Wednesday, August 22

GROM: my summer obsession

if i had the choice, i'd always choose savory over sweet. but when i noticed the signs go up in late spring that an "authentic" italian gelato shop was opening in my hood, i shoved skepticism aside and waiting anxiously for opening day. well, three months obsession has emerged. and i'm not the only one flocking to Grom for weekly gelato fixes. fawning reviews from nymag and and nytimes declaring it the Best Gelato in NYC helped spawn lines that crawl down broadway--sometimes stretching nearly two blocks down broadway. for those foolish to think the wait is not worth it, then i give you exhibit A: i've sent nearly a dozen friends (including some hard core foodies) over to Grom and all of them would call me within moments of their first taste, proclaiming the gelato's orgasm-inducing frenzy.

the secret to Grom is it's operating model: all of the gelato is produced centrally in Turin, Italy, ensuring only the highest quality product (they source ingredients from only specific regions and run an organic farm that produces all the fruit for their incredibly fresh sorbets) and gives the taster a legitimate, authentic experience. the menu features italian flavors that i can barely pronounce, but one taste usually forces an involuntary verbal reaction in the form of a "holy shit!" and any stress from the day is immediately wiped away. the hazelnut is ridiculously rich and creamy but my current go-to combo is the lighter yogurt gelato paired with a melon or strawberry sorbet. there are no words...

Monday, July 23

Harry Potter, all grown up

this reveals nothing, except to say that i am going to miss harry potter. it's not often that you feel part of an international obsession, an international reading binge that took place moments after the clock struck midnight this past saturday. i was standing on a line that stretched long around the block, curling behind the union square barnes and nobles and had to shut off everyone chattering on about the leaked copies and speculating which characters may die and whether Harry himself will in fact survive. the joy that comes from reading these books is from discovering the secrets as they carefully reveal themselves. it upsets me when people purposely choose to ruin that experience for othes. i nearly got belligerent with a man and his nephew on a crowded subway earlier that day-- imploring them (yelling actually) to not say anything they may have heard as they caught me re-reading book 6 in heady anticipation.

the weather this weekend was gorgeous--perfect reading weather. so i planted myself in the park, stretched under the sun and sank into its pages. everywhere i went, there was someone reading HP 7: children, adults, burly men, old women. i love the fact that this series can appeal to so many. they are the only books that have ever caused me to scream in fear, yelp in shock, exclaim in public, laugh out loud, and always always-- makes me cry. rowling's prose is not always very beautiful; sometimes she tries too hard to tell so much, flailing into lengthy paragraphs of exposition (or worse, making the characters exposit with no action). but she is a meticulous storyteller with an amazing sense of pacing. and especially in HP7, she creates sequences that are so vivid and cinematic, i am often left breathless. but most definitely--what really sets Rowling apart-- is her ability to create fully developed characters that i cared for as if they were my own dear friends. she is so tender with each of them, burrowing deep into their minds, creating long and complex histories, so that every emotion and every movement is uniquely Hermione's. or Ron's. or Dobby's. or Snape's. Snape, perhaps the series' most complex character whom I developed a strange, hopeful empathy for since HP1 [Alan Rickman, btw, is ingeniously cast as Snape in the films. I love him].

i finished the book around 2am this morning. knowing that this was the last made me feel sentimental during the entire read. even now, as i'm writing this, i feel the heat of tears behind my eyes every time i recall certain scenes and realize that I would never again experience the wonder of Quidditch or Diagon Alley for the first time. it's like i'm saying goodbye to people i've watched grow up (and with the films, it truly does feel like we are watching those young actors grow up). while reading, i was trying to take in each page at a measured pace, savoring every second of its wizardry. but the story kept leaping and lurching forward, brimming with violence, shouting of horcruxes, and spinning from Privet Drive to Grimmauld Place to of course, dear Hogwarts. and most wonderfully, the story continues to reinforce the basic life lessons like the importance of friendship, mercy that comes with remorse, and the most important lesson of all-- the overwhelming strength of love.

right now, i only have two friends that have finished the book. if you've finished, send me a line because all i want to do is discuss every heartbreaking second.

Sunday, July 15

I Heart the Outer Boroughs

seems like i've been spending most of my spare time galavanting through all boroughs EXCEPT manhattan. even as a manhattanite, i am not ashamed to admit that i have a soft spot for the outer boroughs. my grandparents live in flushing, so queens holds a tender place in my heart. and besides, flushing has the Best Dim Sum in new york city. i specify that because really? the best dim sum is in hong kong. other great things in queens: The Mets, home to my favorite sporting even (the U.S. Open), and two places I spent browning myself last weekend:

Water Taxi Beach
dude. i love this place. they even have their own blog. it's also just a great place to chill on a sunny weekend when the thought of venturing to a beach via train or car seems too overwhelming. My cous and I took the water taxi from the 34th street pier (also reachable via the 7 train-- 1 stop from manhattan) and parked ourselves on one of their benches. the sand here was hauled from new jersey (stop hating on the jersey!) and the spot overlooks the east river and the nyc skyline-- a perfect spot to drink cheap beers, eat bbq (even vegetarian options!) and watch the sunset. and on weekends they have Big Name DJs (i kid you not--Grandmaster Flash is friggin spinning in August) spinning till you're too wasted to worry if you're burnt to a crisp.

Jacob Riis Park
me and my NC gals road-tripped through all of brooklyn (and i mean, ALL of brooklyn) to get to "deserted" Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways (that's the edge of Queens kids). and by deserted, i mean it was fucking crowded. holy shit, this place was packed with a whole other side of new york--tons of families (this place definitely shows Queens strong and growing latin population) grilling on the lawn and tons of more families frolicking on the beach. walk east a little, and you find the gay side of the beach. which is also the nude side of the beach. holy crap, i saw some boobs that i really wasn't prepared to see...and i thought the sun was blinding.

this weekend, i was all about BK! that's brooklyn bitches. except, the part of brooklyn i frequented was more refined, more grown-up, and more unlike my life. i spent half the weekend pretending that smith street was les champs elysses and celebrated bastille day with the rest of the cool brooklynites (often cool brooklyn couples walking hand-in-hand) and got in a game of petanque. my friend C and i had the Best Petanque Team Name: Team Twinkie. if you saw us, you would get it. the cafe owner who set up petanque courts showed me the proper way to toss un boule and i must admit, the game is friggin fascinating.

the other part of my weekend was spent at a friend's rooftop party in boerum hill (celebrity followers: they live 2 blocks from Heath and Michelle) and admired the incredible view from their newly refurbished roof. i have to admit, i had a bit of life-envy as i watched my friend's hubby grilling from their brand spanking new grill (with a nightlight included!) and admired the idyllic patio furniture as I sat munching on cucumber salad, staring over at manhattan in the not-so-far distance. yes, i aspire to a hip brooklyn lifestyle, including a hip brooklyn hubby who maybe cooks and is handy around the house and appreciates my affinity for a good roasted pork loin. mmm...pork. but last i checked, i'm still a manhattanite who lives alone, cooks (and drinks) by herself some days when not laughing up a storm and being stupid with friends on other days. i guess my dream life in the brooklyn (or another borough for that matter) will have to wait.

Tuesday, May 29

and THIS is why...

you know how every joke is also really a half-truth? well, Y and I like to joke around and play this game we call 'and this is why we're single.' it's really not a game so much as a saying we employ every time we do something stupid. which (shockingly) happens often. like when we yell at each other at whisper-distance inside her apartment. or when i recount many a post-drunken rampage. or when i cackle instead of giggle like a fair maiden (or in Y's case, when she snorts). the list is endless.

this past weekend was a prime example of 'and this is why...' over-usage. i was down in d.c. for the long weekend after Y suggested (ironically?) that we go memorial hopping--since, who else on MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND would have the same exact idea? um, yeah. and it was really fun when it wasn't hellishly hot. so in an attempt to NOT belabor our most favored conversation topics (boys, tv, our silly friends, and of course...boys), we indulged in some uber-dorkiness while monument hopping. see exhibit A:

this was of course taken while a Hot Guy walked by. thus, and this is why i'm single...

then, playing the role of Asian Tourist with a look! i'm a giant! compared to the lincoln memorial:

i was laughing hysterically through some of these photos that i almost fell into the tidal basin. which would have warranted yet another reason for why...oh you get the point! it's never-ending! and it didn't help that not only was the City built on a Swamp boiling over with humidity, but an unseasonable wind would often kick up (literally) my skirt to reveal my goods to a bevy of homeless men, metro riders, and an entire corner of Dupont Circle where i am sure a sidewalk full of restaurant patrons enjoying brunch were thrilled to see that i was wearing floral undies. at least i didn't go commando. see? this is why i'm single. you can't take me anywhere!

Sunday, May 20


despite a late night partying in a very rainy brooklyn, i summoned up some residual energy to roll out of bed and trek uptown to see the Robert Moses exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York, one of the more under-rated museums in this city. it's a beautiful, small museum and i implore anyone with a remote interest in New York City history to venture to this exhibit-- just one in a three exhibit series (the others at the Queens Museum and the other at the Wallach Gallery at Columbia University) on the City's greatest master planner. it features photographs, plans, and models of his successes (the Triborough Bridge, Henry Hudson Parkway, East River Park) and his defeats (the Lower Manhattan Expressway, which would have razed down historic Washington Square Park; or the Brooklyn-Battery Bridge, which would have placed a double suspension bridge across NY Harbor).

for better or worse, Moses' legacy is undeniable; he was the architect behind much of the City's beloved public spaces as well as a man whose vision for urban renewal centered on major infrastructure development, linking the City to its outer regions rather than preserving neighborhoods. in many ways, Moses stood for much of what I dislike about modern economic development: a razor-sharp focus on improving the place with little regard to the people who reside in those places. on the other hand, without his leadership, the City may never have seen some of its greatest treasures (and some of my personal favorite spots), including: Central Park Zoo, the Conservatory Gardens, and Lincoln Center.

the Moses exhibit was do-able in less than 90 minutes, giving me time to catch some rays in Central Park before meeting friends for a much more downtown art experience. in fact it was downtown, out of one borough and into Bed-Stuy Brooklyn where Mel's friend was one of a number of artists showcasing their work at an artist enclave where artists live and work in affordable spaces. the installation we saw was phenomenal-- a clinical interpretation of Greek myths, interwoven (literally) with musical over- and undertones. she's brilliant. it's intimidating and yet she is anything but intimidating. man, i wish i had that kind of mind. it was a great day.