One Month in Brooklyn

 

Slow Sunday morning with some oatmeal and coffee. I’m finally getting used to cooking with almost zero counter space and no microwave. Headed off to church in Long Island City – on the train that I always seem to be running for. Lucky for me, they always wait and extra second for the crazy person sprinting towards the train 🙂

 

 

After church I just wanted to get out and walk around so I headed down to Gantry Plaza State Park in LIC (about 3 blocks from church). Spent almost an hour walking around and hanging out down there. Jon helps out on tech stuff every other weekend so he’s busy there from 6:30am until a little after 1 pm.

 

Seriously awesome views of Manhattan from LIC. Huge blue sky today with big puffy clouds. Just like upstate NY. Sometimes I forget I’m still living in the same state.

 

Lots of cool street art. I even ran into a parade on my walk around the neighborhood – something for Italian America day? It appeared that I was the only one actually viewing the parade though so not really sure what was going on with that.

 

Eventually met back up with Jon and we headed down to Brooklyn for the Smorgasbord Festival. Unfortunately upon arriving in DUMBO it became clear that there was no festival 😦 The Smorgasbord Festival had been taken over by the DUMBO Arts Festival which had art instead of tasty food trucks. Major disappointment considering we were both starving! Ended up heading to Smith Street and found some tasty tacos instead at this super small hole in the wall restaurant. Came back to Park Slope for some apple crisp making (yay fall!) and Sherlock watching. We’re on season two already – it helps that there are only 3 episodes per season though.

 

As of tomorrow, I’ve officially lived in Brooklyn for a month. Crazy!

Governors Island

Friday, Jon headed down to DUMBO to meet me after work. We walked for a while along Brooklyn Bridge Park and got to see all of the crazy clouds over Manhattan. They were setting up for the DUMBO Arts Festival so there were vendors and such everywhere. We ended up getting some dumplings from a Food Truck near by and sat under the Manhattan bridge to eat then. Amazing views.

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We had originally talked about making apple crisp afterwards but ran into his roommates who were going out to eat at this funky place in Astoria so we ended up going out with them to hang out for a bit. Super crazy restaurant, there were random things (and cows!) placed everywhere and when we walked in people were dancing in the aisles.

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Saturday, we headed down to Governor’s Island. I had heard a lot of things about it (ie. read Yelp reviews) and found out that this weekend was the last time it was open for the year! Despite the crazy clouds and overcast weather, it was surprisingly cool and nice. Made it down to the tip of Manhattan and hopped on the free ferry that they have taking people across. Definitely cool views of Brooklyn from there.

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We both accidentally wore blue stripes so we continued the tradition and took some pictures by the water. (If you haven’t noticed, we find ourselves in matching blue stripes every time we visit some body of water – WITHOUT planning!)

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Super short ferry ride over there and we were set free on the Island! It looked so cute compared to the giant NYC skyline we had just left. Very New England feeling with the brick houses and fall colored trees. Didn’t really have any agenda on the island – just lots of walking and poking around. Our first stop was Fort Jay (just for you, dad!) which is actually associated with John Jay College in some way. The whole island was once a military base or something crazy like that so there were canons and things everywhere.

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I found my house there too! So many cute little places tucked around. I can’t believe they dont’really have people living there anymore – I guess the tourists would get annoying real quick. But super cute front porches and this row of houses below was actually part of a bigger courtyard that was all enclosed in Fort Jay. 20120929-225910.jpg

Pretty sweet views of the Manhattan Skyline from the top of the fort too.20120929-225929.jpg

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We ended up walking almost the entire way around the island (minus the part that was closed off to people for construction). Seriously amazing views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Jersey City (think we saw your building, Eric!). At the very tip of the island we found a whole bunch of swings, hammocks and benches to hang out on for a while. Why yes, I was on a swing looking at the Statue of Liberty directly in front of me. The crazy cool clouds only added to the drama of it. Lucky for us, it didn’t rain! We passed a huge part of it that they’re doing construction on and hope to have a park in by 2013 – that will be awesome! I’d definitely like to head back there next summer when it opens up again.

Stayed on Governor’s Island for a little over 4 hours I think before we headed on the boat over to DUMBO! They conveniently have two ferries, one to Brooklyn (DUMBO) and one to Manhattan. I wanted to check out a little more of the arts festival before we grabbed some dinner and went to a dance performance. It was great to be walking around down there late at night with so many things going on – there were even bands tucked in truck loading zones! It was a tad packed though so we didn’t walk around for real long. But did eat dinner on a bench near the bridges again.

Jon’s two roommates are a part of an Italian contemporary dance company and they were performing at a theater in downtown DUMBO for the White Wave Dance Festival– conveniently located right near where I work and where the arts festival was. The dance performance started at 8 and was first come first serve in this tiny little theater so we got there pretty early. Lots of interesting performances, I guess the only dance I’ve seen for the past few years has been ballet but this was great! There were 6 or 7 different groups that performed 1 dance each – they had shows running all day every hour.

Pretty packed Saturday with lots of walking around. I was more than ready for sleep by the time I got home 🙂

Fall Vegetables

Rainy start and end to the day but can’t complain about the nice sun that popped out just in time for lunch. I met up with a friend for lunch today – the usual Thursday Taco Truck run, of course. We picked up lunch and ate on the picnic tables between the Brooklyn & Manhattan bridges. It was super awesome to catch up considering the last time I saw her was 4+ years ago!

Lots and lots of meetings today and edits to a project that I’m working on. I was supposed to meet up with Casey after work but we both ended up being caught up with stuff for a bit and decided to postpone. Instead of heading straight home, I decided to be slightly adventurous and get off at the Bergen Street stop (my new neighborhood find) and wander around for a bit.

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Ended up walking a good long way just exploring the neighborhood & stopped into a wine store that was having a wine tasting to pick up a bottle of wine. Such a cute street with tons of restaurants, stores and markets. Came home and got to work roasting some veggies – brussels sprouts and red potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and a bunch of herbs. Basically cut everything up and wrapped it up in tin foil to cook in the oven until I decided I was hungry and took it out. Sorry Uncle Dan, no measurements or times involved 🙂 It did end up turning out quite nicely and it’s so easy that I would definitely do it again. Helloooo, fall veggies. There was some leftover beets and smoked gouda involved but apparently did not make it into any pictures.

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Few plans for the weekend but nothing set in stone. They’ve all managed to be pretty packed so far- there’s really no shortage of things to do around here. DUMBO Arts Festival is here this weekend, last weekend Governor’s Island is open, etc.

Hope everyone has a good Friday!

 

Date Night

Good day at work today – we’re working on quite a few edits to past projects as well as a new one due Friday. Got my first project officially approved. I’ll have to let you know when they officially launch (few weeks from now). Didn’t get around to eating lunch until past 2pm which is definitely a sign of a busy day.

Had the first mid-week date night with Jon tonight. We’ve been dating for a year and a half as of today which sounded like a good excuse for a dinner out 🙂 He came down to DUMBO to meet me between the bridges after work and we headed to Cobble Hill for some dinner! I had liked the neighborhood so much last night when I was walking around it to get groceries that I suggested we try to find a place there tonight. Ended up at Wild Ginger a tasty vegan place. Passed quite a few other good looking places so it’s definitely a neighborhood that we’ll be back in – or I might move there?

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You can’t really tell from the pictures, but it was actually a neat restaurant! I got pineapple fried rice with avocados and broccoli & Jon got soy protein things (that I described as asian vegan chicken nuggets) with broccoli. Both were quite tasty!

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Early night because Jon has to get up for work at 5:30, yikes! (Some signing across the subway platforms works quite well, thanks RIT.)

Chickpea Noodle Soup

Pretty productive and fast Monday.

Working away on a few projects at work and before I knew it, it was already past noon! Registered to vote in NY state – and finally figured out what county I live in. Ate some tasty leftovers from this weekend for lunch. And then got assigned another project in the afternoon which made that fly by. I’m finally feeling like I’m getting in a groove in terms of workflow. It’s not something I was really worried about happening because I know it happens with time but it felt really good today! Sketching, music on (yay Spotify!), few conversations and meetings.

The excitement of the afternoon was a new Myspace launch (uhm WHAT?), Facebook leaking private messages to almost all of its users and a jumper on the Brooklyn Bridge (which we can see from our office window). Crazy. Thankfully the jumper was rescued before he could actually go through with anything but still created quite the buzz in the office.

After work I headed to Cobble Hill for some grocery shopping. I hadn’t officially been since my parents brought me nearly 4 weeks ago – oops. Don’t worry, I’ve been eating, but I figured it was time to break down and get some food. I had half the makings for Chickpea Noodle soup at home so I got the rest of the ingredients for that and made it for dinner. After having vegetable soup this weekend and the cool fall weather, I decided that making soup would be a good idea. Super tasty and delicious. There are more than a few things I would change about it but definitely something I could make again (less pepper, more broth, cook the noodles beforehand – oops). It was more like super liquid-y pasta but tasty anyway. And good news – leftovers for work!

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That’s all for Monday! Going to be a busy week with a big project at work (and a short deadline) and lots of after work things planned.

 

Busy Sunday

Sunday morning started early with a trip over to Astoria for breakfast and coffee with Jon before heading to church. Walked around Long Island City for a bit after the service because I had a meeting (to start working in the nursery at church) at 1. Jon waited for me down on the water to finish up before we both made our way down to the high line! Another thing checked off my list! This list is going way slower than my time in Chicago but I’m constantly reminding myself there’s no rush to pack weekends and exhaust myself too much.

For those who don’t know, the High Line is an elevated park in Manhattan. It was an old railway that has been turned into a super nice walkway right through the city. Pretty cool to be walking among both plants and buildings at the same time.

 

Stopped part way through for tacos for lunch and some gorgeous NY skies!

 

After making it from end to end on the High Line – 20 blocks or so? we walked back a ways up to the Chelsea Market just to look around. I ended up not liking it as much as I thought I would – I pictured Seattle Market mixed with the one in Philly but that was definitely not the case. I might have enjoyed it more if I was actually hungry at the time. But I loved the surrounding neighborhood! I believe we made it through the Meat Packing District, Greenwich and Chelsea today. Even stopped at an apple store to test out the iPhone 5 – it’s so light! People really weren’t kidding when they said that.

 

After the market we headed a ways down to a park to hang out for a bit. Jon ended up doing an impromptu photoshoot with a couple nearby 🙂

 

Made it back to Brooklyn a while later and all of the walking had made us pretty hungry so we ate some tasty leftovers from last night while watching Sherlock (the BBC TV series). I liked the show way more than I thought I would and can’t wait to watch the next. Finishing up this blog and then calling it a night. Starting my fourth week at work tomorrow!

Volleyball & Family Time

Saturday morning Jon and I met up in Brooklyn & grabbed breakfast from a bagel place before walking over to a nearby park. I’m absolutely loving the beginnings of fall – crisp air and sweaters needed. Actually ended up spending most of the morning there and soon enough it was time to head into Manhattan for Sarah’s volleyball game.

Spent a little time walking through Central Park and Morningside Park. Stopping for a quick bite to eat at Cafe Amrita’s – highly recommended place up just north of Central Park – before making it the rest of the way to Columbia University for the game.

Super pumped that Cornell has played in the NYC area TWICE this fall! I know Sarah hates spending so much time on the bus and would rather be at school but can’t say that I mind getting lots of family time in the same month. Just wish they released her for more than 10 minutes for a quick chat and hug. Ended up losing in 3 but the last game was pretty close. (She’s number 13 in the picture below in case you couldn’t tell).

After the game we all piled in the car and made our way (slowly) to Jersey City for dinner! Aunt Barb, Uncle Joe & Mom & Dad had spent all Friday night cooking up a storm and made some terrifically tasty things! Zucchini “lasagna” – am I allowed to call it that? Vegetable soup, salad with walnuts and sweet potatoes and beets. Super tasty all around. And we even got to enjoy it for a second time tonight with leftovers 🙂 Oh! And pumpkin cookies. SO. GOOD.

Aside from the good food – can we just talk about the view for a second? We pretty much took over Eric & David’s apartment (thanks guys – promise we won’t take it over EVERY weekend!) that has absolutely amazing views. It’s on the 40th floor and has spectacular views of Manhattan and into New Jersey. We even got to see a little bit of a thunderstorm as well.

Also got to fit lots of puppy time in there! They have three adorable dogs and I was pretty much ready to sneak any one of them home with me 🙂

“City that never sleeps”

I have proven tonight that this is a city that sleeps. After 7pm.

I came home from work tonight to this gorgeous sunset (view from my room!) with the intent of doing laundry. Yay clean clothes! [Note: please don’t be worried about the fact that I’m doing laundry for the first time in almost 3 weeks. I have, in fact, been wearing clean clothes the entire time.]

 

Anyway, I made my way the 2 blocks down to the nearest laundry place (oh, UC, I miss your washers in every apartment). It wasn’t too bad of a walk there except I walked in and set my things down only to have the lady tell me that it was too late. TOO LATE?! It was 7:05pm. Apparently the drop dead time for putting your laundry in is 7:00pm and no absolutely no later.

Tried not to seem too annoyed and a nice lady behind me said that there was a place down on 7th avenue. Gathered my basket and walked 2 blocks further down to get there. Nothing. The one place I did find was closed. So I was pretty much just carting my large laundry basket full of clothes passed these nice restaurants where people were eating dinner at the window. Hello, Brooklyn.

 

I came to the conclusion that there was nothing open within reasonable walking distance so I had pretty much decided to give up and figure it out another night. (This is all happening while i’m STILL holding the basket – it was quite the intense upper body workout.) On the walk home I passed the laundry place again and decided to give it one more try – this time promising NOT to dry my clothes. I figured that would cut a considerable amount of time off the whole process and they couldn’t say no. I also figured that I had done the exact same thing this summer when I ran out of quarters and it worked out just fine.

So I waited. And ate my apple.

The lady thought I was crazy. “You’re not going to dry them??”

No, ma’am. I like to get as much of a workout by carrying wet clothes home as possible.

 

I toted all of my wet clothes home and hung them up to dry in every place I could find. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is probably how I’m going to have to do my laundry all of the time. I’m never going to get off any earlier and therefore will not make the 7pm deadline. On the upside, I’m saving money by letting them hang to dry. I’m giving myself a free workout – who needs gym memberships. I’m saving time waiting for the dryer. AND my room now smells and looks like a laundromat.

Can we all just guess how many times I’ll do laundry this winter? Never.

After this whole “welcome to city living” ordeal, I made myself pasta for dinner with kale, sesame seeds and smoked gouda! Super tasty, easy and delicious. Early bedtime for me because I had a little problem with the whole concept of an alarm this morning 🙂

Monsoon Season

Looks like the entire east coast is getting torrential rain and thunderstorms tonight. Made it home just in time before the big rain started. I was supposed to go out and meet Casey tonight but one look at the radar made me think that was not such a wise idea unless we wanted to look like drowned rats. Instead I’m curling up on my big yellow couch and hanging out for the night. I just applied for a Brooklyn Library card! I’m hoping that this, along with registering to vote in the state of NY tomorrow helps me to feel like I actually live here.

 

Work has gotten much busier. I’m finally getting into the swing of things and feeling more comfortable with the workflow. Learning lots and working on some fun projects recently – will share them when they’re officially launched. I’m almost halfway through my third week! Much like the summer, I can’t believe how fast the time is going. I just have to remember that this is not another 10 week quarter, I actually have to continue 🙂

I’m really liking the dynamics of the office – SO much smaller than where I was this summer which makes it quite a bit different. We were actually just discussing the difference between cubicle land & having one giant office today. This office feels way more community based, very collaborative. Actually just got a new desk today (again – this is my third move in 3 weeks!). They’re hiring so many new people so everyone has to keep getting moved around. I don’t really mind it though, I like getting new views and people to sit around every once in a while.

For lunch everyone tends to go out and get something. Fortunately they bring it back to the office and eat there so I don’t feel like I total loser packing my lunch all of the time! I did go out to lunch today with everyone. A new grilled cheese place opened up a few blocks down and grilled cheese & tomato soup sounded like the best lunch ever on a gray rainy day. It was an asiago grilled cheese with butternut squash, sage and brown butter. Really delicious although the taco truck still wins, hands down. The place did have a cheese grater light!

Sunday Exploring

Sunday morning started out a bit rough. After running pretty late for the train, I proceeded to run (with coffee in hand) towards a train that already had closed its doors. Fortunately for me, the conductor must have seen the coffee-spilling disaster that was headed towards the train and felt bad for me because he opened them back up! I did learn why people are not seen carrying coffee to work in the mornings.

Despite all of that, I made it to Long Island City way ahead of time – in 30 minutes! Everyone in NYC seems to like to hate on certain trains. “Oh.. you’re going to take THAT train. It will never come. You’re probably going to have to wait five hours.” Like most things in life, I’ve learned to avoid advice from the general public (on certain topics – professors, classes, trains, tourist spots etc).

I was headed to Skyline Church, one that Jon’s been going to since April. They were actually the same people from the apple picking trip yesterday. Got connected to so many people there! It’s nice being full welcomed into a church because I definitely saw the complete opposite happen this summer in Chicago.

After church we headed back to Astoria for lunch – tasty sandwiches with ciabatta bread, guacamole, cheese and sauteed mushrooms. Then left for the East River Ferry! I’ve gotten so many recommendations to go on it – some people actually use it for transportation to work instead of the subway but I was thinking about it more like a cruise 🙂 We took it all the way from Long Island City to DUMBO. Gorgeous views of the skyline.

In DUMBO we were hoping to walk around the Smorgasbord festival (as recommended by Uncle Dan!) that is there every Sunday until November. We ended up missing most of it this time around but we were catch the tail end and saw some of the vendors. Will definitely have to make it back there sometime to try some food. We ended up settling for some ice cream instead while we walked through the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Made it back home for (a failed attempt at) dinner. Got gouda, bread & salad and for some reason neither one of us is particularly patient enough to let cheese melt. Chaos ensued. We decided we should probably make a food blog about real life cooking problems so that people didn’t feel so bad when they royally screw up recipes in fancy cooking magazines.

I did make Jon stick around long enough to remove the three caterpillars that had decided to make their homes in my herb garden. I can dispose of spiders with no issues.. but caterpillars. Whole different story. I told him that I added caterpillar remove to my list of reasons I keep him around 🙂