The New York Public Library, specifically the historic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, was on my bucket list of cultural landmarks in NYC that I wanted to explore.  I had the delusive idea that it would be this massive structure filled with many rooms organized by subject and stockpiled with books.  Wow was I wrong.

Although it is still has the elements and purpose of a conventional library, acting as a facility for research and stimulating brilliant ideas, it is more like a museum, housing relics historic photographs, manuscripts, maps, sheet music and videos – even the real stuffed animals that inspired the stories of Winnie The Pooh (one of my favorite childhood characters)

winnie the pool

This “museum” has a lot of history behind as it was built upon what was once the Croton Reservoir which supplied the city with clean water.  I continue to refer this particular building of the library system as a museum because once inside you tend to forget that you are actually in a library.  McGraw Rotunda and Hall Astor are gorgeous and grandiose with its arches and white marble decorate with elaborate murals – are really are magnificent places to hold an special event.


All in all, this Schwarzman Building IS a library, host to many reading rooms and “study” halls.  I only wish I had known about them while I was business school.  This is a wonderful place to spend the day reading and writing.  Although I graduated and no longer have a need to study, I plan to check out the football field sized Rose Main Reading Room when re-opens in 2016. (Below is a picture of it after the repairs and maintenance work)

rose reading room

Leave it to New York to be able to house such enormous and incredible structures.  Happy Reading!

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street poets nyc

street poets(photo taken from their FaceBook page) Commuting back and forth to work every day by subway, you gain the ability to create an imaginary bubble around yourself to isolate and block out what is going on and who is around you.  Your bubble blocks out the snoring, the singers and the loud talking passengers.  Within your bubble, you are able to immerse yourself into your email, your Candy Crush and your book.  Your bubble’s shell is so thick that even the peddlers are unable to penetrate it.

Once in a while, something or someone will break through.  It happened to me early in the week.  In my case, it wasn’t immediate.  It took a few seconds of hearing some loud voices for my mind to say, “hey wait, they are saying something worth listening to!”

At first it sounded like another individual preaching and my bubble did its job of blocking her (@HRSHREYALITEE) out.  It wasn’t until a second voice heard on the other side of me began his (@supethedude) “preaching” that I WANTED to listen. It was brilliant.  It reminded me of when Russell Simmons produced Def Poetry Jam on HBO years ago.  These two individuals were rapping about everyday challenges that they have endured in their life.  I was really struck by it.  I was impressed and moved by their talent and their lyrics.

It wasn’t until the end of their performance that they mentioned they are a part of a group called Street Poets NYC and more specifically their “Poetry in the Subway”.  Rushing home, I researched exactly who these folks are.  Hrsh and The Dude perform and work to educate the youth and rebuild their communities.  They use their Open Mic nights as an avenue for emotional release and to connect with others in a peaceful manner.  They travel to schools and community organizations informing the youth that there is another way to open up and discuss their issues.

In my mind, these 2 are truly Little Big Things in NYC.  Don’t wait to run into them on the subway, check out their next show January 30th at 277 Malcolm X Blvd in Brooklyn.  This is a free private underground event for the release of Hrsh’s sophomore project. To RSVP, email rsvp@streetpoetsnyc.com.

I hope to see you there!

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The Library Hotel

Happy New Year!  Its been a LONG while since I’ve written a post and it feels good to sit here typing away again at what I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

As my parents were cleaning out their basement getting ready for yet another move, they found one of my box of goodies that I stored down there after my move from Boston to NYC.  Exiting to go through my life of 8 years in Boston, I found a 13 year old “artifact” that illustrates my love for travel and for NYC.

library hotel

All of these years later, I forgot about this page from the Attache and I forgot about the hotel.  I can’t recall where I was flying to, because at the time, I flew US Airways A LOT. However, I do remember ripping this page out of their magazine and thinking that I loved the concept of the hotel and I’d love to take a look at a few of the different rooms. Ironically, over the 7 years of working near Bryant Park, I had been to Madison & Vine, the restaurant that anchors the hotel, a few times, still not remembering what I had read all of these years earlier.

Finding this page, among other things in that long lost box of treasures, invigorated me to resume writing and exploring NYC – a great way to begin the new year and not let the frigid weather get the best of me.

Happy and a healthy 2015 and stay warm!

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the battle of the pizza

me and patsy

Last year I wrote about my palatial experience at Grimaldi’s and talked about the history of the chain as well as the upcoming opening of the original Grimaldi’s owner new pizza joint next door.

My husband and I took it upon ourselves to subjectively compare the “old” and the “older” creations of the pizza.  This past Labor Day, we walked past the long line, of what I would guess could be a 45 minute wait time, outside of Grimaldi’s to the visit the new restaurant by the original Grimaldi’s pizza maker – Juliana’s.

You might be asking yourself which is which, I wanted the know the same thing.  With the opening of Juliana’s (Grimaldi’s new joint) receiving quite a lot of press, I found a great spread in the New York Magazine that provided the most extensive coverage of the history of the pizza that has made a global presence as well as the Patsy’s / Grimaldi’s / (and now) Juliana’s story.  It’s a great piece of NY history.  You can read it here: http://grubstreet.com/2012/10/pizza-legend-patsy-grimaldi-gets-his-good-name-back.html

the pizza

In the meantime, I will get to the point – skip the long wait and disregard the fact that Grimaldi’s is probably on of the list of places you must eat at and go straight to Juliana’s.  Original always supersedes everything.  Juliana’s was great.  And although, it was a “new” restaurant with newly renovated decor, the interior feels like its been there forever. And they are doing very well at keep it old-school with that family operated feel – you even know the name of the person that made your pizza that night!

wood stove

Thank you for some great pizza Patsy!

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royal palms shuffleboard

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the massive space in Gowanus Brooklyn that is home to 10 shuffleboard courts, 2 large bars and an indoor food truck.  And with the sad news that that summer is more than half over I figured this is a good time to tell how cool Royal Palms is!

anchored by bars

Typically during the summer, I prefer to be outdoors to take advantage of as many daylight hours as I can.  You wouldn’t catch me in dark corridors while the sun is still shining.  Royal Palms is not one of those places.  While you can’t see them in the picture above, Royal Palms has a entire wall of huge windows that let in enough natural light that you won’t forget what time of day it is.  However, with the cold weather fast approaching this could be a place to stay indoors yet feel connected to the outdoors.

Royal Palms is a great place to head to for any reason or no reason at all.  It’s a great place to host a birthday as it has plenty of tables and booths or you can go there to pass the time away with a small party of 2.  It also has a wide array of bevvy’s …

plenty to drink

and a food truck that pulls in court side to keep you satiated  …

food truck

If you’ve never played before, not to worry, it’s extremely easy to pick up.  My only advice, don’t be hesitant to get competitive!


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a flip book underground

The days I take the Q train into Manhattan, I see a series of paintings on the wall behind the columns that are supporting the subway tunnel between DeKalb Ave and before heading above ground to go over the Manhattan Bridge.  The series reminds me of a flip book that we used to flip through when we were younger.  As we move faster through the tunnel, the pictures gradually depict an animated movie.  At one point, I attempted to search for the history behind but was unsuccessful.  Apparently I wasn’t using the correct words to describe what I saw – as it’s based on a Zoetrope – and, hey, don’t we all learn something new every day?

I didn’t figure out what it was that I was seeing until ScoutMob posted an article about this “Masstransiscope”.  The article is very interesting with some great NY history.  Hopefully my photos below can help shed some light on what ScoutMob is describing.  Please keep in mind, you really need to be on the moving train to get the full effect. Its a great reason to take a ride into Brooklyn on this rainy day.

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sleep by night, dance by morning

dybrkTypically in NYC, when a group of people are dancing at 7am it’s at a party that has carried over from the night before and they have yet to get to sleep.  That wasn’t the case this past Tuesday.  My husband had a good 7 hours of solid sleep and woke up early, refreshed and ready to dance at DAYBREAKER – which as the founders describe very accurately “is a morning movement that will start your day off unlike anything else. It is about being in the here and now, surrounded by amazing people, beautiful music, and an incredible vibe. It is about dancing your face off before work and feeling gloriously healthy while doing so.” – and that it was.

Tuesday was the perfect summer morning, warm bright and The DL was great spot for this summer dance party.  I forgot that I had to go to work, and instead let my mind take me away to the likeness of being in a Caribbean bar with the positive energy of worry free people and sipping on healthy fruity refreshing drinks.

The picture below captures it all: the hot dancers, the crowd getting into the music, the DJ is off to the left and of course the juices on the bar.


DAYBREAKER’s next party is July 1st. Tickets are $25 and sold through Eventbrite. Keep checking back as tickets will go on sale this week.

Happy Summer!

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