As I’m sure I’ve made common knowledge on this blog, I am shipping off to the West Coast this week…first to the Bay Area for teacher training and then for Portland, OR on a more permanent basis. As of now, I have no plans to return to my beloved home of New York City for about a whole year. And for this born and raised (and oh-so-proud) New Yorker, this is fairly radical.
So I decided to go out with a bang. Here is what I did during my last weekend in NYC for now. Click on the links to find out how you too can take advantage of all the amazing-ness this city I call hOMe has to offer (i.e. use these posts as tried-and-true resources!!).
Goodbye to All That
The weekend appropriately began with reading an anthology of essays written by the best of the New York literati, with a title that is an ode to Joan Didion’s essay, which I read for my Writing Creative Nonfiction course earlier this year. I picked this book up a week ago at The Strand popup in the back of Toby’s Estate Coffee (the one near Laughing Lotus, while waiting for Sheri’s class to begin). I identified with the first essay I read in the anthology and with Joan Didion’s essay in ways that made my heart swell with both love and frustration for my city. Continuing this book on the subway was a highlight of this weekend.
The day got off to the best start during my professional development meeting with the organization I’ve been working for this summer. We met with the founder of an organization I have idolized for its feminist activism + youth development work (a winning combination), the Sadie Nash Leadership Project. Through work this summer, I truly have met some of the most amazing leaders. Some of the PHENOMENAL organizations I have become acquainted with that use the mind-body connection to promote personal and professional growth amongst underprivileged teens (expect a blog post just on these + their impact on youth development real soon) include: Dream NYC Dream, Stoked, and SNLP. This woman was infinitely inspiring; her job description included the following:
listening to different people speak about what they need in their community
a culture of urgency and a culture of growth and excitement
thoughtful decision-making with groups of people working together, everyone aligned along a set of values
personal meeting the political; young women’s leadership; their activism matters
Leadership can be in all forms. The simplest guide of values and structures can fortify an organization right away.
The key to the success of a fantastic organization is a deep understanding of what the organization stands for.
Harlem Yoga Shakes
I taught my “farewell for now” class at HYS on Friday as well and am so grateful for the friends that came to share in the bittersweet goodbye and in all of those dancing chairs.
I have been looking forward to this all summer. I woke up, put on some red lipstick to match my new red hair, slapped on a helmet and rode my bike all the way Park Avenue with other bikers (and NO CARS!), through the Park Avenue tunnel (which was also shut down just for bikers) and back around to head on home. There is one more Summer Streets day (this coming Saturday) and it is so important to take advantage of the opportunity. I also got to take pleasure out of feeling like I was preparing for Portlandia a bit by being my biker self, an identity I truly hope to develop and hone skills in on the West Coast.
My stepmom had me mark this date in my calendar about two months in advance as Family Day. For Family Day, we took the ferry to Governor’s Island where we walked around, went to an exhibit on Victorian dresses that were taken out of museums and then put on display at this brief getaway from NYC in a show called “Tattered.” We followed that with a walk to the Figment Festival, which showcased an elaborate treehouse little sister E and I played in and a mini golf course we all took part in. We followed the mini golf with a trip to the wide variety of food trucks Governor’s Island has, and then we went to the music festival before renting a four-person bike-cart (it was a day of biking) and visiting the Brooklyn Public Library popup, where I found this:
I am desperate to get this book for my job this year!
Earlier this summer, I bought a GiltCity voucher for Vosges chocolate that gave me a $50 credit for just $25. Vosges seriously has the most amazing chocolate I have ever tasted and I am a mega-sucker for the branding. The luxury. The lushness. The purple! I actually started purchasing Vosges chocolate once a month (during “that time,” if ya know what I mean) at the Whole Foods in Glastonbury, CT while I was in college. I read the story of the owner/creator in Cooking Up A Business: Lessons from Food Lovers who Turned their Passion into a Career – and How You Can Too. The branding – and company – is all about imbuing a simple daily-life pleasure (chocolate) with global, cosmopolitan flavors and stories. Anyways, I went because my other sister’s birthday is on Wednesday so I got her the variety pack and a truffle for myself to have while I took a holy pause during a very busy day and sat at the gorgeous wooden table at the “chocolate boutique,” nibbling on my small truffle and sipping lemon water. Get it while it’s hot, no?
We had family in town so we finished the day with a leisurely dinner at El Charro (reportedly having – and we found this is true – the best service of all the restaurants in NYC). We had paella for six and the contentment that comes with being in the West Village on a Saturday night.
My housemates from school were in town (well, one will always be here now, the other one visiting from Boston) so this morning, we went first for coffee at Gregory’s and then down to Borough Hall for Smorgasburg at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Every time I go to Smorgasburg (and this was my first time this year), I am convinced that there are more and more food trucks and options. I settled on the spring rolls (delish) and this much-needed coconut water, which should be a prerequisite on a NYC summer day in mid-August.
Washington Square Park
After Smorgasburg, I met up with a dear friend from school (also working in the nonprofit sector this year), R, for a stroll and brief sit-down in Washington Sq Park. We caught up, basked in this city we both love but will soon not live in, and talked about community organizing, what we want in work environments, and excitement and nervousness for the future. Sheer bliss (and much needed).
The day culminated with my littlest sister’s drama camp performance of Peter Pan (can you say “adorable” ten times fast?) followed by a goodbye/birthday dinner for the other sister at Tamarind, an utterly delectable Indian food restaurant in TriBeCa.
NYC, I am – for now – leaving you with the fondest of memories.