new york city

So Ready for an NYC Weekend!

New York City at Night

I am so glad the weekend is here! My next few days are pretty full, but luckily, there are lots of nice, relaxing elements involved. My mom, sister and I are getting massages that we all got each other for Christmas and birthdays, and we have a family brunch planned for tomorrow. And I’ll be running at some point—our race is a few weeks away and I’ve only squeezed in four runs, so far! But I’m not worried. 😉

This week seemed to be chock full of awesome NYC photos. A few days ago I stumbled upon the one above. An Expedition 35 crew member aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station shot it on March 23; NASA recently posted it on its site. It’s truly amazing how clearly the gridded streets are lit up. And I love how easily you can spot Central Park and the riot of lights that is Times Square.

Have a wonderful weekend!

(Photo by NASA)

Whoa, Manhattan!

Port Authority Offers Media Tour Of One World Trade Observatory On 100th Floor

How stunning is this photo? It was taken from what will be the 100th floor observation deck at One World Trade Center, 1,250 feet up in the air. When the building opens in 2015, it’ll be 1,776 feet—and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere!

It’s funny; I can’t recall ever seeing another shot taken from this angle before. The clarity is astounding, and I love how you can see both sides of the island from downtown all the way up to my ‘hood, near the George Washington Bridge. Plus, it’s crazy just how much higher up this building is—it’s towering so far above all the others.

Pretty amazing.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images via Gizmodo)

Childhood in New York

Climbing in Central Park

I’m excited to read the latest issue of NY Mag—its theme is “Childhood in New York.”В It includes recollections from 39 famous New Yorkers about growing up in the five boroughs. I’ve yet to read all of them, but I stumbled upon this quote from Joan Rivers that especially resonated with me:

New York was the magic city. New York was Oz. All I wanted to do was to get out of Brooklyn and get into Oz.

Replace “Brooklyn” with “Queens,” and that was basically my mindset throughout my tween and teen years in the ’90s. I looked forward to the day when I’d live in Manhattan and didn’t have to take a long bus ride and multiple subways to get downtown—or be beholden to the LIRR schedule. (Bayside, where I lived, is pretty far out!) I pictured myself working for a magazine in midtown and taking dance classes at Broadway Dance Center at night. I saw myself living in Williamsburg or the East Village. I imagined I’d goВ shopping in SoHo and hang out in coffee shops in the West Village on the weekends. And go clubbing until 5 a.m.—because who doesn’t dream about going clubbing until 5 a.m. when they’re 15?

Some of that stuff turned out similarly to the way I’d envisioned—though by the time I actually moved to Manhattan, I found hipster neighborhoods less appealing, SoHo to be too expensive and tourist-filled for shopping. And I really had no desire to go clubbing until 5 a.m.!

But one thing that I predicted, with 100% accuracy, was that Manhattan was where I belonged. I’m more at home here than anywhere else I’ve ever lived or visited. Even after all these years, I still feel like it’s the “magic city.” Every day, I can feel the city buzzing with the excitement and energy of endless possibilities—and I don’t think that’ll ever get old. I’m amazed that my younger self was able to pick up on that during my family’s sporadic trips to “the city”!

Did you grow up in NYC? What’s your memory of childhood here?

(Photo via NY Mag)

What Does Your Manhattan Look Like?

Back in 2009, native New Yorker Becky Cooper walked Manhattan from top to bottom. Along the way, she handed out blank maps of the borough, along with stamped envelopes bearing her address. Her request to recipients: Fill in the map with your experience of Manhattan. Tons of people obliged; weeks later, Cooper was inundated with personalized maps.

She’s compiled the best ones for her book,В Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers, which comes out in April.В This weekend, the NY Times ran an awesome gallery of a few of the maps. It included entries from New Yorker staff writer Patricia Marx (who themed her map around her lost gloves) and the head of the New York Public Library’s map division (whose map pointed out directions to key places in her life). The one below especially amused me—it’s funny how territorial New Yorkers can be, whether intentionally or unintentionally!
migration patterns
If you were given one of those blank maps, how would you have filled it out? (I think I would have highlighted 30 spots, each representing a significant place for each year or my life, numbered accordingly.)

(Image via NY Times)

MetroCard Art

In my humble opinion,В few things are asВ quintessentially NYC as MetroCards. They’re literally your keys to the city, allowing you to travel pretty huge distances (e.g. my Washington Heights apartment to Coney Island) with a single swipe.

That’s why I’m loving Single Fare 3, a new exhibit that showcases art created on MetroCards. More than 1,000 artists submitted pieces for a chance to have their tiny works displayed. The exhibit runs at Tribeca’s RH GalleryВ through February 22, and individual cards are available for purchase through March 15.

Some of my favorites:

McKean Thomas MetroCard

Dina Brodsky MetroCard

Stacy Seiler MetroCard

Jeff Faerber MetroCard

Jeff Bellerose MetroCard

Not all the cards are NYC-themed; those are just the ones that I was most attracted to. (Surprise, right?) Check out all of them here.

(Images fromВ Single Fare 3В via WNYC)

A Round of Applause for NYC Commuters

In this city of nearly 9 million people, I think you’d be hard pressed to find a single person who enjoys commuting. Yet it’s something we do every day, cramming into packed subway cars and scurrying through a vast network of underground tunnels.

That’s why I’m loving this video of NYC commuters being greeted by a cheering crowd at the Times Square subway station. For years, on my way to and from work, I trudged up and down that same steep ramp connecting the 1, 2, 3, 7, N, R and Q to the A, C, E. This occurred at the end of the day, but boy, would I have loved this during one of my morning commutes!

I haven’t seen any mentions of the group behind this, so if you know, please tell me—I’d like to thank them for brightening a lot of peoples’ days!

(Video from Transportation Nation, via Gothamist)

Seeing Stars

thierry choen's darkened cities

I never saw stars until I was 20 years old. As a kid in Queens, I sometimes glimpsed the occasional one or two, but never a sky filled with them. It wasn’t until I was camping in the Australian Outback, during a college semester abroad, when I saw a night sky completely lit up with countless stars. The sight both wowed and shocked me—until that night, it had never dawned on me that I’d never anything like it before.

That’s why I’m loving Thierry Cohen’sВ “Darkened Cities.”В The French photographerВ juxtaposes photos of, well, darkened cities, with the night skies of less populated areas along the same latitude. So this is NYC with stars from the Nevada desert. If we didn’t have so many bright lights, that’s what we might see, every evening. (NYTimes.com has a gorgeous gallery featuring several other cities from the project, including Paris, Rio and Hong Kong.)

And speaking of stars, check out this brilliantВ StoryCorps video—it’s sad, sweet, funny and inspiring!

Have a wonderful weekend!

(Image by Thierry Cohen via Socks Studio)