Friday, August 20, 2010

Gotta hand it to you

So, being a newly funemployed single person, I'm looking into all sorts of things as possible sources of income (most of them educationally themed - private tutor, substitute teacher etc.) and though I have not been blessed with overwhelming physical beauty in most areas (which I'm fine with, BTW) I do like my hands. So I asked a photog friend of mine to take some snapshots for a hand modeling portfolio. I think they turned out pretty good. Take a gander:

Friday, August 6, 2010

My way

I just got home from a trip to New York City. I may have a small crush on that city...if it's possible to have a crush on a city...which I assume it is since people can love cities...but I digress.
I'd like to share some tips for those of you considering a trip.

Rules of NYC:

1 - Don't eat anywhere you can eat at home. There is SO MUCH good food in the city (more on that further down) that it's really a waste to eat at places you can find in your hometown. *This applies to shopping as well. If you're going to go to NY and eat at the Olive Garden - I don't care if it is on Times Square - and shop at American Eagle - just stay home. It'll be less expensive.
2 - Wear comfortable footwear. You'll be walking a lot and you're on vacation, so wear something that won't make you miss a day of vacation because you can't walk after the first day. (If you're going out for the evening something more style and less substance is fine, but for the statue of liberty, a pair of walking shoes is best.)
3 - Carry your money in your front pocket. There are lots of nice people in the city - really - but just in case you come across one of those fabled pick-pockets, it's better to have your money somewhere that's harder to get to.

What to see:

I've been to NY a few times, and after the traditionally touristy stuff i.e. the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building etc., there are some other - less-well-known things that one should definitely not miss -

The American Museum of Natural History. Aside from the typical fossil bones (you can see Lucy here), gemstones (they have the Star of India), dioramas, and stuffed elephants this museum is home to the Hayden Sphere. I'm kind of a space geek, so I think this is fascinating. The Hayden Sphere is used to give comparative sizes of things in the universe from the infinitesimal to the infinite. Seriously mind-blowing. The rest of the exhibit on the universe is also cool. You can see a self-sustaining eco-system, and see how much you weigh on each planet in the solar system. I also learned that we can only see about 13-billion light years into space, only because that's about how old the universe is. Anything farther away from that can't be seen because the light it emits won't have had enough time to reach Earth. Also, one of my favorite things at the AMNH is the Spectrum of Life - a wall dedicated to biodiversity. It's a small sampling of all the things that live on the Earth. CRAZY AWESOME! Ok, I'm done geeking out.

The Coney Island Side Show. After you ride the Coney Island Cyclone (built in 1927) - which is more intense than it looks and totally worth the $8, and get your famous Nathan's hot dog, take a walk over to the Coney Island museum and see Donny Vomit and Heather Holliday in America's last permanent side-show. It's hilarious, it's inspiring, and it's a whole heck-of-a-lot-of fun!

High Line Park. I think it's my new favorite place in NY. It's a park built on the old, no-longer-used delivery railroad tracks from the early part of the century (The last train ran the track in 1980.) First buy this book: The Curious Garden, then enjoy the park.

Broadway. As far as I'm concerned any trip to NY without a trip to a Broadway show is pointless. This time I around I went to three shows:
Promises Promises starring Kristin Chenoweth and Sean Hayes. The show was fairly mediocre and I think Ms. C. was not on top of her game the night I went, but Sean H was hilarious and at the top of act two we meet a certain lush that completely steals the show. I wouldn't put it at the top of my list, but it was fun to see KC and SH live.
La Cage aux Folles. Hysterically funny. Kelsey Grammar and Tony Award Winner Dustin Hodges were nothing short of spectacular. It's easy to see why this show won so many awards. It was riotously fun. I recommend it to everyone - unless transvestites aren't really your thing.
Billy Elliot. Holy cow what a show. Some amazing talent and awe-inspiring child actors. So much good stuff going on. If you have the chance to see this show - take it. But be warned, there is some strong language.

What to eat:

I have all kinds of recommendations for this city. There is literally so much good food here you could eat at a different place every meal for weeks and still find good things. And I think that's part of the fun - discovering your own favorite places, but here are three of mine you might not want to miss -

Levain Bakery. Best. Cookie. Ever. Seriously. It was the first time in my life when I haven't been able to finish it. That's a good cookie. *If you want a good cookie you can consume en entero, try Jaques Torres.

S'mac. Recommended to me by more than one person - and with good reason. It's a macaroni and cheese restaurant. What more do you need from life? They have a varietous menu and bright orange chairs. Go with a friend and get the sampler.

Jane. Creme Brulee French Toast. Period.

You might also want to visit PB&Co., Dylan's Candy Bar, Crumbs, The Chelsea Market, Magnolia Bakery, Community Food and Juice, Bomboloni, and the Hummus Kitchen.

All in all, a fantastic trip to NY. Can't wait to go again.

**Helpful tips for the traveler: Download the NYC subway map to your hand-held device. It's a lifesaver.
AMNH also has an app. It can tell where you are in the museum and give you directions to anything from exhibits to gift shops to restrooms. Cool.
If you hate people - avoid midtown. Though if you hate people you probably should be visiting NYC.
If you go in the summer, just know it's going to be hot and humid. Prepare for it. And as my friend's father says - make it your friend.
The numbers in addresses don't make any sense and won't be helpful to you. Just be prepared for that.