Lens on September 2018

After many weeks of unbearably hot NYC weather in September complete with grime, sweat, and too-cool subways, it’s finally fall and boy does it feel like it. I’ve stocked up on pumpkin-flavored goodies from Trader Joe’s and have broken into my stash of cool-weather clothes that have been sitting for months in their plastic storage bin. I’ve also done a bit of sweater shopping!

Although we’re more than halfway through October, I still wanted to update on September! The month felt relatively quiet, with a few trips upstate and some exploring of the city. Our last planned trip for the year has come and gone – and we’ll be staying in our apartment another year so there will be no packing nor planning any moving logistics this season! Perhaps we’ll decide on another weekend away or a trip around the holidays but for now I’m happy to just settle in and enjoy the changing leaves.

I am proud to say  I signed up for my first ever race – a 5K run towards the end of October. I’ve bought some new gear so I think I’m ready!

This month I visited some of my favorite haunts and also a few new ones. Looking back, it was just a LOT OF FOOD.

Restaurants

Samples of food from around the world this month brought me all over Manhattan and also out of the city.

Harney & Sons (Soho) – This lovely spot has a café in the back, but first stop by the tasting bar to try a sample of one of the many teas neatly arranged on the shelves. The helpful staff and fragrant leaves made it a fun visit with some girl friends.

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Saag Paneer and Naan at Jewel of Himalaya

Jewel of Himalaya (Yorktown Heights, NY) – an afternoon up in the Westchester town of Yorktown Heights brought me back to Jewel of Himalaya, serving up delicious plates of Indian cuisine (and more). The town’s offerings had been quite limited in the past and this was a welcome addition to the roster.

Roast Kitchen (Multiple locations) – I had about an hour before rehearsal one night and asked a friend for a recommendation for a quick, somewhat healthy and cheap meal. She brought me to Roast Kitchen to get one of their bowls for $10. Mission accomplished!

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Underwhelming pancakes at Joe Jr.’s.

Joe Jr. (Gramercy) – This is the second time I’ve been to this corner diner near Union Square. While the food isn’t especially worth the weekend wait, the prices can’t be beat and the ambiance reminds you of old school NY.

Spreadhouse Café (Lower East Side) – This was the second time I had been to this café – for two different book clubs. It is super cozy with lots of seating and a decent cafe and food selection.

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The. Largest. Pretzel. Ever. at Reichenbach Hall

Reichenbach Hall (Midtown) – I had this huge pretzel a raucous evening (it wasn’t us, it was the band!) during the Oktoberfest celebration with some friends. The friends said it did remind them of German beer halls, but I found it too loud to have a good conversation. I would go back if there was NO entertainment that night.

Tre Sorelle (Tribeca) – Some colleagues and I went for lunch during a training downtown at this cute Italian place. They brought me the wrong order at first but corrected it. When I did finally receive my Eggplant Parmesan sub, it was delicious and I wolfed it down.

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Elotes at El Segundo

El Segundo (South Norwalk, CT) – We went to visit some friends in Connecticut and they brought us to one of their favorite places. You can choose indoor and outdoor seating, and sample some street food from around the world! We ordered a few different items and shared. Everything was delicious, especially the elotes!

Calexico (Multiple locations) – I had dinner at the Upper East Side location of this Cali-Mexico chain. The tacos were delicious.

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The classic and famous Rigatoni a la Vodka at Lost Dog Café

Lost Dog Café (Binghamton, NY) – What can I say about Lost Dog??? This is one of my favorite Binghamton restaurants where I have gone time after time. Their rigatoni a la vodka is INCREDIBLE. We bought a jar of the sauce to take home, and I hope it lives up to my dreams of this dish.

Parks

The parks I visited this month were mostly downtown. These nicely cared-for sites are nice places to relax and sit on a bench.

Rockefeller Park (Battery) – a waterfront park with sports courts, seating, and manicured lawns.

City Hall Park (Tribeca/Financial District) – where I sit sometimes if I am downtown for training. Lots of benches and a fountain at the center.

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Bowling Green Park

Bowling Green (Financial District) – the first park in NYC – a gated site that also has lots of benches and a central fountain. This park is in between the stock market Bull and also the Smithsonian museum.

Events

A few trips outside of the five boroughs and one fun festival downtown.

A Day in Yorktown Heights – Since fall was upon us, my husband and I wanted to get some fresh produce and get out of the city. We took a drive up to Yorktown Heights in Westchester where we went to three different farm stands. That weekend the town was hosting its annual Grange Fair but unfortunately the misty rain led us to skip. We did however return home with a bag of corn, tomatoes and full bellies.

A Weekend in Binghamton – A fun trip to meet up with some alumni from my alma mater and some exploration of the area! My husband and I stayed at a lovely AirBnB that we had all to ourselves which was conveniently located near the Binghamton Farmer’s Market. We also checked out the Binghamton University campus which has gone through so many improvements since I graduated!

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The Taino exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian

National Museum of the American Indian (Financial District) – This Smithsonian Museum in NYC is not only free but has an incredible collection of Native American art. We went specifically to see the new Taíno exhibit which featured pieces from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Cuba. It was great to see an exhibit that so prominently showed art and culture of the Caribbean including the people of today who identify as Taíno. It’s an important group that has been overlooked and deserves much more attention.

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Some noodles from the Experience Thailand Festival

Experience Thailand Festival– this festival in the Battery featured food vendors, samples, and other treats from Thailand. There was even a cooking competition on the main stage. It was a little underwhelming since there was so much space in the park and there could have been more activations, but we didn’t mind because there was such lovely weather!

Books

I’ve read more books this year so far than I did overall last year! And there is still time to read more… This month mostly nonfiction with a book club book thrown in.

The Four Hour Work Week, Timothy Ferriss – I wanted to like this book. I wanted to read it and magically have the answers to being more efficient and maybe even becoming a remote worker and living anywhere I choose! However this was just a treatise from a feel-good author who wants to give you a little kick in your behind without addressing the realities that so many people face (some ideas: being a woman, having debt or family members to care for in person, working a job that does not allow for remote work whatsoever, etc, etc) and it just fell flat. I recognize that I read an older edition from the library so I hope that more recent editions are a little more realistic. He also was able to quickly start businesses that made money and we are not all so lucky. And I don’t want to hear that it’s fear or some other disbelief holding me back from a four hour work week. I think it’s just the reality.

Today Will Be Different, Maria Semple – An uninteresting day in the life of an anxious writer/graphic novelist. Some of the backstories should have been more developed and that would have been the real story. This was a book for my book club, which read her other book, Where’d You Go, Bernadette previously. I’ve been told that was better read so maybe will read that one day, but it’s not high on my list.

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The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker – I actually enjoyed this book – as an event planner and self proclaimed gatherer it made me reconsider why and how we hold gatherings. I would like to take more of the lessons to heart and have more meaningful gatherings.

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Educated, Tara Westover – what a heartbreaking book. While Westover has certainly come far in terms of her education and opening up doors to other worlds and ways of living, she has sacrificed her relationships with her family. Reminiscent of Jeanette Walls’ Half Broke Horses or The Glass Castle, the book cataloged her childhood as part of a survivalist family, convinced the government was out to get them, with of course her abusive father, brother and neglectful mother. With her own determination and one of her other brothers as a role model, she applied for college, navigated through the complicated waters of American mainstream culture, and made it through the other side, getting scholarships and opportunities to go abroad. While it seems her relationships with her family are still complicated, I am excited to see what she does next – hopefully another book!

It’s fall – what do you recommend for the weeks ahead? Any good reads to cuddle up with? Any events I should check out or eats to seek out?

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