It's days like this that make living in New York City a battle, rather than an adventure. Oh, scratch that, every day living in New York City is a battle. Most days, it's a battle I win. On obnoxiously rainy days, it's a battle that's impossible to win.
I've also decided that you must be seriously inconsiderate to live here and think carrying around a golf-sized umbrella is a good idea. I mean, really. It's like driving a motorcycle with steel spikes sticking out from the sides around on the sidewalk and thinking that should be okay. Who do you think you are, golf-sized umbrella people? Not only do you end up possessing a disproportionate amount of precious New York City sidewalk room, but you also end up nearly decapitating me. My neck is right about bottom-of-the-umbrella level, people! And there are little spikes on that thing. Thanks.
I did see a totally awesome pair of boots at an audition, though. This girl actually had flamingo pink kitten heel galoshes. I snagged a picture because they were so cute and I didn't think anyone would believe me.
Here's to rainy days in New York City and to all the New York residents who survive urban flooding (that's an actual weather term I saw in a weather warning -- I love it!) and near-decapitation and STILL manage to set fashion trends.
So the best reason I can figure out for why Manhattan is the only "New York, NY" address is Sheer Postal Service Laziness.
According to every source I've run across, it's because they simply haven't changed the addresses since the city was incorporated in 1898, before which Manhattan and Brooklyn really were separate cities. Interestingly enough, this also explains why you sometimes send a letter to "Brooklyn, NY," but never to "Queens, NY." When the city was incorporated, Brooklyn was a solidified city entity, but Queens was only a set of villages, much like the towns/villages further out on Long Island still are today (although they are frequently grouped together by their county designation).
I guess old habits die hard. In 1898, "City People" were horrified and depressed by being united with those country Brooklyn dwellers. Over a hundred years later and Manhattanites are still offended by being grouped together with Brooklynites.
I don't know if any of you have ever played the CNN board Jumbli game in Times Square, but let me tell you, it's a little addicting. It's kind've like a cross betwee small-scale Boggle and Scrabble where you text message your words to the number on the screen and if you get the most points, your words get up there for all of Times Square to behold and marvel at. Supposedly, if you text your name right afterwards, your name gets up there, too, but I haven't been able to get that to work so far.
Anyways, I have included picture proof that I am a Jumbli Times Square champion. "Wave" AND "hog" were both my text message masterpieces. Someone else thought they could take me down with their pathetic "eat." Please. I dig the glory and I also like that it's something to do while I wait for Dan to get off work on the new bright red TKTS steps.
We purchased a tiny, cute little, Manhattan-sized Christmas tree today right off the sidewalk.
Before I moved here, I would never have imagined that New Yorkers could peruse large groups of Christmas trees in a similar manner to the rest of the world.
Pictures of our decorated masterpiece will follow once we've finished.
On a side note, I think that New York City must be the best place in the world to be for the Christmas season. Lights everywhere, music emanating from random stores, snowflakes falling on the city streets...beautiful.
You'll have to excuse my lack of entries this month. I got hit by illness twice in a row. Just as I was getting over a week-long cold, I got the first migraine of my life that somehow turned into a week-long flu. The long and short of it is that it was nasty.
Somewhere in there, though, I opened and closed a show at the Gene Frankel Theatre. It was called "Documentary: A Suicide Narrative" and it played November 7-9. It was a blast to work on and the cast and crew were really great. Not to mention, we had some Law and Order casting directors in the audience one night, so here's hoping that a part I'm perfect for comes up soon! Fingers crossed, everyone.
Anyways, I just wanted to let you know what I had been up to. My next project is an independent film that shoots for several days this month and next. I'm also working on getting more involved with NJ Rep. Other than that, it's back to auditioning every day!
This year was my first year voting at an actual polling place, since I've only been old enough to vote in one other Presidental election and I was in school and using an absentee ballot in 2004. It was a lot more exciting getting to vote in person, let me tell you. You really feel like, for at least that one day, you getting up off your ass and pulling some levers might actually make a difference to someone or something.
I have to admit, voting in New York was a real hoot. The actual machine has this very 1960's vibe going on with its huge lever and little black dials. I laughed out loud when I noticed that all the way down the ticket on the Democratic side, the black dials were worn from fingers turning them for so many years. No such wear marks on the Republican knobs.
I had a lot of fun getting to vote for some Independents in the smaller categories, although I couldn't bring myself to vote for Bob Barr for President.
I'm staying in tonight to watch the results on TV, just in case the election doesn't go the way New Yorkers want it to and there's rioting in the streets. I wouldn't be suprised.
In honor of the changing seasons, I made the most wonderful fall pastries ever today: the pumpkin scone.
It's a Starbucks knock-off recipe that I found online after having my first ever pumpkin scone last week. Since I don't want to literally eat myself out of house and home, I figured I should make my own because I can't stop craving them.
I have included the recipe below because you should really make them. They're delicious and are such a fabulous way to incorporate some delicious fall flavors into your day. Each bite is bursting with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and pumpkin undertones, plus there's lots of yummy icing.
Note to all: These are not diet food.
Unless you eat one and nothing else all day, I guess.
The recipe is as follows:
Starbucks Pumpkin Scones Recipe #214051
These are great for the holidays...or any other time of the year. Recipe origially submiited at icollectcookbooks.com by Rachel-Snachel
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.
Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
TO MAKE THE PLAIN GLAZE:.
Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.
When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.
AS THAT WHITE GLAZE FIRMS UP, MAKE THE SPICED ICING:.
Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.
I only baked them for 12 minutes and they were just right. And I ended up with a ton of extra spiced glaze, so you could definitely reduce that if you wanted to put the effort in.
So Dan and I were walking home from my show the other night and outside of Gristedes on 54th, they were selling pumpkins! Yes, pumpkins! I didn't know you could buy pumpkins in the city; I thought you'd have to go out to a pumpkin patch in Long Island or something, but not so!
Dan being the eternal optimist that he is, made the decision to carve out the drama masks pattern that I found online, despite how difficult it looked to achieve.
We didn't have the proper pumpkin carving tools, so we had to use a kitchen knife, which certainly didn't make anything easier. Our lesson learned this year was to be a little more modest in our pumpkin carving goals or to be a little less modest in how much money we shell out on the proper accoutrements.
The final result was pretty, but didn't much resemble what we were going for.
I did make the pumpkin seeds into roasted cajun seeds to snack on, though. Those were delicious!
I'm not sure exactly what happened. One day, everything was fine in Commerce Bank Land. Blue pens abounded, along with free dog cookies and little red "C" piggy banks.
The next day, I go to make a deposit, and all of a sudden EVERYTHING IS GREEN! No warning...just green. And I have to use a new website to check my accounts online.
I actually really liked Commerce Bank. I hope TD Bank changes very little except for the carpet and the window treatments. Commerce is a relatively new bank, too. I remember just a couple of years ago when they started popping up all over the place around here. I guess it's really true what they say: everything in New York gets torn down before you get a chance to love it. I know I'm paraphrasing someone there, but I can't for the life of me remember who.
I remember, not so long ago, a time when native New Yorkers used to make me laugh.
I'd hear one of them describe how they got anxious every time they left the city and couldn't wait for that moment when they walked back onto its crowded streets.
Well, up until today, I couldn't really relate to that. Sure, I've always loved New York. But feeling anxious in the outside world? That used to seem more than a little silly to me.
Today, however, I finally understood the feeling.
I made the trek waaaaayyyy out to Long Branch, New Jersey (an hour and a half each way on the New Jersey Transit) to audition for upcoming season at the New Jersey Rep Company.
As I was sitting on the train heading out to the middle of nowhere, New Jersey, I actually experienced a moment of panic. What if i get caught somewhere far from the train and there's no subway to save my ass? What if I can't find a Dunkin' Donuts? What if I never find my way home? What if....?
When I walked out of Penn Station at the end of the day, I felt a huge rush of relief to be back in my territory. Silly? Yes. Prententious? Maybe. Faked? No.
Today I had the great misfortune of being forced into entering Bloomingdale's uptown.
Forced, you ask? Yes, forced.
Dan got a $50 Bloomie's gift card from work this week and we couldn't find anything for our apartment (besides a single candlestick) that was cheap enough to get and Dan didn't fit into any of the men's clothes there. So he decided to let me get a new strapless bra with the money because I've been desperately wanting to throw out my old dingy one and we could at least afford to get a bra with the card.
So I walked into what is one of my versions of hell (designer-clad daddy's girls abounded) and was able to successfully obtain the much-sought after bra.
What really struck me was the shoe department, though. I couldn't help but take a picture as the aisles and aisles of $1000 designer shoes were being gobbled up by swarms of the wealthy and all I could think of was, what recession??
As some of you may know, I have a strong affinity for cookie baking. Since I acquired my own New York-sized (read: tiny, but adequate) kitchen in May, I have successfully conquered eight different cookie recipes.
One of my favorites, though, is the sugar cookie recipe that my mom has been using since I can remember. They're delicious and work for any occasion, provided you have the right cookie cutters and enough frosting/icing/sprinkles to make them festive.
One of the things I realized when I went to go make these cookies, however, is that interesting cookie cutters don't just materialize in your kitchen drawers, sad to say. And on my move-in shopping list, they had somehow been left off. We wound up with bath mats, a mattress, pots and pans, vacuum cleaner bags, etc., but cookie cutters didn't quite make the list. To further complicate matters, I discovered that I didn't even know where to shop for cookie cutters in the anti-suburban/anti-Walmart landscape that is New York City. I even asked a few online forums where to go and I didn't get much in the way of a satisfying answer.
What I found out today is that, like everything else in Manhattan, you shop for cookie cutters at a specialty store. I was walking back to the 8th street/NYU subway stop after rehearsal this morning and I strolled right by a kitchen store that has become my new favorite place to shop.
It's called Broadway Panhandler and it's at 65 East 8th street. Not only does it have nifty kitchen gadgets and cute tea sets, but it has a whole wall of interesting and unique cookie cutters for $1.25 a piece. Check out this selection:
I didn't buy any of the usual cookie cutter suspects, because I'll probably find a pack of 4 Christmas ones at Jack's for a dollar like I did my Halloween ones, but I was able to snag a bunch of cool ones like a wedding dress, a margarita glass, and a teapot. I can't wait to make some cute little sugar cookies for tea now!
As most of you are probably aware, tonight's debate was hosted by none other than my alma mater, Hofstra University.
Since I was eager to see the debate taking place on a campus so near and dear to my heart, (after my show got out at 10) we ran across the street and sat down at the bar to catch the last half of the action.
The specials included a Georgian red wine, which I was inclined to order simply to get a heaping dose of irony with my debate-watching. I was sitting in a Russian bar drinking Georgian wine and wondering if that whole invasion shenanigan wasn't just about booze.
We also just happened to be sitting next to the costume designer for Disney's "The Suite Life of Zach and Cody," which was cool because we got to pick her brain for a few minutes.
So, all in all, it was a great experience. I walked into the place wanting to scope out a bar named after a Chekov play and catch the end of the debate, and I walked out having enjoyed a $13 glass of irony and some uplifting conversation.
In a depressing little twist on how bad the money situation has gotten here in the United States, the National Debt Counter that I recently showed you a picture of (Entry: "Dollars and Sense") has made it into national news.
I stumbled across an article today informing the nation that because our debt has increased so exponentially, the counter has run out of spaces and they have now had to get rid of the dollar sign space and use it to add additional digits.
What a great time to be poor recent college grads trying to make it in The Big Apple.
On the other hand, I read an article on Variety Online today that said that film studios are getting ready to go into production on about 40 films for next year, despite the nearly year-long filming stagnation over strike fears. That's the silver lining in all of this, I guess. That, and the fact that at least we're not in Iceland. I feel for you, guys.
Last night, I was paid to work as an extra for the new NBC show "Kings." We were portraying opera guests and filming in the theatre within the New York Times building (who knew there was one of those?).
We were called in at 3 PM and I didn't get home until nearly 6 AM, so it was a long night, to say the least. It was my first night shoot and I can't say that I was a huge fan.
It was cool to get to be dressed up like a starlet, though. The trickiest part was them trying to find a dress small enough that didn't have the length to fit a real model. They did my hair all up like Audrey Hepburn, which ended up looking a lot better on me than I thought it would.
I can't say that I much like extra work, but it is nice to actually get paid and I love the costumes we get to wear. Being served "lunch" at one o'clock in the morning was a bit, weird, though.
It will be airing sometime in January...I'll try to remember to remind you all to watch NBC.
While walking home late one night from some babysitting adventure or another, I found myself walking past one of my favorite New York landmarks: the research branch of the New York Public Library. You know, the one with the big lions out in front (named Patience and Fortitude, interestingly enough). I was disappointed to learn that you can't actually check out books from this branch.
But I wasn't disappointed that night. While walking by, I noticed a solitary silvery shoe sitting all by itself about halfway down the main steps. It immediately reminded me of a fairytale...and though it was probably staged by someone who wanted to get a good laugh, I couldn't help but think that even if it was, I didn't mind a little "magic" in my life.
Two things today made me feel like NYC is my home even more:
1. I started a 2-week trial membership at NYSC two blocks away and got to run my little heart out on the treadmill and then do a bunch of ab workouts in the weight room.
2. As I was walking to said gym, I noticed that about half of the stores on my street were closed. Did I lose track of the days? I thought to myself. Is is after five? No and no. It's Rosh Hashanah! THAT'S why everything is closed. And here I was just a few days ago almost getting a little sad because I missed the days off we used to get at Hofstra because of Jewish holidays. Awesome.
All of you who read my blog regularly (or pretty much at all) will know of my affinity for afternoons in Bryant Park, since aspects of it come up here pretty much every couple of weeks. It's such a cool place...an urban oasis, of sorts. It's this few square blocks of intense greenery European-style right smack dab in the middle of the busiest city blocks in the world. In my opinion, the contrast is what makes it so cool.
Dan and I decided to host our engagement party in Bryant Park because of our love for it and the proximity to our apartment. It was relatively easy to obtain a special events permit, for those of you who are curious. Many people asked me about that. Just go onto the city parks website and fill out the online form and give them $25. Then we found a caterer who only does tea parties (www.modernteanyc.com).
The rainy pseudo-hurricane off the coast threatened to ruin the day, but the weather pretty much held out and we were able to corral about a dozen of those huge Bryant Park umbrellas (thank you, tax dollars) to keep the whole thing rain-free.
It ended up being a lot of fun for us and hopefully our guests enjoyed themselves, too. It was truly a lovely gathering in a very memorable setting. Although the stress of the possible bad weather has convinced me completely that an outdoor wedding is a poor life choice. Some pictures, if you're interested:
Just wanted to give you a little peek at what I was up to today. I played a lead in a Digital Film Academy student film that was shot at a funky little bar on Ditmars in Astoria called "Crescent and Vine."
I made some cool new actor friends and got some more time working on-camera, which was awesome.
There was a makeup artist on this set and she actually did a really great job . A lot of times, I hate how they do my makeup, but this came out very chic for a nighttime look. I got some strange looks on the subway home at 3 PM wearing smoky eyes, though :)
I had an audition today for my first big-time commercial. And not only that, but I had to go wearing a sports bra. At least I got to put the name of my agent in the agent box for the first time!
But man alive, I'm moderately sure that every attractive woman in Manhattan was at that audition today. I like to think of myself as being in pretty good shape and having a nice body, but I was one of the chubbiest girls in the room.
And on that note, I'm off to go try to find the cheapest NYC gym membership I can get my hands on.
I've been rehearsing almost every day at your friendly neighborhood actor's studio, Ripley-Grier. I've been there so much lately that the nighttime security guard and I have become friendly. His name's Abdul, by the way.
Last night was the first time, though, that I've ever had to use the bathroom there and when I walked in, I had to stop and laugh.
How many places can you go where you walk into a public bathroom and inbetween the stalls is placed a full-length mirror? I just stopped and giggled for a few moments because this was such a perfect symbol of the acting world.
On an unrelated note, Dan saw McCain's motorcade pass by today and saw him waving out the window. How come I keep missing all these sightings?
Today I took my family downtown to see the World Trade Center site because my mom wanted to see it before they built it up again.
They've already started building the Freedom Tower and it looks a lot different than the last time I was there (circa 2004), when it was still just a big hole with a pile of debris in it.
It's hard to imagine how people who were there felt that day, how positively terrifying it must have been for them. My mom mentioned that it would have been really easy to fake your own death that day and start a whole new life if you were looking for a way out, and that thought is kind've creepy, too.
I was pretty young when it happened, but I know life would be very different today if it weren't for that fateful morning.
Finally, I'll be in the city for a few weeks in a row. I'm still recovering from my travels, so nothing much pops out at me yet, but expect me to get my butt back in gear and renew the quest to keep you educated on and entertained by the magnificence that is New York City.
First off, let me apologize for the long lag in updating. I've been out of town at a wedding and an anti-wedding for almost two weeks and I have to leave again this evening for wedding #2.
I wanted to share with you one of my favorite depressing Midtown sights, for just a moment, though.
This is the National Debt Counter, located on 6th avenue at 44th street, right across from the Belasco Theatre (where "Passing Strange" is currently playing).
As I stood there to take a picture, our national debt increased by about $200,000. I remember running into this clock back when I was in high school and having it read somewhere in the $70,000-per-family range, so I was stunned to see how high it had risen in just a few years.
What's most ironic about it is that someone spent money (and probably a good chunk of it) to put up a sign to tell us all that we don't have enough money. This serves only to depress me.
And on that happy note, I'm off to be in a wedding!
I just wanted to give you all a quick heads-up that I've been cast in and started rehearsing two small theatre productions. One is called, "Documentary: A Suicide Narrative" and the other is "Jekyll & Hyde."
I'm so pleased to be involved with both of them and will definitely let you all know more details about them as the performances approach.
Considering gas prices and tolls, $15 to get from New York to Boston is a real steal. Even Greyhound was quoting me $40 one-way this weekend. And since I'm not working much (or at least getting paid for my work) and I have three out-of-town weddings to attend this fall, I decided to take the plunge and ride the Fung Wah bus from Chinatown this morning. Like I said, it was damn cheap. But you get what you pay for.
I had an oversized lady as my seat-neighbor for the duration of our journey and she apparently felt that since I am small and do not physically occupy every square inch of my seat and since she is large and cannot squeeze into the square inches she purchased, that it would be perfectly acceptable for her to borrow some of my seat throughout our trip. There was also a family sitting in front of me who thought it was a great idea to entertain the youngest in their group (a five-year-old hyperactive boy) by trapping air into small pockets of a plastic bag and popping them one by one. On a bus. Brilliant.
Also, let me forewarn any of you braving a Chinatown bus to heed their warnings. When I purchased my ticket for an 11 AM bus, the Fung Wah website told me to show up half an hour before the bus is scheduled to depart. Okay, no problem. My bus pulled away from the curb at 10:33. Not full. They are not kidding around!
To be fair, besides the early departure and the bat-shit crazies I was riding with, the trip was as pleasant as a bus trip can be expected to be. I will take the Fung Wah again in the future, because goodness knows there are some nutcases on Greyhound, too.
Had a callback tonight for a play being presented at the 13th Street Rep Theatre, which is a cute little blackbox theatre that has been run for thirty-six years by a passionate and charming lady named Edith.
I'm thinking of trying to join the company even if I don't get cast in the play. The company was apparently voted "best off-off-broadway company to act with" in a 2006 publication (either Village Voice or Backstage, I can't remember). Edith was telling another girl there about how the theatre was built in the late 1700's (making it one of the oldest buildings in the Village) and at one point was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad, which I thought was so neat.
Just thought I'd give you all a little update on the acting part of my life, since this is, ostensibly, also a blog about being an actress in New York.
Dan and I decided to use his day off this week to take a trip we've been meaning to take pretty much since we started dating. Our visit to Coney Island was preceded by a detour to IKEA Brooklyn to return some stuff we didn't end up needing for the massive bookcase/storage unit we assembled. Refund: $200. Sweet. On a side note, taking the free ferry is by far an easier and more exciting way to get there. The shuttle bus sucks.
Onwards to Coney Island. We stopped by the original Nathan's and grabbed some hot dogs to enjoy on the beach.
We walked by lots of chintzy shops and the famed "Beer Island," to which we saw a no less than seventy-year-old man kneel down and exclaim that he had found heaven early.
The boardwalk was fun and reminiscent of oldtimey New York. I was disturbed by seeing in person the "Shoot the Freak" game that I had read about in the Times.
The beach was pretty dirty, but it was so nice to be out in the breeze. The water was shockingly cold.
I posed for my glamour shot with the ferris wheel in the background. If I wasn't so pale, I wouldn't have blended in with the sand so well. But everyone loves an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini!
All in all, it was a fun time. Although, it was a pretty long subway ride! We'd still go back.
As an actress, it is with great shame that I admit to only having seen one Fringe Fest show this year. And further, I admit that it was only because my friend Tal was in it.
It was called WE ARE THE LAWMAKERS and it was a real trip. I definitely enjoyed watching it because the whole thing was so creative and unique. It was also fun to see Tal in her natural habitat, AKA onstage. The show reminded me of the Richard Foreman type stuff we were doing in Royston's class during our last few weeks as Hofstra students (think: oranges stuffed down my shirt actually being philopsophical). I was talking with Dan after the show about how much I enjoy doing that type of theatre. Even if it isn't my favorite thing to do (I mean, who doesn't love a good song and dance?!?), it was such a freeing experience as an actor to participate in that kind of work.
Congrats to Tal and a great cast and crew. Oh, and thanks for forcing me to see a Fringe Fest show. Hopefully, next year, I'll be in one!
Today, while searching for an appropriate mousse for my newly-permed hair, I stumbled upon one of the funniest things I've seen in awhile: hair dye specifically designed to color your pubes.
I mean, I could truly see this idea taking off; especially for those who are embarassed to answer "no" when asked, "hey baby, do the carpets match the drapes?" Maybe it's just me or maybe it's just the whole redhead thing, but I get asked that more often than you'd think. I guess some people are mortified by their answer.
My jaw physically dropped in the aisle when I saw this and, unfortunately for me, a manager was standing right there and started laughing at me.
I'm not sure what's more disturbing: the fact that their slogan is "color for the hair down there" or the interesting marketing choice they made in creating not only natural hair colors, but also manufacturing one that dyes your pubes hot pink.
Today, as I was walking down my street, a creepy Wormtail-esque man shouted, "You're really pretty, you know that?" I, of course, continued walking and tried my best to pretend he wasn't screaming at me. After a brief pause in which he must have determined that I would not be responding he yelled again, "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SAY THANK YOU!!"
This was the first street-yeller I've encountered who expected me to express my gratitude at being leered at.
On a happier note, I met Jason Robert Brown at Broadway in Bryant Park today. Completely on accident.
He was just sitting next to me on the lawn and someone asked him for an autograph. I looked over and it said "Jason" and since the cast of 13 was performing at the time, I figured that was too much of a coincidence to be ignored. Sure enough, it was him.
Today, while walking to an audition at Ripley-Grier, I ran into one of the ubiquitous (at least in my neighborhood) sample sale racks lined with heavily-discounted, beautiful clothing. I dutifully walked right on by, but this gorgeous cream lace off-the-shoulder dress caught my eye and I backtracked. There was a middle-aged woman standing there eyeing her own treasure and she noticed me scrutinizing this dress.
Alas, the rack was 1 for $20, which was cheap, but still more than I wanted to spend. The woman commented that it was a beautiful and as I started to walk away, she said something about how perfect it was for me and that I should get it. I replied that it wasn't really in my budget at this point and she simply said, "Well, let me get it for you. I've been dirt poor and I've been a millionaire, but at this point, $20 doesn't mean much to me and you should have this dress." I refused, of course, but I thought it was such a sweet gesture of kindness that really whacked me out of my power-walking mindset.
Today, as you may or may not know, was the day of the Dominican Pride parade in Midtown. When I first learned of this event on Thursday as cops were posting "no parking" signs all over my block, I thought it sounded pretty neat. Living on a parade street should be exciting, no?
Well, silly me.
Our street was the staging area for the parade, which meant that starting at 8 AM there was music blasting. It also meant that once the parade was over, the street was quite literally covered in trash.
But the most egregious crime, in my opinion, was that I couldn't get to my apartment upon returning from my audition. I had to walk all around the block before I could find a policeman who would let me onto my own street. And worse yet, they wouldn't let Dan onto the street until the parade was over because his license doesn't have our address on it yet and so he couldn't prove he lived here.
This was irritating.
I mean, I think parades are great. Who doesn't love a good parade? I was only mildly miffed when I had to walk an extra ten blocks on the way home from the grocery store because of the Gay Pride parade. But this was ridiculous. Everyone and their brother who was involved with this parade was allowed onto my street, but Dan couldn't get home?
I'm pretty sure that if anyone tried to organize a "Caucasion Pride" parade in the middle of Harlem and wouldn't let the residents of the streets get to their homes, someone would get shot.
I'm all for parades in my neighborhood, but if I can't get to my own home because of one, that's just ridiculous.
I made the trek up to Washington Heights to visit my good friend, Whitney, today. I took the A all the way up to 190th street (anyone for a rousing rendition of "you must take the A train..."?).
When I exited the subway station I was immediately overwhelmed by how much greenery there was for it still being Manhattan. I mean, it was beautiful! And Whitney lives just a few blocks away from Fort Tryon Park, which is gorgeous and lush itself. And there were families everywhere and it felt really safe and I was just really impressed.
I checked out her cute little apartment and loved it, too. It had lots of charm and she has a nice little view of the street from her bedroom window and a lovely fire escape.
Then we decided to go out to brunch (along with her roomie) a few blocks further downtown to this cute little place on West 187th street called Bleu Evolution, which had an open-air patio in the back and yummy food. But the coolest part about the place was that they had grape vines growing all over the beams on the patio. There were big bunches of grapes hanging everywhere! It was so cool.
Afterwards, we grabbed ice cream from an ice cream truck outside the park and sat down on benches to enjoy our cones. I got the vanilla dipped in chocolate and boy, was it tasty. The ice cream was so light and fluffy, it tasted more like a cross between ice cream and cool whip.
And so today's lesson was that I really like Washington Heights. It's not for me at this point in my life (hello, Midtown), but someday when I want to settle in and have some more space and a great community for families, perhaps Dan and I will take a look at Washington Heights.
So today, as I was walking home after pooping out towards the end of my run, I happened to pass by a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk with an empty cup in an extended hand. Nothing new in New York. Nothing particularly remarkable. For some reason or other, though, I decided to make my first contribution to what will likely be a homeless man's evening toddy, but what I hope will be this man's evening meal.
Now, to be fair, I've donated spare change and dollars before to musicians in subway stations. They always remind me of my brother, which makes me more generous, and I respect that they're trying to use something they love doing any way they can to make a living. Plus, I only contribute to the ones that I find especially entertaining or talented.
But anyways, I digress. I used to find the idea of giving the homeless my spare change unpalatable at best, mostly because I'm concerned that they'll make poor decisions with it. And they still may. But I've been thinking a lot lately about something my mom said a few weeks back. We were talking about how I've been volunteering my time and money to help stray kittens in the city, even though we're just barely getting by and I could be using the time to nanny more and the money to buy the beautiful clothes that I covet on my street. My mom said something really interesting when she said, "it's quite often those who can least afford it who end up doing the most good." That really got me thinking. True, there are those super-rich who donate a good deal of time and money to charitable ventures. I'm not saying they don't exist (and neither is my mom). But it is quite frequently those who are just barely scraping by who give so much of themselves to help the world around them.
I want to be one of those people. And maybe my spare change paid for booze, but maybe it didn't. Maybe it helped that man. I know it wasn't much, but it made my day.
So this one's for the kittens. And for the people who need our help, too.
Though it may be shocking for some of you to learn, I had never had a New York City hot dog until this past weekend.
Dan's parents, appalled to discover this, quickly located the nearest sleazy-looking vendor cart and plopped down the requisite $2 to burst my over-processed, watery, New York City-style, totally cliche hot dog virginity.
It was everything I expected. Good.
And, of course, in true Rolph fashion, I made sure the moment was documented by the ultimate photojournalist: Dan's mom.
Oh, and if you zoom in enough, you can see the completely awesome oversized drama mask necklace that I bought at the 6th avenue street fair this weekend. I love it and will immediately commence wearing it to whatever auditions I can get away with wearing it to.
So, I thought I had this cute outfit on. I had my favorite blue polka dotted spaghetti strap shirt on and my cute little tan shorts with some white heels and white beads. Sounds kosher, right? Wrong.
In one singular afternoon of wearing this outfit, I tallied three reasons to never wear this outfit again. Or at least never wear this outfit again until I can afford a professional security team.
1. Before I even made it off my block, Creepy Parking Garage Man proposed to me. Let me tell you, I've now been proposed to twice and after the first proposal, this one was a real letdown.
2. Only a mere three blocks away, an older lady tapped me on the shoulder as I was crossing the street to inform me that yet another creepy man had taken an interest in me. Only this time, he was an old, would-be-homeless-looking-if-he-wasn't-carrying-an-expensive-handheld-camcorder-in-his-hands, dirty man who was apparently videotaping my ass. Thank you, lady, for informing me of this travesty. If anyone recognizes my ass walking across Broadway from somewhere on the internet, can they please inform me immediately? I want my residuals.
3. And finally, as I was standing outside of Tisch waiting for my new actress-friend Tal to go have coffee with me, I was offered the role of a lifetime: a lead in a high-quality (or so I've been lead to believe) porn. I've got to admit, this guy's opening line of, "baby, let me make you a star" was almost remotely tempting, but I haven't been a starving artist for quite long enough yet for the idea of being a star at the price of removing my clothing for anyone to see to be appealing.
And so, as many of you know, The Men of New York are often offensive, frightening, creepy and leering (or any combination of the above), but never have I been so disturbed or harassed on any one day. Therefore, I have no choice but to conclude that my outfit was to blame. And since I've never known any man to tell me that polka dots were particularly scandalous, I must conclude that my choice in shorts was to blame. The offending shorts have now been relegated to the bottom of my bottoms drawer. And let me tell you, I have enough clothes that the bottom of any of my drawers is like garment purgatory.
One of the most heartening things I've seen in awhile was a man on the subway concentrating intensely on a dog-eared copy of "Atlas Shrugged," one of my favorite, and certainly my least-appreciated favorite, books of all time.
I think the most noteworthy thing I ran into today was while I was waiting to audition for a political promo.
This girl was sitting across from me - my height, pretty attractive, probably a dress size 8 or so - complaining that she never gets cast because she's not skinny enough. I think, "yeah, that does suck. I hate how weightist this industry can be."
Then later, as she's getting up to go in, I notice that her resume claims that she's 5'4" (so far I'm with her) and that she weighs 110 pounds. Wait. Hold up. I don't even weigh 110 pounds and I'm a dress size 0/2 these days. The reason you're not getting cast is not that you're too heavy, it's that you're misrepresenting yourself! If you don't like how much you weigh, change it. Or at least don't put a ridiculously fake weight on the top of your resume!
I think she was beautiful the way she was, don't get me wrong. But 110? Come on.
Today, during my many adventures, I was part of two very contrasting events. In one, we took the time to find inner and outer peace. In the other, factions at war were at the forefront.
The first was free yoga in Bryant Park. If you have never experienced it, you should. The setting is breathtakingly perfect for yoga practice...right in the middle of Midtown's peaceful oasis. And the price can't be beat. Seriously, guys. Tuesdays at 10 AM and Thursdays at 6 PM all summer long. I highly recommend it.
The second was a study in contrast. Apparently, the Dalai Lama was engaged to speak at Radio City Music Hall this afternoon and some members of a Buddhist sect took issue with that. There were a couple of hundred people chanting "Dalai Lama. Hypocrite!" and waving big signs claiming that the Dalai Lama discriminated against them. Now whether or not that's true is really more than I can judge, given the information I have. My guess is that the Dalai Lama is a pretty decent guy, though I could definitely be wrong. And I have been before.
So today you get two pictures because for them to both happen to me in one day was just too priceless to pass up.
I sat in Bryant Park for about two hours today and saw very little of interest, although I was approached by a Hare Krishna. Hooray.
According to the Bryant Park website, there are over 2,000 of these functional, if lacking in inspiration, green chairs scattered throughout the park. That's a shitload of chairs. Just imagine what they could do if they could organize. I mean, what couldn't a labor union comprised of over 2,000 green lawn chairs do, really? I just was amazed at that number. Alright, I'm done with the chairs now.
I also thought it was amusing the the lawn had to "rest" after having a big event take place there. What a peculiar wording on the sign that references why I couldn't sunbathe on the grass today.
I'm new to the world of blogging, so go easy on me. My experience thus far has been restricted to "oh my god, my life is so busy and hard" -esque livejournal entries, but I want this to be something that's much more.
I need an outlet for the crazy things I see and hear throughout my day. As they say, "only in New York.
Where else could I write about the outrage I felt at hearing a 16-year-old boy wolf whistle at me? Or the giggle I suppressed when a herd of cops with automatic weapons stepped aside to let me pass on the subway station steps and reassured me that "these are the safest stairs in the city, ma'am"?
Hopefully, I'll be able to capture some priceless moments on camera, as well. For now, I'll leave you with this gem that I mined riding the W downtown to 8th street the other day. I know it's dark and fuzzy, but it's hard to take a picture of someone without them noticing, okay?
That girl on the left has got some serious hair going on.