necessities

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

So you all know by know how ridiculous New Yorkers are, right?  I mean, these people will pay for anything.  ANYTHING.  Obviously, I am just crazy jealous about a lot of it, but who is counting, right? 

I always used to think that if I ever won the lottery, my first purchase would be someone to do my hair every single morning.  Even with the best of intentions, it just never works quite right.  I always end up with lines in strange places or burn marks or something else equally attractive.  Someone else to just wash and style my hair on a daily basis?  Living the dream.

Enter Manhattan's blow-out scene.  These women pay money multiple times a week just for other people to wash and style their hair, which last, at most, for a few days.  These blow-outs can range from $40 to $60 to $100 to a whole bunch more.  There are salons dedicated solely to blow-outs, nothing else.  They're like the dream of New York living.  Clearly, a luxury not even remotely present on a grad school budget.  But still, I always wondered.  

Enter DryBar.  I was curious.  I like them on Facebook (just in case).  I saw that they were doing a training session for new stylists.  Since it didn't involve scissors and dye, what's to lose?  Free $40 style?  I'm in.

So here's the before, of me doing it myself...

And here is DryBar...

People, it's like the best place on Earth.  Disney for New York women.  Michael Buble playing in the background.  Sex and the City 2 movie showing while your hair is washed and styled.  Drinks and cookies.  And best of all?  iPhone chargers at each station.  Being that mine was on its last 5%, this was definitely a selling point.  After one of the most relaxing hours I can imagine, I emerged with new hair (named the "Cosmo-Tini"), a gift card for future services, and invitations to future training sessions.  All for the generous gift of my time for their service.  Seriously.  

End results of the "Cosmo-Tini"... 
(Please excuse my inability to take photos of myself.  It looks better in person, I promise.)

So true to childhood dream, I still want to go there every single day.    Maybe I could add it to the official {the ivy project} katie tour?  Oh so much fun people.

New York Minute

Tornado 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hahahahaha.  New York City had a tornado this weekend.  It was seriously the one of the funniest things I have ever experienced.  Almost as good as that time we had a hurricane.  (Here's my Hurricane Irene recap, if you need the back story.  It's a five part series, so just go back to August of 2011 for the full story.)  But back to this weekend's twister in NYC.  Pretty stinking funny.

Ah, the comforts of home...

There I was sitting in my Saturday morning stats class (which was it's own special brand of disaster, but that's not the point right now), when I started getting weather alert texts.  It was raining really super hard, but I love that kind of weather.  No big deal.  But then everyone started texting and questioning and posting on Facebook about an apparent tornado in Brooklyn.  I mean, obviously we weren't paying attention to stats on a Saturday morning.

Here's some video from the local NBC affiliate, just for "proof."

And some storm chasing shots for emphasis.  I love the Aussie accent...

Things quieted down for a bit, then picked up right as class was ending and we were headed to dinner across the street.  I seriously gave tornado survival lessons (basements, no windows, what to do when driving, etc.).  Meanwhile, the college sent an email with emergency procedures, which focused on asking students to please close their blinds and shades.  Hate to break it to you New York, but that's not going to help you one little bit in the event of an actual tornado.  It was great fun, people.  Gary England would have been proud.  This morning the local news reported that there were no injuries, so that's good.  And then the gave a "Top 5 Tornadoes of New York City" special report and graphic.  The meteorologist proudly reported that yesterday's tornado ranked as an EF0.  My first thought?  "You people are so cute."  An EF0, really?  That's not even a thing in Oklahoma.  Talk to me when it's a mile wide and moving slower than dirt.  

But just for fun, here are super fancy shots of a storm we had at the end of July.  People also freaked out about this one.  From the ground, it really just seemed like a little rain.  But still, cool pictures...

I'm such a sucker for a good storm...

Hidden Treasures

Sunday, September 9, 2012

You just never know what you're going to find in New York.  In just under 23 square miles in Manhattan and not quite 6,500 miles of streets in New York City (sidenote: I'm not so good with math, but how does that work?), there are thousands of hidden streets and blocks and secrets just waiting to be discovered.  Wandering this city is better than any attraction.  It's the best part of living here for sure.  

Like the other day, when I found my dream New York City home.  8 Morton Street in Greenwich Village.  It's the emerald green front at first sight.  Also, it is around the corner from the city's best cheese shop, Murray's.  Deliciousness.  Also, it has recently come to my attention that I need four bedrooms and ample living space.  Lots of visitors people, and like it or not, only so many people can sleep in my tiny little apartment.  It's necessary, really.

And then today I met a friend for brunch down on the Lower East Side, home to a few of my favorite New York hidden gems, but so far off the beaten path from anywhere any tourist might find.  Like Schiller's.  Rachel McAdams and Patrick Wilson go there a lot in Morning Glory.  I went there first, though.  Nothing bad can happen to you at Schiller's.  It is physically impossible.  If you go to Schiller's, good and happy things are bound to occur.  

Schiller's wasn't today's brunch stop.  I just felt like I should share.  But seriously...don't tell people and let the secret out.  It's just mine.  

But brunch today.  My friend said to walk east on Rivington from Bowery and not to miss it.  That I would definitely miss it.  No I won't, I thought, but thanks.  I am awesome at directions and navigation.  It is a secret talent.  Totally missed it people, because it was at the end of this totally shady, wouldn't even give it a second glance kind of alley...  

But then I found Freeman's waiting, conveniently located at the end of Freeman's Alley...

And inside, I found this super secretive delicious establishment that kind of makes you forget you're in New York, except that the ability to do that is the hallmark of quality in New York.  New Yorkers will pay big bucks for the illusion of escaping New York.  

I would imagine that, like Schiller's, Freeman's has the potential for lovely dreamy things to occur.  For sure one of my new favorite happy places.  But still, it's no Schiller's.  

And just for emphasis, parting words on the way back down the alley...

So keep your eyes open friends, because you just never know what this city has waiting when you least expect it.

Museums and Music and Daydreams

Monday, September 3, 2012

Here is what I do on Labor Day in New York City: I go to the Met (the museum, not the opera).  It's the best place to just get away and wander and forget about work and school and such.  Mostly, it's the best place to daydream.  Just imagine...blocks and blocks of Van Gogh and Degas and knights in shining armor and other cool things.  My absolute favorite lazy day activity involves an iPod and museum and daydreaming.

See?  Good start already.

Also, it is free with my Columbia ID, so that helps.

Labor Day is always my survival, must get to that day on the calendar date.  The month-long training for work is over and move-in is complete.  This year even more so, since I was on call last night.  Now, legend has it that the Sunday night before Labor Day is the worst night of the year to be on call.  Students are back on campus, away from parents, and don't have class until the day after Labor Day.  Bad combination people.  And true to form, the legend lives on.  It was a long night people.  Long long night with not so much sleep.

So I needed to get away.  Big time.  First of all, I took the bus...all by myself.  This is a big deal people.  I've only taken the bus with other people.  It's not scary or anything...just confusing.  Buses in New York don't run in straight lines like subways do.  They're all over the place.  But I was tired from the not sleeping, so bus it was.  And it was super easy.  I grabbed a bagel from my favorite Upper East Side grilled cheese deli and enjoyed it on the steps of the Met.  Turns out, the grilled cheese place has the best bagel in all of New York.  Check it out: E.A.T.

First stop inside The Met?  Rooftop Garden.  Seriously maybe my favorite place in the city.  It's only open from April through October, but I just would stay up there all the time if they'd let me.  I mean, it's worth it people...

So that's all.  Museums and music and daydreams?  Good Monday.