Dating After 50.

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Most of my friends either became empty nesters this past year or will become one in the next year or two, which means CHANGE and in some cases, significant change. Some couples choose to downsize to smaller homes in less expensive towns, some move into the city, some get divorced, and others spend a lot of time talking about all of the above. These real estate/lifestyle decisions can have a huge impact on your circle of friends. Until your last child graduates from high school, your friends, for the most part, have probably been around since you met as nervous new parents in kindergarten. Of course, over the years, some fall by the wayside, but at least for me, my friends up until that point were those I met when my daily life was very different.

While I had a few friends who already lived in NYC, moving here left me without my regular circle of girls and couples too, which brings me to the concept of dating after 50. The title of this post refers to meeting new people and being open to doing so, which is not an easy thing to do at our age. Old friends know and love us, warts and all; not necessarily the case when you’re dating someone new. But after 50, it’s important to show your true self as you have little time to waste being someone you’re not. Since I moved, I’ve said yes to anyone who offered to “fix me up” with a new friend they thought I’d really hit it off with, and for the most part, these setups have gone well. And after a few “dates,” we’ve even moved on to include our husbands. My advice is to say yes to anyone who wants to introduce you, and have faith that the person has a very good reason to do so.

Tuesday’s 70-degree sunny day was a well-appreciated gift. I had plans with a new friend (see above) to meet at noon on Park and 19th. Our only objective was to walk south and find somewhere to eat lunch outside. We ended up at a favorite spot in the West Village, Via Carota. We were able to get a table outside, and we toasted the day with an Aperol Spritz. The food is also fabulous. IMG_8141

On the walk home, we stopped at the new outpost of il laboratorio del gelato a favorite of mine on the lower east side that recently opened on University, close to Union Square Park. The flavor profiles of the gelato are unique and so delicious.IMG_8143

On Friday night, Tom and I had tickets to see Romeo and Juliet at the NYC Ballet. I Texted Rex for a rec for pre-theater dinner and “he” suggested The Ribbon. While the food was totally decent – fresh oysters and excellent burgers, it was filled with loud, jumping toddlers. This happened to us on another Friday evening when we went to Hillstone. I’ve learned my empty nest lesson: do not go to popular American restaurants on Friday night before 9 pm. I love kids, but not when I’m out for dinner on a weekend. The ballet, by the way, was beautiful. I highly recommend it.

Saturday we met up with our daughter and her college roommate at Dante in the West Village. A NYC landmark since 1915, when it was a meeting house for Italian immigrants. It has been newly re-opened by an Australian family who has tried very hard to stick to the roots, while also adding a very Aussie spin. We enjoyed our meal – if you go, you must order the almond milk pancakes. I will think about that dish again and again until I return!

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Tom and I have been enjoying our new Movie Pass. We still can’t believe that you can pay $7.95 per month and you get to go to one movie of your choice every day. This weekend we squeezed in Phantom Thread and 15:17 to Paris (great story, terrible movie). If you love movies, and you haven’t signed up, do it!

We were happy to welcome friends from Rye Saturday night for cocktails in our apartment, and then we all walked over to Boqueria. You can make a large party reservation (6 or more) if you agree to the $49/pp family style tapas meal. It is so much food; we had to take the paella course to go (but we didn’t forgo the churros). The place was jammed with a great vibe, and if we had a slightly larger table it would have been even better.

We ended the week at brunch with some new friends (see above) at an old favorite, Minetta Tavern, which happens to be on the same block as Dante and has the same sort of history. It originally opened in 1937, and boasted Hemingway as a patron. Later on, in 2009, Keith McNally reopened the spot to serious fanfare – it was impossible to get a table. The buzz is now gone, but the place still packs them in, and you know you will have a great meal regardless of what you order.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

New Year. More Fun.

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The instagram pic above was where Tom and I started 2018. We put on some sparkle and velvet and went head first into the new year. It was our very first New Year’s as NYC residents; there was no way we were staying home. A few months ago, I read about a new spot in the West Village Air’s Champagne Parlor that was serving amazing bubbles at great prices, and as a bonus, there was a cool Japanese Izakaya in the basement: Tokyo Record Bar. I got an email from Air’s in the beginning of December about their New Year’s Eve party. I made a reservation, and we went. We were the oldest by far, but after a few glasses and a heaping plate of potato chips with creme fraiche and caviar, we were well on our way to making new (millennial) friends. Tom learned how to Champbong and earned his first hangover in decades. I will definitely return to Air’s and look forward to one day getting a reservation on resy for Tokyo Record Bar.

The week before Christmas was a busy one for #emptynestnyc and I found myself saying YES to anyone who wanted to eat, drink and get into the holiday spirit. There was a divine lunch at Indian Accent which has got to be the best Indian food in NYC. Like me, you might need an explanation of every dish, but it is well worth it. Go at lunch as the prix fixe is a deal. I enjoyed a fabulous dinner with friends from Tokyo at Maialino, Danny Meyer’s delicious Italian restaurant in Gramercy Park, and holiday cocktails with Tom’s friends from work at Dear Irving. We sat in the 19th-century Parisian room (look closely at the wallpaper if you happen to visit). I want to go back and have a drink in all the different rooms. I love the button next to your table that you push when you need another drink. It’s the best kind of magic!

My annual holiday “Office Party” (the quotes are because I really don’t have an office, it’s just another excuse for my friends and me to celebrate another year of friendship) was at Del Posto in the Meatpacking District. It is over the top in every way, and I enjoyed everything I ate. And the holiday season would not be complete without family brunch! We double-brunched it Christmas weekend starting with Lafayette in Nolita on Saturday and Upland on Sunday. And lastly, there was our annual family tradition of eating at Mr. Chow on December 23rd. My obsession with fried seaweed continues.

This year, #emptynestnyc is going to look for a JOB so I can help pay for all my adventures. Stay tuned for what I imagine will be comical anecdotes.

Here’s to a new year of fun seeking in the best city in the world.

Have fun. Be Bold.

 

The Best Thing?

IMG_7361A good friend of mine who’s lived in NYC most of his adult life asked me what the BEST thing I’ve done since moving to the city was. I didn’t have an immediate answer. There was an awkward pause as he waited for me to speak, and then I said, “Everything.” And when I answered everything, I meant it.

Living in NYC, one can have a 24/7 feeling of FOMO. There literally is something fabulous going on all day and night, every day and night.  Keeping up with the NYC Jones’ can leave your bank account on fumes. To see more on less, I’ve recently applied for membership as a seat filler on Play-by-Play. For $100 a year you can buy a membership where you can reserve two seats for all sorts of performances for less than $10 a ticket. The only hitch is that the member must be there to pick up the tickets (and attend the show).

I’m not a live music fan. There I’ve said it. And it’s not because I don’t like music, I do. But I think I’ve boiled it down to the fact that at my age I want a seat. And a drink or two.  Friday night I was invited to a charity event at The Triad Theater. The word intimate best defines this spot. As you enter through the Turkish restaurant and walk up the tight squeeze of a staircase, you’ll find a lovely cabaret-like setting. They have some interesting upcoming shows on the calendar. I might actually return one day!

I found myself in Brooklyn Saturday night, quite literally under the Brooklyn Bridge on Water Street. The picture above is of me looking at the city from this beautiful vantage spot. I’d been here decades ago for a meal at The River Cafe  but hadn’t been back since. Wow, a lot has changed. Popping up from the subway, we passed a massive line for Juliana’s Pizza,  which thankfully was not my destination (emptynestnyc doesn’t like waiting), and we walked past several other buzzy spots before we arrived at Ignazio’s Pizza. I’ve never had a better view while eating pizza. The recommendation was from my friend Cozy who is a pizza aficionado and she’ll be doing a guest blog in the new year on where to eat the BEST pizza around the city.  Continuing on the topic of pizza, we took a large group of millennials to Speedy Romeo’s LES which had fabulous pizza, a great steak, and gulp-worthy cocktails. It’s located on Clinton Street, a very hip block on the Lower East Side with many yummy restaurant options and fun bars. It’s a few doors down from Ivan Ramen a favorite from Tokyo, and you can even make a reservation which is fascinating to me.

We went to see People, Places, and Things at St. Ann’s Warehouse  and I won’t talk about the play because it closes today, but I absolutely loved seeing a show here. It’s a modern take on a “theater in the round,” and the warehouse is totally cool. I’ll make sure to arrive early next time I see a play because I loved the vibe in the bar/lobby and you can take your drinks to your seat, which I always appreciate.

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog that since it’s only been five months since I moved back to the city, I’m still finding my “people.” I scored big last weekend when I went in search of a real Italian deli. I found Faicco’s Italian Specialities , a completely authentic spot in the West Village that’s been open since the 1900’s and now I know why. It’s that real and that good. It also happens to be right next door to the absolute best cheese shop Murray’s Cheese, so this makes it a very expeditious visit.

My yummy picks this week are Tim Ho Wan a fantastic dim sum spot within walking distance of Union Square. I was hesitant to recommend this place because they don’t take reservations and at peak times (and non-peak times) there are exhaustingly long lines. I never make a plan to go there. I book somewhere nearby and then when passing if there’s a short wait, I’ll cancel my reservation elsewhere and pop in. It has a Michelin star, but I don’t think there is a dish on the menu more than $10. If you are intimated by a dim sum menu, you won’t be here. The menu is your paper placemat with pictures that you check off a list. I’ve never had anything that wasn’t delicious.

Another new favorite is Boqueria. I’ve walked by this place dozens of times as it’s around the block and in addition to being sucked in by the large prosciutto hocks hanging in the window, there is always a cool crowd with a hopping vibe. I can now confirm that the carpet matches the drapes; the food is divine.

Thanks for reading. Off to find a Christmas Tree, which should be interesting!