atwitter: nyc edition

March 3, 2011

In which Lulu and I go visit H in New York City, and get worked up about all sorts of things.

the washington square arch. Washington Square is such a haven in the middle of the city. Now I’ve seen the arch in every season but fall. H’s new dorm is right on the square, which almost makes up for the fact that he is crammed into a room the size of a typical bathroom with two other guys.

the mud truck. Best antidote to red eye flights. And we always take the red eye. Here’s the cheap way to visit New York from California: Catch your plane on Thursday at 10:30 p.m. Will yourself to sleep; when that doesn’t work, watch Mary Kate and Ashley as infants on Full House on the screen of the kid one row in front of you through the gap between the seats; surely this will make you nod off briefly. Arrive at JFK at before dawn cracks and pray that your hotel will give you an early check-in. If they do, lay down for no longer than half an hour, then take the subway to the Mud Truck parked in all its orange glory at Astor Place. Sufficiently amped, plow through Friday and make yourself stay up late. A 9:00pm dinner reservation might do the trick, as could a Broadway show. (Lulu and I saw Chicago and stayed awake through the slower numbers by chomping on Milk Duds.) By Saturday you’ll be perky as ever, and if you catch the 7:00 pm plane home on Sunday, you’ll have had three full days in NYC at the cost of two nights in a hotel—and with the time change you’ll be home before midnight. But to make this plan feasible, the Mud Truck is key.

muji. I can’t believe I didn’t take any photos in Muji, the Japanese shop that makes you lust after things you never knew you needed. Sixty colored pencils in a tube, or a foldable hairbrush, or a beanie made from recycled yarn. Or an inflatable neck pillow wrapped nattily in purple striped t-shirt fabric—something I actually did need the night before while dozing to Full House. Now I have one for my next trip. And also a small zipped mesh bag for my knitting notions that manages to be see-through without being plastic.

purl. I didn’t take any photos here, either—I’m cheating with photos taken on my last trip. (I can’t believe I lugged my camera with hefty 18-200mm lens around New York city all weekend and took as few photos as I did. Doh!) Purl is a pilgrimage for knitters, just to see how yarn can be displayed like beautiful candy. This shop has an eye for color like no other. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t buy any yarn; I admit to not being a stasher. See, buying yarn solely for projects I’m ready to start saves me money, I’ve justified, which makes me more deserving of the good stuff when I do buy. Right? So I just ogled and felt up yarn, and then bought a new measuring tape. To put in my cool Japanese mesh bag. Oh! Look what Chris and I discovered just next to Purl, on our last visit:

A guitar shop next to a yarn store. Indulgences for both him and her. Someone was thinking there.

lomography. I love this place. Fabulous photos from cheap-o cameras! I bought a Diana lens for my d90. (Chris about snorted when he saw the camera back home, all dolled up in its plastic lens. Sort of like Martha Stewart dressed in K-Mart. Oh, wait…) We hadn’t really figured out the lens yet, but that didn’t keep us from snapping away as we wandered Greenwich Village. Lulu got some good ones:

(He hates it when I put him on my blog. But this shot is arty and obscure! And it makes good use of that hair which he insists does not need a cutting!)

I took a few more once back home.

So fun to make your photos look bad on purpose!

rice to riches. When you’ve had enough all those newfangled yogurt places, there’s nothing like a shop that sells only vats of pure sugar-and-fat rice pudding! H got caramel, Lulu got chocolate chip, and I wasn’t going to get any until I tasted theirs and needed a container of my own. There must have been at least twenty flavors, but I sure liked that caramel. Plus, you’ve got to love their signage.

giggling with my big kids. Oh, how much we laughed. When we noted how much those big circle scarves in American Apparel look like baby slings. (“Hey, look! I can fit a baby in my scarf!”) When H and I poured some “testers” of mints into our hands in a tea shop, from a glass teapot which Lulu, horrified, was certain was just a display, only to discover that, yes, they had a really off texture, and we had no place to spit them out. When we saw some hipster in Pastis, standing at the bar at night in sunglasses and a puffy jacket and a black and white striped hat that looked uncannily Smurf-ish and thinking he was so chill, until some other guy walked in wearing his own puffy jacket and the same striped Smurf hat. What really had us in fits was trying to get both of them in a photo without being obvious about it because H really wanted to post it to some site that features this sort of snark, with hipster and profanity in the title. This was the best we could do. Note Smurf #2, blurry, but still there on the right.

Oh gosh, it was fun. This is the reward, I think, of putting up with all the sibling bickering, and whining about where to eat while traveling when they’re little. We had such a good time, eating and wandering, and eating and shopping, and buying H $66 worth of groceries at an absolutely mad Whole Foods on Union Square—“You’ll eat this huge bag of oranges if I buy it, right?”—and eating some more. And laughing at hipsters and baby sling scarves and clips from Jimmy Kimmel in the back of a cab. There’s nothing like hanging out with your big kids. In New York City. Nothing like it at all.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Just Peaches March 3, 2011 at 10:42 am

Sounds so fun — makes me want a vacation!

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patricia March 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Vacations are good–even short, sleep-deprived ones!

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Amy March 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm

the brass ring!

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patricia March 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I think you’re right! And I grabbed it good!

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jill March 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm

where’s the ‘like’ button!

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patricia March 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Aw, thanks, Jill. (Actually, I’ve been playing with the idea of adding one–and making a Facebook page for the blog…)

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molly March 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm

how fun. all of it. i think i could do NY your way.

i like the idea of the like button! i might make one to wear 🙂 actually, i had to laugh when i looked up jack london state park online and saw a facebook like button at the top of the page. even the state of california is facebook savvy! i used to have my blog linked up via facebook, but then i got sick of facebook and deleted my account. now you’ve got me thinking. . . everybody’s on facebook. even california state parks. (did you hear jesse eisenberg on wait wait don’t tell me? he created a facebook page using peter sagal’s name. i just love jesse. perhaps you saw him riding his bike around ny? i doubt he was dressed as a smurf, though, so you might have missed him.)

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patricia March 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm

GOL. That means giggling out loud, according to me. Most especially at the notion of missing Jesse Eisenberg in NY because he wasn’t dressed as a smurf. (I had to keep retyping the words in that sentence due to my chortles. Now I’m wiping my eyes.)

And I know, the whole Facebook thing. Never been on there, and I’m kind of proud of it. But whenever someone on Facebook likes something I’ve written here, I get all sorts of visitors…

And oh my gosh, you MUST make an actually-wearable Like button! And then you must make one for me.

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amy bowers March 6, 2011 at 6:40 am

this sounds so fun! we really like traveling with our kids and it is so cool at how fun it gets when they get a little older. i can not wait until they are teens – that should be a blast!

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patricia March 7, 2011 at 6:36 pm

We’ve done a lot of traveling with our kids–it’s an opportunity that homeschooling allows for, and we’ve made the most of it! I have to say that traveling with teens has had its ups and its downs, just as traveling with toddlers did. 🙂 But this last quick trip was all highlights, which made it especially nice.

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Kristin March 6, 2011 at 8:42 am

Seems to me like you 3 were smurfy-hipsters too–being “in the know” about all the cool places to check out in The Apple. I guess coming from the Bay Area and being world travelers keeps you savvy–even when sleep deprived. Trip looked like a blast. Glad you got to do that together.

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patricia March 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I love trying to check out the hip spots! But I don’t think anyone would mistake me for a hipster. Although Lulu looked pretty cute in her slouchy hat, and H was cool in his dad’s old Ray Bans from the 80s…

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Debbie March 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Wow…sounds like such a great time. I long to go back to NYC. Was there once in 2002. Perhaps when Isaac is a big kid. 🙂

And thank you for mentioning the Diana lens. OMG – when I got my Nikon at Christmas I remembered there was a lens you could add to it to make things kind of “fun.” I knew it wouldn’t work with my Pentax which is why I didn’t buy it before. But I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember what it was called. Woo Hoo! Is it worth it? 🙂

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patricia March 10, 2011 at 9:10 am

I’ve always been intrigued by photographers who work with inexpensive Diana and Holga cameras, but haven’t yet wanted to get back into film photography. The lenses give you chance to play with a similar view through a digital camera. Though I don’t think you get the same color effects that you’d get from one of the real cameras, you can probably fiddle with that after the fact.

Are they worth it? I’m not sure; I haven’t played with the lenses quite enough yet. You can check out the photos I’ve taken with the lens in my flickr photostream to see what you think. I try to tag them with “diana lens.” There are just a few so far.

You can follow the lomography store link in my post to get more info on the lenses. You need to buy an adapter, which is available for both Nikons and Canons. Also, there are different lenses available, such as wide angle, telephoto, fish-eye… It might be good to research a bit to see which one would give you the effects you’re looking for. Maybe studying “real” Diana photos to find ones you like would be a good first step.

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suzee March 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm

So. Much. Fun. I love Muji online, haven’t seen it in person. And you do Manhattan like we do Manhattan – food drives the day, and we fit other things in around eating. So much good food. And I LOVE going in March/April, and also November.

Oh, and I’m glad H is happy! Almost forgot about the point of the visit. 🙂

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patricia March 29, 2011 at 7:48 am

Eating is the point of traveling, right? I drive my family nuts when we travel–always searching out our next meal before we’ve digested the last one. We have plenty of family meltdowns over someone’s hunger vs. my quest for the perfect food spot.

H is happy. Although he is keenly aware of the irony of being in NYC both underage and on a student budget!

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