August 29, 2011

Hurric-lame Borene hits Facebook

Millions of New Yorker's prepared well in advance to survive one of the biggest disappointments of forced rest in NYC history. Regardless, we survived our boredom by banding together on Facebook before the power never went out. Below is a compilation of survival tips that blew through Facebook newsfeeds, and certainly helped us prepare better for the next time an out of town hurricane rains on our weekend. Yeah...rain.

Huge party night of the storm, the entire East Coast will be there!

It’s really cheap, and... it’s really cheap. Check out this hastily made Cleveland tourism video as well as this one too. Entice your wander lust!

And.... yeah, that's about it.

  • Do not rely on an umbrella, they will break. Definitely use ponchos
  • Pack your Mayor Bloomberg emergency “Go Bag” with Smart water, Yoga mat, Starbucks Via packets and powdered creamers, Waterproof band aids, Waterproof makeup, MAC face wipes, Listerine strips (Watch your GI index with Altoids. Don’t let a storm make you fat), PAPERBACK books (no Kindles/iPads), Hunter galoshes (Tory Burch's will fall apart), Organic banana & whole foods granola bar
  • Charge your iPhones NOW, y'all!!!!
  • Warning! Store lines waits are really, really long! Learn how to cook on Youtube NOW because all the prepared meals and breads are sold out. (That is actually not a joke. They totally sold out of all prepped dishes.) Chinese food and Pizza shops will be delivering if the long wait on lines deterred you from getting enough of supplies.
  • Collect a stack of Chinese food menus in and out of your area prior to the storm. Deliveries may be really backed up during the storm.
  • All grocery stores will close up. Korean Nail Salons will all remain open and totally packed. Select a salon equipped with therapeutic massage chairs and/or masseuse for an extra $15. Splurge as this will help eliminate your panic and stress. If I'm gonna go down, I'm going down with a mani/pedi.
  • Beware of eating all your survival foods before the storm hits out of sheer restless boredom. Do not let a storm make you fat.

Frantic New Yorkers found panic relief at Bonnie's Nail Salon. Bonnie, a Korean-American manicurist, admitted while filing everyone's toes to perfection that she was working through her terror of dying in her drive home to Brooklyn. She worked through her mother's desperate call from Seoul begging her to close shop. Do you think that stopped her from working? NOT THIS NEW YORKER! Surges were scheduled to start at 5PM, but Bonnie chanelled all her panic stress into WORK, WORK, WORK until 8PM that night. This was workaholism at its finest, folks, shaming a wall street tycoon. In her worry she gave the best mani/pedis we'd ever received. We're talking heated lotion, and extending the customary hand massage to include the entire arm right up to the shoulder.

So when a hurricane hits NYC, these guy delivered! Based on his emotional state divided by the two blocks he traveled added to his wetness, we tipped him $7.

9:00pm Irene arrives
9:22pm It appears even the news broadcasters are bored...
10:09pm Lightning flashed
10:22pm With 14 mph winds, Facebook is at greater risk of crumbling than the City.
11:26pm Hitler video goes viral
11:27-3:00pm New York sleeps through the storm and I am pissed that I spend 60 bucks on beans and granola bars to miss UFC Rio.

Millions of New Yorkers completely destroyed their clocks with the onslaught of a mysterious hibernating sleep ranging from 10-15 hours. Judging by all the hundreds of photos of hard alcoholic purchases, it appears 85% of New Yorkers were also experiencing a city wide hang over.

1) Jog already!
2) Put the booze down and drink a glass of WATER
3) For the love of anything holy stop eating carbs
4) You might need Nyquil/Tylenol PM to sleep since you woke up 12-3 in the afternoon
5) Give one of the cans of food you refused to open for carbs to charity
6) Try to remember what you love about your jobs because IT'LL BE BACK ON TOMORROW!!!

September 15, 2009

I Broken Heart New York

Like anyone you meet with a loud, dominating, self-aggrandizing personality, it does not take tremendous gifts of foresight to know that once the initial amusement of meeting her wears off, New York City will get on your nerves. You know that one day, maybe soon, you will develop hypersensitivity towards her surface irritants—shoving, honking, competition, inflated prices, urine. But irritants by themselves are not what break the city dwellers heart. It is the firsthand knowledge of people constantly walking in and out of your life.

Once you taste the empty flavor of being left behind, you understand the lonely nature of City life. The New Yorker suffers this in silence, nobly accepting the harsh relational reality as an inevitable aspect of transience. This is why the saxophone is so fitting played alone late at night on 5th Avenue. It sings the ache of not being able to take being abandoned personally. But then add an old lady shoving you in rush hour at Fairway to your neglected despair, and a mere trivial irritant suddenly has the power to throw your heart into a bitter depression, not to mention living with the horrified guilt that you just accused an 80-year old woman of being a cow while shoving her back as hard as you could.

The pain is unfortunate, but it is also unfortunately your problem, and you are left to pick up the pieces however you choose. Some of the common options to coping, both healthy and unhealthy, that I have witnessed and tried include:

• LOVE: Finding love in God and/or relationships gives confidence to love others. Romance, however, fades, and people fail. So in a world of rapid changes and fleeting feelings, the only steady love I have come across that does not change or fail has been the love of God.

• ANTI-LOVE: As only the eloquence of an 80’s pop song lyric can describe, "I'm gonna harden my heart, I'm gonna swallow my tears..." More commonly expressed, "f*** 'em”. This actually does not work, and gallons of oil of olay will not reverse how it ages you.

• HOLLYWOOD: Forrest Gump-like innocence that accepts and loves people as they are without assumption or suspicion. Difficult for the street smart. Exceptionally rare in people possessing a normally developed human brain.

• PARANOIA: Embracing suspicions, cutting off anyone who even hints at leaving you in the wake of their own self-interests. Fast forward to the end of this story… she winds up without any friends.

• DOGS/CATS: Walk around New York for 20 minutes and count how many dogs you see with their owners, multiply by 8million, and there you have one emotionally needy epidemic! (Even my parents own a German shepherd in their one-bedroom apartment and I am even compelled to take of his affectionate love wovey’s on a nearly daily basis)

• NUMB: Drugs/Alcohol

• VOLUNTEERISM: Love the City and seek to repair what is broken. Give back to regardless of everyone consistently taking.

Someone said that you can tell who a New Yorkers real friends are by who they cancel plans with, and who their acquaintances are by the engagements they see through. It’s sad, but true. Considering how starved for lasting connection and community people in this City are, this fact is baffling.

I realized this heavily while I was in Paris this summer, and brought back with me the French’s concept of savoring quality and authenticity over quantity. This extends far beyond vin et fromage (wine and cheese) but to relationships as well. In fact, it is very difficult to make friends in Paris because Parisians generally hold close to the friends they make in their youth, ripen with age, and see no need to go out finding new friends beyond the ones they’ve already spent years establishing. This can shut many out. On the other extreme, New Yorkers have a tendency to make friendships very quickly, spilling intimacy everywhere, but without time to develop solid trust, the relationship will not be strong enough to hold the weight of the demands placed on it. It collapses. There is a balance somewhere between New York and Paris.

True friendship, regardless of culture, is very, very rare. If you have three real friends, you are rich. I don’t care how big a New Yorker’s sense of entitlement is, no one is entitled to friends. Friends are a gift, to be treated with gratitude and value. And in this economy (how many times a day do you hear that prefix?) any friendship that requires you to spend money, not to mention your waistline, on drinks in order to keep the relationship going is not worth as much as the time you spend with the friend you can meet on the couch in your jim-jams for free.

As I flew back over the Atlantic, I thought about the people I aired so much of my dirty laundry to and how our relationships crumbled after just 1-3 conflicts. Where are they now? Then I thought about my friends who never held it against me if I cancelled, or didn’t call back, or didn’t show. It touched on all the quiet hurts of all the people that had left me, and I suddenly found a new gratitude a la Scrooge that filled me with hope that I was not too late to appreciate the people I was blessed with.

The first person I called when I got back was my beloved friend Israel Julien. Of all my friends, I told Israel, he would love Paris. I couldn’t wait to tell him my epiphany because I knew he would understand. Israel has the most incredible eye for quality and savors good things-- food, style, and people. Here is someone who celebrates life, and his friends, even when they are distracted. Someone who tirelessly invites me out or over just because he misses me. Someone who has come to almost every one of my shows, and listens to my music on repeat even when I’m not around. Someone I should not take for granted.

We had a wonderful dinner, two New Yorkers mulling over the aches that come from living in a transient City with transient people. He totally got it. He completely agreed. I told him my regrets, and celebrated his friendship, and there was healing in the moment.

I went home that night empowered that my entire relational life in the City was figured out. I have wisdom born of pain met by my new found international understanding of how to beat a broken heart, and my list of valuable friends checked off in my mind. The ones I know are in it for the long haul.

3 weeks ago on September 5th, Israel died. No one saw it coming. He chose not to be a burden and hid from his friends that anything was wrong. I am broken, traumatized, and in my confusion, back at where I started, feeling like a lone dull saxophone on 5th.

Israel is no longer physically a part of my life. Nothing personal. At his memorial service I confessed through blurry tears that I’m a New Yorker, and people come and go in and out of my life all the time. I thought I was better at “goodbye” than I was “hello”. Not this time, this is different. There is a hole. Treasures cannot be replaced. His death tripped me while I walked as if I could control my heart from breaking. But if you love, you will hurt, and I would rather hurt all alone in this City than to have not known Israel, and all the people I have loved who have left me behind.

September 1, 2009

Bloggers have issues

Unless they are writing as an expert on a particular topic, I generally avoid people who are drawn to writing personal blogs. In my experience, people who publish diaries online are full of themselves, unaware of others, monopolize conversations, talk at their listeners, fail to listen, and turn to writing in blogs as an outlet to contain their words, words, words since people fall short of having the capacity to receive them. That and no one will return their phone calls. Unless, of course, the blogger is a model with a strong nerd following. No problems there. Regardless, blogs still strike me as vain, and vanity is not only boring, it is humiliating.

So why am I a hypocrite? The story goes: I wanted to be a writer as far back as I can remember. Fortunately for me, I had talent to go with my desire, as that is not always the case. I sought out opportunities at any school I went to for outlets, and if they weren't available, I wrote anyway. All my heroes were writers, and when I got to college, naturally my writing degree lead me to becoming published and eventually paying bills as a freelancer. But something's happened. I've clammed up and become one of the most private people I know. Too private. Clammed.

Now I still have an outlet. I've focused on songwriting completely and share what I've written though my CD and performances in music venues all over NYC, but music is less personal. I can hide the nakedness of the lyrics inside distractingly pretty melodies. I know how raw my writing is, and the melodies conceal a lot of that.

I've blamed my silence on having to give my time and energy to a full-time job. I've blamed how badly I've been treated by industry people and the City. I've blamed my becoming a Christian stripping me of my writers identity and confusing my voice... but they are all just excuses. I blame myself. Fearful and lazy. And before the gift atrophies permanently, I can at least start working it out here.

I realize I don't have to publish this, any of this... and I still am fighting the urge to delete the account altogether.... but the risk of someone actually reading all this somehow brings it to life. It is the same reason I must perform the songs I've written because unless someone hears them, they might as well not exist. And while I hope no one reads this, the risk will make me finish an entry, check the spelling, and in the end, keep me interested.

You could say that my disdain for personal bloggers is just displaced envy of their freedom to write with abandon, but I actually remember the insufferable meals and coffees and drinks I've had with personal bloggers. They talk far far too much.

August 19, 2009

Evolution of REAL New Yorkers

1. You're born here.

Naturally, I'm proud that I was born and raised in Manhattan. I gladly carry the title "native New Yorker" with quiet dignity, but apart from my quiet dignity, I'm afraid the title doesn't give me much edge over a New Yorker who moved here from somewhere else. Well... besides not having to qualify being a snob... and the exemption of harsh judgements of Americans by our sisters Paris and London. Other than that, the title only lets me skip the obstacle course of a person's "first year" to prove they're the real deal. I was born into real.

If you are considering birthing authentic NY children, be aware of the difference their conversations and status will be if they are born in Manhattan. Of course, there lovely natives of other burroughs, each rich with pride and history, and I give them respect. (Props!) But they're B&T. Bridge and Tunnel. A variation of the New Yorker. I don't make the rules.

Par example, this is an actual conversation I have all the time with aspiring New Yorkers:

THEM: So, where are you from?
ME: I was born here.
THEM: Oh! So you're a real New Yorker. Brooklyn....or...?
ME: No, Manhattan.
THEM: Ohhh! So you're a REAL New Yorker. You guys are rare.
ME: (nodding with quiet dignity)

It is what it is.

2. Move here, and you're half way.

In other places, like small fixed towns, or New Orleans, or England, acceptance into the community is by birthright only. An exclusive possession of the native. Not so in New York. She offers acceptance (or at least the oppurtunity) to anyone who has the guts to move here with their goals. And I gotta hand it to them, it's a big deal to move here. I have a great deal of respect for the chutzpah it takes to uproot and blow up your life for a chance to succeed (or not) in a place as daunting as New York City. (I mean, I've never done it.) Moving here alone is enough of an accomplishment to move you to half way to becoming a REAL NYer.

If someone calls you a New Yorker in the beginning, it is our version of hospitality. Who said New Yorkers aren't nice? Calling someone a New Yorker keeps in step with the accessible spirit of the City. If we're in the mood, aren't in a hurry, then making a person feel included is a good deed for the day. I know full well that look in a newbie's face when they move here and that they feel isolated, scared, bullied, desperate, misty-eyed, excited, and that they're in for a truckload of life lessons. Some that might send them packing. Why not call them a New Yorker so they feel included. Just please, sweat a little blood with the rest of us first before you go capitalizing your titles.

3. The 10 year mark

Here it is folks.... the 10 year evolution of a real NYer...

Everything is new and you love, love, love the stimulation, OR you're terrorized and run for your innocent uncalloused life.

YEAR 2-3
This is where most people move away. You begin to experience how hard it is to live here. The average transplant has begun living hand-to-mouth for the first time in their lives. Your starter job is killing you, but your goal drives you on. If you leave you most likely say something like "Oh I love New York, but I could never live there." It's ok, we're pretty crowded.

YEAR 4-5
If you leave now, then you've accomplished some of what you came here for. You were never interested in really being a New Yorker. You lived here long enough to brag, and even offer life wisdom to your future children who you will raise in a very sheltered house. It's too hard to find a descent person to settle down with here anyway, right? Well...boogah-boogah! If you stayed, you got that joke.

YEAR 6-10
You're weirder than when you first arrived. Perhaps wiser. Definitely harder. Might as well keep going. If not, well no one will argue with you if you insist on calling yourself a New Yorker. Especially if you've got a great apartment we'd like to take off your hands. But if you gave up right before the glory. Well that's not very New Yorky, is it?

This is where we all face the pivotol question: do I stay or do I go? It's the pendulum swing from appreciating New York to taking her for granted - and unless you are able to rekindle gratitude and appreciation, you will leave. Even the toughest, even the natives, all come to our wits ends at around year 10. We find ourselves utterly sick and tired of the pushing, the noise, the hussle, the smell, the heat, the frigidity, the competition....everything negative is intensified. Things you once found exciting are soul draining and annoying. Perhaps your dreams have been dashed. Perhaps you're devastated you wasted your youth for the thrill. Perhaps you've decided after 10 years that NOW the smog is killing you. You've might even be announcing that you will soon be moving to your dream-like "somewhere else" just to psych yourself into doing it. Somewhere that offers everything NY refuses to. (Mine was Colorado.)

If you stay: Congratulations. This is the REAL New Yorker marker for you. You're pretty much ruined for everywhere else by now anyway. You've lost your attention span, in some instances, money. No where in the world will ever be able accomodate your inflated sense of entitlement and freedom. Your brain would probably atrophy at that other more peaceful place since you've propped it up for so long with stimuli.

If you go... I don't blame you. No truly, I understand. Send me a postcard. 10023.