New York, A Love Story

Who the heck goes to the dentist at the Helmsley Building? A New Yorker does, that’s who.

I went with my aunt to her dentist appointment on a gorgeous day in New York—one of those rare but beautiful summer days: 80 degrees, sunny, dry, breezy. My aunt is 87 and doesn’t get around so easily anymore, so I go with her to appointments and help with errands. It seemed like the whole world was out and I couldn’t help thinking how I often run around this city mindlessly trying to get from one place to the next, barely stopping to catch my breath while elbowing people out of my way. But then there are days like this when I slow down and take it all in (that, plus my aunt can’t walk so fast).

And then it hits me: I LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY. New Yorkers have appointments with their dentists in the Helmsley Building. Actually, my dentist is on Central Park South, where I drool overlooking the treetops while my teeth are flossed and polished. I walk past The Plaza Hotel and the Essex House on my way there and breathe in the smell of horse shit from the carriages that cart tourists around the park. Sometimes I’ll treat myself afterwards to a quiche at Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center down the street. And then I’ll meander through the park or just hop on the subway home. Technically, I suppose I am bridge and tunnel now that I live in Long Island City, but I’ve been in and around this city long enough to have earned my NYC badge.

View of Central Park from Dr. Farrington's office

View of Central Park from Dr. Farrington’s office

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Mango Salsa

I’ve been eating magoes like they’re going out of style these past few weeks. I get them in the Indian markets in Jackson Heights, Queens where they sell them by the box for like $7.99 for ten. Did you hear me…$7.99 for 10, for the big red and green, juicy ones!

The great thing about Queens is that it is super-ethnic, meaning the food and ingredients you find here are the real deal, and super cheap to boot. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than sharing an amazing food find and these mangoes are an absolute gem. They remind me of the mangoes we eat in Colombia when we visit my family in the little town of Girardot, where my mother grew up. It’s a tropical place [read: hot as blazes, although not unlike the weather we’ve been having lately in New York] but I have great memories of spending time there as a kid and eating the most delicious mangoes for breakfast.

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Being Awesome in Drag

—An acquaintance who read the title of my blog too fast, then admitted: “I’m a gay man.”

Carmen Miranda, Chica Chica Boom Chic

Carmen Miranda: not a drag queen, but certainly fabulous and the inspiration for countless future generations. Click image for clip from That Night in Rio.

Making Space

Funny enough, I’ve been working on this damn blog since I last posted, but I’ve had a series of delays that have prevented me from posting anything official. For one, I’ve reconnected with so many people that I haven’t been in touch with in ages—as well as some new ones—that my dance card has been pretty full these days. It’s been a great bonus that came out of creating this blog and one that I hadn’t really expected. The other reason is that it’s been like Y2K in my house. A few weeks ago when I started the blog, I noticed that my computer was running extremely slow and started crashing all the time. I was working with large size file images so I thought that may have been the reason. But one day as I was in the middle of a post, I got a pop-up saying my “disk is full.” To which I said: “Oh shit.” Continue reading

Your blob is broken.

-Text from a friend who was having trouble logging on to my blog. (Click below for priceless movie trailer for The Blob, “starring Steve McQueen and a cast of exciting young people.”)

The Blob (1958) trailer

How’s your blob coming along?

—My aunt, who I got a lot of my awesomeness from. She’s 87.

Aunt Gom

Aunt Gom, talking to the neighbors. She looks fab, no?

Michael Pollan Gets “Cooked”

Michael Pollan's, <em>Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation</em>

Michael Pollan’s latest book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.

I went to Michael Pollan’s book signing for his new book, Cooked at Barnes & Noble in Union Square a few weeks ago. (I am the queen of finding free shit to do in the city, by the way). It’s hard not to have heard of this guy or the new book. There’s been a media blitz about it in recent weeks: it’s been featured in The New York Times, NPR, The Colbert Report… Continue reading

M. Wells Dinette at MoMA PS1

M. Wells Dinette, otherwise known as the MoMA PS1 cafeteria in Long Island City, is not your typical museum dining. It’s run by a young, hipster-ish couple—he being chef Hugue Dufour, from the frou frou Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal—and his wife and business partner, Sarah Obraitis.

M. Wells Diner

The original M. Wells Diner, Assville, Long Island City. (MoMA PSI can be seen in the background—red brick building at left).

But let’s take a step back…before M. Wells the dinette, there was M. Wells the diner—perhaps the most talked about restaurant in Long Island City—ever. So much so that The New York Times named it one of 10 Restaurants Worth a Plane Ride.

What?? Get on a plane to Assville, Long Island City—my neighborhood—for a diner? No need to arrive by plane folks, actually Assville is off the 7 train at the Hunter’s Point subway station. Although not far from civilization, it’s a creepy industrial area that I do not make a point of frequenting, especially at night. Yet people came in droves, and waited up to two hours to get a table, then raved and raved about the food. Continue reading

Being Awesome is a Burden

dog-with-tilted-head

I met up with some German friends and they asked what I was doing with myself. I told them I was working on a blog called, “Being Awesome is a Drag.”

Germans: “How do you spell that?”

Me: “Oh, uh…A-W-E-S-O…..”

Germans: “No, dreg, how do you spell dreg?”

Me: “Oh! It’s drag, ‘Being Awesome is a Drag.’ D-R-A-G. Do you know it?”

They did not.

Me: “Oh, I see, well it’s like…like…pain. ‘Being Awesome is a Pain.’ “

Germans: ?

Me: “Like, difficult…no, not difficult. Hmm…like, like, hardship!”

Germans: “Ah, you mean like burden!”

Me: “Yes, yes, like burden! ‘Being Awesome is a Burden!”

Spring! At the Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Spring Jackets

Color!

Okay, I know it’s been spring but this is my first post and I thought it fitting to celebrate this time of renewal.

Weeping willow

Weeping willow. Or some shit.

You see, I lost my job recently and although it sucked, I suppose it could have been worse—it could have all gone down during the dead of winter, which seemed to just drag on and on this year. That would have doubly sucked.

Purple flowers

Pretty purpley things.

But no, it’s spring! Flowers and sunshine and unemployment checks—oh my!

Tulips

Tulips galore. Hmm…oddly, that makes a good stage name.

Everything is shiny and new. The air is clean, the sky is blue, and I am diving into this new venture like it’s my job…my new job. Unpaid, but full of promise and fulfillment.

Mother with baby on shoulders

Not me, or my child.

I went to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden three times this season, but really all I wanted to see were the cherry blossoms in bloom. They have rows and rows of them, but off season they just look like sad little naked trees with gnarled branches.

Little girl with dress

I like taking pictures of children. Is that creepy?

The first two times I was too early. The third time I went on a Monday—’cause I can! Plus, the BBG has a map on their website that shows when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, and they were at their peak!

Japanese pond

…and Japanese ponds.

But I think I was more excited at the realization that I could actually do things now like go to a botanical garden on a Monday, or whenever I damn well please, and beat the crowds—eff you crowds!—that I had forgotten that, like most Mondays, museums are closed.

Children playing with bubbles

Okay, in my defense, this place is like romper room. There’s like 12 kids to every flower.

Wha-whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Goldfish in pond

Very busy goldfish.

Two days later we had heavy rain and someone told me it had caused all the cherry blossom leaves to fall off. I checked the website and it said: “The cherry trees have finished blooming. Check back in March 2014 for updates.”

Fountain

I love a fountain.

Me, when I found out the BBG was closed.

Me, when I found out the BBG was closed.

I felt like that girl in that awful friggin’ Ray Bradbury story who [spoiler alert] gets locked in the closet on the one day the sun comes out after seven years of rain.

Little boy with flannel jacket

Mini hipster.

Anyway, I love spring and unemployment isn’t half bad…yet. Anyone need some pictures taken of their little kids?

Brooklyn Botanical Garden, 1000 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225, 718-623-7200. Open Tue-Fri 8 am – 6 pm, Sat-Sun 10 am – 6 pm. bbb.org

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