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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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TV and Movie Sites Tour giveaway!

29 Mar

The kind folks at Screen Tours invited me to tag along on their TV & Movie Tour over the weekend, and little did I know how much fun I’d have! (WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS BELOW — an $80 value!)

It took me three years to lay eyes on this famous cinematic site! Can anyone ID it?

I’ll cop to pompously believing I’d know all about every site we’d visit, and all the trivia associated with it. Woah, dead wrong there! (Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything in the words to come…)

Even those who have been in the city for years can learn something on this tour. It’s a great way to see the city, and steps above an MTA bus, to be sure. The buses are clean, cozy and (my favorite) have footrests!

Our pleasant tour guide, Kymberly Tuttle, made the experience delightful, even though it was rainy and cold out. Also a working actress, Kym was effortlessly funny and an expert guide. Three hours flew by, and we were never bored.

For a bus tour that could have been really cheesy, too long and not interesting, this was anything but. She even made me want to sing a few TV theme songs — and I’m not the type!

Want to win a pair of tickets to a Screen Tours tour of your choice? (These are also the people behind the Sex and the City, Gossip Girl and Sopranos tours.)

Rules for entry (DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, APRIL 2):

• 1 entry just for completing this form.
• 1 entry for following NewNewYorkers on Twitter.
• 1 entry entry for posting about this giveaway on your blog.
• 1 entry for tweeting this giveaway and sending it my way (@NewNYers)

GOOD LUCK!

Five fantastic NYC coffee shops

26 Feb

Love coffee and looking for a local’s take on the best places to warm up on a snowy NYC day (like, say, today)? Well, you won’t find better advice than the below post. Straight outta our Greenpoint, Brooklyn, bureau, I give you our Senior Coffee Correspondent:

OK, so Kelly's obviously drinking tea in this photo, but you get the point.

Three years ago, New York seemed to be the best at everything except coffee, light years behind Seattle or Portland. But with the introduction of the Clover (a machine that grinds and brews coffee in individual cups) and our burgeoning free trade coffee culture, gourmet coffee has found its way into the heart and soul of the city. Below are some of the best cups of coffee I’ve found. I’ve rated them according to six factors on a scale of 1 to 5. — Kelly Aston

Café Grumpy

Espresso: 5. The signature roast is Grumpy’s blend, which is amazing, and better than the (still delicious) single-origin guest espressos often featured.
Milk: 4.5.
Foamed milk blossoms into beautiful shapes of hearts and rosettas, thickening into a soft, smooth treasure.  Occasional lack of consistence.
Diversity of Selection: 4.
A rotating selection of single-origin coffees is accompanied by detailed descriptions of the flavors derived from each distinct bean.  Syrups not available.
Coffee: 5.
One of the only shops in the city with a Clover. Mostly medium roasts, bursting with flavor.  Drip is also available and is not bad.
Ambiance: 5.
Couches, non-pretentious music, free newspapers, Wi-fi.  Perfect.
Food: 2.
Minimal food selection, but what they have is great. Get the chocolate chip banana bread.

Joe, the Art of Coffee

Espresso: 4. Bold, sprightly, and slightly gritty.
Milk: 5.
Milk foaming that brings shivers to the spine.  Consistence is excellent, though each cup claims a personal twist.  Luscious, velvety, cloud-like texture blends deliciously in any drink, forming little works of art.
Diversity of Selection: 4.
Two or three types of drip.  Respectable tea selection.  Flavors available for lovers of sugary goodness.  Feeling adventurous? Get a dirty chai.
Coffee: 4.
Drip coffee is some of the best but does not blend well with soy milk.  Their single cup “drip bar” rivals the freshness of Clover coffee.
Ambiance: 3.
Often crowded and a little small, but tastefully decorated with local art.  Music is charming.  No Wi-fi.
Food: 3.5.
Bagels are fresh, dense and varied.  Delectable treats ranging from vegan cookies to homemade peanut butter cups are beautifully prepared by Jen.

Second Stop Café

Espresso: 4. Rich and hearty.
Milk: 3.
Inconsistent.
Diversity of Selection: 3.
Coffee: 3.
You serve your own drip coffee; it is pretty good.
Ambiance: 4.
Good music, but sometimes a little pretentious.  A newly expanded back area minimizes competition for tables.
Food: 4.
Pumpernickel everything bagels!  Tofu cream cheese.  A recently opened grill where more substantial items are made to order is great. Sizzling bacon out in the open could deter some vegetarians.

Everyman Espresso

Espresso: 4. Fresh, sweet, delicious.
Milk: 4.
Impressive latte art; thick but airy in texture.
Diversity of Selection: 2.
Situated within the CSC playhouse, this espresso bar is not intended to be much more than a refreshment stand, but is an amazingly good one.
Coffee: 4.
They have drip coffee.  It’s good.
Ambiance: 3.
Good music, hard seats.  Perfect temperature; bright lighting.
Food: 2.
Treats are small and unsubstantial.

Tarallucci e Vino

Espresso: 3.5. Mmmmmm, Italian espresso.
Milk: 4.
Hearty.
Diversity of Selection: 4.5.
Any drink you want, aside from extravagant American concoctions.  Several teas available.  Oh, and they have wine!
Coffee: 4.5.
Really, really good coffee.  They even foam the milk.
Ambiance: 4.
Comfortable couch-like seating; outdoor section (summer only).  The occasional loud family enters.
Food: 4.5.
Delicious sandwiches.  Vegetarian options.  Cheese plates.  Yum.