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Your first NYC winter: Are you pumped or what?

7 Sep

Reader Carlos V. requested a post on dressing for the cold weather. Me, I’m already shaking in my would-be snowboots. Winter is LONG here. Some of these things may be obvious, others less so, but here are my dirty dozen for any time you leave your apartment from November to April:

1) Just get over your hat hair already, because keeping your head covered is the clincher for staying warm.

2) Get fully bundled up BEFORE you go outside. It traps the heat.

3) Stock a don’t-get-sick kit: Carmex, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, vitamins.

4) Especially on windy days, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf, lest you be red (and raw) in the face.

5) You’ll need coat that could easily be mistaken for a sleeping bag. Down. (Ahem…I mean down alternative.)

6) Mittens. With gloves under the mittens. Then maybe a two-hand furry muffler thing. Extremities are the first things to suffer.

7) No, but seriously. If you’re gonna stay out a long time, buy pocket hand warmers that reheat. Read customer reviews, though, because last year I bought a pair that absolutely sucked.

8) Wellies: They’re not just for rainy days anymore. They’re for avoiding snow of various questionable colors. Bonus points if they’re lined and have good soles.

9) Just as you dread going underground in the summer because it’s sweltering, the subway is your friend when it’s minus 4 outside. If you’re tempted, try to plan a route that allows you to stay underground as much as possible, such as using the underground pathways (those skinny black lines on your subway map) to transfer between stations.

10) If you plan to jog when it’s near or below freezing, talk to someone else. I don’t know how you people do it.

11) Get an emergency contact — and make it someone who answers their phone when it rings. (We all have the friend who never picks up.) Last winter, I was sick in bed for two weeks, alone; it turns out I had mono and I spent Thanksgiving being pumped full of fluids in the ER. Don’t do that.

12) Three parting words: Silk. Long. Johns. Discount stores like TJ Maxx tend to stock a ton of it each winter.

Here’s a more-boring version this post, plus what to do if your heat goes out, etc.

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How I spent my first post-move NYC visit

15 Mar

Well, I’m back from NYC. And it was great. I managed to get to two boroughs and a town on Long Island! Here are a few spots I hit over my Thursday to Monday trip.

Those kidders.

Hung out with new friends/fellow bloggers at City Bakery during its hot chocolate festival. Get a vegan chocolate chip cookie and people-watch from the upstairs seating area. We did!

Oyster Bar is still overpriced (hey, it’s New York), hot and crowded, but I love the lights in there; if you’re around for lunch, the catfish po’boy is BOSS. Upstairs, I wandered the Grand Central location of Pylones. Bummed that I forgot to pop in the new NYC Transit store.

Westville Chelsea. I’d never heard of this joint til my friend Kelly recommended we hit it up for a light, healthy fare (I’m trying to watch my processed-foods and carb intake). Its small plates of market vegetables are to die for…I even ate brussels sprouts!

A water taxi cruise (via Goldstar) reminded me that seeing the skyline from the water is one of my favorite things to do in the city for under $20…plus, you get to hang out at the South Street Seaport before and after.  This particular boat looked more like the Staten Island Ferry (I prefer the old schooner types they use in summer), and it was narrated by a tour guide trying too hard to be funny.

• Rockwood Music Hall to see Sarah Jarosz. (She’s back Saturday, April 16. Go! Seriously.) Rockwood has performers in 45-minute to one-hour sets, all night long. Here’s the schedule. Remember, it’s free to get in, and it hardly matters who’s playing — this folky club brings the goods, always. If there’s someone you really wanna see, get there early for a tiny table up front.

Giving out-of-town guests a unique New York experience

7 May

One of best services you can provide for friends and relatives visiting the city is to be a resource for off-the-radar places. Chances are, if you’ve lived here even 30 days, you’ve found some gems. Write them down and save them in your e-mail: That hole-in-the-wall where your friend had his birthday? Send them there! Tourists want to hit the highlights (you know ’em), but they treasure — AND feel cooler on account of — a local’s recommendation.

I’ve touched on some of my favorite places before, but these are all new.

If they want … send them to …

A killer night of theater … “In the Heights,” Richard Rodgers Theatre, 226 W. 46th St.
What it is: This delicious Broadway musical, inspired by life in the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, is not is not based on a movie or a Disney character. Did I mention it won the Tony in 2008 for Best Musical.

A sweet treat while on your feet … La Delice Pastry Shop (no Web site), 372 Third Ave.
What it is: One of those bakeries whose sign just screams, “We’ve been here forever.” Best horseshoe macaroon (about $2.50) you’ve ever tasted. Takeout only (no tables or chairs). Old and set in its ways — ipso facto, no credit cards accepted.

Funky gifts that aren’t from a souvenir shop … Pylones, Grand Central Station and 69 Spring St., among others
What it is: A French gift shop with everything from cheese graters that look like milkmaids to staplers that look like fish. Not the cheapest, but definitely unique. Even kids will be entertained while shopping here.

An overlook escape from sirens and horns … The Cloisters Museum & Gardens, 99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Ft. Tryon Park
What it is: Affiliated with the Met Museum, this serene uptown getaway is perfect for a stroll, even if you’re not into Medieval art (which it houses). The interior garden is a gorgeous lunch spot for families or couples. Take the A train there, and — for a great tour of northern Manhattan — the M4 bus back.

Improv comedy that’s both edgy and bathroom humor-free …  Freestyle Love Supreme
What it is: FLS are a freestyle rap group who often performs at Comix, but are appearing next at Le Poisson Rouge on 5/17.

A view of the Empire State Building that’s not Top of the Rock … Top of the Strand (purposely not linked — it spoils the view!), 33 W. 37th St.
What it is: A new, overpriced rooftop bar with an amazing view. (Hey, you can always order a soda.) Good for an early-ish drink, as it doesn’t get hopping until late.

An ubertrendy, dark bar … Shalel Lounge, 65 W. 70th St.
What it is: A perfect date spot and horrible family spot, this Moroccan-inspired basement bar will make you feel like a local in no time.

Cheap beer, great bluegrass … Banjo Jim’s, 700 E. Ninth St.
What it is: One of those dives that has music going from dinnertime to late, every night. Small bar, no real stage — just a couple of amps and requisite dive-bar stale smell.

All-you-can-drink mimosas with something besides eggs benedict … Yerba Buena, 23 Avenue A
What it is: An unpretentious Spanish brunch where reservations are a must. Don’t go to the Perry Street location; they don’t have the unlimited mimosas (even when you ask really really nicely and are blonde) and the vibe’s not as good.