Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “Greenwich Village

Video

It’s Official, I Make Video Blogs

Yessir, you heard it here first. I finally got over my fascination with the imperfections with my teeth. After some fiddling on my phone and Microsoft Live Video Maker (or whatever it’s called), I have a video I’m ready to show the world.

It’s basically a one-take video with some random ass captions, but I like it. I think. I’m pretty sure it’s as good as is going to get.

I’m actually really excited for the opportunity to share this new hobby. I think it’s a great way to add some videos, which I’ve already said I was eager to do.

I reserve the right to immediately regret this and then do my best to scrub any evidence of this from the internet. Then I’ll go on back to Wine School with my tail between my legs, mournful for every trying to step outside of my bounds.

Hopefully, this is just the start of something beautiful. My best girlfriend and I have been discussing the 30th bucket birthday list (which I promise to update on how it went very very soon), and how inspiring it was. We decided to make another bucket list. This one will be for the entire year of 2015 and not tied to a specific age.

One category we are discussing is Creative Project. She’s thinking photography, and I’m thinking these vlogs will be it for me. We shall see.

I know you could just scroll to the bottom to see the video, but hopefully you read all this stream-of-consciousness stuff leading up to it.

I case you want to just see the videos I make on my channel, you can use this link: Cocktails with Chicago-Style Girl. Otherwise, I’ll embed the videos here and you can see them in the context of a blog post.

Thanks for reading! And now for the visual learners…

What do you think?


On Becoming Even More Of A New Yorker

In some ways, I am feeling like such a New Yorker these days. I’ve talked before about embracing the city, but I’ve gone even a step farther. There are things I would never do before as a Chicagoan that are totally second nature now as a New Yorker.

The first example is that we finally bit the bullet and we now pay someone to wash our clothes. I’ve written before about how I can’t seem to wash clothes with any regularity, but now the problem is solved. Easy takes our clothes to the laundromat once a week or so. They weigh the clothes, then they wash them for us and we pick them up the next day.

When I told my mom how we’re doing this now, she told me that laudromats in Chicago used to offer the same service. It must’ve been way back in the day because I’ve never seen it advertised on any laudromat except in rich neighborhoods. When I first moved here and people talked about sending their clothes out to the laundry, I thought it was crazy. Such a wasted expense, and also, really, you can’t wash your own damn clothes? Is that really something one should outsource?

But every freaking laundromat here offers it. When I would go to the laundromat to wash my clothes, I would see the woman who works there washing other people’s clothes. She took such good care of the clothes and she was so quick. It takes me hours to wash my clothes, but she was on it! Has those clothes washed, dried, and folded in the time it would take me to run the dryer a second time.

And the cost is much lower than I expected. It comes out to the same price of what we paid to wash our own clothes plus around $2/hour to pay the lady for her labor. Because of the convenience, I’ve made peace with what feels like an unecessary indulgence. It’s totally worth it.

The second example is my increased use of taxis. I used to think it was such a waste of money unless I had someone visiting from out of town. I still don’t use them all the time. But if I’m in Midtown and I need to get to the Lower East Side, I’ll just hop in a cab. There’s a perfectly good bus and/or subway route that will get me to my destination, but I still take the $8 taxi.

I can’t even explain why, except to go back to the convenience factor. It’s nice to know that at 12:30 in the morning. I can get across town in 10 min for $8 versus in 60 minutes for $2.50.

And then there are the bagels. I have become such a bagel snob. I’m also a pastrami slob. And a pickle snob. And a pizza snob.

Let me stop right there. Chicago-style pizza is stil the best, by far. There is no comparison.

But when it comes to New York style pizza and bagels and pickles and pastrami, there are very specific ways you should order it and consume it. Anything less would be uncivilized, ha ha.

And the last way that I’m becoming more of a New Yorker is how I’m drawn to random crowds of people or lines or sights. On my earlier visits here, I was confused as to why these people would form these seemingly random lines. It was never clear what they were lining up for. Sometimes it was a Megabus. Sometimes it was a party, and sometimes I could never quite figure it out.

But now those lines appeal to me. They seem less weird, they just seem interesting. I wonder if they’re going to a special screening and I make a mental note to try to get involved for next time.

Being from Chicago, my natural instinct is to avoid crowds because I’ve found they’re not paying attention to anything particularly interesting. And also in Chicago, when there are crowds gathered, the chances of someone getting shot really goes up.

But now that I’m a New Yorker, a crowd means there’s likely an interesting street performer in the center. Or news about come cool event. Or free stuff. Or who knows. But it’s almost always cool.

Last weekend, shortly after I left the soup kitchen, I was walking around The Village. This cafe has an HD TV setup outside showing the soccer games live. They setup benches and it was just open to whoever wanted to sit and watch.

No one was concerned about the TV getting stolen. No one was upset about that part of the sidewalk being less useable. People were just gathering naturally to this thing that never existed before last week, like an popup outdoor sports bar.

I would not be surprised to find that the concept of the popup party, the popup anything really, came from New York City.

There are always museums and restaurants and live events to attend in NYC. But I’m starting to learn that embracing the city means more than spending all of my income on event tickets. Sometimes, it’s just stopping to watch a few minutes of a soccer game with random neighbors outside of a random cafe.

Because that’s what we New Yorkers do.


A Chicago-Style Girl Goes Home

As soon as I wrote this post title, I started thinking, “what is home?” I thought that and other existentialist things that I won’t share because those thoughts make me sound even weirder than I normally do.

But seriously, When I think of home now, I think of three things:

1) Our apartment in a brownstone in Brooklyn

2) The soup kitchen I volunteer at in The West Village

3) The dining room table at my parents’ house

The fact that 2 of my 3 “homes” focuses around food may help explain why my weight is hovering around 15lb heavier than a healthy BMI.

But anyway…

Only a tiny bit of Chicago feels like home to me now. I’ve been talking about this trip a lot. A family portait (yuck, but also kind of cool), another wedding (blech, but also kind of cool), and Memorial Day with my family and Easy’s family (completely cool, only positive feelings towards that one–see Christmas 2013 in Gramercy Park) add up to a great weekend getaway. Throw in a thrice rescheduled dinner with one of my best friends and a double birthday dinner with my girls and you’ve got an action packed weekend.

So why am I not super excited for this trip?

Eh, a big part of me would just rather stay home. Which is New York City. I’m will always be a Chicago-style girl. Big city + Midwestern sensibilities – red state restrictions = me. But New York is home.

So this weekend, I’m not going home. I’m going to visit my friends and family. This make my blog’s name all the more appropriate. I’m not a Chicagoan anymore. I’m Chicago-style (Chicago-ish? Chicago-adjacent?).

Easy and I haven’t decided for certain if this NYC thing is permanent. Hell, four years ago, I couldn’t even imagine myself living here. Of course, I blame that on being only exposed to Midtown and Harlem. If I’d gone straight to Chelsea and the Village on my first trip here, I may have never left.

Back to this trip though. I’m packing in an awful lot. First up is a double birthday dinner for my girls. There will be 8 of us dining at Ruth’s Chris in Chicago. One of the birthday girls has never been and really really wants to go. So we’re making it happen. The birthday girls don’t know I’m coming in to town though, so I’m just showing up at dinner as a surprise, which is why this post is publishing almost 24 hours after being written.

Next up is a family portrait. My parents, my brother, Easy, some cousins, and my aunt and uncle are all cramming into one shot. I think it will be one of the few photos we have of members of both my mother’s and father’s sides of the family that’s not at a wedding or funeral. We’ve decided to wear combos of red, navy, and white. Should be fly.

Yup, I just said fly. I’m an 80s baby. Deal with it.

Then I have a dinner with one of my best friends. Seriously, like every time I go to Chicago, we’re unable to hook up. Between my short stays, he work schedule, family obligations, etc. we kept cancelling on each other. But not this time. We have reservations at Cantina Laredo, which is an amazing Latin restaurant in downtown Chicago. Check it out if you’re in the area, totally worth the valet/effort to find parking.

Then Easy and I hop in my mom’s car to drive to St. Louis for a wedding. These are friends from when he lived down there when we started dating. We were considering just staying in St. Louis, and the four of us were going to do this Honeymooners thing. That would’ve made a completely different life for us. The St. Louis version of Easy and myself were interesting people, different from who we are in New York.

Eh, no use wondering what if, right? The NYC versions of us rock, and we have better looking calves from all the walking anyway.

Then back to Chicago for Memorial Day where we will eat BBQ and left over birthday cake from our nieces/cousins. Two words. Atomic cake. Google it if you don’t know. Because you need to know.

I really cannot wait for the BBQ. Can someone explain to me why I have to travel to Williamsburg to get good BBQ? And for that matter, why do I have to travel to Harlem to get good soul food? And to Flatbush to get good jerk chicken? New York is such a melting pot, but they really fuck up food the entire rest of the country has mastered. Excuse my language, but I really feel pretty strongly about it.

And then after lots of good food, we get on a plane back to NYC. That will make 5 days, 4 nights in the Midwest. By Tuesday, I’m going to feel sooo ready to come home. So perhaps I’ll write another post called A Chicago-Style Girl Goes Home. But that one will talk about street food and easy taxi/subway options and volunteer opportunities and lack of allergy sufferers due to the lack of trees and wifi everywhere and people who don’t care if you accidentally step on their foot and a beautiful nighttime where outside of every window looks like Christmas will all the twinkling lights coming from every office window.

That run on sentence (so sorry!) just gave me clarity. NYC is like a new relationship right when you go from limerence to being fully in love. At that moment, their dirty drawers shouldn’t even bother you.

I think NYC’s dirty drawers count at the stinky homeless man who coughs up part of his lung on the subway and you just know he has tuberculosis. I am in love, but I’m not stupid. NYC’s dirty drawers bug the hell out of me. I don’t want TB. You can’t donate your organs and tissues if you’re contracting TB from a random stranger on a train.

That being said, hopefully my love is long-lasting. After all, it’s not blind-to-logic love. It’s just enamored, full-hearted love. A love that says Chicago can suck it. Because you’re #2 now.

Disclaimer: this only applies to the cities, not their sports teams. Bringing Phil Jackson to the Knicks is a step in the right direction, but really it just makes me think of the early 90s and his 3-peat with Jordan & Pippen. Da Bulls Da Bear Da Sox


Hindered And Helped By The Internet

HINDERED

Stupid internet with it’s tickets-only-available-online stupidity. In my last post, I spoke of how I was excited to go to the next event for BBQ Films.The husband and I were going to get dressed up in our 1950s best (or the only outfit we have that would make a fair approximation), and go see Back to the Future next weekend.

But… all the tickets are sold out online. There isn’t anywhere to physically go pickup tickets. I hate that!

When our mothers came to town and we went to go see Motown the Musical, buying tickets online was frustrating (and expensive), so I just went to the box office and a real live human person helped me find the perfect seats.

This isn’t an option for BBQ Films, which is understandable as all of their events are funded by tickets sales and sponsors.But still, I had no recourse once I saw the tickets were sold out online.

HELPED

A couple of Google searches later found the Twitter account for BBQ Films. They said they might have some tickets available on Thursday, but we’d have to join the mailing list and implied Twitter stalking would help.

So now I know what i’m doing Thursday.

HINDERED

I’m trying to be a good Wine School Pupil. I joined up wholeheartedly. But then… I couldn’t find any of the wines. After striking out at my favorite wine shop, I took to the internet.

All of my usual places to purchase alcohol online failed me. I just knew Binny’s Beverage Depot would have what I need. They always have what I need. But not this time.

I was starting to get discouraged. Comments on the Bordeaux NY Times article were starting, and I really felt some kind of way about the people commenting who drank substitute wines. I didn’t want to be a substitute wine drinker, but unless my wine guy called me back saying he found it, I was screwed.

HELPED

Then it occurred to me, I hadn’t asked Google for help. Well, I had asked, but I was asking the wrong questions.

Googling online wine shops was how I went about it at first. When I got wise, I went straight to Google Shopping. They have this crazy index of pretty much everything available for sale online.

So I Googled each of the three  wines listed in the article. Immediately, I was directed to a couple of different wine shops. Because I’m a nice lady, I’ll tell you where I found it.

Premier Wine & Spirits is a specialty shop with four different websites, and three brick & mortar locations in NY State. This is my first time ordering from them, so who knows if it will work?

I do shop online quite a bit though, and I’ve never had any issues getting alcohol delivered. I ordered a bottle of the Château Bernadotte Haut-Médoc 2009 last night, so I’ll let you know how long it takes to get here and what shape it’s in when it arrives.

I chose this bottle because it was the cheapest of the three, but they are getting over on shipping costs. The wine itself was only $34 including tax, but went up to $49.15 with standard shipping. Good thing I didn’t want it overnight, I would pay double for the wine.

I hope next month’s Wine School choices are more readily available.

Can I just say those people take identification seriously? Based on all the information I had to enter to prove I was me and to purchase the wine, I was feeling suspicious. But a check online on Webutation and a look to see if anyone identified the website with scams (they didn’t) made me feel pretty good. At least I’ll know the culprit if my identity is stolen over this. Knock on wood.

Easy and I agree that we will try the recipe for Skirt Steak with roasted whole plantains with the wine. I’m pretty excited about that.

HINDERED

I had a very indecisive 20 year old visiting this past weekend for her Spring Break. I wanted to show her NYC in all its beauty, but that proved difficult. She’s not a fan of art, sports, museums, history, eating when you’re not hungry, spending a bunch of money, theater, or overspending on shopping.

Unfortunately, that also meant no going to the Biennial exhibit at the Whitney. But hopefully one of my new maybe-friends in NYC will go with me.

She arrived in the middle of the week, so by the time Saturday rolled around, she was shopped out. Easy and I forced her to go with us to a Latin restaurant and to a jazz club, so I at least wanted to have her do something she’d be guaranteed to enjoy on her last day with us.

If you missed that list of things she was against (at age 20!), you know I had my work cut out for me.

Suffice it to say we spent hours at Central Park while she tried to figure out what she wanted to do. I could’ve offered up Chelsea Piers, but I really didn’t want to take her bowling. Then I thought about High Line, but we were already at a park, so heading to another one just seemed wrong.

Hopping on the internet for what do to in NYC ideas when you’ve ruled out food, drinks, arts, sports, history, theater, museums, and shopping is just painful.

HELPED

We ended up on the Staten Island Ferry so she could get pictures of part of the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. While we were waiting on the ferry, she mentions that she’s going through ice cream withdrawal.

I remind her that I said, “this is New York City. Anything you want to do, try, eat, drink, whatever, it can be done here. Anything in the world, literally, anything. Just pick something, and we’ll go find the best version of it New York has to offer.”

I said that hours before she mentioned the ice cream.

But at least we had a goal. Searching online for great ice cream in New York is super focused and wonderfully easy. Between Google, Yelp, yellowpages.com, and Zagat, we found a lot of great ice cream options.

Because she waited 6 hours to finally decide on a New York adventure, most of the places were closing for the night. But seeking out great gelato, egg creams, frozen yogurt, and ice cream in New York at places only open after midnight is it’s own mini adventure.

We ended up going on a food truck search for Wafels and Dinges. They weren’t hard to find. The truck was parked in the West Village, so after that we got a slice at Joe’s Pizza and then popsicles at Popbar.

For an improptu food tour, it was quite successful. Wafels and Dinges has been voted some of the best food truck food in the country, and it was so delicious, I didn’t even care that I froze while eating ice cream outdoors.

I would have kicked myself had I let my girl leave town without trying a slice of classic NYC-style pizza. She eats super slow, but she finished her slice exactly as I finished mine. In the 20 years I’ve known her, I’ve never seen such a thing.

And the blood orange popSorbetto was so freaking delicious. I took it home and shared it with Easy because it was that cold outside that it didn’t melt in the 40 minutes it took us to get from the Village to Bed-Stuy. I am looking forward to trying the frozen hot chocolate some Saturday after the soup kitchen once it’s really warm outside.

All of that delicious food was made possible because of a simple online search and hopping from place to place based on what Google told me was nearby.

So sometimes online sucks. But I have to admit for every problem I encounter, the internet usually has a solution if I’m patient enough to reword my Google searches.

Image via popbar

Image via Yelp