Seasons Change in NYC, but the Drive is Always the Same

Park Ave

Seasons Change in NYC, but the Drive is Always the Same

December 11 – 18, 2013

After two days in San Francisco, I flew straight to New York City for a week. This was my third time in New York this year and although I don’t live there anymore, arriving in Manhattan always seems to feel like I’m “going home.” I guess its because NYC has been the only ‘constant’ (place) in my life since I was a young girl – I often visited the east coast growing up.

My first visit this year was last January on my way back from London and Amsterdam. I came back over summer in July and that’s when I saw a different side of New York. When I lived here a couple years ago, ‘going to the beach’ meant driving two hours to The Hamptons. Getting on a ‘board’ (surfboard, wakeboard, paddle board, etc.) meant rallying a group of friends who were willing to commit to going to Hamptons for a weekend vacation to board in Sag Harbor. And, after a long week of late nights in the office due to the everlasting ambitious grind most New Yorkers live by, this just seemed like too much effort for two days.

However, when I visited in July, I spent a few days with one of my friends who had rented an apartment overlooking the beach in the Rockaways. A 45-min train ride on the A train to/from the city was access to a life I didn’t think was possible while working in Manhattan. He surfed in the mornings and even sometimes in the evenings after work. There was even this little Thai restaurant that rented jet skis, and at night, they had live music as the sun set over the skyline in the distance. When I was there, I rented a bike, went paddle boarding and surfing, laid out on the beach, read, cooked, and went jet skiing – it was as if I were in the Caribbean somewhere. I was happy. Maybe it was because I was on vacation at the time, but I hadn’t felt that way in a long time and it was odd because I didn’t think I could feel that way in New York of all places.

Summer in Manhattan is fun – rooftop bars, parties, people escaping the city heat, but Spring and Fall are by far the best times of the year to visit New York when the weather is absolutely perfect. Its not cold and its not scorching hot and humid. In the spring, the trees are full of cherry blossoms and during the fall, the leaves start to change colors. However, there is something magical about the city around the holidays. When I arrived last week, for the first time, it felt like “The Holidays.” Everyone bundled up in coats, hot cider in hand, and then, the Christmas Markets & ice skating rink at Bryant Park to the Christmas tree at Rockefeller, even the MetLife building was lit up! My favorite though was the Christmas Market at Columbus Circle – by far the best holiday market in the city!

While I was in New York, I saw Newsies on Broadway (its my tradition to at least see one show every time I visit), met up with old friends and drank far too much. I only had two days (e.g. the weekend, since weekdays are dedicated to work lol) to cram personal agenda items into so I tried to stop by a few of my local favorites like Cello, my neighborhood wine bar on 53rd street near Sutton Place. They have the best bacon wrapped dates and lots of wine to choose from. Pete and Noel (the two bartenders) are super nice. Ze Cafe for brunch on 52nd street. The place is decorated with gorgeous fresh flowers from the florist next door. Another favorite place is Bouchon which overlooks Columbus Circle. The cod croquettes are delicious and I could probably eat an entire jar of the mixed berry jam. They have happy hour from 4-6pm every day. Joe’s Shanghai in Midtown (56th/5th Ave) for their soup dumplings. And of course, I strolled along 5th Avenue up to Central Park just like I used to when I lived there – it was my Sunday routine. I even discovered a new local coffee and pastry place called Eclair Bakery on 53rd St btwn 1st & 2nd Ave. Stephane Pourrez is a French pastry chef who studied at Ferrandi in Paris (super nice gentleman as well), he opened the bakery just three weeks ago.

This December trip has been a bit different than my relaxing summer trip. The moment I got off the plane, I dropped my luggage off and went straight to the office to finish up some work. I even spent my last few days working late in the office. There’s something about the energy in the city that motivates me to work harder, be the best, and never fail. Failing is not an option in New York. You can’t slow down, otherwise someone will pass you up and you may as well be swallowed alive. That’s a little harsh but it’s kind of true.

LA is a land of dreamers while NY is a place for doers.

That’s one thing I have always loved about the city – the drive. I constantly struggle with this because I like working in NY – the ambition and the thrill of the drive – but I love my weekends in LA. So how do I find the balance between the two? If only I could work in NY during them week and live in LA on the weekends…

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