Monday, February 20, 2017

Backstage Beauty, Fall/Winter 2017

As ever, some sights and scenes from backstage at New York Fashion Week.


















Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mr. Donahue's

I've been on a kick lately where, call me crazy, I think food can be delicious, not terrible for you, and relatively inexpensive. One of my most recent jaunts on this new food journey of mine was the incredible Mr. Donahue's in Nolita, which I wrote about briefly last week. I was pointed toward the restaurant by the wonderful Pete Wells in his New York Times roundup of the best new restaurants in New York, shared with me by SJT. I'm not a person who needs a many-hundred (or even just one hundred) dollar tasting menu to be happy, nor have I ever been, so it was a pleasure to see a place like Mr. Donahue's on his list. Each entree on the small but well-planned menu is $20, and with it comes two sides and a choice of sauce (if you get the roast beef it's a little more at $26). I like Mr. Wells's style when it comes not just to writing (those Guy Fieri and Per Se takedowns are truly the stuff of legend at this point) but how he thinks about food--having had the pleasure of meeting the man last summer, I was pleased to find him unpretentious and considerate--so I was curious to see what Mr. Donahue's was all about.

SE and I rolled up to the restaurant on a very snowy Saturday, snowflakes sticking, as The Sound of Music would have it, to our noses and eyelashes. The space was teeny tiny, just two lunch counters and a four-top table, and it looked like it fell out of a 1970s television show set in the Midwest. Gold marbled mirrors, a browned Pepsi sign with white detachable letters, a vintage silver fan, brown leather barstools and brown wooden chairs next to white marble tables and doilies upon doilies caught my eye as we hovered by the doorway and waited for a place to sit. The restaurant doesn't take reservations, so we hungrily eyed the adorable clear glass or flowered china plates (they looked like they belonged to someone's grandmother--this restaurant may be small but it is brimming with style) filled with food of the patrons slowly making their way through their meals. We had both been studying the menu for weeks, mouths watering at the prospect of '70s-style home cooking in the form of Dry Aged Meatloaf, Duchess Potatoes, Crab Imperial, Banana Rum Pudding or a multitude of other options. Shortly our friends, K&O, arrived, and we took a seat at the only four-top that had magically appeared as they walked in.

As delicious as literally everything on the menu looked, both SE and I found ourselves drawn to the roast beef. I ordered mine with acorn squash, a watercress, endive, pomegranate seed and pistachio salad with mustard vinaigrette, and an herb garlic sauce. He chose the rotisserie red cabbage with Caesar dressing and croutons along with the Brussels sprouts Almondine topped with brown butter vinaigrette. Our "slabs of meat" as SE called them arrived swiftly, two perfectly pink, juicy rectangles with just enough fat teasing our eyeballs. We dug in to the slices, their edges salted and peppered for a savory tang. Having seen this item online for two weeks then in the flesh (pardon the pun), it was a delight to have it taste exactly as I hoped it would. Our table fell silent as everyone dug into their dishes (O ordered the steelhead trout and K ordered the chicken-fried pork cheeks), enjoying them too much to speak. The gingerbread crumble made my squash crackle with sweetness, and SE's rotisserie red cabbage was really the stuff dreams are made of. We realized we had literally seen the tiny red cabbages on the spit with the chickens when we walked in, and SE was served a quarter of one as his side. The cabbage, spun on that spit for god knows how long, slid apart with the slice of a fork, its subtle spice complemented by the creamy Caesar dressing. I could have just sat there and eaten a whole cabbage, if I'm honest, though I'm not sure what that would have done to my stomach. Oy.

It was one of those meals where I was sad to see everything go. You mean...it's all gone? We don't get to eat anymore? But O&K ordered a banana rum pudding topped with sweet, cloud-like whipped cream and brimming with firm bananas coated in a caramelized sugar glaze and our mouths were happy once more. I'm still sad the meal is over but I'm happy to know that Mr. Donahue's will be there whenever I want it to be, hopefully for a while.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Treats

I have three words for you.



And here are some ways you can do that in New York, whether you're a "cashmere velvet candy cane" or not. If you're stressed, remember to take care of yourself and blow off some steam--if not, you can wear yourself down and you'll be unable to take action when you want and need to. I know I'm particularly guilty of this, so perhaps this list can be of help when you need some ideas.  

Free:
Go for a walk! In nature! Or as much as we have of it in New York...
It seems like a no-brainer, but people don't say they're "going to get some fresh air" without reason. Some of my favorite walks are: 
The Hudson River Greenway (link here on Miss Manhattan for info and here on NYC.gov for a map)

Visit an art gallery. Here are some of my favorites: 

Or try a museum! There are several really interesting spaces in the city, like the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, or the American Folk Art Museum that are always free. Here is a more comprehensive list. 

Dance yourself clean (or dirty) at the deliciously trashy Hell's Kitchen gay bar/club The Ritz. The last time I went, I was there until closing and covered in sweat in the middle of November. It was awesome. 

And of course, remember to laugh. There are always *good* free comedy shows listed in The Skint. If there's a show with Myq Kaplan, Phoebe Robinson, Khalid Rahmann, Jo Firestone, Sam Taggart, Julio Torres, or Joel Kim Booster on the lineup, I *highly* recommend going. 

Under $5:
A Brooklyn Blackout Cupcake from Two Little Red Hens on the Upper East Side: it has chocolate pudding in the middle. Sweet Jesus. $3

A ride on Jane's Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park: ride the restored antique overlooking the water and pretend you're a (very well kept Park Slope) kid again (or for the first time).  $2

A hot dog from Papaya King/Gray's Papaya on the Upper East Side/East Village and Upper West Side: these salty/crunchy dogs are New York classics for a reason. $3/$1.75

Ride the Roosevelt Island Tramway: for the cost of a MetroCard swipe, you can get out of town (sort of) for a little while and explore Roosevelt Island. 

A Pretzel Croissant from City Bakery near Union Square: it's everything you wish a pretzel was. $4

Go to the American Museum of Natural History (Upper West Side) or The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Upper East Side): these classic museums are donation-based for permanent exhibitions, so there's a suggested donation but you can give whatever you like. Other museums are donation-based, too

An egg cream at Russ & Daughters: my favorite in the city, it's bubbly, sweet and made with seltzer shot out of a siphoned bottle like they were originally.  $3.75

Under $10: 

I still love the cheap-ass jewelry at Claire's. Don't judge me. 

A giant bowl of hot borscht with sour cream at kosher vegetarian lunch counter B&H in the East Village: perfect if you're feeling especially Jewish in the winter. They'll give you free buttered challah, too. $9.50

A small Cheeseburger Mac at MacBar in Soho: gooey, creamy, cheesy, meaty goodness from a tiny storefront. You are not avoiding carbs today. Plus: a small is really filling. $7.99

Pernil Asado at Casa Adela in Alphabet City: Roast pork served with beans and rice, Puerto Rican-style and made by somebody's grandmother. My mouth waters just thinking about it. $9.95

Funky keychains, notepads, and pencils from Greenwich Letterpress in the West Village: They have the Dr. Frank-n-Furter notepad you didn't know you needed.

Any show at Bizarre Bushwick: for under $10, there are amazing burlesque and drag performers and musicians nearly every night of the week. 

Take a yoga class at Yoga to the People. It's a $10 donation for their hot and non-hot classes. They believe "Yoga is meant to help strengthen and stretch your arms and legs, not cost you one!" In Brooklyn and multiple locations in Manhattan.

Under $20:

Buy yourself a book or a journal at McNally Jackson in Nolita or The Strand by Union Square and support independent bookstores.

Go to a luxe foreign, classic, cult, or indie film at Film Forum, Anthology Film Archives, the IFC Center, Sunshine Cinemas, or The Metrograph. Or just see a blockbuster at an AMC/Loews. About $15.

Grab a meal at the fabulous, yet very tiny, Mr. Donahue's in Nolita. It's a '70s inspired diner with doilies on the table and almost every entree on the menu is $19.99--and you get two sides with it. I want to write a whole blog post about it at some point...it's that good.

Go for a cocktail at the wonderful Suffolk Arms on the Lower East Side. The menu is practically book-length, and they're masters of their craft.

Listen to jazz, blues and funk at 55 Bar in the West Village. Cover charges vary but are low, they have a full bar, and you never know who will stop by.

Grab oysters and bubbly at The Mermaid Inn's happy hour.  With $1 east coast oysters and wine, beer, and cocktails all under $10, you can eat like a king even if you're only royalty in your mind.

Under $50:

See a show at Joe's Pub. From wild cabaret performances to concerts to comedy, the acts are always high quality in the intimate space.

A 16.9 oz bottle of handmade shower gel from Lush to relieve stress, inspire positive energy, and more. $29.95

Luxe Jo Malone scented candles at Bloomingdale's on 59th and Lexington in a variety of clean scents. $35

Go to a concert and sing your heart out. Here's a listing of all the ones coming through NYC in the Village Voice.

A pitcher of refrescos at Huertas in the East Village. Enough for two, the super delicious and refreshing Spanish cocktails made with wine and soda. Serves two. $30.

Dinner at the utterly delicious Filipino restaurant Jeepney in the East Village. Order family style from this menu filled with meats, citrus flavors, noodles, fried awesomeness...you'll love it here even if you've never had Filipino food before.

Cashmere socks if you really want to be like Tom: $14-30 at Bloomingdale's.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women's March on NYC

Protests are the foundation of America. Here are some pictures of people standing up for what they believe in.

January 21, 2017
1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
New York, NY


























Saturday, January 14, 2017

Thursday

9:46 am
What was the name of the place again? Dream Dry salon. And it’s on, wait let me check the book…21st between 5th and 6th. Okay. I can probably take the Q to 34th Street then transfer to the R or W to 23rd. I love having a seat on this train. 

10:14am
Where the hell is the local train? I’ve been standing here for like 10 minutes. I could have just taken the express and walked 5 blocks and two avenues by now. Well, maybe not exactly. But still. I’m waiting longer than the trip will even take me. Oh, here it comes. Hallelujah. 

10:25am
At least I’m closer to the salon than if I got off at the top of Union Square by 16th Street. Still, it is pretty cool to have my hair blown out for free. Thanks, beauty PR! 

10:30am
I must be in the right place because there’s a flock of girls wearing black with perfect makeup and hair holding clipboards. First name Elyssa, last name Goodman, like Good. Man. Yep, that’s me. Yes, tell me about your product. Good Lord, you have so much energy. How long have you been awake, darling? I just want to give you a hug and pat you on the back and then give you a place to take a nap. Instead, all I can do is listen to you talk about your hair vitamins. I’m so happy you’re excited about them. What kind of vitamins are in the hair vitamins? You don’t know? Nobody coming in the entire morning has asked that? It’s interesting what people will just put in their bodies willy-nilly in the name of beauty. You’ll refer me to someone else? My, this woman is quite loud. Why are you shouting? Your hair looks so beautiful, though. Everyone here is so beautiful and voluptuous and has great hair. Good god, my hair looks so…straight. Does it always look like this? I should really put in some more effort. Oh, this new woman doesn’t know what’s in the hair vitamins, either? She’s referring me to someone else. This is like a merry-go-round. They don’t know the basic science behind their product, but they’re really enthusiastic about it! Now we’ll talk to the owner’s daughter. Oh, okay, Vitamin D, Amino Acids, and…the last one you don’t know? Okay. They started last year with one product and now they have 13? That’s awesome. Good for you! Yes, I’d like to see my stylist now. I can’t handle talking to any of you anymore. You all have so much energy and I haven’t had any caffeine yet so I can’t keep up. 

Hi Simone, it’s nice to meet you. You’re so pretty and I love your hair and your leather pants! I have been jonesing for leather pants for the longest time. I don’t know what to do with my hair. It always looks like this. I can’t believe it always looks so boring. Waves, you say? Yes, let’s do it. Okay, PR team, fine, I’ll remember to hashtag and social everything, I swear. I do love that I get to try out the products for real at this event. ther are so many times when they’ll just bring you in and give you coffee and say ‘here look at our product’ and then you’re just like, uh, fine, thanks for the coffee. And they give you a gift bag with all of the stuff in there and you never use it and it just sits there or your give it to your roommate or your one friend who actually does her hair. But yeah, this is cool. We’re going to wash my hair! Awesome. Oh, this product smells amazing. Like…vanilla and a little bit of citrus and creamy frosting. YUM. Now you’re wrapping my hair in one of those perfect towel knots! I’ve always wanted to know how to do that. 

Wow, my hair looks shinier and it’s not even totally blown dry yet! This is wild. Good on you, hair product company! It’s nice to know something actually works. Oh, here come the hair waves. They look so pretty, but they bring out my neck fat. I need to loosen the waves a little after I leave. But first, tons of selfies!!!!! When my hair flattens out in 15 minutes I’ll want to remember what it looked like. Shit, I still haven’t eaten. I am gonna grab one of those yogurt-and-granola cups to go, thank you very much. A gift bag, too? For me? That’s very sweet. Jesus, that bag is a bright pink color. Oh man, it weighs a fucking ton. Now I have to carry this around all day, too. Alright. I’ll have to eat this yogurt while I walk. Mmm are there cherries in here? Yes please. Mmm. 

11:40am
Caffeine! Good god, I love Everyman Espresso. And that cross-stitched sign that says their wi-fi password. Time to find some glittery desserts for this article. Oh my god, there’s such a thing as edible glitter? My life will never be the same. How do all these dessert bloggers have the time to bake such beautiful cakes and photograph the processes and stay so thin? Aaaaand now I’ve touched my hair too much and the waves are gone. That’s why I don’t get blowouts, I remember now. 

Is it time to leave already?

12:40pm
Okay, I need to look remotely presentable for The Plaza. Hair? Fine. Lipstick? Nice! I like this dark purplish color. Ready to go. I can take any local train on the yellow line, yes? 59th Street and 5th Avenue! I have arrived…20 minutes early. Jeez Louise. Okay, I’ll just use the bathroom…except where is the damned thing? Wow, the Plaza is really beautiful. I bet it was even more beautiful before it became a tourist trap. Alright, it looks like the restroom’s downstairs in the Food Hall. Lord, these people are paying an awful lot of money on a sandwich to sit in the dark, aren’t they? There are no windows down here. And I’ll bet this red carpet running through the halls here has seen some shit. Excuse me, ma’am, why is your child rolling on the floor here? Good god, millennials really are the worst parents. Are people really taking selfies in The Plaza bathroom? I just want to wash my hands, please. 

Where is this restaurant now? Up this escalator, I think. No…that leads outside. It must be that entrance downstairs? Hm, that’s cordoned off…somewhere else then? Oh, here it is! Look at all the people drinking wine. Hello, people! I am going to shake hands and chitchat with you. Oh, I made a food friend, how nice! And we’re drinking Amarone. Mmmmm it’s delicious. Todd English is here! He says that Amarone used to be a wine only grandpas drank. But for a wine that apparently only grandpas drink it’s really lovely. He made all the dishes to match the wine and good Lord, they’re a perfect fit. I mean, what was I expecting for a professional chef, but still. This bolognese is top notch. Pasta is al dente. Yes yes yes. Oh, and this fig and proscuitto pizza will be the death of me. Sweet and salty, my fave. Egglant canap├ęs with roasted red pepper? I’m dying. Shortrib sliders with fontina cheese? Cauliflower coulis with coconut milk? This is everything. I am having the best time. This is the kind of stuff I moved to New York to do. Everyone is chitchatting about food and taking pictures and there are so many good vibes! I want to eat forever. I want to stay. But shit! I have to go stop by that doctor's office.

2:25pm
All clear at the doc's! NICE. Okay, there’s a 2:38pm M train leaving from 53rd and 5th, so if I hurry I can make it. Oh my god, I forgot about all the foot traffic on 5th Avenue. Jesus, Donald Trump, why did you have to put your stupid office right in the middle of fucking midtown? Don’t you know people are trying to get around? WHY IS EVERYTHING GOLD I HATE YOU. I also hate these fucking tourists. AGH AGH AGH AGH AGH. My feet are really starting to hurt…this was maybe not the best day to break in my new leather boots. But I thought the entrance to the train was on this side of the street? Shit shit shit shit. Okay, running across the hallway here, running down the stairs. Fuck, I hear the train coming! If I don’t get on this train I’ll be late. Running running running. More running. And I’m on the train!!! Praise Jesus. And RuPaul. Now if I get off at West 4th by 2:50, I’ll make it on time. Fingers crossed. Good god, I’m sweating a lot. When did it get so warm? It’s like 60 degrees today. Well, at least it’s better than 20 degrees. We’re at West 4th! It’s 2:48! YES, I’LL BE ON TIME!

3:00pm
And I’m early! This cafe is cute! I’m so warm. Need to shed some layers. I hope I don’t look like a total sweat ball. Fun nice laughter and art talk and good times with a fellow aesthetic! Hire Will Baker for all of your web design needs, he’s a rad dude. 

5:00pm
It’s that weird amount of time where I have a bunch of stuff to do but probably won’t get anything of worth done before I need to go to Ridgewood. I don’t really want more caffeine, but where can I go do to work? I don’t want to go to an independent coffee place and not buy anything, like a dick. I know, I’ll go to a corporate one and use their internet instead! Stick it to the man. 

Good god, this mother sitting next to me is a total basket case and she just spilled orange juice that she mixed with water all over herself and sprinklings of it got on my computer. I don’t need 1000 napkins, just like 2 will do, but thanks, I appreciate the fact that you want to show you’re concerned without actually doing any constructive thinking. Your child is going to grow up so neurotic I’m pained for her in advance. Please stay away from me. Okay, time to go to Ridgewood, thank god. I’m happy to be sitting for a half hour because man, my feet are really aching. The tendons in my feet are ever so slightly beginning to weep. It’s okay, we’ll be there soon. 

7:05pm
I have almost no idea where I am—I think they call this area Quooklyn, but I like Queeklyn or Bushweens better. But this place Julia’s is coming up soon, it looks like. Oh, here it is! I like the red walls. The menu looks so good. It’s been such a long day. I may even have a beer. Oooh, raspberry cider! Nevermind. Sorry, AR, I promise I will have a beer later. 

8:50pm

Where is the next bar we’re going to? Somewhere near the L, maybe? Oh my god, my feet. There must be blisters on the sides of them that are exploding out of my shoes. Is this bar far? Oh, I can’t go on like this. Would it be totally gross if I took off my shoes and walked around in my socks? I don’t care. Oh for fuck’s sake, this feels so good. FREEDOM. What a day to choose to break in my shoes. I think it’s time for that beer. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Free and Easy

There are many perks of living in New York, which doubtlessly you know if you live here. However, there are some perks that even if you live here you might not be aware of, so I’m happy to tell you about one of them in particular. 

IDNYC is a free card you can get that will give you either a free one-year membership or admission (or both!!!) to an amazing amount of cultural institutions, sporting events, and entertainment venues all over the city. In my travels, I've found that people have sort of vaguely heard about it but never pursued it, have not heard about it at all, or have one and love it. I fell into the first category, having heard about it before, but had never taken advantage of it until I heard some of my favorite cultural venues were involved this year--they do change every year, but some do stick around, so it's worth renewing each time it seems.

To get the card, all you have to do is make an appointment to go get one online, then show up at your designated time, fill out an application and have your picture taken, then it’s mailed to you within two weeks. I went and signed up for mine yesterday morning (Friday) at the Mid-Manhattan Library right near Bryant Park. There are places you can go all over the five boroughs to make an appointment, though, and those places show up online when you go to select your time. 

I had to wait a while—about 45 minutes because they were busy and understaffed, unfortunately; and there was someone in front of me who had been there even longer, so make sure to bring a book or something—but as soon as it was my turn I was in and out. I’ll be excited when the card finally arrives because here are just SOME of the benefits:

Free membership at any institution where you have not been a member since January 1, 2013, which includes but IS NOT limited to places like :
The American Museum of Natural History
BAM
Carnegie Hall
Film Forum
Lincoln Center
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Opera
Museum of Modern Art
New York City Ballet
The Public Theatre
The Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo

The IDNYC benefits of membership for each institution vary, but you can check out what they entail on the IDNYC website here :http://www1.nyc.gov/site/idnyc/benefits/museums-and-cultural-institutions.page. For the most part, with each membership there’s lots of free admissions, special invitations, discounts (and, in some places, discounts on discounts because having a membership to Carnegie Hall, for example, entitles you to discounts at neighborhood restaurants as well as the venue itself—it’s like DISCOUNT-CEPTION), priority ticketing for events, and so much more. Mind, you aren’t immediately a member—of course, you do have to sign up for membership individually with each institution, but when you do the membership will, of course, be free. Normally membership at places like these, to get benefits like those offered to you, are upwards of 60, 70, 80 dollars (or more) so being a member at more than one place per year can get expensive. But not when you sign up! Frankly I’m kicking myself for not having gotten a card sooner.

Not to mention, you can also get discounted movie tickets (as low as $8), Broadway tickets and Cirque du Soleil tickets, 25% off some sporting events at Barclays Center, a 10% discount at Modell’s Sporting Goods, and so, so much more. 


When you’re a culture vulture like me in a city like New York, you want to see and do everything since it’s all at your fingertips…but that can get expensive. So, if you want to increase your ability to see awesome performances and shows and exhibitions, in my opinion this has to be one great way to do it. I'll report back if anything changes, but in the meantime I'm excited for the prospect of taking in even more culture than I did before. 

*swoons and floats away like the Sugar Plum Fairy I might finally be able to afford to see*

What are your experiences with IDNYC? Tell me below!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Great Moments I Didn't Write About But Should Have: 2016 Edition

As ever, a list of some of the great moments from the past year that I didn't get a chance to write about as they happened. To compile the list I usually go through all of my social media platforms from the entire year and I pick out the moments, later finding images and doing research (into my own life, which is strange and revelatory each time) about each to make sure they're accurate. The process usually takes longer than a) I think it will and b) than most of my blogs do, but it's the only year-end, or rather year-beginning, list I do so I might as well go big, no? That being said, here they are. Enjoy!

January

9- I had written about porn performer Jiz Lee’s “Coming Out Like A Pornstar” anthology—in which porn performers detailed the times they told their families and friends about their careers— for VICE, and they held a reading for the event at Bluestockings, the radical feminist bookstore on the Lower East Side. The event was packed to the gills, and my friends and I were happy to have found places to lean in the back by some magazines. The readers were incredible, warm and kind, especially Lorelei Lee—her essay about her experiences in porn made me cry and also made me realize I had never wept openly at a reading before. I met her after the reading to tell her how much I loved her piece, and I began to cry again. She cried too, and we hugged. I can’t wait to read more of her work. 

23- In light of the massive blizzard headed to New York, a travel ban was instituted all across the city, from busses to subways to cars to hovercrafts…you name it. But A & T were visiting that weekend and we had all made plans to get together. While my friends across Manhattan weren’t able to make the trek, I pulled on my rubber boots and trudged my way over there. I say trudge more because that’s the motion I was making as I pulled myself through the snow and not because I wasn’t enjoying myself—I was! It was so wild to be able to walk in the middle of a Manhattan street, three feet of snow be damned! Along the way, there were people in the street with toboggans and sleds, children and adults alike frolicking in the snow. I arrived at their apartment with my mascara all over my face because of the snow and wind, but I felt invigorated. We sat and drank wine and ate leftovers, chitchatting until the snow stopped. By that time the snowplows at come through and I was able to walk on asphalt, still in the middle of the street, back home. 

video

31- HanOre and I visited Patricia Field’s, the legendary bastion of downtown outrageousness on the Bowery, before it closed forever in February. The store was a haven for glitter, spandex, rhinestones, sequins, leopard print, faux fur, vinyl, platform shoes, wigs, and the people who wore them best. I had always wanted to shop in the store, but with everything 50% off I could finally swing it. We tried on all manner of spangled concoctions in a teeny tiny dressing room, and I left with a very important purchase (below), which I think is a perfect way to remember the store. 



May 

5-I was assigned to photograph the band Low Cut Connie, who I love, for Impose Magazine. It was a late show, starting at 10 or 11pm…or so I thought. The band had two openers, and didn’t even end up going on until 2am. I was, to say the least, not amused. But I did my job, of course, and when the band came on they were absolutely electrifying…even though most of the audience had gone home by that point. They performed full-out, as high-energy as they would have been if the place were packed, and they were intoxicating to watch, banging on pianos and bass and guitars in all of their sassy dive bar rock and roll glory. I left the venue at about 3:30am swimming in happiness, and when I finally fell into my bed around 4am, the happiness had seethed into my joints and bones. THAT is what a concert is supposed to be. 



June

10-I don’t remember how it happened or whose idea it was, but HanOre and I ended up hosting The Great Martini March of 2016 throughout downtown Manhattan with a few girlfriends. Though that is perhaps an understatement. As we wrote in the invitation:

We'll start at Art Bar at 8pm then work our way over to Cafe Cluny, across the street to Corner Bistro, and a few blocks south to Little Branch. By that time, we'll be close to Macdougal Street where we will unhinge our jaws and shove however many Belgian-style frites into them as humanly possible. Or just have a nosh, you know, whatevs. 


And we did it. All of it (almost…I think we decided to finish our martini madness at Cafe Cluny where, incidentally, they have a fantastic drink called a Filthy Martini made with garlic vodka and tomato water. What is tomato water, you ask? I HAVE NO IDEA! But it’s very delicious and makes a great drink even better). We finished it up with a visit to the newly-reopened Pommes Frites in the West Village…which, if we’re honest, was the whole reason for the event to begin with.

August

27- One Saturday, AR and I met up in the far reaches of Red Hook for a day of exploration. We started with lunch of brisket and pulled pork at Hometown Bar-B-Que, a vast space with high ceilings that might normally only be in possible in…well, not New York. We then traveled our way through pretty much the entirety of the neighborhood, snacking on soft, warm cookies at Baked (despite the August heat) then traipsing over to the Valentino Pier for sunshine and water and sitting on rocks, stumbling across gentrification porn—really fabulous, modern, intricately designed homes in former industrial spaces that are making rents go up in the area—as well as the Golden Anvil Sculpture garden, the dive bar Red Hook Bait & Tackle with all of its taxidermies and/or mismatched decor from the 1970s, Red Hook Lobster Pound for some of the best lobster rolls I’ve ever had, all followed by a walk through Carroll Gardens to Boerum Hill for drinks at the lushly-couched yet inexpensive Fawkner’s for beverages, and back to Barclays Center to catch the train home. I think we walked over 8 miles all over the Red Hook and then through Brooklyn from the early afternoon to just before midnight. I was having so much fun that I only really got tired toward the end. 



September

9-My lovely friend J was a production assistant on Project Runway this season, and she invited me to come see the show’s finale during Fashion Week. While I hadn’t watched the show in several years, I loved it as a teenager and I thought it would be a fun experience to give it a shot. I was not just invited to the 9am show during Fashion Week, though—I was invited to the early friends and family showing of the top 4 designers at around 6 am, for which I had to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. It was fun to be a part of the process of having it all come together, to be holding a secret and to be legally obligated to keep it! Heidi, Tim, Nina, and Zac all came out at the end and sat in their front row seats and my teenage eyes were sparkling some 15 years in the past. I was sitting in the second row, with one contestant’s family in front of me and one behind me, so when the show aired on December 22 you actually get a couple really strong glimpses at me and my red lipstick when the families are on camera. My mother and my aunts kept pausing the show OnDemand to squeal and shriek whenever they saw me. 



20- The incredible Taylor Mac, who I have written about before, did his opus “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music” at experimental theatre space St. Ann’s Warehouse, a former tobacco warehouse in Dumbo. The premise of the show is that every hour of it is filled with music from one decade, and Mac sings the entire time in an explosion of wild costumes—decorated with hot dogs or porn-covered potato chip bags or chess boards or chicken wire or all of the above, and more—with an orchestra that loses one member every hour. You could also see the History in shorter, three-hour spurts, and I went with DL, the person who introduced me to the fabulous performer in the first place, for “Act III: Puppets, Whitman, and Civil War” in which “Two men fall in love while escaping slavery; Walt Whitman and Stephen Foster go head to head for title of “Father of the American Song” culminating in the queerest Civil War Reenactment in history.” It was incredible, sitting on the floor on pillows looking up at this theatre genius gorgeously challenge our understandings of history while wearing full drag. 

25- I had dragged SE to a photography event that ended up being a vicious bore and a waste of time, but he ended up saving the day with some really awesome ideas of what to do afterward. Since we were around Brooklyn Bridge Park, he suggested, instead of waiting hours in what was becoming rather chilly weather for a table at Juliana’s, one of the most famous pizza places in Brooklyn, that we order a pizza to go then sit on the pier and eat it there instead. The to-go order took only one hour versus several, and we walked around the pier and the park exploring and taking pictures while we killed time. Then as it grew dark, we sat on this pier overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and the lights of Manhattan and balanced this oh-so-thin Margherita pizza from Juliana’s on a bench, sliding it out of its slim wax paper wrapping and diving into its fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, and olive oil. I’m not too much of a pizza person, but it was absolutely divine…and maybe made me into a pizza person after all. Afterward, SE suggested the Brooklyn Ice Cream Company, in front of which I had seen people waiting all day to get in. But by the time we got there, we simply waltzed in and ordered raspberry rugalach ice cream, chewing on chunks of the pastry embedded in each bite of the dessert. We traipsed back to the F train in the best of food comas. 



Last but not least, there were also some cool work things that happened this year:

I did my first pieces for Elle and T: The New York Times Style Magazine. I also had a photo I took on the cover of the book The Naked Result: How Exotic Dance Became Big Business by Jessica Berson, published by Oxford University Press. I was a freelance editor at Delish.com; was hired by Sephora to take pictures backstage for them during Fashion Week; did several photoshoots for music website Bandcamp, one for which I spent a day photographing rapper Denmark Vessey in Red Hook eating key lime pies; and got to interview two of my idols, Legs McNeil and Patricia Field. If you’d like to read some of my favorite pieces I wrote this year—including the pieces about Legs and Patricia— here is a link to writer Kyle Chayka’s Year in Review thread on Medium, where he was kind enough to include me.


Have a happy new year, and see you in 2017!