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Living in NYC

Stories for Friends. Advice for Strangers.

Monthly Archives: January 2010

Amber is here for a week. She arrived yesterday, and it was the best present I could have asked for. Festivities included bluegrass brunch in soho (thanks for the tip, Robin) and dessert at Rocco’s in the west village. Why have a birthday cake when you can try every kind of dessert imaginable? I don’t know why we’re still baking those things. Either way, Rocco’s was excellent. I will be posting on that soon, and if you come to our wedding you might get to taste some of their confections 🙂

It was a great day with family and friends, and I am looking forward to a good week with Amber. I’m not sure how often I will be posting during the time she is here, but on the radar: traveling in New York – cabs, buses in Brooklyn and my recent discovery that subway maps are not made to scale.



Or, Working in New York, pt. 3

Freelance. What an interesting word. I suppose my lance is a digital pen (and paper), and I have been blessed with an opportunity to wield it for profit. For my dedicated readers and dear friends, thank you for your support. It is refreshing to credit my account with something green for the first time in nearly a month, and I thought you might like to know.

Also, for anyone looking for a versatile freelance writer and editor,
feel free to contact me. Thank you for reading!

Or, Food in New York, pt. 3

I don’t know why I have been walking to Starbucks all this time. Well, maybe the $60 in gift cards I got for Christmas have something to do with it. Nonetheless, I am in coffee crisis mode. I feel like one of the cursed Pirates of the Caribbean: every time I take a sip of Starbucks’ coffee, it turns to ash in my mouth, and I am left with a sense of longing for this magical coffee I have found in Brooklyn. The fine folks at Gorilla Coffee roast it for the masses in Adelphi and brew it for the select few down in Park Slope. The first sip was a reawakening: bold, full-flavored coffee that balks at the accoutrements at the end of the counter. They must just offer cream and sugar as a tip of the hat to the old regime that made us believe we needed them. The most powerful marketers sell ideas with great products. Gorilla Coffee is making a robust effort to join them.

Try it. Visit their Web site here, order some and discover it for yourself. I recommend the artistic and impressively packaged box gift set (not pictured above). Brooklyneers and Manhattanites, swing by their shop on 5th Ave in Park Slope. It’s well worth the trip, and the WIFI is actually free.


Ladies and gentlemen from elsewhere,
the anticipated Mamoun’s Falafel in Greenwich Village:

People all over New York (and the internet) have been raving about this place for years, so I am just adding to the noise at this point. I don’t care though. It’s worth it. Mamoun’s will give me falafel for $2.50. Apparently they have been doing this for almost 40 years, and every time I eat one I can barely believe it is happening. It is like eating fruit from the garden of Eden. They have shawarma, too, which is a lot like a gyro. I haven’t eaten one yet because they are $5 and I am still obsessed with how cheap the falafel is.

Falafel, as you may know, is made from ground chick peas or fava beans and deep fried. Thus it is vegetarian, although I have my doubts because it tastes like delicious meat. Maybe that’s a bad thing, but my confused taste buds want more every time, and my hemorrhaging pockets can sometimes scrape together enough quarters to grant their wishes. Thank you, Mamoun!

Today’s weather is the worst I have seen in New York. Raindrops barrage pedestrians from an opaque sky as the wind rips through the streets and avenues at overwhelming speed. From my vantage point in this Starbucks I can see people doing their best to stay dry and upright. I have lost count of the umbrellas this day has devoured before my eyes. The public garbage can on the corner is like a graveyard for umbrellas of every size, shape and color. I almost lost mine on the way in, but I think I made it before the wind became self aware. And there goes another one. Imagine the disappointment. It is still beyond me how any degree of professional attire can be maintained here.

I have now entered the home stretch of my first month here. It is amazing how fast time is moving – the first week felt like a lifetime to Amber and I, but now things seem to be progressing in double time. At the beginning of last week I was sure I was going to have a job by now, and it displeases me to say that my expectations were not realistic. It takes time to hire someone new, and I need to be okay with that. So, I have spent the beginning of this week doing my best to do that while pursuing my interests. It pleases me to say that I am still making progress.

Yesterday I slept through church and awoke disappointed. Now that Sunday is mine to observe at the sabbath again, I have really come to love the time away from everything even in my unemployed state. There is still places I haven’t been, even neighborhoods I have never set foot in. So I decided to wander for a while until I found a good place to read. When I emerged from the subway, I found myself beneath Radio City Music Hall. Unfortunately the weather was similar to today: freezing rain and wind (although not nearly as angry), so I wasn’t able to spend any time in nearby Central Park as I had hoped. As I walked south from the Apple store at its southeast corner, I came upon St. Patrick’s Cathedral. After slipping inside through dirty puddles and an empty narthex, I was amazed at the massive and ornate structure. Absolutely beautiful and serene, the naves’ vacuous corners captured each whisper, cough and movement and held them there, sheltering the people below in a blanket of stillness. I have toured cathedrals throughout Europe that were far more grand, but I have never experienced such peace in a large room. So, I sat there for a couple of hours, ESV Bible in hand, and spent time praying and reflecting. I sincerely hope I do this every Sunday, whether I miss church or not. Taking time to renew my mind was so important. Don’t lose sight of that.

Thank you for reading.
Up Next: How falafel has changed everything.

I have a suspicion that this is what the majority of you are most interested in (at least for right now), and I can’t say I blame you. I must avoid being too specific here to protect the people and or organizations in question, so don’t get too excited. I have applied for dozens of jobs, but there are 3 jobs that I am actively competing for, and each would be a worthy attempt at reaching my career goal at some point. This is good news and encouraging. I will provide details beyond your wildest expectations, but not until I have secured employment.

Time off and in the city has given me a chance to reflect on the idea of working here. The thought energizes me because I see some amazing things happening here, and there are ordinary people doing them. When you are detached from it, the big picture almost seems too good to be true. I know I have always imagined corporate America as a matrix of rigid, emotionless beings working with terrifying precision to create things that I could never understand. Personally, I blame Hollywood for the miscommunication. Those people must exist, but I am fortunate to face an industry of very human beings; I think I’ll fit right in. The real struggle appears to be finding something that makes you happy.

Two weeks, half a month or the better part of a moon has passed and I am just within reach of employment and hopeful for a kind of future Amber and I could thrive in. But today I am at a loss for words, maybe because the spaces in my head are occupied by more unanswered questions than conclusions. When I write, I try to be deliberate enough to translate what I am thinking and feeling into something to share. At this point (at least for today), I have decided to be content with being a blank page in an open book full of stories like mine. If you have one, I would enjoy hearing about it.

Alan put up a great post about being true to yourself. A crucial difference would be that I was not unhappy at the place I left behind, though there is something like sadness that can sour happiness when you know you are not following your heart. When it becomes real enough to demand your attention, it comes time to listen to it. I think you will enjoy the read.