This City is No Fairy Tale

New York City is a place that thousands flock to throughout the year.  It is a melting pot city, the home of all things Broadway, hosts one of the largest most prestigious marathons in the country, has history and memories on every street, and a beautifully lit iconic skyline at night.  But it’s still a city.  And no growing functioning city is beautiful, perfect, and some dream come true… Not once you get up close and personal with it- like in bed together up close and personal- that’s for sure.

Let’s preface this post with a big old heartfelt “I’m sorry”!  Cause I am sorry if what I’m writing bursts anyone’s bubble, but it will come out sooner or later.  I’m not sayin’ you should visit if it’s something you want to do… or that you shouldn’t move here if it’s the place you are supposed to be.  All I’m saying here, is don’t come with pre-conceived fairy tale ideas of the city, cause you will most likely be disappointed.

What exactly am I talking about?  A lot of the day to day things.  The little things that only exist in this way in New York– that give this city a uniqueness, but that also get down right annoying at times.

Some examples?  Sure why not…

The homeless taking up, stinking up, and yelling through the train cars.

Doggy doo along the sidewalks waiting for your unsuspecting shoe.

A great and diverse array of smells around every corner.  Some you with you could enjoy always or get a bite of whatever it is that has gotten your attention, others that you wish to NEVER smell again.

Trash… basically everywhere.  Along the sidewalks, often escaped from it’s bag.  Blowing in the wind.

Train delays.  You did everything right- got up on time, had everything ready, left your apartment with time to spare walking to the station, got on the train– so far so good, right?!  You are moving right along from station to station until you feel the breaks bring the train to a screeching halt and your conductor come over saying there is “train traffic ahead of you”.  And would you like to know why there is train traffic ahead?  Most likely cause some dumb-ass won’t “stand clear of the closing doors” so they have to ding ding-ding ding several times before they finally close.  And if someone has pulled the emergency break, or the track signals are malfunctioning, or goodness forbid someone has decided to jump on the tracks.  Well, you can kiss being to work on time goodbye.  (this is one I deal with on an almost daily basis… so it hits close to home).

Waiting in ridiculously long lines for just about everything you do- from going to a show (ok, there should be a legit line here), to grocery shopping… where most times I stand in a line longer then it took me to get the items I’m trying to buy!

Paying way to much for everything… like just the cost of living, and I’m not talking fun expenses.

You never really see this side of the city when you are getting VIP transportation in your tour bus, seeing everything from atop the Empire State Building, and only hitting up the manicured parts of town when you are on your feet on the street.  Getting into the city, down and dirty with it… way uptown, on side streets, during all hours of the day and night.  Thats when the real life side shows itself.

Of course, if I didn’t love some of that… or find that the beauty and opportunities far outweigh the frustrations  I wouldn’t still be here.  Maybe it’s not that bad.

Share, comment, like, follow, visit, etc!

lovealways,  christiane

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New York living 101*

*Disclaimer, the following are thoughts, tips, and advice from my personal experience. Results may vary.*

So, I believe last week I promised a NY life tips post… And here it is… I hope I remember everything I want to say! (Sorry, no pics). :-s

Transportation
If you are new to NYC, the subway system can be an intimidating thing, but once you learn it and adjust to the vibe of it all, it’s a great thing to make use of.
-Study a map (but don’t to it in the subway, know where you want to go ahead of time so you can move quickly and smoothly in the station and on the platform.
-Know if you want Uptown or Downtown. Lines and directions are clearly marked… Do read the signs!
-Express or Local… What’s the difference? Well from what I’ve experienced, local trains stop at every stop along their line and express only stop at select stops. Express trains get you to your destination faster, but if your stop is not an express stop … Things can be frustrating.
– Be aware of weekend schedule changes as well as service changes due to construction or maintenance at select stations or select times. Signs are usually posted, but this can really mess up your trip!
– Leave with enough time to get from point A to B. Allow for train delays and foot traffic.
– Always have your MertoCard!
– Lastly, keep to yourself and keep all your personal belongings with you at all times.

FOOD
If you are walking as much as I am, which in this city is kind of a given, you get hungry! Staying well fed and hydrated can help keep you healthy and ready for the city.
– Stay hydrated… Drink water! Not just coffee…
– Eat healthy food… Maintaining a balance of all major food groups. Fruits and vegetables can be hard to buy because they are price and spoil quicker, but still important.
– Maybe don’t eat out everyday… It can really chew a hole in your finances and personally I find it fun to go to the grocery store and prepare my lunch before work.

Personal Time
Regardless of your job(s) or lifestyle… It’s important to remember to take time for yourself!
– New York has tons, and I mean tons, of public parks with running/walking/biking/skating trails, tables and chairs, spacious lawns, and amazing views. Take advantage of these as places to relax, excessive, or both.
– Make an effort to meet up with friends or coworkers to socialize.
– Enjoy a morning/afternoon/evening in with your favorite book or movie and a cup of tea… Stay in, don’t put on those 5 inch heels or your contact lenses… Give your body a rest.
– Find a yoga or dance class or running trail and be sure to set aside so,e time for your health and wellness.
– I’m not saying every day… But some time every week will keep your body and mind fresh so you can always perform your best 🙂

What else…?

– Get used to always being around a lot of different people
– Adjust to the noise and smells of the city
– Be prepared to walk… A LOT!
– The pace of this city is always set on High… And it will keep moving by you– Keep up!!
– I discovered this… The more preconceived ideas you have about New York, the more it proves them false, or at least partly false. Be open minded.
– Yes it’s expensive… I’ve found it really makes me consider what I buy and if I really need the, or just want them. Save and treat yourself to something really special once in a while.
– Wear your walking shoes and carry the fancy heels! Otherwise you really do end up beating up your expensive shoes and your priceless feet. Put on the good shoes when you get where you are headed.
– More or less keep your gaze to yourself… It’s not that New Yorkers are all rude as much as they have things to do and places to be. There are so many people and you see so many things you may never have thought you would see– just don’t respond and move on.

Does this help a little? In the past month and a half I’ve worked to make the transition from tourist to New Yorker. To not get overly distracted by bright lights and store fronts, but to find the lovely small hidden places, where you can see NYC for what it really is– home to many many different people– always a step ahead in fashion perhaps… But home.

Well, I must be off to work soon… I’ve written this from a cozy green seat in Bryant park, smack dab below Times Square. I hope you all enjoy and look out for another post very soon with all the excitement of my life! Haha

<3always,
Christiane

Remember- Don't look up.

It all comes out in the wash…

Or on the dance floor…

Or with the booze…

And you know I’m right about those. So who is ready for another post? Ooooo, I am I am!!
It’s been an interesting and exciting few days, personally and professionally, so here we go!

The wash- yes, I did my laundry at a laundromat for the first time ever… And it didn’t eat my clothes, in fact they came out clean, dry, and lovely.

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I had Friday morning off from work and a very full bin of worn clothes, so I decided a cloudy Friday after brunch was the perfect time to experiment. And it was. The nearest laundromat is less then a block from my apartment door, so that is great. After separating clothes into 2 piles, it was into the machines for a wash and then all in the dryer. While I was waiting I sat and started reading “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”. And a little over an hour later I had clean clothes to wear! I know this may not seem like the most amazing this ever, but it was totally new for me, coin operated laundry machines that are not located in my house, and I was excited to do something new, another basic of living.

The dance floor- I went out SWING DANCING last night!!!!!!!!! As some of you know, I was a swing dancer, assistant director and choreographer for a swing company back home and I absolutely love swing dance and the dance community in general. One of my roommates had some friends over and one of them wanted to go to this swing event and they asked if I would like to join in… How could I turn that down– a speak easy swing event… Very stylized with live music… YA, I’m so there! Got dressed up in a mint green dress and sparkly jewelry and off we went. One dance partner had no idea what he was doing and it was like I was in rehearsal week 1 all over again… But I was able to reach him the VERY BASIC swing step and I think he got the idea. By the end of the night there was a rumor going around that I was from Atlanta and I could dance, I’m ok with that, and I got to dance with some really good partners.

It was so wonderful to get out and do something I love that was non work related. Just let yourself go and don’t turn down a dance offer! I had a great night and plan on following up on the Swing scene here in NYC. This was also perfect timing because Saturday I really didn’t leave my apartment at all because it was COLD and RAINY and GRAY all day… I had just worked the last few days at Rain Room in the cold gray wind rain thunder and lightning, so I was glad to be dry warm and inside most of the day.

The booze- look good and know how to dance and people just might offer to buy you a drink… I don’t say no to a little gin & tonic now and then, especially on someone else’s tab… That’s just the honest truth. Not nearly enough to loose focus or judgement, but it’s not something I’m getting for myself.
And sometimes the booze can go to your head and have you up at all hours of the day or night, thinking over your life and choices… On the phone… The unspoken reveals itself… For better, worse, clarity, or something in between. We have all had those nights on one end of the phone or the other,lets night deny it… Sometimes you need someone to talk to, or have something to talk about.

Well, and of course there has been work. Rain Room requires that we are outside tending to our members a s guests as long as they are willing to wait, meaning in any sort of weather. Earlier this week is was sunny and warm and humid and I was in heaven…the it got cold and rainy and I was irritated. I got myself a fresh dry pair of rain boots, polka dot of course, and an Amazing RED rain jacked/wind breaker… It’s my statement coat! (And you definitely can’t miss my walking down the street!)

The RR shut itself down AGAIN in Friday 30 minutes before closing and made many people very upset. It’s one thing for the water to shut off, but even the single light turned off for about a minute and we were left in the total darkness with complaining patrons… Not a situation I want to experience again any time soon. Of course this would happen on “free Friday” when the lines are even worse!! And then today it spring a leak where the water won’t stop when you walk at it and that’s just awkward. Waits today got up to 4+ hours (members) and 6+ hours (general public). Delivering that sort of news to people at 10AM is not all that enjoyable. I find it comical the people who show up and think they won’t have to wait at all… And we are all like BUT YA YOU DO!!

On that note, I am working with a really phenomenal group of people who I am growing to care for and respect more and more every day. I’m hoping to have some time to bake something fun and bring in to work later this week or next. I think that would be a really nice this to do, we are all watching out for each other. 🙂
Well, not as many pics in this one, but I hope y’all enjoy. These are my next door neighbors–

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And on that note I will retire for the evening. Hoping to get for a run tomorrow, goodness I miss doing my 4 miles every day!!! And then who knows what the day will hold! I’m so in love with NYC!

<3always, Christiane

The Devil Wears Payless

Y’all miss me??!!! Told you it would be a while between posts, this one may be a little lengthy, but totally worth ready- I’ve had some exciting adventures at MoMA and in NYC!!

I think we left off the day before training began…. And training Thursday and Saturday went well. We learned a little more about the exhibit Rain Room (more on that in a bit), we got a tour around the museum and our staff area, and we learned the fine art of selling memberships to MoMA. We are the first group of temp staff to be cross trained in visitor services and membership! We were also some of the very first people to have the lovely opportunity to walk through the Rain Room! It’s so amazing!
Before we get in to all the good stuff– what is Rain Room I’m sure you all are wondering. Basically it is a big black box (I hope I’m not the only one the start singing “To sit in solemn silence”) with one bright light and a large area of falling water, very real rain. When you walk into the water field 3d cameras pick you up and turn off the water above you. So as you walk through the water you do not get wet but it’s raining all around you. Yes, if you run you will get very wet. I discovered New Yorkers have no sense of slow walking, so I had to come up with other words like stroll, meander, mosey. It is a beautiful installation, but it has a very small capacity– that’s where the trouble begins, and part of why the great team of people I’m part of was hired.

Rain Room opened at MoMA on Sunday (Mothers Day) and we had lines waiting as long as 3 hours outside to see it. Everyone I talked to said it was well worth the wait, but some people, but not all people like waiting. Basically, as staff we have different positions that we rotate throughout the day– someone directing visitors to the correct line (members get priority :-p ), scanning tickets, selling memberships, floating and helping as needed, and being in the room itself letting small groups in a few at a time (probably everyone’s favorite because guests are happy at that point)! And we do that roughly 9-5 every day.
I have worked every day sense opening on Sunday and will not have a day off till Saturday. Between training days I did have a day of, which I spent in a fabulous outfit strolling Times Square, people watching at Starbucks, shopping, having dinner with family friend. Yes I know it’s a touristy thing to do, but I’ve never gotten to do that and I had a day off! What better way to spend it! I can’t wait to have time to go see some shows on Broadway, I think that’s the next big thing.

I will need to have a whole post dedicated to funny, interesting, stressful, etc. Rain Room stories, but I want also to share some New York thoughts, suggestions, and experiences.

The subway- not as big and scary as I thought it would be. I actually feel like I’m getting the hang of it! The app Hopstop is AMAZING! Really, anyone moving to NY and concerned about the subway, download this app… It’s free (on my Mac products anyway), works really well, and has relieved so much of my stress about traveling.

Central Park– a great place to relax, and luckily very close to work for me. I went on Sarutday after training with the soul purpose of seeking out the Balto statue. I found it!! Like a dream come true, Balto was one of my favorite animated movies growing up and I always wanted to see his statue. It was too wet to sit with Balto (it’s been raining a lot here) but I walked around a little. I was surprised how quiet and peaceful the park was when its in the middle of a HUGE LOUD BUSY city.

Comfort foods– something I find very important. I have resorted to my favorite lunch of all, peanut butter sandwich! Breakfast is oatmeal and orange juice (I have someone very special to blame for that) and then there was the issue of chocolate. I didn’t want to buy a bag so m&ms that would be gone Ina few days. I walk past the Lindt Chocolate store everyday to and from work, so I stopped in one day and got a bag of 37 various truffles. I’m enjoying one truffle a day, it’s nice and cuts my desire for lots of chocolate.

I have also enjoyed stopping in at the Swarovski store and Gap on 5th Ave. I desperately needed a pair of work appropriate pants, so thank goodness for Gap.
That’s another thing– PACK APPROPRIATELY FOR THE WEATHER OF THE REGION!! little southern girl here was all ready for summer and here it is on the 50s and windy! WTF. Anyway, check the weather channel and believe it! The Dunkin’ Donuts on the corner has been saving my life the past few mornings… Tomorrow will be no exception, as I have to be at work at 8am for a special viewing for RR for upper level members… Oooooo fancy!

I should be wrapping up soon, but not without saying how much fun I have with the wonderful Bhumi who came to the big city. It was fun to go out and catch up with her in NY. We went to a little place called Serendipity and had the most amazing hot chocolate! 😀

But before I go— what ever did I mean by that post title: The Devil Wears Prada Payless.
I had to get shoes with a little more flare and class and variety then my beat up (loved) 2 year old sneakers and walking flats. Payless here is so great, I got some silver flats and black wedges for such a good price, and they are really comfortable too! Walking 5th Ave. and looking the part of not a New York visitor, but a real New York woman is helping to make this experience even more fun and real.

I’m having a great time so far, can’t wait to see my check after this LONG week, and now must go to bed so I can get all dressed up and do it again tomorrow!

So, until next time… Keep loving, dreaming, and living!

<3always,
Christiane

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