Friday, February 28, 2014

Bride on the Side

The photo looks a bit like an optical illusion. We are seeing the bride sideways walking on what should be the wall. An interesting viewpoint.

The last day of February is a cold one! It felt like an awfully snow filled month. Apparently the 29 inches of snow we received in NYC in February is 4 inches more than we usually receive all winter.

Morning temperature: 10 degrees
Morning steps: 6910

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cupcake Hypnosis

Cupcake hypnosis at Empire Cake (8th Avenue)

This post has nothing to do with Empire Cake. I've never had a cake or cupcake from them and I was able to resist the cupcake hypnosis! I never got onboard the cupcake express. For awhile there were new cupcake shops popping up everywhere.

I like cake...I'm a sweets-aholic but cake isn't my most favorite dessert. I went through a no frosting phase when I was a kid. My mom would ask me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday and I would choose chocolate with no frosting. She would tell me we had to have frosting because other people might want it. Then I would petulantly say or at least think "Then why are you asking me if I can't have what I want?!?" My second choice was white cake with chocolate frosting.

I think a lot of store bought cakes are all about the frosting with flavorless cakes. Sometimes the dessert tastes sweet but with no other discernible flavor. I still like the cake better than the frosting and I still leave a pile of frosting on my plate.

Morning temperature: 20 degrees
Morning steps: 6247

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Russian Tea Room

Try this at home. Decorate a round light fixture with rows of red Christmas ornaments!

I had an adventure today to the Russian Tea Room. It's Restaurant Week in NYC which means some restaurants offer a special price. People can try out the fancy restaurants at a more affordable price than usual. Sometimes they have special menus and sometimes they offer their entire menu at the special price.

Luckily for me a friend had an expiring gift card and a reservation and I got to go along. What's more special than free?

The Russian Tea Room was founded in 1927 by some members of the Russian Imperial Ballet. Lots of well known people dine here (or so they say). Dustin Hoffman was filmed in a booth in "Tootsie". Madonna briefly worked in the coat check room. (By the way the coat check person takes your coat before you are seated and hangs it for you on a lower floor. When you are finished dining you can hand your coat check ticket to the hostess and she will call to have your coat brought upstairs.)

I like a place with history.

Steps: 13,000

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gray Day

Not the best photo of the Empire State Building on a gray morning but I like the details. There's the top of Moran's in an early 1800's building, the gothic tower from the seminary, a water tower and the Chrysler Building just peeking in the background.

Morning temperature: 24 degrees
Morning steps: 6268

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Whole World

The Whole World looks a little shabby
The Olympics are over!

I was "forced" to see some of the activity. I still feel very bad for the people who lose. Two hundred thirty American athletes and 28 medals...well, there are more medal winners if you count the individual team members but then there are also people who won more than one. What the heck it's an honor just to be nominated!

I managed to hear some pretty boring to awful reporting and commentating. Must people talk non-stop?

The Olympics are crazy on so many levels.

Now bring on the Primetime!

Morning temperature: 35 degrees (felt like 33)
Morning steps: 6313

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Walk Back in Time

17 Grove Street

It was a misty, foggy morning. I headed off to look around the Village a bit. I haven't been paying much attention to it lately.

I checked out the rowhouses at 4 - 10 Grove Street. There is a plaque that tells their beginnings in 1825 - 1834. They range form 18 to 21 feet wide and were built for moderate income families on land long owned by Trinity Church. The Church was apparently a big time landlord. Around 1896 the Department of Buildings and the Board of Health started investigating some of the properties owned by the Church. It was thought that some properties “are unhealthful and that the death rate in them is high". These rowhouses passed inspection when it came their turn but Trinity started selling off some of its properties after all the hoopla. (Trinity Church has owned land in Manhattan since 1696 although this tract of land was acquired later...probably in 1714.)

Today some of the houses could use a little TLC but it's nice to see they are still standing.

I walked along to 17 Grove Street. It's unusual because it's one of the few wooden frame buildings to be found in Manhattan. Fire codes updated in 1866 prohibited the building of new wooden buildings. But 17 Grove Street was built in 1822 as a 2 story home. The third story was added in 1870.

It was used for many residence and commercial activities over the years but purchased in 1987 and renovated into a single family home again.

Morning temperature: 36 degrees (felt like 27)
Morning steps: 7359

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Breath of Spring...sort of

The Flatiron Building is one of my all time favorite photographic subjects

Isn't it funny that after some bitterly cold weather a sunny day at 38 degrees feels warm??? I went out with only one coat and no scarf or hood on my head. I saw people carrying their coats. Thirty-eight isn't warm but it's hopeful!

There's still time for plenty of winter though tomorrow we'll have rain again.

Morning temperature: 38 degrees
Morning steps: 7280

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Buried Treasure

I'm glad that's not my car!

Morning temperature: 35 degrees (felt like 30)
Morning steps: 4911

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Snowy Tuesday

The corner diner looks warm and cheery in the snow

A little more snow was falling on the day after Presidents Day. I saw a guy riding a bike. It always amazes me that some people ride in all weather. I worry about staying upright on my two feet and these guys are balancing on two narrow tires! He pulled over before I got my camera ready to take a shot...and that's when I saw that there was no seat on the bike. One icy bump and he could have sustained some nasty damage!

The Olympics are still not over! What???

Morning temperature: 26 degrees (felt like 20)
Morning steps: 4364

Monday, February 17, 2014

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Heart Day

I hate to have so many negative posts this week but I also am not a fan of Valentine's Day! What a crazy commercial day.

Morning temperature: 32 degrees (felt like 21)
Morning steps: 4411

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yay! Snow!

Sunbathe here!

Have a seat!

My snowplowing hero in the background

The ghostly remains of the pier in the Hudson River fog

We have new snow coming down. Outside my apartment building it was ankle deep and big flakes were falling.

Had to mail a letter and deposit a check so I tended to those things first. Not many sidewalks were shoveled or in the process of being shoveled yet. I saw lots of snowplows and their plows seemed to be lowered but I have never seen such a lousy job of actually clearing the snow. Once the plows passed it seemed like little had changed.

As I passed through a little park a man pushing a snowplow said, "Don't worry, ma'am. I'll clear a path for you!" When we got to a crossroads he asked which way I was going. He kindly attacked a small snowpile so I could cross the street...and then I noticed it wasn't actually a crosswalk!  I was not up for crossing a divided highway without some traffic lights to direct me and the cars. He pointed out the nearest crosswalk and assured me that he'd already cleared that one for me.

I was enjoying walking around till the wind started picking up so I headed home. Not a lot of steps today but the walk was a little more strenuous. I looked like a short Abominable Snowwoman by the time I got to my building so I spent a bit of time shaking and brushing the accumulated snow off my coat, boots and pant legs.

Morning temperature: 30 degrees (felt like 17)
Morning steps: 4070

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Olympics: Bah Humbug

I am not a fan of the Olympics. I hate it when they interrupt my television shows! And I feel really bad for those who don't do so well.

I don't understand it. I can understand wanting to be number 1 but I don't understand giving up your life to train for it. It seems especially tragic for those athletes who have to start at a very young age (like skaters and gymnasts) giving up childhood to train...sometimes even moving in with coaches and not even seeing their families.

There is a series of television commercials sponsored by P&G that salutes the mothers of athletes. One commercial looks to me more like child abuse than support when the mother repeatedly picks up her kid even when he's barely old enough to walk and shoves him out there to try again!

Many families sacrifice their family life and finances for their athletic child. Is it worth it to the athlete, the siblings, the parents?

There are 230 athletes from the US in Sochi. How many names will we remember? How many will make a living off their sport? Is that one highlight in life enough to sustain them for the rest of their lives? Will they suffer from sports injuries? And for those who don't bring home a medal will they tell the story of the one that got away forever?

Should we be spending more money supporting brains rather than brawn?

I don't have the answers...but give me back my television shows!

Morning temperature: 10 degrees (felt like 0)
Morning steps: 5061

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Don't Feed the Pigeons or Squirrels

There were no pigeons or squirrels to be found so I was not forced to break the rules!
I didn't notice till this morning that my post from yesterday had not appeared in the blog so today is a twofer...however, this will be a short one.

The temperature was in the "hard to breathe" range for me this morning. Breathing is something I prefer to do so I had to keep the walk short with two stops for brief warm ups. There are still lots of icy buildup spots that limit the walking paths to very narrow areas. And tomorrow night we get more snow. Yay!

Morning temperature: 16 degrees
Morning steps: 3632

Hello Caffeine

It's a small GreenMarket on a cold Monday

Yesterday marked the full year of my caffeine experiment. On the spur of the moment last February 9 I decided to give up caffeine beverages. This wasn't as hard for me as for some because I don't drink coffee! But I do have some favorite beverages that typically contain caffeine.

I thought I'd see if cutting out some caffeine would help me sleep better and since caffeine is famous for its' diuretic side effects I wondered if less of it would affect my bladder as well. After a month or so, I thought it was helping in both areas. As the year wore on I'm not so sure any more. I still have some lousy nights.

Restaurants don't have many choices when it comes to beverages with no caffeine and low sugar. Water was often my only choice. However, fast food restaurants were more likely to have a diet Sprite or diet root beer. I also discovered that the beverages I brought with me to share at parties were very popular and I often had to hurry to pour myself a glass before they were gone!

I think I will continue to make non-caffeine beverages my first choice but I'm going to allow myself save some money on sales and maybe have a low calorie hot cocoa on a cold day.

Morning temperature: 21 degrees
Morning steps: 6853

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Friday, February 7, 2014

It's Friday

Reflections on Ice Art

I had a bit of a late start to my walk and then I was caught up in errands including one unexpected errand that took me 25 blocks out of my way.

It was cold but the sun was shining and it didn't feel that bad. The weather people keep saying it's "very cold" and I guess for us 24 degrees is very cold but it's not 9 degrees! The hardpacked snow and ice gets in the way for pedestrians but it's much easier going than earlier in the week.

A lot of areas in the US are having rough winters so I'm not going to complain about my own winter!

Morning temperature: 24 degrees (felt like 10)
Morning steps: 12558

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Postcard Swap

This is the postcard I made and sent out for my Postcard Swap. Well, this is one of the cards. Nine of us participated in the swap. We each made 5 postcards and mailed them to the 5 designated recipients. I really enjoy getting something interesting in the mail so this was a favorite swap of mine.

I was first acquainted with swaps for Artist Trading Cards. These ATC's are 3 1/2 inches by 2 1/2 inches and each person decorates them as they like according to a theme. Some people like the challenge. I've participated in a few of these swaps but I don't like the small size as much. I also don't know what to do with them. Yes, there are various ways to store them but I don't feel like I want them long term and I feel bad throwing out someone's art!

So for now, it's postcard swaps. Receiving them is fun and then I hang them on my wall. After that I'm back to the problem of storing them or discarding them or maybe some can be re-made into cards that I can donate!

Morning temperature: 22 degrees (felt like 11)
Morning steps: 4251

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Rain, Sleet, Snow, Whatever

It's always a good time for compost collection

I went out this morning at 7:30, walked halfway down the block, then turned around and came home! Four 4 inches of snow had fallen overnight but at that time it was raining...maybe rain, maybe sleet and it was coming down pretty hard. The sidewalk that had been shoveled was slick. I decided it was not a necessity to take that walk!

Three hours later the rain had stopped so I ventured out again. There was no bread in the apartment and heaven forbid that I should have to bake some...especially without yeast.

What a sloppy mess! Lakes had formed at most of the crosswalks and it took some serious planning to find the best place to cross. My fellow pedestrians were unusually chatty...commenting about the weather and the state of the streets and sidewalks, of course. We discussed the safest, driest options. I made sure to thank the people shoveling sidewalks as I passed them.

The thing about snowy, icy, sloppy city streets is, of course, the juxtaposition of pedestrians and vehicles. New Yorkers known for jaywalking are a little more careful because they know some of the cabs are driven by people newly arrived from warm weather locations who are still discovering that cars do not stop on a dime in slippery conditions!

I have dreams of losing my footing in a snow pile or a slushy puddle and falling flat in the street into oncoming traffic. That has not happened and maybe those thoughts keep me extra careful. I saw plenty of people and cars slipping and sliding but no falls today.

It was an adventure but I was not unhappy to get back home! Oh, and I got the bread.

Morning temperature: 31 degrees (felt like 13)
Morning steps: 6158

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Here Comes the Sun

When I was out yesterday morning I noticed that there were far fewer people shoveling sidewalks than usual. I'm not sure if they were surprised and unprepared for the snow...or what. I suspected that it would make an icy mess and this morning that was true. Lots of icy spots where snow had been trampled then frozen over night.

I did make it home safely without landing on my keester even once.

More snow tomorrow.

Morning temperature: 24 degrees
Morning steps: 5617

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's Snowing Again

When I went out this morning I knew by the local weather report that it had been snowing about an hour. There was some accumulation and it was a wet snow and coming down fast. After my walk I came home wet & bedraggled. My coat and boots are going to take awhile to dry out.

Saturday I headed over to a friend's apartment for an evening soiree. Unfortunately for me the location was just off Times Square. I had to walk through 3 blocks of the Super Bowl Boulevard. I have seen movies with shots of New Yorkers crowded shoulder to shoulder on subway platforms and sidewalks but that is mostly exaggeration. Saturday it was real!

The sidewalks were packed with pedestrians...shoulder to shoulder...front to back. We shuffled along, came to a standstill and then we shuffled along again. No way to turn around or get out of the pack. Yes, it was claustrophobic! At the crosswalks, law enforcement was holding back crowds of people who were not planning to let cars take their turns.

It was funny to discover that during the period of shuffling instead of walking my pedometer couldn't even register steps!

Morning temperature: 33 degrees (felt like 24)
Morning steps: 6338

Saturday, February 1, 2014