Thursday, April 30, 2015

Joining In: Getting Even More Social

Right before I dove into the black hole, the pitch--dark hole of Tribeca Film Festival that is for the past two weeks (believe me, I'm actually not complaining)...Oh, and we'll get back to that, don't worry...

    I was introduced by a friend to the New York Social Network, that happened to be hosting an event one night. Immediately, I thought, "OK, cheesy. I don't need an organization to set me up with any lame name-tag-wearing events where we play 'getting to know one another games.'" No thanks, I'll pass on those. I experienced my share of awkward middle school dances, and I didn't feel like reliving them in my late twenties.

    I didn't attend that particular event, but I began perusing the NYSN website. Once I saw the lineup, and I chose an upcoming event to try out, I realized that this organization is completely different. Truly, no cheese (except for the delicious kind on appetizer trays at their happy hours). They offer a packed weekly and monthly schedule of an array of activities: from hiking and walking tours to rotating Indian dinners and after-work rooftop drinks, you can find something that either challenges you to transition out of your comfort zone or an activity that aligns with your schedule and interests.

    So, the event that I chose--let's just say that I had no real clue what I was actually attending. Described as a subway and station tour/flashmob, I feel like I might have skimmed over the meaning of "flashmob." Clearly, I have selective sight and hearing. I assumed we'd be riding the subway, socializing, and gaining some insight on some hidden and overlooked curiosities of what is normally our mundane, occasionally function transportation system that is all too often a source of frustration and big, fat sucker of your time and patience. If you had any to begin with on a Monday morning commute.

    It took place on a Saturday night, and the meeting/check-in location was at a midtown pub. It was packed. Some people imbibed heavily before the tour began, others looked freshly eighteen and took selfies for thirty minutes. You were given headphones, and I realized that this tour would be incorporated with a "silent" group dance party. I've heard of these "Quiet Events," where you don huge earphones and typically, just dance. At "Quiet Clubbing" events, multiple DJs often play, and you can switch between them by clicking a button on your headphones. The color displayed on the outside lets you know what someone else is listening to, so perhaps, you both can get on the same channel and groove in sync. Hilarious premise, but it's a "thing," apparently. Anyway, this experience would be similar. Our tour guides led and backed about two hundred of us, quiet dancing machines, down into the crowded New York subway system. The tour guide would interject with notable bits of history...and to also instruct fellow subway goers to dance right along with our group. We freestyled in the middle of Penn Station, in packed subway cars, downtown Fulton Center, and everywhere in between. People either took our photos and boogied down with us, laughing, or they found us very intrusive and irritating. I get it. You're in a hurry. You're tired. We're an enormous group of dancing people invading your personal space. I probably would have given us the side eye too.

    Many abandoned, obsolete underground subway stations still exist in New York, and I've always been intrigued by these capsuled, untouched pieces of monumental NYC history, but a revolution in mass transportation that's respected worldwide. Most, or truly, all of these are inaccessible to the public. The widely known, "crown in the jewel" City Hall station, though, provides tours a few times a year to the member of the New York Transit Museum, but that's all, folks. It can be briefly seen, though, when taking the 6 train from its last stop at Brooklyn Bridge downtown as the train wraps around to begin is ascent uptown. Note: Do not sit at the very front of the train, and grab a seat or stand very close to the right side windows. It's eerie. I've been planning to make this short little ride for quite some time now, but simply never did...until this flash mob tour. So, one more checked off my New York to do & to see list. The stunning City Hall station (just see the photos below!) features skylights, chandeliers, shockingly meticulous tilework, and more. Due to the expansion of the subway line, the station's usage declined. It was boarded up in 1945. Thank goodness, though, that its existence and architectural beauty has been exposed once again by those who care about preserving the memory of the New York transit system as well as historical landmarks. Viewing this station, nose up against the window, proved to be a major highlight of the whole night's excursion for me, personally.

    As for the finale of the flash mob tour? We emerged from the underground world and began walking and dancing through the streets of Manhattan. We crowd the evening with some freestyle dancing in Times Square and congo line of about three hundred people--yes, we added a few willing tourists who were more than happy to join in. Hey, it was a great photo opportunity.

    After returning the headphones at yes, one of those "Quiet Club" events, where we were all invited to remain for drinks and more dancing (whew! tired much?), I chose to head home. It was midnight. I didn't drink, but I enjoyed myself. In a city where you base many relationships--from work to romantic to friendships--on culinary and cocktail adventures, it felt a bit uncomfortable but good to spend a night doing something different.

All in all, I realized that I may not be too cool to dance. Cue Eden XO's smash single. 

I'll be participating in more events. Tonight, with the New York Social Network, I'm going to a taping of the The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. 

I guess, my point is, get out there. Whether you're in New York or not, there are plenty of social organizations. We could all use a little shove out of our normal routines. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What I Wore: Winter Shag

Just when we thought we were in the safe zone...that zone that no longer includes snow days, black slush, and forty-five layers, of course... nature responded with, "The joke's on you, New York!"

We were blasted with several inches of snow on-ironically (but, of course!)-the first official day of Spring.

We all once again rummaged through the darkest corners of our closets, dug into the bins we'd recently begun stuffing our winter-wear into, and grumpily wiggled our boots back on. We knew there would still be cool weather to come. It is New York, after all. This isn't our first rodeo. This isn't our 100th rodeo. We got this. It's exciting in November, and we gladly snuggle under the warm covers in flannel pajamas, reveling in the falling of winter's first snow flakes on our eyelashes when we emerge from our cozy (i.e. tiny) apartments. It's all so Sound of Music and adorable, right?

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Fast forward to months of stubborn snow that won't actually melt, splash-stained pants, nearly-ruined or sad-looking boots, and a silent whimpering from the city for it to all end. We thought we'd finished "winter proper" and had transitioned to that strange gray period right before spring blooms and coaxes us all out of our homes, shells, and resting bitch-face. We had a tiny teaspoon worth of spring's antidote, and we can all guess what happened after that. All together now, Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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So, when I was forced to break back out a coat with some actual heavy-hitting warmth, I was slightly excited. I'd purchased this Yeti-meets woolly mammoth-meets Big Bird vintage shag jacket from one of my favorite vintage stores in the East Village, No Relation Vintage. They always have such unique, comfy tees, coats, and classic headwear. And, in particular, this coat--swooooon. I love a good shag (who doesn't? wink!). It's obnoxious. It's wonderful. It's soooo Blow and American Hustle. In other words, it's soooo me. I'm kind of obsessed. Make that just plain obsessed.

Burberry inspiration: 
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I'm truly upset that I didn't also purchase this coat in cherry red, which hung right next to my winter-white shade. They both were longingly crying out to me. I kept reassuring myself that if I continued to muse over the red shag for the next few days and still felt joyous over the current addition to my wardrobe, then I'd return to get my coat's even gaudier sister. The weather turned a bit warmer, I visited family down south in North Carolina, and soon, the red shag became a distant memory. When I returned to New York, it hit me. I decided to pop in and just seeeeeeee if maybe, just maybe, the red shag that had been haunting me could possibly be awaiting my arrival. No luck. Lesson learned--When you know, you know. When it's a one of a kind piece, timing is everything.

Right time, right place, right price. 

Grab what's rightfully yours! 

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Coat: Vintage; Similar One, Two, Three, Four & Five (in black!)// Blouse and Black Pants: Zara// Boots: Joe's Jeans "Avryl"; Option Two// Lipstick: Kat Von D "Coven" //Sunglasses: Lucky Selectism

The next day, I decided that heading outdoors warranted some warmth. I changed up this look to make it a little more rock 'n roll. I threw on a baseball graphic tee, some cheetah booties (Kate Spade--similar HERE and HERE), and a signature beanie. It felt very much "me" for daytime while running errands, taking the dogs out, and dashing between jobs. Not too grunge, not too pristine. I'll just be over here, wrapped up in my shaggy mammoth coat, waiting in the cold while waiting out the cold. At this pace, maybe come June (ish?), I can finally be donning a denim jacket.

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I could wear this outfit everyday, in fact. Maybe, I just will until spring properly delivers some inspiration in the form of sunshine and greenery. 

Also, in

other news and exciting happenings:

  • Most importantly, I met my three-month-old niece for the first time in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. My heart absolutely melted into a million pieces. Watching my two-year-old nephew speaking to her and rubbing her face? Consider it heart failure...from elation. I had five beautiful days there with my entire family. And, guess what? Winston-Salem is growing on me, which is something I never thought I'd think, much less, say aloud. It's charming and surprisingly full of life, culture, a food scene, and plenty of live music, to boot (jokes, I've got 'em)...sorry, y'all. I failed to give you the credit you deserve. I've seen the light...and eaten your fried green tomatoes. My mistake. Well done. And, aren't these just the most picturesque houses ever? Dying for one of my own now. I'll have to settle for my Brooklyn apartment with roommates for now, though. Can't I just have both? I'm going to need to start writing a few more books, eh? 
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  • TriBeCa Film Festival officially commences on the 16th. I'll be collaborating on some write-ups and events with the ever-cool Creem Mag and one of their editors, who also happens to be one of my favorite people and dearest friends. I'm beyond stoked. I absolutely love the TFF, and it's always an incredible mix of talent, discussions, events, and equally fascinating people. There's nothing like art--and in this case, stimulating films-- to cultivate thoughts and subsequently, actions and even movements. Whether it's purely entertaining, educational, emotionally riveting, or the combination of all,  I'll keep you updated on what's dominating my mental space after it commences. I'm never disappointed. Let the wheels start turning. 
To be continued...

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