Author: Heather

I love travel, ballet, cats and my hometown of NYC.

Let Summer Begin!

Aaron_Rose_1

It’s finally here: the weekend that officially marks the start of summer! (At least, in my book.)

Anyone who knows me—or occasionally checks in on me, here—knows that I’m a total summer girl. I live for long, sunny days; beach weekends; steamy weather; and as much time in the sunshineВ as I can possibly manage.

I’m having a very-NYC Memorial Day weekend: going to a friend’s BBQ in Brooklyn, tomorrow, and to the beach (Rockaway) on Monday—as long as the weather holds out.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend! And until next week, some interesting links from around the web:

The photo above is from an awesome-looking exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York: In the early 1960s, Aaron Rose photographed Coney Island beachgoers. His intimate portraits have a romantic, nostalgic feel. (The very effects that we’re always tryingВ to create on our snapshots with Instagram and other photo programs!)

This even earlier shot of Coney Island, from 1947—can you believe the crowd?!

Speaking of Rockaway—have you seen this proposal to bring a glampground there?

Um, this has to be one of the craziest ballet photos I’ve seen!

For those of us superstitious about 8s and 4s—this made me laugh.

(Image via by Aaron Rose, via the Museum of the City of New York)

Why I Stay in NYC

Traffic on 42nd Street with setting sun

At the end of last week, I came across an interesting question from WNYC: Why do you stay in NYC?

As they put it:

In one of the first episodes of our new show,В Death, Sex & Money, we talked to aВ freelance documentary producer whoВ came to New York in the 80s, but isВ now finding herself priced out, feeling broke and tired. And if you read the comments left by our listeners, you’ll find that many people can relate.

A recentВ Gallup pollВ found that 41 percent of New York residents would move to a different state if they could, and 16 percent are planning to move in the next 12 months. Do you want to leave? If not, why do you stay?

It’s definitely a thought-provoking question—and one I’ve actually asked myself, recently.

As a native New Yorker, I always believed that I’d live in the city forever. Most likely, in Manhattan.

But during the past few years, many dear friends have left the city—including my best friend, who departed to London, with no plans of returning.

For most of my twenties, I was fine living on what felt like the edge of poverty. (My Washington Heights studio eating up more than half a month’s take-home pay? No problem!) But lately I’ve been wondering whether it might be nice to have a larger—much larger—place one day. With outdoor space and multiple rooms and ample areas for entertaining. (Sure, some of those exist in the city, but they’re likely out of my price range!)

And there have been occasions when I returned home from a trip and felt like my wanderlust hadn’t been satiated. Each time, I thought about how easy it would be to just put my stuff in storage and travel for months—no kids, spouse, mortgage or car to worry about. But each time, I stayed.

I don’t regret it, at all. Because when it comes down to it, it’s really been no contest, for me. I have many reasons that make NYC the place where I want to be, more than anywhere else, right now. Among the stronger:

The food. That sounds cliche, I know. But when your cravings come from all over the world, it’s nice to know that you can find a place that cooks that cuisine authentically and affordably. (In the past few days, alone, I’ve eaten Filipino, Bolivian, Colombian, Sichuanese, Jamaican…)

Ballet. Sure, you can dance anywhere in the world. But I’d argue that in NYC, we have some of the best teachers and accompanists, and can take their classes every day of the week. Plus, I’ve worked really hard to get back into ballet shape after several years off. I really didn’t want all that work to go to waste, again. Plus, many of the top ballet companies make their way through the city, and it’s awesome to have access to theirВ performances.

The 24-hour lifestyle. When I lived in Boston, right out of college, I hated that the bars closed at 2 a.m. Now, a decade later, I don’t go out drinking that late. But I really do appreciate being ableВ to grab the subway or a good meal at any hour.

My parents, who also live in Manhattan.

meme and e at the met

These two, who live just north of the city.

mal and peter

This dude—who was also born and raised in the boroughs, and has all his loved ones there.

heather and evan

Knowing that I’ll always have opportunities to see my good friends who don’t live in the city—because at some point, everyone has a reason to come to NYC.

That’s what’s keeping me here, now. But as more friends get married, have kids and buy houses—real houses with lots of rooms and outdoor space!—outside the city, I’m wondering if any of those factors will outweigh those above.

(Top photo from Getty Images, via Pinterest)

So Ready for a Spring NYC Weekend!

NEW YORK CITY BALLET FOR VANITY FAIR IN PROGRESS

Happy Friday! I am so ready for a relaxing weekend, but also for someВ very-NYC plans I have.

It’s spring ballet season, here, which is always exciting for us dancegoers. Both City Ballet and ABT are at Lincoln Center—and during the next few weeks, I’ll be attending several performances from both companies. Tomorrow evening, I’m seeing City Ballet’s “All Robbins” program, featuring Glass Pieces, Opus 19/The Dreamer and The Concert. They’re all well-known Jerome Robbins pieces from the NYCB rep, but I’ll be viewing them for the first time.

On Sunday, Evan and I are headed to Smorgasburg (nom nom!) and then possibly to the Ai Weiwei exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, as well! Until next week, here areВ some of my favorite finds from around the web:

The photo above, to begin with! Henry Leutwyler takes the most awesome NYCB pis. (Remember this one?) This image is from a recent Vanity Fair shoot.

And while we’re back on NYCB—love this essay about a dad and his daughter learning to love ballet together, from seeing the company.

The NYC Dance Parade is tomorrow!

I’m (once again) thinking of Chile for my fall trip, so I really enjoyed this piece: One Santiago-based chef is shaking up the country’s cuisine by focusing on locally foraged ingredients.

Upside down houses!

This too-funny sign outside a cheese shop.

A 1920s NYC street photo—featuring cats!

(Image via Henry Leutwyler)

New Orleans-Themed Toms

I don’t often blog about products, but I couldn’t resist posting about these Toms. The design is a map of New Orleans.

NATURAL TOMS X MAKE IT RIGHT WOMEN'S CLASSICS

You know how much I love maps. And Toms are pretty much the only shoes I wear.

This particular pair is a collaboration between Toms and Make It Right, a nonprofit founded by Brad Pitt to build affordable, LEED Platinum certified homes in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward—which never fully recovered from Katrina.

I visited New Orleans for the first time, a year and a half ago, and loved the city. I was only there for a few days, but didn’t go to the Ninth Ward. To be honest, I didn’t want to be one of those “disaster tourists” who gawk at places hit by unfortunate events.

I would like toВ see the Make It Right houses, on my next trip, though. Some, like this one, are designed by firms based in New Orleans…

Waggoner and Ball Architects are located in New Orleans and designed this home.

…or nearby Baton Rouge.

Trahan Architects are based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and designed this home.

Others were designed by architects from Tokyo…

Shigeru Ban Architects are based in Tokyo, Japan and designed this home.

…and Ghana.

Constructs Architects are based in Accra, Ghana and designed this home.

Frank Gehry’s firm designed one, too.

Frank Gehry and Partners are based in Los Angeles, California and designed this duplex home.

At first, I was jarred at how starkly modern these homes are. I especially loved New Orleans’ historic architecture, and these houses seem to contrast so much. But after looking at the photos a few times, I could see design elements often found inВ more traditional NOLA homes—slatted wood, vibrant colors, porches.

Either way, Make It Right’s mission is undoubtedly rooted in good. I’m reserving my final opinion on the homes’ aestheticsВ for when I see them in person. 😉

(AndВ here’s one more pair of travel-worthy TomsВ I stumbled across.)

(Images via Toms and Make It Right)

How Upcoming Vacations Make You Happier

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This made me smile: a story in the NYT‘s travel section about how planning vacations makes you happier.

Sure, that’s pretty much stating the obvious. I’ve posted about how deciding to a trip boosted my mood when I was going through a difficult time, and how I usually beat my post-vacation blues by booking another trip. And I’d think that most people would agree that they just feel better when they have a getaway coming up.

But I’m all for anything that spreads the word of how travel is good for you!

According to the NYT piece, anticipating a trip makes you happier due to a number of reasons. (All are well-rooted in happiness psychology.):

  • Researching a destination can get you excited about what you’ll see/do/experience, as well as provide you with positive images to recall anytime you think about your trip.
  • By researching, you’re also learning lots of interesting, new things—thus shaking up your boring day-to-day routine.
  • Most people also talk about their upcoming trips with friends or family—the act of being social is a happiness booster, as is talking about experiences.

I like toВ refer to upcoming trips as “carrots”—like a carrot dangling in front of a horse to get him to move. Quick getaways are “baby carrots” and long trips are “big-ass carrots.” They’re the incentives that energize me anytime I think of them,В simply by making my life feel richer and more exciting.

(Image by A Well Traveled Woman, via Bippity Boppity Boo)

Weekend Trip from NYC: New Hope, Pennsylvania

Two weekends ago, Evan and I decided it was time for another trip out of town. (Like me, he’s a native New Yorker who often needs a break from the city.) Due to a crazy period at work, I wasВ unable to take time off, so we once again looked for a quick, one-night getaway that we could drive to in less than two hours.

We opted for New Hope, Pennsylvania. Though the town is right off the Delaware River, where we go tubing every year, I’d never been. (The Delaware divides New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and we’d always launched our tubes and gone out for dinner on the NJ side.)

New Hope seemed like the perfect spot for an early-spring overnight. The town looked cute, and our good friends, Karen and Steve, are getting married there this fall. Plus, Evan and I both have a penchant for farms, and knew there were many in the area. We booked a room atВ Ash Mill Farm, a few miles outside New Hope.

We arrived early onВ Saturday evening. A bar mitzvah was in full swing in a tent on the grounds, but the b&b, itself, was quiet.

entry to ash mills farm

Evan and IВ checked in with the innkeepers, a young couple named Matt and Noel, and headed upstairs to the 1790’s room.В The farmhouse was built at that time, and it felt like it! Our room had wooden windows, doors and floors in-line with the period.

1790's room

I was happy that the view from our room was green grass and trees, instead of other apartment buildings!

view from 1790's room

I liked the red accents, and thought the room was cute, but we both felt the place needed a bit of…freshening up. Mostly, a new coat of paint, inside and out.

Evan and I walked around the farm before the sun set. The animals were all hiding, so we just strolled among the trees and steered clear of the bar mitzvah tent. (No need to crash a 13-year-old’s party!)

The next day, we sat down to breakfast in the dining room…

dining room

…and helped ourselves to fruit and pastries from the breakfast buffet. Noel and Matt also served us a good omelet, a waffle, and fruit and yogurt.

breakfast spread

When Evan and I checked out, we learned why the place felt like it was in a transitional state. Matt told us that last year, he and Noel were just a regular couple who had day jobs. While looking for a wedding venue, they came upon Ash Mill Farm and fell in love with it. They got married there during the summer. Around that time, they also learned that the innkeepers were looking to move on. A few days later, he and Noel took over the place.

That explained a lot! It’s a pretty big task for a newlywed couple to take over a farm and b&b and start to spruce it up.

Before leaving the farm, Evan and I spent some time on the grounds, again—and this time, the animals were out!

sheep grazing

We stopped into the barn to see the sheep and goats—who all clamored to the fence when they saw us.

hungry sheep

Evan indulged them with some food.

Cute, right?

sheep

…though I was just as excited when one of the barn cats arrived.

barn cat

Some of the sheep were oddly shorn. (If you happen to know why they were, let me know!)

sheep in the barn

We also walked through the part of the barn that can be used as an event space. I loved this all-wood room and the natural light that poured in. I could imagineВ how pretty and romantic a wedding dinner there would be.

event space

After leaving the farm, we headed into New Hope. Even though it was Easter Sunday, lots of people were out.

new hope street

We walked up and down the streets, passing the Bucks County Playhouse (love how it’s housed in a towering barn!)…

bucks county playhouse

…and checked out shops, like the Soap Opera Company.

the soap opera company

After a while, we got hungry.

The Creole menu at Marsha Brown looked good, and the restaurant is in a converted church. But they wouldn’t let us in without a reservation, since it was a holiday. At Nikolas, they were only serving dinner, even though it was 2 p.m.

Evan and I finally decided to eat at Hearth, and ended up happy with the decision. The restaurant was quiet, and we got a nice table in a sunny spot upstairs. We shared french onion and porter rarebit on pumpernickel toast, polenta and a veggie pot pie.

hearth

Despite feeling full afterward, we still stopped for ice cream (topped with chocolate-covered waffle bits!) at Nina’s Waffle’s

nina's

…and then walked around someВ more, just enjoying the warm weather before heading back to the city.

new hope street 2

Everywhere We Go

More video love.

Check out this trailer for Everywhere We Go, Justin Peck’s new ballet, premiering during New York City Ballet‘s spring season, on May 8. This piece will be Peck’s second collaboration with musician Sufjan Stevens. (Their first was 2012’s Year of the Rabbit.)

I’ve been trying to figure out which of City Ballet’s spring performances to attend, and those withВ Everywhere We Go have shot to the top of my list. You’ll be able to see why, after watching.

The trailer was directed by Jody Lee Lipes, who also shot the film Ballet 422, about Peck’s process of choreographing the ballet Paz de la Jolla. That’s at the Tribeca Film Festival now, and I’m hoping to see it, if I can still get a ticket!

In the meantime, enjoy Everywhere We Go. My favorite part is around 1:15—the close-up of dancer Tiler Peck’s gorgeous feet.

(Found via Pointe)