In the Big Apple

Central Park

After six months in the City of Lights, it feels like home to be back in a big city, with an overwhelming amount to do and see, and an ample amount of restaurants to choose from (because for me food is the best part of any journey). When I first visited NYC a few years ago with my family, I determined that it wasn’t my cup of tea: it was big, overwhelming, dirty, and far from the humble Boston atmosphere I was accustomed to. As much as I enjoyed our backstage passes to the New York City Ballet’s production of “Romeo & Juliet”, I decided I would never want to live there or work there. I would never be a Carrie Bradshaw, or a determined journalist making her way in the big city. No, I would remain a Boston girl.

David photo-bombing a shot of Van Gogh's self-portrait at the Met
A raspberry tarte from Le Pain Quotidien

Well, I was wrong. I am absolutely enchanted with New York. I don’t know why, either. I can’t put my finger on it, but I love it. My summer here, I can tell, will have a delightful duality: I am spending my weeks working for a non-profit organization called the Waterfront Center, where I am the resident blogger (go figure). You can check out the blog here. The center focuses on sailing courses, boat-chartering, marine science programs, and community-oriented waterfront activities that allow people to get involved in waterfront activities who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to. It’s a great organization, and my job requires little more than mediocre photography skills, writing, and an outgoing, adventurous attitude. I’m stationed in Oyster Bay, but living on Centre Island, a little island with one road, many estates, and a yacht club with a view worth millions. It’s a great gig, and it means that I get to hang out in a Hamptons-esque area for four to five days and then head into the city on the weekends to hang out with the Paris gang. Not too shabby.

An up-close of Van Gogh's painting. I love the texture of his work!
Seurat's "Sunday Afternoon on the Grande Jette" at the Met

My first day in the city was spent with David, who just arrived to his new apartment in Brooklyn and is currently on the lookout for a job (please comment if you know of anything :)). We went to the Met to see Savage Beauty, the exhibit of Alexander McQueen’s dramatic fashion creations. We explored the Impressionist wing – my favorite – and I taught David all I knew about my favorite group of painters. It was amazing to finally see him, since he spent the year in Paris and I hadn’t even spoken to him in months. It was just like old times: exploring, eating, and generally tiring ourselves out while taking advantage of all the culture available in the city.

Puzzling at the Met
A beautiful Van Gogh work. I love the way he depicted cypress trees - he used an incredible amount of texture and color that completely stuns me.

By the time we finished art-ing in the Met, we headed to Le Pain Quotidien, which we went to one of the first times we hung out in Paris. We shared an assiette de fromage, and enjoyed some indulgently good food while reminiscing and catching up. We took our coffee and pastries to go, and sat outside the Met eating them while we pieced together the puzzle of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” that I had bought earlier. What a lovely afternoon! We relaxed and enjoyed the sun, and then took the train to East Village for drinks. The evening was gone in a flash, and before I knew it I was headed back to Penn Station. But not before stopping for a famous NYC hot dog! It was on my bucket list, and even after my wonderful lunch/dinner at Le Pain Quotidien, I couldn’t resist a late night indulgence.

Me enjoying my late-night hot dog. Delicious.

Hopping back on the train, I felt like Cinderella: my wonderful day in the city was over, and my dress would now turn to rags and my coach into a pumpkin. But nevertheless, I felt fulfilled. I needed, more than anything, some time wtih my friends after a week of solitude, and seeing David was just what I needed. It convinced me that my summer will, in fact, turn out okay, and I could not have asked for a more perfect day in the Big Apple.

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