Author: Heather

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

A Globe for New Yorkers

As a native New Yorker, I can’t help but think that my city is the center of the world. And now, via NY Mag, I’ve found an artifact that confirms my belief.

Globee, a U.K.-based company,В makes a globe where NYC spans across the entire planet. Instead of countries and oceans, neighborhoods (like Chinatown and Little Italy), landmarks (the Brooklyn Bridge, Washington Square Arch, the Empire State Building) and the Hudson and East Rivers cover the entire world. (Though I’m doubtful that Globee included my ‘hood, way-uptown Washington Heights, in their design.)

For non-New Yorkers, Globee makes a number of other city-centric globes including a Sydney globe, a San Fran globe, a Boston globe (as a former Boston reporter, that one makes me laugh) and, of course, a London globe.

(Image via NY Mag)

A Weekend of Good Eats in Boston

Two weekends ago, Reen, Karen and I escaped to Boston for a girls’ weekend. In the years since we graduated college, we’d made separate whirlwind trips back to catch up with friends. But the last time the three of us had been there together was eight years ago–and we felt we were overdue for a return trip.

Originally, we planned to have a ridiculous nostalgia fest. We came up with a long list of places to hit up to relive our college days: Cactus ClubВ (um, it was going to be Cinco de Mayo, after all), Whiskey’s, People’s Republik, Mike’s Pastry,В Anna’s Taqueria. We even considered going to Allston bars like Common GroundВ before deciding that would be too sad and embarrassing, nostalgia weekend or not!

But once we got to Boston, we scrapped those plans. The city had changed so much in our time away. Instead of drinking like college kids and going to our old faithful places, we decided to experience Boston in a more “age-appropriate” way–especially now that we’re no longer dirt poor, like when we lived there, as Reen said. (Though in my case, I’d say I’ve barely moved up one step from “dirt poor.”)

We basically ate and drank our way through the weekend. Some highlights–and lots of food pics:

Dinner at Stella: One thing hasn’t changed about Boston: the lack of late-night dining options. By the time we checked into our hotel on Friday, it was 11 p.m., past the hour most restaurants stop serving. (Our concierge actually told us IHOP was our only option.) We wanted a relaxing, sit-down meal, so we headed to Stella, in the South End–and were so pleased with our choice. The restaurant is stylish with a chill vibe and the crowd mostly 30-somethings. Plus, Stella has a great (i.e. girly) cocktail menu and fantastic food. We loved the short rib flatbread pizza and orecchiette with sausage.

Brunch at theВ South End Buttery:В When I lived in Boston, there weren’t many brunch options. There seem to be quite a few now, and Reen made a great choice for Saturday. We had Bloody Marys and amazing eggs Benedict with shaved ham on homemade biscuits. The dish was so good that I wish I knew a place in NYC that made a variation on par with it.

Dinner and Drinks atВ Island Creek Oyster Bar:В I love the decor here. The mix of weathered wooden planks with ultra-modern lighting fixtures really makes the space feel like a fancy seafood shack transplanted into a city. The cocktails were great (I’m planning to make/drink my own version of the Bergamot Buck all summer) and the oysters and lobster roll were among the best I’ve had.

Mint julep–because it was also Derby day.

Margaritas at Lolita Cocina and Tequila Bar: We met up with our Cambridge pal Doug for Cinco de Mayo drinks. Loved the margaritas–especially the Diablo and Naughty Pineapple–but not the long line we waited on to get into the place. We had a great time once we got inside, though!

SoWa Open Market:В Apparently, this farmers/design/vintage market has been around since 2003 but I didn’t recall hearing of it before. It was totally cool and reminded me of Smorgasburg in Brooklyn. We browsed the artisans’ wares and had great sandwiches and tacos from the BBQ Smith food truck before hitting the road back to NYC.

Did I miss anything? What other places should I check out on my next trip up? (Boston peeps, I’m hoping to return sometime this year!)

Serenade

 

serenade

As part of our Mother’s Day celebration, my mom, stepdad and I went to a City Ballet matinee. The all-Balanchine programВ of “Serenade,” “Firebird” and “Symphony in C” was great. It was the first time I’d seen the latter two, and I really enjoyed both–“Firebird” is a slightly campy, theatrical fairy tale that looks like a Chagall painting brought to life (which shouldn’t be surprising, since he designed the sets and costumes). And yesterday’s “Symphony in C” was so joyful and exuberant. The corps was tight and the soloists spot-on–plus theВ flashy new costumesВ were pretty stunning, too. But I was especially glad to see “Serenade” a second time.

Though my ballet history knowledge is, admittedly, limited, “Serenade” is one of my favorite pieces. I was blown away when I first saw Boston Ballet perform it in 2006. And yesterday I found City Ballet’s staging just as haunting and powerful. I love the ballet’s simplicity and restraint–there are no show-stopping solos, stylized character motifs or gasp-inducing penches and turn sequences. Even the costumes and lighting are understated–just whispy periwinkle gowns and soft blue lighting.В “Serenade” was Balanchine’s first ballet created in America; it was born from a lesson in stage technique and students, not professional dancers, initially performed it.В I can see that lineage in the choreography. It’s gorgeous, and the interplay between dancers is subtly intricate. But the sequences aren’t terribly complex–“Serenade” is ballet in a very pure form. As an audience member, I find it easy to get lost in the dancing and really appreciate the dancers’ clean lines and grace when they’re laid out so bare.

I also have an affinity for “Serenade” on a personal level: It’s the ballet that made me want to dance again. When I first saw it, I hadn’t danced in a couple years. But I remember watching and realizing that I could easily break down the sequences in my head, which really made me miss ballet. It took me a few more years to return to dance, but even now, “Serenade” remains the ballet I wish I could perform if I were a dancer.

So I was glad I could see the piece with my parents, especially my mom. She was the one who first instilled the love of ballet in me. She signed me up for classes and took me to performances when I was a kid. And she encouraged me to restart and continue dancing, no matter how old I got.

(P.S. I made my parents–both born and bred New Yorkers–pose for a touristy picture in front of the Met. They were kind of like, “Why are you making us do this?” but I think the photo is cute!)

meme and e at the met

(“Serenade” photo via New York City Ballet)

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!

heather and meme

This photo makes me laugh–I am so obviously my mother’s daughter.

This is the first time in three weeks that I’m not going out of town. But there’s a good reason for that. I’m sticking around NYC to spend time with someone special: my mom.

I’ve mentioned before how awesome she is. My mom is the most selfless, wise, supportive and wonderful person I know. I’m always awed at her strength, generosity and energy (she has way more than I do!). Plus, she had some great adventures when she was younger–like taking a cross-country Greyhound road trip–is always out and about going to new restaurants and traveling today. She’s such an inspiration and I’m so lucky to have her!

To celebrate, we’re having a family brunch here and then seeing a City BalletВ matinee. (On the program: “Serenade,” “Firebird” and “Symphony in C.”)

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom–love you!! вќ¤

NYC Rooftops

NYMag.com has an awesome slideshow of photos from a new book, Up on the Roof: New York’s Hidden Skyline Spaces. Architect/photographer/pilot Alex MacLean shot more than 200 buildings from the air, giving viewers a glimpse of the city from a rather elusive vantage point.

There’s definitely aВ voyeuristic appeal to looking into/upon buildings–I’m guilty of scoping out other apartments’ swank terraces and covetable outdoor spaces from high-up windows. (A girl can dream, right?) So I’m definitely planning to check out MacLean’s book.

In the meantime, a few of my favorite images:

MoMA, 11 W. 53rd Street, Manhattan, NY 10019

300 E. 34th Street, Manhattan, NY 10016

Brooklyn Grange, 37-18 Northern Blvd., Queens, NY 11101

(Photos via NYMag.com; more on Up on the Roof here)

Old School NYC Photos

In last week’s NY Mag “Approval Matrix,” an item in the Highbrow/Brilliant quadrant caught my eye:

870,000 city photographs–some 150+ years old–are now available at nyc.gov

Curious about what kinds of photos were online, I went to the siteВ and learned this:В Between 1939 and 1941, and again between 1983 and 1988, the city photographed every building in the five boroughs for tax purposes. You can now purchase prints–or just sift through the online archives of 35mm photos taken in the 1980s.

I clicked on the Manhattan photos and searched for my current Washington Heights apartment. The archive contained photos of neighboring residences, but not mine.

Then I looked up my second-most recent address, also in Washington Heights. This time, a snapshot of my old building came up.

I’ll admit that the result didn’t wow me. The building is from 1929 and looks pretty much the same now as it did in the ’80s.

So I decided to go way back. I clicked over to the Queens photos and typed in the street where I lived from when I was born until I was 10. As the photos appeared, I instantly recognized old neighbors’ homes. And there was the house I grew up in, looking exactly how I remembered, with my family’s blue Volvo and my dad’s black van in the driveway.

I haven’t lived there in nearly two decades, so seeing the house exactly as it was felt surreal–a pretty cool (and slightly creepy) discovery!

(Photos via nyc.gov)