Category Archives: nyc

june 2014

kate spade madison aveJune is a big month around these parts. We have our anniversary, my birthday, the anniversary of my accident. And then, of course, it’s the beginning of summer, replete with outdoor lolling and lazing. Every week we manage an excuse to celebrate something–behavior I don’t think we’ll outgrow once July starts.

For my birthday, I did one of those things people expect you to do all the time if you live in NYC: taking a day off to go to the museum, shop, and buy expensive pastries. I went up to the Met to see the Charles James exhibit, then walked down Madison for window shopping (and a little real shopping). Ultimately I did skip it out on the pastry portion of the afternoon–I walked by Laduree but it felt like a silly thing when really I just wanted a good piece of cake. So down to Momofuku I went.

Now that I’m 28 with easy access to midtown Manhattan, I think it’s time I start doing that once a month. Seems right.

hydrangeas jack vartanian rings momofuku birthday pottery barn trip upper east side shopping

the house hunt

We’ve been looking at apartments, and things have started to click into place, in such a way that we thought this was the best decision for our family.  And then the shoe dropped, because it has to.

The neighborhood we’ve focused on is Jackson Heights, Queens. When we started looking, I was bouncing from listings in Brooklyn, Harlem, Connecticut. But not Queens. We don’t particularly want to leave Brooklyn, but the neighborhoods we really like here, we can’t afford, at least not with the space we want. There’s always renting, but we’d have to increase our rent so substantially, to the point where we’d have trouble affording things we really enjoy, like dinners out regularly and going on a few trips a year.

The idea of moving to Queens felt sort of like a defeat, until we visited. I liked that I wasn’t seeing people exactly like me, wearing variations of the same J.Crew ensemble. There wasn’t anything homogenous about it.

So we were all gung-ho, especially because the buildings we focused on were situated on private courtyards that run a city block–your ownership of a coop allows you access to these private gardens that are beautifully maintained. They honestly reminded me of my college campus. Most of the apartments have views of the gardens. I am obsessed with this, given my 3 year view of an alley.

What we loved the most was that we would have a place to take our dog outside that’s green. Jackson Heights doesn’t really have a public green space, unlike where we are in Brooklyn. Here we’re a few blocks from Prospect Park, where Lily can run off leash in the mornings and picnic with us. We love the park, and are very reluctant to give it up without some sort of replacement. So we thought this was a wonderful compromise: move to Queens, giving up a lot of our well-loved Brooklyn amenities for more space, and at least we’d still have some green space to use.

Of course it was too perfect. The gardens do not allow dogs. Some of the gardens don’t even allow you on the grass. With there being no public green space in the neighborhood, and only a small dog run a mile from the apartments we’re looking at, we almost feel we have to start over.

I didn’t want to blog about this process till after it was done. But I am so blindsided by this detail, I feel like I need the wisdom of the internet. We want to spend nice days outside with our dog, not leave her in the apartment. We’re asking ourselves if we’d take her on the train to Central Park, if that could be the compromise.

Maybe this is less about the dog and the park, and more about my reluctance to leave Brooklyn and finally having the excuse to say, “See! It can’t work!” But I am the one most sick of our crumbling apartment, neighbors who cause water leaks in our ceiling on a quarterly basis, and just wanting the feeling of being settled somewhere. I want a second bedroom so it’s easier to have houseguests, and maybe in a few years, expand the family. The best option we’ve seen is Queens. If we pass on these apartments, we will be starting over the search. Maybe one bedrooms on the Upper East Side. We might be able to swing a tiny one bedroom in Park Slope, that is if we’re not outbid by all-cash offers.

I know there’s no perfect formula for house buying, certainly not in the city. There is always going to be a tension between location and space. How do you pull this big of a trigger when all of the variables aren’t perfect?

Clearly I need the wisdom of a House Hunters marathon.


central park conservatory

I promised another wardrobe guide but instead I’m posting a springy picture I took last week. My mom was in town, and after visiting the Museum of the City of New York, we stumbled upon the Central Park Conservatory, a beautiful formal garden at the northern end. The magnolias last week were in full splendor everywhere, one of those rare weeks where everything seems quite perfect in New York.

Happy weekend!

a city valentine


For Valentine’s Day, instead of a four-course meal in the neighborhood, we tempted fate and went to a Valentine’s/Fashion Week party. The views from The Standard were lovely, but it was nearly impossible to track down a drink until, eventually, the male models/waiters started walking around with bottles of vodka and just pouring it straight into glasses. Were we overserved? Perhaps.

On the walk back to the subway, we stopped in McDs because I didn’t eat any of the tiny appetizers at the party. We split nuggets, a cheeseburger, fries, and a shamrock shake that Kirk found disgusting (but I secretly liked). True romance.

This springs marks our sixth year together. Something that has served us well is our willingness to let the big moments happen on their own terms, and not pre-determined dates designed to sell boxes of chocolate. Not that I turn those down. But it’s usually the simplest things that turn into the big memories, and I’m totally fine with that.

guest post by roxy from my cup of te


I’m so tickled to share this next guest post! Roxy shares her NYC Cocktail Culture Crawl (for travelers and Manhattanites alike!)

Hey y’all! Roxy here with My Cup of Te and Society Social! I’m so delighted to be keeping you company while Colleen is on vacation!As a gal smitten with NYC, I have to admit that one of the things I head-over-heels lurrrve about my city (cue Patrick Stump and Lupe please 😉 ) is the outrageously inventive cocktail culture.  It wasn’t until my recent visit to the new-on-the-scene Paris transplant, The Experimental Cocktail Club, that I really started to appreciate the genuine high proof panache that New York City bartenders manage to mix and muddle up like no other. One “Curious Prescription” and “Black Heart” later, I began to fully realize the copious amounts of cray cray cocktails at my thirsty little finger tips, or mouth rather!I’ve rounded up 10 boozy spots in some of my favorite New York neighborhoods where I would love nothing more than to congregate- you, me, Colleen when she’s back, and pour a few outlandish libations down the hatch. So won’t you hold the rum and coke? The vodka tonic? I hope your answer comes in two words– Bottoms up!

  1. Lafitte’s Swizzle– Maison Premiere- Williamsburg
  2. Mayatl – Hudson Clearwater – West Village (My most favorite restaurant in the city!)
  3. Damn Son! – Cienfuegos – East Village
  4. The Garden Fizz – Rye House – Union Square
  5. Masterly Touch – Beauty & Essex – Lower East Side
  6. El Peppino Fresco – The Randolph at Broome – Little Italy
  7. #88 – Hurricane Club – Flatiron
  8. Good ‘n’ Plenty – Treehouse Bar at David Burke Kitchen – Soho
  9. Kaffir Gimlet – Macao Trading Co. – Tribeca
  10. Cherry Bloom– Cadaques – Brooklyn

See 107 more cocktails here!