I’m Still Standing

When you wake up on Tuesday with a substantial hangover, you know it’s going to be a long week. But when friends from California arrive for spring break, you don’t stay home just because it’s a Monday. We started the night with cocktails at the George Washington bar at the Freehand Hotel where they were staying. They make a lovely French 75.

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A few drinks later, we dashed down to the village for a bottle of bubbles at Air’s Champagne Parlor before going downstairs for an 8:30 seating at Tokyo Record Bar. It’s always nice in a big city like NY, to feel welcomed and included and the folks at these two locales always make us feel that way. We are so excited to try their latest food and wine experience at the newly opened Niche Niche billed as a “dinner party with friends.” We have reservations on the 29th!

Wednesday night was the Bronx Letters Foundation annual chef tasting event. It was an incredible night. If you weren’t able to attend this year, please consider joining us next year! It was so great to be surrounded by so many friends!

Thursday morning was a little rough going, and it made it all the more challenging by a promise I made to my friend Hilary to go to the Peloton Studio to take my first ride. n.b. I don’t enjoy working out, and the last thing I thought I would ever do is try and attempt to work out while pedaling a bike. I was overjoyed when it was over, and I’ll admit I didn’t hate it. The workout was led by Ally Love who magically appeared in the Sunday New York Times yesterday. Now I know what she’s doing when she’s not sweating on a bike. I did enjoy the post-workout treat at Chanson. The thing about NYC is that there are so many fabulous places you can easily walk by them without knowing what’s inside. Such was the case with Chanson until I saw pictures of their magical Black Sesame Kouign Amann on Instagram. I wish I kept on walking; they are that good. Now I’ll have to avoid that part of 23rd street.

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The peloton workout was the beginning of our “day of wellness.” After showers, we had an incredible lunch at abcV which is as beautiful as it is delicious. From there we went to my favorite stretch’d and finished up with a face massage at facelove. A face massage is just what it sounds like and is all the best parts of a body massage without having to get undressed. Just don’t make plans afterward because your hair will look like you’ve been rolling around in bed all afternoon.

Friday night, Tom and I went to see Elton at Barclay’s. He sang for 2 1/2 hours and took me down the yellow brick road of my life. I first saw Elton as a 15-year-old at his free concert in Central Park. I was young, wild and free and I’ll never forget what it felt like to dance in Sheeps Meadow surrounded by my best friends and hundreds of thousands of others. The next time I saw Elton was in 1998 at MSG. Tom and I took Thomas (age 8) and Hayden (age 4). So to return as an emtpy nester was both beautiful and bittersweet.

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Elton in Central Park in 1980 in the now famous duck suit created by Bob Mackie.

We ate a quick pre-show dinner at the new Gupshup in Gramercy. Fans of high-end Indian and craft cocktails will enjoy this new addition to the neighborhood. The food was good, and so was my drink, but it’s expensive, and only a ten minute walk from Little India…

Tom and I went for a long walk Saturday up the Highline to see the progress at Hudson Yards. We have tickets to climb the Vessel on opening day (March 23rd). The tickets are free, and you can reserve them here. We were hungry and had no plans for brunch, so we took advantage of our way west location and stopped in at the Chelsea branch of Sullivan Street Bakery. This bakery, originally located in Soho, has been around for almost 20 years and there are several reasons why – including these insane Bomboloni (aka donuts).

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Saturday night I spent with two of my kids waiting at our apartment for my youngest Annie to land from spring break. We had plans to go for a late night early birthday dinner downstairs at Gramercy Tavern, but unfortunately, due to severe flight delays, she didn’t arrive until after they stopped serving at midnight. Our Saturday night dinner turned into Sunday brunch. Gramercy Tavern is a great place to celebrate anything. It just feels special when you walk in, and the service is very attentive. I loved the little coconut cake they brought for Annie’s birthday. It wasn’t something I pre-ordered, I just let them know we were celebrating when we arrived, and they asked for her name. Now that’s excellent service.

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I am looking forward to this coming Friday and our tickets to see Burn This. With Adam Driver and Russell in the lead roles, it is going to be a HOT ticket!

Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

We Were Stuck In A Blender And Now We’re Saving Lives?

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An old friend and reader of my blog sent this to me this week saying it reminded her of me. I love that.

Wednesday morning while playing bridge my wrist buzzed with an incoming text. It said, “Do you have time for a quick trip to Paris? K has an apartment with an extra bedroom.” As much as I’d like to think I get texts like this all the time, I don’t. It made sitting at the Bridge table, defending against a 3 No Trump tricky. All I could think about was how I could say yes. As an empty nester, these are the opportunities you talk about having the ability to take. “When the kids are gone, I’ll be able to travel on a moment’s notice…” But the reality of life, at least for me, doesn’t work that way. There are always obligations and bills to pay. But this time, with the OK from Tom, I said yes. “We were playing bridge, and now we’re booking last minute tickets to Paris?”

Speaking of last-minute tickets, I knew that to justify this trip to myself and my husband, it had to make sense financially. I’m the type of person that if I collect enough frequent flyer miles or points, I book a trip immediately, so I didn’t have any in the “bank.” I did have two amazing tickets to The Ferryman on Broadway that I knew I could sell in a minute, which I did. I tasked myself with finding a flight that my new found wealth would cover, and it came very, very close. I found a non-stop, round-trip ticket to Orly from Newark on Level Airlines. Level Airlines a new-ish long-haul, low-cost airline that started in 2017. The planes are brand-new, and my round-trip flight cost $370! The ticket originally cost $270, but I draw the frugal line when it comes to a week in Paris in winter with only a carry-on. I leave Monday night. C’est tres tres bien.

I’m writing this blog entry while sitting in front of my new Nature Bright Sun Touch Plus.  My sister-in-law, who happens to be a font of wisdom and knowledge, said it is doing wonders for her January blues. It was only $39.99. I bought two; one for me and one as a gift. Thirty minutes every morning, while reading the paper or answering emails or making To Do lists is something I can easily work into my daily routine. I’ll keep you posted on results!

I’ve written in the past about my excitement when there are new additions to my neighborhood, and this week there were two. On the corner of 20th and Broadway, a massive space that has been vacant for a long time, is now a collaboration between BlueStone Lane Coffee and WeWork only this WeWork is a little different. Instead of having a membership, you can rent space by the MINUTE. And, they sell goods produced by their members. It’s an interesting concept. I don’t see myself ever paying to sit there, but now I have three choices for excellent coffee on my block.

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On Thursday, Ole and Steen, a bakery/cafe from Sweden opened their doors to hordes of bread lovers. The concept is similar in scope to Maison Kayser, but without table service. It’s all-day dining, with bread as the main ingredient. I’m not complaining. I’m a fan of good bread. Tom and I went for lunch on Saturday, and the counter service was frenetic, but the food was very good, and they have a nice amount of space to linger, both on the main floor and in the basement. I’ve read that they are baking on premise, so the freshness factor is high. I know that once they get the kinks out, it will be a go-to option for me during the day, where I won’t have to pay to sit and take my time.

Friday was the kick-off to restaurant week(s) in NYC. Last year I tried two spots, and neither were any good. Friday night I made a reservation at a place around the block I’d passed and never tried. I wanted to like it, I really did. Unfortunately, no. I’m officially giving up on restaurant week. I think it’s a misnomer. It should be called Restaurant Fail Week. If you feel differently, PLEASE tell me where you ate and what you loved.

Last night Tom and I went to see The Invisibles at The Landmark 57 Theater (one of my favorite theaters in the city). It was a docu-drama about four of the 7000 German Jews who tried to escape deportation to the camps by living in full view of the Nazis. The four stories were of teenagers, and of course, it made me think about what if that happened here, now, would our “soft” kids be able to have the prowess to hide in plain sight? I’m not sure. The bonus of seeing the movie in this theater was the free Q&A afterward with the director and one of the “stars” of the movie! One of the four survivors, Hanni, took questions from the audience. She was incredible. It was an emotional viewing in a packed audience. Thankfully the bar in the theater stays open late and their happy hour starts at 9 pm.

I’m so excited to invite my readers to the annual Bronx Letters Foundation “Food For Thought” benefit! This year our host is the food God Eric Ripert, one of the greatest chefs in the world today. We will be honoring the life of our school’s patron saint, Anthony Bourdain. Tickets are on sale now, and you can buy them here!

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Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

 

There Are Many Places Where I Belong – One Of Them Is Not the Gym

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I love my new mug – a gift from my youngest daughter’s college roommates. It makes me laugh. I’m almost always early, so it really tells you just how much exercise I get. There are many places where I feel right at home – a library, almost any type of restaurant, cafe or gourmet market, a book store, a speakeasy, a bridge table, a NYC subway, and at the five-way crossing in Shibuya, but put me in a packed gym on a holiday Monday, and I look like a newly arrived alien from the planet Xena. I’m 53, so I don’t have any hope that will change. I’m failing terribly at my attempt to get my body in better shape, but I am killing it in my brain stretching and flexing attempt.  Last week I spent three mornings playing bridge at Honors Bridge Club. I’m obsessed and utterly hooked. But it’s all in pursuit of staving off dementia, so I don’t feel too guilty about spending countless hours playing with a deck of cards – can you say grand slam?

In addition to my card obsession, I have been looking for new ways to get my hygge  on – the only reason to live on the east coast in January. This recipe was from last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, and they had me at “one cast iron pan”. Side note, I love to cook and have for decades, but just purchased my FIRST cast iron pan when I moved to the city 18 months ago. I use it almost every night I cook. I bought Smithey at Food52, and I LOVE it. The recipe was for Stock-and-Cider-Brined Chicken Over Stuffing. I think mine looked exactly like the picture, and it was seriously delicious (and easy). I cook a lot for my city kids, but I’ve never received a text the next day from my son telling me how good the dinner was, until now. Make this, and if you don’t have the cast iron pan, buy one, you’ll thank me. img_4549

This week was filled with art because it’s the perfect thing to do when it’s cold and rainy. I spent a fabulous winter afternoon at the Guggenheim with an “old” friend immersed in the revolutionary art of Hilma af Klint. The story of this fierce turn of the 20th-century painter is pretty incredible. She was a fan of the spiritual occult, and not only is it evident in her forward facing artwork, but she also writes of having her art displayed in the future in a circular “temple.” How did she know?

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After making our way around the exhibit, we had craft cocktails at Jacques Bar in the Lowell Hotel.  It left me wanting to return to eat at Majorelle. The menu is expensive, but I like their economical $40 lunch in 40 minutes. Sounds like my kind of work out.

Friday night, Tom and I were in the mood for noodles and went to Hunan Slurp in the East Village. I’d been for lunch but wanted to return for dinner. I do love a noodle shop that takes reservations! NB, they don’t have a liquor license, but there is a store across the street. Tom ran out to stock up on large Sapporo beers, while I ordered. We loved it all, including the walk home via St. Marks. Not much has changed on the famed block since I was a freshman at NYU, and that is a good thing. It’s nice to see that not every downtown neighborhood has been gentrified.

 

 

There was a lot of talk this week about the weekend storm arriving on Saturday, and MB and I had plans. Initially, we thought it might be fun to get out of the city and find a fireplace, but the snow estimates made us change our plans and stay put. We started the day at the Outsider Art Fair at the Metropolitan Pavilion. I went last year and loved it. Outsider art is defined as art produced by self-taught artists who are not part of the artistic establishment. Many of the artists represented at the fair have mental illness, are autistic, were once incarcerated, or have other incredible life stories. The art represents their experience, and if I didn’t live in a 1600 square foot apartment that is already covered in art, I would have been a purchaser instead of an observer. Here are a few examples:

 

 

It was the perfect “snow is on the way” activity. Unfortunately, the snow never came, but that didn’t stop us from watching movies, ordering in, and pretending there was a foot outside.

Sunday was spent watching the Patriots do exactly what they always do, come from behind and win. As we are not Patriot fans, and we are pretty sick of them always landing on the right side of the scoreboard, we’ve decided to now become fans hoping this will be the end of their winning streak. Just kidding.

Monday reminded me that yes, it’s winter. It was f@#$%$#*& freezing! There was only one thing we wanted for lunch, and it was another bowl of steaming noodles. The closest spot was Bao Bao Cafe that claims to have the spiciest ramen in the city. Judging by the medium spicy, I’d say they might be right. The sign outside says, “If you hate someone, bring them here for ramen. Ours is the spiciest in the city.”

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Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

Life Swap

 

With Tom starting a new job this past fall, a big Christmas vacation was not in the cards for us this holiday season, but that didn’t stop us from getting away for a few days. Our solution: a family life swap! My brother Scott and his young family live on the inter-coastal in Boca Raton, and we live in a 1650 square foot loft in Gramercy. It was the perfect exchange. The pictures above show Scott entering our apartment building, and Tom sticking his head through the front door peephole of Scott’s Spanish Colonial home.

While we were doing things like going to Delray Beach, walking the Atlantic Avenue strip, eating at 50 Ocean  and Taverna Opa renting a lux pontoon boat at Waterstone Resort watching the Orange Bowl (live at Hard Rock Stadium ), and playing golf at The Club at Ibis,

 

they were doing things like eating at The Corner Bistro Chip Sushi Seki Minetta Tavern Il Mulino   Joe’s Pizza  Do  Black Tap  Mr. Chow  Sugarfish  Cozy Soup and Burger  Prince Street Pizza  and going to see the Rangers play at the Garden and Mean Girls on Broadway, buying hard to get Paul George PlayStation sneakers at The Fight Club  visiting the 911 Museum, and shopping at The Oculus.

Most of the things I write about are “empty nester” focused, but Scott has a 13 -year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. Before they arrived, I created a list of fun places in my neighborhood and further afield in the city. They took the list and ran with it, adding new ones of their own.

 

We crossed paths in NYC for 10 minutes after we arrived home, and before they left. I have to say the kids looked completely wiped!!! Scott and Danielle made the most of 4 nights in NYC – even I was impressed! I’m sure they needed a vacation from their vacation. It was a really interesting experience because unlike Airbnb we both left our homes intact – food in the refrigerator, clothes in the closets, cars in the driveway, and holiday gifts waiting in the kitchen! It was fabulous. I highly recommend it.

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I’m very excited to say that the best gift I received this Christmas was an upgrade to my blog! There are so many changes I’ve wanted to make, but the technology was above my pay grade. My oldest son, who works at Apple gave me the gift of his time creating specifications, and the hiring of a WordPress expert on Fiverr He is going to manage the process for me so stay tuned for a new “look and feel” for 2019!

Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

 

The Perfect Holiday Cocktail

IMG_3718I was in Napa last week for the annual Tokyo Tomodachi gift exchange. Each year, a group of friends who met in Tokyo many years ago re-enact a holiday tradition that was started by a group of expats in Tokyo circa early 2000s where great friends dress up, eat a decadent meal, drink many cocktails and fight over an expensive trinket. I look forward to this exchange every year, and it really has nothing to do with the gift. I don’t see these women often, but our connection to one another was formed in the perfect kind of petri dish – we had no extended family, we lived in a very foreign land, earthquakes were a regular occurrence, and we all shared an adventurous and curious spirit. Our time together last week was a whirlwind of fun, and the best gift I could have given myself for Christmas. We cheer each other on and give big hugs when needed. We learn from each other, and I always return home with a list of things I need to read, see, buy or eat. I think a part of the magic is that we are not in each other’s daily lives and so we never take one another for granted. We appreciate every minute together.

Okay, getting back to the title of this post… the perfect holiday cocktail (besides the mix of old friends, great food and bottles of Napa wine), it’s called a Paperplane, and I’m a huge fan. Hilary, the Napanista made it for me last week. Equal parts Bourbon, Aperol, Nonino Amaro, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Shake over ice. Many of these will be quaffed on Christmas Eve at my apartment.

Before I get to the “all things good in Napa” part of this post, I need to tell you about a new play that just opened at St. Ann’s Warehouse on Sunday. It’s called The Jungle, and the reviews are fabulous. I have tickets in January, and I can’t wait. You should go too. Also, Oklahoma (from the same St. Ann’s Warehouse) is coming to Broadway, and the tickets went on pre-sale today. The show was so fun, and I know it will be a big deal. Get tickets for this too!

Napa:

Sleeping in a home surrounded by grapevines is divine. These were the views I had with my morning coffee.

 

We had two full days in Napa and did some serious wine tasting. First up: Okapi Wines. Kim is awesome. You need to meet her and drink her wine.

 

 

Next up: Kenzo Estate a very special place for our Tokyo group. The wine is mostly distributed in Japan, so it’s hard to experience unless you visit the estate. The attention to detail in everything they do is very Japanese, right down to the etching of the names of each wine on the glasses.

 

 

Dinner that night was at Miminashi – are you sensing a Japanese theme? The food was divine – Japanese but with a twist. I loved everything, but I’ll be thinking about that macaroni salad they serve as an amuse bouche. I need the recipe. Put this place on your Napa list. The dessert is just as good as the meal so leave room.

On the second day, our crew became a peloton (I recently learned the definition, and I’m excited to use it in my first sentence) on our rented ebikes. We started in Napa and powered our way to Yountville along the highway next to the train tracks – the views were breathtaking, but we were going so fast it would have been dangerous to take pictures. Thankfully this ride took place BEFORE the wine.

 

 

Lunch was at the new Restoration Hardware restaurant in Yountville. I’ve been to the one in NYC, and I thought it was nice. The one in Yountville will blow you away. The food is better, and the experience is more authentic. I also learned that antique wheat threshers can be art. Now I want one.

 

We dropped off the bikes and ubered to Robert Sinskey Vineyards where there was a table waiting for us in a cave surrounded by library wines, and more food. Somehow we powered through it. Their wine tasting pamphlet “Gluttons Only” was aptly named.

 

Guess what was next? More wine! Our last stop was at The Prisoner Wine Company, which gets a lot of play on Instagram and is very popular with millennials. I was sort of obsessed with their sexy rose and shipped some home. The question will be whether I wait until summer returns to drink it – not likely.

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Our final meal together that night was at Angele in Napa in a small private room. We dressed up…heels, fur, jewels, the works and kicked off the night with the giving of omiyage. The Japanese love bringing small gifts to friends when traveling and we do the same when we see each other.

 

The evening ended back at Hilary’s house where gifts were exchanged and fought over, all in good fun, of course.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

Up Your Spontaneity Quotient

In this Sunday’s NY Times (aka my activity bible), I read an article in the travel section entitled How To Up The Spontaneity Quotient On Your Next Trip. This spoke to me because truth be told I am a planner and have been guilty of overplanning. But I am always looking for the middle ground, the happy medium between not missing out on the “must do, eat, see” things, and finding that hidden local place that you’ll think about for years to come. Reading the article also made me think about my everyday life in NYC. I subscribe to oodles of websites and receive emails all day every day informing me of the “next best everything,” and these emails inform my decisions. But I also spend time wandering unknown neighborhoods snapping pictures of places I want to return to the next time I’m nearby. I am going to make it a goal of mine to consciously practice deliberate spontaneity by going on more “missions” and talking to more people I don’t know.

Monday I had lunch at Pastaio di Eataly, the new restaurant addition to the flagship Eataly on 23rd Street. I’m a fan of eating at the bar, and this is one long bar that curves around a butcher block where fresh pasta is made. It’s like watching art. Everything was fabulous.

Have you been to the Museum of the City of New York? I’d never been, but after my visit last week I will return. I went to see an exhibit called Rebel Women. It was fascinating! Turns out there were female badasses all the way back to the early 1800’s. The museum has a fabulous gift shop that changes 1/3 of their offerings with every exhibit. I spent just as much time in the shop as in the museum, and I managed to cross off a few Christmas gifts on my list. Walking from the museum on 5th Avenue and 103rd, I found the end of Park Avenue at 96th street. It stopped me in my tracks.

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I love my book club. It was started about a year ago when I moved back to the city, and a friend and I decided to start one. I’ve always found community when sitting with a glass of wine in my hand and a book as the basis of discussion. Our book club is a day time event, and the host changes every month. If you host, you pick the book and you serve what you like. This month, the book was a controversial choice, Undone. The host chose it because she is good friends with the author, John Colapinto and he agreed to join us (hence the change to evening) for a glass of wine and a spirited discussion. John is a well-known established non-fiction writer, and this book was a diversion from his typical subject matter. I felt a little sorry for him as we discussed the book for an hour before he arrived – it was almost like he was thrown to the wine-soaked wolves. Without turning this blog into a book review, I’ll say that John’s a great writer and I kept turning the pages. You might want to read for your self…

I just want to say again how I, along with every other NYC resident and transit employee was NOT READY for this.

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I know there are a million poke spots in NYC, but I will walk way out of my way to eat here. If you find yourself in Chelsea, check out Wisefish Poke.

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Saturday night we booked a table with friends at the Cafe Carlyle a classic NYC institution. The last time Tom and I had been, Bobby Short was alive and tickling the ivories. Bemelman’s Bar was packed, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the house. There was a ton of glam, vat-sized martinis, and the show was great.

I’m typing this blog as I wait for Amazon Fresh to deliver all my Thanksgiving needs (they are now officially 3 hours and 20 minutes past the deadline and say they won’t deliver) but my refrigerator is spotless and mostly empty, waiting for the arrival. My kids fly and train into the coop tonight, but I have reserved a very fun double bunk room for the four of them at the Freehand Hotel (a five-minute walk from the apartment), so there will be no dirty towels left on the floor of my guest bathroom. I think they are pretty excited to bunk up together too.

I wish you all a very festive feast, and hopefully, there won’t be too much discussion around your table about politics and climate change, because those will only ruin your appetite. Take a break from the negativity for a bit and enjoy all the good things that bring you and the people you share your meal with together.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

I Have A Lot On My Mind

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I imagine you do too. Not much happens on a typical Tuesday. It’s not the start of the work week or the Humpday, and it’s definitely not Thursday, which is almost Friday and then it’s not a weekend night or a gloomy Sunday. It really is the only meh day of the week. But not next week. Next week it’s THE only day that matters. And that’s why I have a lot on my mind.

This past week on Halloween, I attended a day-long conference on The Future of Work  hosted by The Atlantic magazine at the Park Hyatt in midtown. It ran from 9 until 3:30 and dispensed a whirlwind of information. Can you guess what the future of work involves? I’ll give you a big hint: it has four letters and rhymes with deck. There were many takeaways from the day, but here are my favorites:

“Today, technology is something that we use. Soon, technology will be something that we are.”

“Up until now, our lives were linear. We spent the first 22 years becoming educated, the next 40 years working, and the rest of our lives retiring until we died. Half of all ten- year-olds today will live until 104. That means that the work part of our lives will last at least six decades. In the future, after our first two jobs, we’ll circle back to education, retrain and then pivot in another direction. We might pivot a few times until the end of our careers.”

I’m sort of jealous that my life didn’t have as many loops as my kids’ lives will. I think this is one of the problems with empty nest women today who want to go back to work.  They have an incredible amount of life skills and perspective, but don’t have the current training to use them. Thankfully this won’t happen to our daughters. For more information check out Future Is Learning. I highly recommend checking out the upcoming conferences that the Atlantic hosts as they are super informative and FREE!

One of the things I love about Halloween in NYC is that you don’t have to plan anything and you can have an amazing time. The city is one big party, and everyone is invited, even fancy Mr. Eyeball.

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Tom is a mask guy. Unfortunately, with the crowds, it turned into more of a weapon.

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Thursday evening I went out of my go-to neighborhoods and had a drink with the poet (and my friend) Esther Cohen . Esther is a people poet. She talks to everyone, listens to their stories and then writes short poems about them. Even if you are not a “poetry” person, you will like reading Esther’s daily poems. She suggested Boulevard Bistro in Harlem on Lenox Avenue and 122nd street. I was so amazed to pop out of the subway on 125th and find one of the most beautiful boulevards I’ve seen in the city. I plan to return and walk the neighborhood. The small soul food restaurant is located in the basement of a brownstone. The staff couldn’t have been nicer and I look forwad to returning to try their food.

Living in Flatiron/Gramercy is a food lover’s paradise; however, there aren’t that many small local places that you can walk in and eat (please, if you are reading this and you feel differently, leave a comment and enlighten me). So I have tasked myself with noting small places that look interesting whenever I am out and about and Friday night we went to St. Tropez Winebar which really is a misnomer because it was so much more than a wine bar. The vibe is cool urban warmth, well lit with a tiny open kitchen that performs small miracles. We started with Moules Marinières, which immediately transported me back to Deauville circa 1986 and the best bucket of mussels I’ve ever eaten. Next we shared Daube Provençale (braised Black Angus beef stew in red wine) and truffle Mac and Cheese. For dessert, a slice of pumpkin cheesecake. It was all fantastic. They had a nice selection of wines by the glass too. So far, my little experiment was a success. If you have any local spots in your neighborhood, please let me know!

Have you read A Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata? It’s a tiny book that packs a punch. I lived in Japan for six years, and convenience stores (conbini) are the lifeblood of a Japanese person. The first one opened in the 70’s (a 7-11), but they are nothing like our convenience stores. The Japanese have a knack for taking ideas from other cultures and improving upon them in a very Japanese way.  I always tell tourists to make sure to visit several different ones while in Japan and buy things that they’ve never had before. On Saturday I went to hear the author talk about her book (and other books she’s written) at the Japan Society. Murata-san is an award-winning Japanese author, and she looks at life through a very interesting and unique lens. I guarantee you won’t be bored!

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Alas, Tom was adamant that we stay in Saturday night to watch Alabama vs. LSU (he is a big LSU fan) but the game was a huge disappointment. I guess no one can stop Tua Tagovailoa.

Have fun. Be bold.