And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
Stanza from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot, my favorite poem.
Right for this type of spring evening: almost romantic. Nostalgic. For younger days. Walking home slowly among slow-motion films that reel off somewhere deep in your memory. Steam rising up from the newly drenched streets; rain having washed away the last reminders of winter’s stony heart. And yet you’re looking ahead, gliding forward. Towards this undeniable feeling that pulls you in like fireflies. Lassoed. Like it knows.
Knows that something is about to begin. Better yet, it’s beginning. Stirring. Hanging buoyant in the air beneath a low mist that will roll away soon enough. And when it does, gone, it will reveal a different feeling…season…you. Things born and reborn. A breath breathed into every blade of grass and muscle of your body. Right now is that brief moment of transition - the cusp. You can feel it: ahhhhh. Shed the cocoon. Time to start. Again.
Heading to Yankee Stadium after work on this perfectly crisp April evening for my first game ever. Yanks vs. White Sox. Yankees, I will love you as if you were my own, and one day, you will be. (Same goes for you, Knicks)
Storytime…a connection to my daddy tonight: “The White Sox were my team as a kid when I lived in Illinois, but then we moved in 1958 to Ridgewood, NJ (just across from Manhattan) and the Yankees became my team. In those days Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Roger Maris, were on the team and the famous manager Casey Stengel ——- my dad took us to lots of night games.”
And if you guys only knew about the prankster my dad was as a kid growing up in Joisey. Imagine The Sandlot meets A Christmas Story…living in the ‘burbs, chucking newspapers onto doorsteps from his jean-short back pocket, playing tricks on his kid sister, hopping slow-moving trains with his rat pack, grabbing burgers at the Daily Treat. I tell him all the time, I would’ve loved to have been a boy in that era.
On a recent Thursday evening, after a long day at the office and in dire need of a catchup, Marlena and I uncorked a delicious and mysterious bottle of malbec. Neither of us knew anything about it - it was a party favor/birthday gift, so its quality and potential were already in question. We did know that it would, regardless, do the trick, and that at some point it was from Argentina, circa 2007. But what that all meant, we still had no clue.
Side note, my palette is a work in progress, so if you are a wine snob, stop reading now. I hope to get there one day, maybe be a connoisseur of sorts since it goes well with my obsession with all things food and dining, but for now, its still pretty weak. I thank my many years of being a cheap college student…Friday nights spent sloughing together singles and spare change for plastic vodka handle liquor store runs.
But this bottle has me hooked. So much that I sought it out early on a Saturday morning. In retrospect, according to societal standards, it may have been a little too early for a respectable young lady like myself to be so ecstatic in a wine cellar - but to my utmost pleasure, I found it for $12.99 at a local Trader Joe’s.
I highly recommend it - rich and almost smokey with virtually no bite. Perfect for a rustic meal, like tonight, …alongside homemade veggie ratatouille (from my momma!) over hominy with a spinach side salad. Mmmhmm. Best when enjoyed with good company and in the comfort of your own (or your good friend’s) home - beware the consequential red-wine-mouth. But well, well worth it.
What is the feeling when youre driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it’s the too huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.
-Jack Kerouac, On The Road
(Be back soon Manhattan. Long time no see, Philadelphia)
I know I’m supposed to be the writer, but sometimes, someone else’s words really capture it. Just right.
This is your walk and this is your moment and this is your time capsule, says the city every evening as I leave the mailrom and step outside to find the lights of Lincoln Square. This is the moment when you can take me and mold me and make me in your image, and I’ll be what you wish and I’ll take after all your wants and whims, I’ll woo you if I have to till you get used to me and love me. But after this I’ll harden into what you see now and what you want now, and I may never change again. Buildings will come and go, and today’s movie theaters will be gone soon enough. You will grow older too, but come the evening of every day, you’ll find me as you find me now, waiting for you to step out into the speckled evening to recall, once again, as ever again, that you and I are of one kind. This is your New York.
The earth so dark; so long my sleep,
I have become another child.
I wake to see the world go wild.” —Stanza from An Eastern Ballad by Allen Ginsberg
From the moment I first laid eyes on its trailer, months ago during previews for some other forgettable film, I knew I was going to fall in love with this movie.
And I did.
Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere. Starring Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning. Set in Hollywood’s iconic Chateau Marmont Hotel. A magnetic soundtrack featuring riffs of Phoenix’s Love Like A Sunset Pt. I and II, and a lilting demo by The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas. Boardwalk of dreams, broken to meet reality. Paradoxical throughout: an at-times achingly pitiful journey of self discovery, but also rhythmic…a gentle, persistent tug on your heart strings. A film that ultimately ends in hope, which is in all honesty integral to the best films. Nothing against the new era of futile endings. But happiness, especially in the end, is something we all still (and probably always will) yearn for.
I could break Somewhere down to the bare bones for a full review. I could ruminate over Coppola’s inherent inherited artistic eye. Her past directorial bouts. Her fine fashion sense and reliable inclusion in Vogue’s weekly 10 Best Dressed list. Or most importantly, her influence on my favorite champagne. However, I think I’d do it more justice by allowing you your own discovery. It’s definitely not for everyone, but, to me:
It was lovely.
See. There’s another review already! Because I love food. And I love restaurants. And eating out. Especially when it involves good friends, communal tables and lots of vino.
Like Friday night. (Yeah guys, it was an expensive weekend, but. Ce la vie!)
Peels. Owned and run by the same folks behind Freemans - which I frequented twice in the past few weeks (it was that good) and plans are in the works for my next visit - aka next Friday noche con mis padres. Scotty is going to go bananas over this place. And I’m getting bottomless champagne if its on the Shibinator’s tab (or what was it, Scibby? Lotty?) I digress…
But yes, Peels is one in the same, except exceptionally special in its own way from the sister eatery, aside from of course being equally as wonderful. Second and Bowery, right on the corner. You can find it from the street via the vanity bulb sign illuminated on its shopfront awning. Upon first glance, it almost seems out of place. Something more at home in Charleston or Santa Monica. Whitewash and green leafed, southern townhouse meets country-home decor. I’d been once before for a pricey organic coffee and fresh squeezed OJ via its daytime counter (I’ve yet to have their brunch. Because apparently its nearly impossible to get a table, but I won’t give up). Luckily, we made a reservation in advance - it being a birthday shindig and all - and our hostess lead us up a wooden stairwell to a second floor I had no idea existed. White tin ceilings, full zinc bar, dark and candle lit, simple yet elegant floral arrangements. Hunter green plush and studded semi-circle booths, and long white communal farm tables with white country chairs. Clean and classic.
We were seated at a table in the center of the room, and immediately our empty wine glasses were filled with a few bottles of sauvignon blanc. The menu pay homage to southern roots that so blatantly inspire the interior design. A sampling: fresh-kill, free range fried chicken with mashed red potatoes and gravy (decadent). Jalapeno red salsa pork loin over hominy. Vegetable gratinee, or a fancy way of saying veggie goat cheese casserole, or mac-and-cheese without the pasta. Scallops cooked to perfection and served over a bed of greens, with a side of homey cheddar-jalapeno grits. A striped bass special in green garlic sauce over asparagus (flakey, light, delicious). Dont miss: the parker house rolls. They made the entire meal, and I will be dreaming of them for weeks, nay! - months to come…
Bottles were emptied, desserts were ordered (hot buttered rum that tasted like a Werther’s in a glass, coconut sorbet and a “blackberry crumble” - blackberries over yogurt mousse, meringue and mint-rosewater ice milk), cabs were obviously taken home. Tummies full, totally satisfied, the perfect place for a night out with the girls.
My first restaurant review! (Of many more to come.)
Thursday was my roommate’s 23rd birthday, so we convened down on the Bowery to celebrate with some high-end pizza. No caviar, lobster, gold-encrusted slices here folks, …come on we just graduated…but you guessed it – none other than Keith McNally’s snazzy, corner pie joint, Pulino’s.
You really can’t miss this place - it sits right at the corner on E. Houston, brightly declaring its self-importance with cherry red, illuminated signs and an obtuse, faded new-brick exterior. You can almost always expect to see a few parties or reservationless hopefuls loitering around outside, waiting for a table or barstool to open up. Even into the wee morning hours, since ‘supper’ is served until 2 a.m. (which I’m sure is a scene…I’ve heard that when the pizzeria first opened up, it was a late-night spot for model and low-lev celeb sightings). All inhibitions lost at twilight? The recipe for hospitality moneymaking.
McNally is the restauranteur behind Pastis, Minetta Tavern, Pravda and other notorious downtown haunts. And if you didn’t know this already, you’d probably be able to tell upon stepping foot inside, because the interior oozes remnants of his sister restaurants. Bread baskets and pizza crusts hail from the bakery of probably his most famous yet – Balthazar, luring tourists far and wide to its pastries and SoHo location - and the décor is essentially Schiller’s to a T (the Lower East Side liquor bar that serves a great cocktail and Saturday brunch hash brown) which is surprising, because who knew Italian eateries and French zinc bistros could be so similar. But still, it works. Because the bustling crowds continue to show, and guests continue to approve of the appetizing old-school plates that are set before them.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday evening, Pulino’s was already packed, brimming with both tourists and locals alike. We lucked out, having nabbed a corner booth…the perfect vantage point to take in the whole scene. To begin: carafe of white, decaf Americano for moi, a breadbasket, and spicy red pepper flake-infused olive oil (beware: it is indeed hot). Classic calamari plate. Arugula salad with crunchy radish and shaved parmesan. Tortellini with ricotta. Thin crust, brick oven pesto pine nut and pecorino cheese pizza. And the best: prosciutto pizza smothered in fresh arugula with fresh mozzarella.
Lively. Satisfying. Just right to share. Especially if you luck out like us, with fellow foodies and a booth in the back.
In Ireland, when you had too much drink on a Saturday night and you woke on Sunday with that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach - the homesick meets actual-sick meets utterly depressed morning that will last all day…
Well they had a name for it.
‘Oh, lads, last night was UN-believable, like. Really, a grand time. But shite, is it really half past two?’
You want mom’s cooking, and her love. You want to be eight years old again and lying on the sofa with not a care in the world. You feel ashamed. You feel judged. Even if you really didn’t do anything that bad. Its just the alcohol still pulsing through your system, shaming you into a deep trench of misery and despair. You should’ve stayed in with a rom-com and a salad. You almost wish you hadn’t gone out the night before. And you dread the workday ahead of you. So much that it almost brings you to tears.
You are a puppy with its tail between its legs. Why won’t Mom answer my phone calls?
It may be worse in NYC.
….you can go an entire day without so much as speaking to another human being. sometimes, even eye contact is averted in its entirety. everyone here is always on the go, on the move. even if they have nowhere to be. spearheading down some destined path, beating forward in an unknown direction, to some unknown place they have to go. to a certain street, a certain building. towards plans they’ve made that i’ll never know. you pass a thousand, no - a million faceless people, all doing the same thing. they’re countless, yet its hard not to wonder where they’re all going.
i find myself wondering this very thing about complete strangers on a daily basis. its fleeting, of course, because as soon as they’re gone, you’re on your way again too. passing a million more. but the real mystery comes when you see a familiar, unfamiliar face repeatedly in the crowd - on the street corner, on the walk to work, or for me particularly, on your daily subway route. a momentary puzzle you pine to solve, you even begin to embellish a bit. mine: a slinky brown-haired, doe-eyed boy in his mid twenties. well-kept but not in office attire, per se. sometimes he carries books when we pass each other on the uptown A platform at 14th street. he always looks a little frightened, newlystirred - that look pasted to his face like when you first wake up…startled, mid-dream. sleepy yet sharp. i tell myself he goes to Columbia.
i’m sure every so often these chance encounters turn into true friendships. it would be flattering really, to be recognized. to be noticed in the city where there are a million other yous. if only you could muster the strength to break down that initially frightening social barrier. if you could approach the awkward ‘i see you around here sometimes’ with a dash of modest confidence. but who has the time? we have places to be. unknown plans to keep. and that’s the great thing about this city…those interactions with complete strangers. real or imaginary. the dual ability to blend in…to disappear into the crowd… or to stand out…that familiar face among the masses. to go anywhere and to be anyone. and to never stop wondering.