best days in New York, 2011

Tuesday, 6.27.11: No Dave, no Franny, no furniture. Just me, opening the door to 660 square feet of parquet floors, empty off-white walls and more closets than I remembered. Dave had already started his first rotation of intern year, so we couldn’t officially do the full move-in until that weekend, but I was in charge of getting a few things set up so he could crash here for the week. I rolled a suitcase stocked with necessities – toilet paper, garbage bags, snacks – up the East Side, not even recognizing, on first glance, the hulking tower that was to be our home. The doorman who gave me the key told me 13A was a great apartment, one of the best one-bedrooms, and I know now that he’s absolutely right.

That first day, I couldn’t get the shower curtain liner in, Bob’s Discount Furniture took forever delivering my first big girl bed (told you we’d have that Queen, one way or another) and I couldn’t reach past the first shelf in the kitchen. But it felt thrilling, even just lining those cabinets, hoisting myself up onto the counter, looking out onto our new space, thinking that this could be the start of something very good.

Monday, 8.22.11: We woke up without an alarm, took Francine for a walk along the East River, ate onion bagels with lox spread from the good bagel place one avenue over. Took the subway to Houston, had an adrenaline-powered walk cross-town through new streets, nerves already twitching (ok, just mine.) The funniest part was that the whole thing was my idea (of course): a trapeze class! Something new and different! Perfect for celebrating the start of Dave’s twenty-seventh year.

Perfect if you’re not terrified of heights. Which it turns out, I am?

I mean, I guess I should have known this already? Considering I’m well past 26? But I swear I used to be braver, used to ride roller coasters, climb trees. You probably don’t believe it, but it was me who first climbed rocks, too: not the boys.

Alas, those days seem to be long gone. I climbed up that shaky rope ladder, reluctantly ascended to the platform at the top, gripped the bar, and insisted I wasn’t going anywhere.

“I’m sorry, I just don’t think I can do it,” I said, through clenched teeth. Ok, I’d say. This happened multiple times.

Down below, the other people in our group would point at me.

“Look at how bad that girl is shaking,” they’d say, according to Dave’s report.

And dude, I was. Like I said: turns out, I’m utterly, physically terrified of heights. Even when they include gorgeous views of the Hudson from a rooftop on Chelsea piers where I get to swing from a trapeze.

And the thing was, the swinging part was actually fun. Once I finally got fought through the terror and the shaking and and took that terrifying leap off the platform, I felt wonderful.

Until I had to gaze back up at the ladder and contemplate doing it again.

Sunday 9.18.11: We took a very long walk down this admittedly small island. It was one of the last days for shorts, one of those early fall afternoons where you’re constantly stripping off your long-sleeved shirt in the sun, pulling it back on in the shady spots. We made lots of stops – some in New York legends I only really know from the blogs I read (Russ & Daughters) and some in….not (Whole Foods beer shop.) Eventually, there was moderate confusion over how, exactly, one gets to that borough to the South. (“Do you think the Brooklyn Bridge is the same as the Williamsburg Bridge?”) But we defied the odds and made it over anyway, proving that we have, in fact, accomplished something since finally finding our way to the Lincoln. When we spotted Diner in Williamsburg, I was initially excited, then terrified when we made it in the cramped railroad-car-turned-hipster-dining-room. Dave was wearing – horrors – a shirt that said Abercrombie & Fitch – and I was sure they were going to kick us out for good, maybe even ask us to leave through the back so as not to hurt their cred any further. But mercifully, they let us pull up two stools at the bar, and even let us pay them in exchange for a raspberry plum scone with clotted cream and the country breakfast platter: scrambled eggs, biscuit with gravy, greens and cranberry beans and a grilled nectarine. We took the subway back, and I felt like we were finally starting to live here, really.

More things we did in New York this year: walked the high line in summer, fall and winter; tried to eat soup dumplings correctly in Chinatown (failed); tried to eat Ramen correctly on St. Mark’s (a bit more successful, but still messy); had cereal milk soft-serve at Milk Bar; passed by the Bethesda Terrace and the Imagine mosaic on our way to the grocery store; ate our way through Smorgasburg; threw a birthday party complete with pumpkin cupcakes, a tiara and three puppies; accidentally drank a whole bottle of rose on a Friday evening; bowled in Brooklyn, pretended we were still 23 at Sessions 73; walked walked walked

Best of the holiday season: tried on wedding bands; got lost in Soho; peeled off our gloves to eat a banana walnut donut on a bench in front of Balthazar; finally let al di la make that pear cake for us; wandered through Williamsburg with Chelsea; zipped down a two-story slide at the New Museum, decided we weren’t cool enough to appreciate modern art after all; manned the fryer at a Chanukah party (in an Anthropologie apron, of course); squirted pomegranate juice all over the kitchen in the pursuit of a fancy recipe; said hello to a new year from the financial district

Best of 2012: Working on it.

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2 Responses

  1. Rachel, you have had Russ & Daughter’s before. They catered my bat mitzvah.

    • No way! Amazing!

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