A Perfectly Imperfect Marriage

I recently read somewhere that if we only fell in love with people who were perfect for us, then there wouldn’t be so much fuss about love in the first place. That easily could have been written about my marriage to Tom. When we met, we had almost nothing in common.  I was a born and bred Jewish New Yorker from a divorced, and remarried family with several half-siblings, who attended college in NYC and only dated guys with accents. I wasn’t athletic in the least, and I’d never had a beer in my life; I preferred Kir Royales sipped slowly in dark wine bars in Soho. My hobbies included reading, dancing, and shopping in flea markets and second-hand stores. Tom grew up in a Catholic family in Rhode Island, with a football captain father, and a homecoming queen mother. His entire life centered around sports, all sorts. When the family would come to the beach house for weekends, they would get a keg (just for the family).

But from almost the first moment we met, in a training program at Merrill Lynch, we were melded to one another. It was a match that many couldn’t quite understand. This weekend, we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary, and although it wasn’t a “big” number, each anniversary we celebrate is the most important day of the year. In my high school yearbook, when asked to list my life goals, it says, “To be the President of something, and to be married successfully.” I was 17 when I wrote that, and although I have given up on the first part, I couldn’t be happier that I have managed to attain the last.

Each year we make sure to make a big deal out of our anniversary, and this year was no different. We shared one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time with old Tokyo friends who now live in Napa. On a side note, if you want the inside scoop on all things Napa, follow Hilary’s blog at Napanista. I had somehow scored a reservation at Legacy Records, and it was the perfect place to celebrate our anniversary. From the gulp-able cocktails to the unbelievably delicious food, to the decor, and overall buzz in the room (not to mention sitting next to Sting), made it a great start to an exceptional evening.

From there, I reserved a table at our favorite champagne bar Air’s Champagne Parlor. Amanda saved us a fabulous corner table where we ordered a bottle of Louis Roederer vintage champagne and continued our celebration. Tom and Chris had fun with their Chambongs.

We ended the night at the bar at Gramercy Tavern with one last drink and a shared hamburger and homemade chips.

Saturday morning, Tom and I made our way to Raoul’s for an anniversary brunch. We had many dates at Raoul’s back in the late 80’s, and it continues to hold a special place in our lives. Not to mention, it has somehow managed to stay relevant 30 years later. The drag queens are gone, but you can still have your tarot cards read while you wait for the bathroom. They make an incredible hamburger au poivre that you can only enjoy at brunch or the bar. Somehow the soundtrack yesterday was from the 80’s and we ate our way out of our hangovers listening to the Pet Shop Boys, Soft Cell, and Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark.

The last of the planned weekend anniversary festivities was a real treat. We returned to Westchester for a small and very delicious dinner party with the two couples who were there when it all began. Some “never before told” stories were revealed over a perfectly cooked meal, accompanied by very old Moet. The perfect end to a magical weekend.

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, but if you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself in a perfectly imperfect one.

Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

 

 

Can you take criticism from a millennial?

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This is a piece from the David Hockney exhibit at the Met, which I have to admit I enjoyed more than the Michelangelo. Hockney is my official new favorite living artist. It’s a “to do list” must.

A few blog entries ago, I mentioned that this emptynester was about to embark on a search for a full-time job and that there may be some funny tales to tell along the way. With the amazing help of Anne Finnegan of Prep Your Path  who was able to take bits and pieces of my life for the past thirty years and tell a story, I was able to set forth on the path to employment. I was sort of hoping there would be a few anecdotes, otherwise, it would mean that all I did was send my resume out into the ether without ever hearing back. Well, this week I got a match on a job I applied for on Angel List a site for start-ups looking to fill positions. I decided to go the start-up route because if I’m going to go back to work, I want to be surrounded by young people where we can have FUN. I haven’t been on a job interview since 1988 when a movie cost $3.50, Prozac was first introduced and Wrigley Field finally got lights. I may have been a bit rusty. But, after 45 minutes of questions, none of which I didn’t have an answer for (Tom says talking is one of my strong points), the interview ended with the question, Can you take criticism from a millennial? My answer? With four millennial children, it happens on a regular basis. No problem.

The rest of the week I focused on non-work related activities which not surprisingly included eating with friends and this week I was lucky to see many old Tokyo friends who happened to be in New York. There was a delicious lunch at Loring Place Dan Kluger’s newish spot (former chef at ABC Kitchen). It was my second time eating his food, and I enjoyed it just as much. Another fabulous lunch was at Atla which is gourmet Mexican. The dining room is very modern filled with light in a great spot in Noho for people watching. The only issue I had was that I made a reservation for 12:30 and breakfast ran until 1 when lunch began. If I wanted to order from the lunch menu, I had to wait until 1. So if you book for lunch make sure it’s from 1 pm. It really was delicious!

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On Tuesday night Tom and I had tickets to a cabaret night at Feinstein’s 54 Below to see one of our son’s elementary school friend’s show. Jen Damiano is a Tony-nominated Broadway actress who has had a prolific career, and she’s only 26! It was fun to hear her tell her life story through song. It’s just amazing to see kids we knew when they were young out there in the world following their dreams. I highly recommend the venue as well. Intimate, but not too small right in the heart of the theater district.

Have you used the Arro app? It makes paying for NYC taxis as easy as uber. Download the app and enter your information. Then, next time you are in a cab, look on the screen that plays the annoying clips, and you’ll find the “pay and pair” number and enter it into your app, and it will automatically charge your app. You can also use it to hire taxis without surge pricing, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

A new must-visit restaurant opened in my neighborhood called Atoboy . Don’t get it confused with the very hot cocktail bar on the lower east side with the same name. This is the restaurant in Nomad. It’s Korean, but not BBQ. When you walk inside it feels a bit dystopian, but that just lets the food tell the story. And it’s a very delicious story. The menu consists of three sections of six small plates. You choose any three for $42. We were a party of four and so we ordered four different plates from each section and shared. EVERYTHING was awesome. It’s hard to get a reservation so book now for next month.

A new hotel has opened in my neighborhood that allows for multiple guests for a reasonable rate. It also has a great communal space and a very interesting restaurant. This summer my niece is getting married in Brooklyn, and I’ll recommend the hotel for out of town guests. Check out this bunk room in The Freehand Hotel. Super cool and convenient!

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The Michelangelo exhibit at the MET has been on my to-do list since it opened, and Tom and I finally made it there this week. The exhibit was so crowded it was sort of hard to enjoy, however, it’s hard not to stare in awe. One of the first pieces you encounter is a small sculpture of an archer that he carved from a single block of marble…when he was a teenager! I don’t know about your kids when they were teens, but I’d say he was quite the overachiever. And the exhibit also has its own Sistine Chapel. Tom and I both have visited in Rome, but not together. I was lucky enough to see it with my kids. Tom was with Joey Petrosinelli back in 1988. So here we are together, faking it until we hopefully see it one day together.

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We were starving after seeing so many priceless works of art, so we stopped for lunch and a glass of champagne at the Petrie Court Cafe which overlooks Central Park. The food is ok, but the view is fabulous and walking on cement can be tough on the lower back. After lunch, we walked through the park entering at 79th with a brief stop at the Belvedere Castle and before long we popped out on Central Park West. I look forward to spring when that walk will be in full bloom.

We had dinner with friends in from Westchester at Shuka a new Mediterranean restaurant on the border of Soho and the West Village on MacDougal.  Schwarma and kebabs, tagine and vegetable hummus. Spicy tequila drinks. Great vibe, reasonable. Fun.

And the weekend ended in Bushwick at one of my favorite places for Brunch with a group, Win Son a delicious spot for Taiwanese food. Reserve one of the round tables in the window with the lazy susan. Order one of everything.

That’s all for today. I’ve been inside my apartment writing and editing, and the sun is almost about to set. I have to get outside before it does!

Have fun. Be bold.

 

 

First Snow.

IMG_7142You just never know what you’re going to see in NYC. It’s the most random, spontaneous, mind boggling city to live in, which is exactly the reason I love it. Walk anywhere and you’ll find an instagrammable moment – shameless plug: (#emptynestnyc).

When I first moved here, I couldn’t quite get the hang of doing errands. I refused to push one of those old lady carts around, so it made hunting and gathering a challenge. Several months later I realize I was looking at it from the wrong perspective. When I lived in the suburbs, I would try and do most of my errands in one day. Of course, having a car made that possible. Now, I spread the “to do” list out across the week and make sure to include a little fun in every trip. It takes a bit more time and organization, but it keeps me from looking like a bag lady, and my daily steps are off the charts. However, I was in Home Depot the other day, and this might be in my purchasing future due to inclement weather ahead.

I went to the Louis Vuitton exhibit on Friday. I thought it would be all about handbags and fashion, and of course, it was about both of those, but what was surprising was that it was a look back in time at the history of luxury travel – my all time favorite thing to do! Who knew the founder of LV started a movement? Check it out, it runs until January 7th, it’s free, and they give you a gift when you leave. You can make a reservation, but when I went (late afternoon), we walked right in. They also have a fantastic gift shop where I picked up an LV Tour Guide – Tokyo Edition for my cocktail table.

I walked from my apartment to the exhibit in the name of exercise and restaurant scouting. I was happy to become reacquainted with a treasured spot I totally forgot about! That can easily happen in NYC as there is a new place opening every day. This gem is called Tiny’s and in addition to being tiny and cozy it has a wood burning fireplace in the little back room. I’ll be there this winter for sure.

On my walk, I also made sure to stop at the Etsy Holiday Pop Up Shop in Nolita. I found a hand knit skinny scarf – very hygge that I will wear all winter and a few special handmade ornaments I’ll be gifting to friends this year. Walking down lower Broadway, I was reminded of one of my favorite places to buy gifts all year round: Artists & Fleas.

I walked past the Nike store on Broadway and found a major arts and crafts session going on. Buy a pair of AF-1 kicks and you get to hand dye and bedazzle them. It looked like Santa’s workshop from the window.

In anticipation of the first night of Chanukah on Tuesday, I stopped into my all time favorite guilty pleasure, Breads Bakery to taste test their sufganiyot (Hebrew for the best donut you ever ate). They have lemon, strawberry and chocolate. My taste test started with the lightest and I worked my way up to the darkest and could have kept going. I will be purchasing these all week and eating them with wild holiday abandon. And in case you were wondering what they are preparing for Christmas, I caught a glimpse of their chocolate babka Christmas tree – it’s a thing.

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Oh and the first snow reference in the title of this blog post…it was magic.

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Thanks for reading. It’s Sunday brunch time and there’s a big world outside waiting.

Have Fun. Be Bold.

 

vol1.0

I’m a curious person who’s always looking around the corner for the new and the different and the delicious and the exciting. Friends often ask for suggestions and I enjoy sharing my discoveries. There are a lot of “things to do in nyc” blogs and articles and even though this blog will hopefully give the reader some new ideas about what to do while in nyc, it will also provide a window into what it’s like to live here as a grown-up who doesn’t need to be at after school pickup. My days are my own and usually pretty fluid. I work from home and set my own schedule and spontaneity has returned to my life after decades of planning ahead. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to plan, but now it’s not the default. Many days I walk outside my apartment with a destination but no exact way of getting there. That’s when the magic happens.

Things I’ve been up to lately:

Went to the Yayoi Kusama exhibit last week to find a four hour line to take a mirrored selfie. I skipped the line and went right to the art, where there was no line. Having lived in Japan twice I’m a huge fan of Kusama’s and all things Japanese. This exhibit spans three galleries. I would skip the upper east side gallery (it wasn’t worth the subway fare and the time spent getting there) and the 4 hour line (I’m sure it’s cool, but I can’t give up four hours of my life for a selfie) and just visit the Zwirner Gallery at 533 West 19th.

Monday I went to the  Guggenheim  for the Art and China after 1989 exhibit. I really enjoyed visiting the Guggenheim because it has a determinate beginning and end. You start on the 7th floor and wind your way down like a Carvel ice cream cone until you are where you started about 2 hours later. I often find myself wandering aimlessly in large museums and get completely overwhelmed. Not so at the Guggenheim. I included a picture not of any exhibit, but of the school kids lying in the lobby looking up at Frank Lloyd Wright’s magnificent creation. Why don’t we take the time to lie down and look up?

After lunch we stopped at Sarabeth’s Kitchen on the upper east side (there are other locations). I like Sarabeth’s  because its reliable and you know what you’re going to get. Their creamy tomato soup is the exact thing you want to eat on a cold fall day.

Tuesday afternoon I logged on to seatgeek to see if I could get two tickets to Wednesday’s matinée performance of Meteor Shower with Amy Shumer. Lucky me, I scored two house seats for the original price of $169. Our seats were fabulous (Rosie O’Donnel sat two seats down from us) and the show was hilarious. I walked to the theater and back as walking is my exercise of choice. I try and make sure I walk about 5 miles every day so that I can justify eating  Kouign-Amann at Daily Provisions (for breakfast).

Thursday I played tennis in a bubble on the upper east side at Yorkville Tennis Club. I’m always amazed that somehow there are still a few tennis bubbles in existence in NYC. I took the Q, my favorite subway because the new art-filled stations make you feel like you’re in Paris.

Went to see a friend do standup Thursday night at the Comic Strip. $5 entrance fee at the door with a two drink minimum and very good popcorn. These days there seems to be a lot of interesting material for comics.

Friday morning I dropped in at Russ and Daughters  If you like bagels with smoked fish it’s really the best place around (and it’s been around for a very long time). Friday morning is a great time to go because there are hardly any lines. Come on a Saturday and you can wait for over 30 minutes.  However, it’s always a show and extremely entertaining.

I did some stocking stuffer shopping this week at Flying Tiger. This place is amazing. It puts any dollar store to shame and it’s from Copenhagen so it’s totally cool and hip. Nothing is more than $10 and many things are only $1. It’s around the corner so I find myself there… a lot.

Thanks for reading. It’s Saturday morning and there’s a big world outside waiting…