I’m leaving New York City this week. I’ve been here for seven years and there’s still so much I haven’t done. I haven’t eaten a Cronut. I haven’t performed with my guitar at an open-mic night. I haven’t auditioned for a Broadway play. And until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t been to Red Hook, Brooklyn.
I’ll know exactly how Polish I am when my mom receives the results of her Ancestry.com DNA test in 6-8 weeks, but at our guesses I’m about 30%. I identify more with being Irish because of my name, my extreme bond with my cousins on my dad’s side, and that Ireland was the first country I traveled to back in the day. But every time we saw my grandfather growing up, there was babka on the table. And to this day, when we visit my mom’s aunts and uncle, it’s there. I’ve tried a variety of “the best babkas in NYC”, but nothing’s the same as that cheese babka from the Polish bakeries in Trenton, NJ. In addition to the prevalence of babka in my life, every Christmas Eve dinner that I’ve ever had is kielbasa, because that’s what my mom’s family had when she was little.
Brooklyn is where it’s at. A tree grows there. Beards grow there. But most importantly, the art scene grows there.
Sometimes I have an obsessive personality. In 7th grade, it was Beanie Babies. In 9th grade, it was ‘N Sync. So far this month, it has been the New York Magazine Cheap Eats issue. I’m talking OBSESSED. As in, I may have made my own spreadsheet with categories of Borough, ‘Hood, Cuisine, and what the magazine suggested to order there. If you are nice to me, maybe I will share, if you then promise to go to one (or several) of the establishments with me.
Please refer to Britney Spears’ classic love song, “Dear Diary,” if you are not familiar with this post title. It’s okay if you can’t make it past the first 30 seconds, I sincerely understand.
A friend just had me thinking about my favorite songs about New York, which works well for my new blog feature, Get More NYC. As I sent over my list, which in fact is mostly made up of music from a CD my sister, Katie, made for me when I moved to New York (seriously, how great is she?!), I also starred my favorites and I couldn’t help but star this next one 3 times.
On Saturday, Caitlin, Tracy, and I met up in Brooklyn to eat our faces off. We went to the “Smorgasburg” flea market for artisan food vendors in Williamsburg, open on Saturdays all summer. This was another suggestion that was repeated by a few people for my 28 Things list, but I am counting this as one of Caitlin’s since we went together.
A friend and I have been talking about going to the New York Transit Museum for about two years now. I think we both have a minor obsession with the subways. He has recently questioned, “Is every subway station the same length? You never have to walk a few cars up or a few cars back like you do on actual trains, every car opens at every stop! How do we find this out?!”
One of the most essential “to-dos” in NYC is to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Whenever someone asks me what they should do with friends or family from out-of-town, I always suggest this as an activity. One of the first times Aubrey came to visit me (before she was a New Yorker herself), we walked across the bridge on a beautiful day in March.
Yesterday, a few friends and I decided to go see the Bodies Exhibition at South Street Seaport and ended up exploring Brooklyn as well.
This morning, I found an article in the NY Times that made me decide to reminisce about my trip to Coney Island this past summer. “Coney Island Loses Longtime Boardwalk Vendors” discusses how nine businesses on the Coney Island boardwalk, some that could be considered staples, are being forced to shut down. On our trip, we had been to Beer Island, taken pictures of Paul’s Daughter (in honor of our friend Paul), and made fun of Shoot the Freak (yes, this is actually a game on the boardwalk which involves a man running around a course with a shield and mask while children shoot paintballs at him…)