Even living in New York City, it’s pretty easy to fall into a routine. While my weekdays are almost entirely consumed with work — traveling to work, stealing cookies from work, making it against all odds to yoga after work — I see my weekends as a time to relax. A sentiment that winds up meaning no adventures besides the routine Target trip (reminds me, I need candles) and a visit to my local coffee shop to argue about their conservative tea selection.
I will admit, I sometimes use winter as an excuse to stay close to home, but in recent weeks, I’ve ventured out of my comfort zone, and borough, to see the sites and take in the grand New York culture.
Here’s what I’ve come to realize:
1. New York Natural History Museum would be beloved by every Disney villain.
The museum is pretty incredible but 20 minutes in, I became acutely aware that dead animals and mannequins give me the creeps. Cruella de Vil would have had a field day in this place, taking the coats of 100-year-old stuffed animals from their glass exhibits, but for a 24-year-old California transplant, I couldn’t stare into the stationary exhibits for too long without pondering my own mortality. The inside of the building is truly a masterpiece, all the dinosaur bones standing 25 feet above your head, and the special exhibits — natural disasters, the Big Bang exhibit — were the best part. The museum does require a return trip to see the Neil deGrasse Tyson’s exhibit — I’d follow that man’s deep voice anywhere — and the butterfly room — an attempt to connect with nature again — but this time, I’m avoiding the arrow that states “South American Animals.”
This day was easily one of my favorites in the city because it started with a bought of homesickness and ended with me walking nearly ten miles around New York City starring in awe at everything. It inspired me to come home and make my New York bucket list, which stands four pages deep, and long for the day I can walk through the park with no snow jacket, no beanie, and no threat of ice making me slip in front of a group of laughing children.
2. Pool parties are possible in February.
There is nothing quite like getting an invitation to a pool party in February. As my roommate so accurately stated, “How beautiful to have a bunch of pale, winter-toned bodies exposed in one location.” I don’t even remember the last time I saw the sun so putting on a bathing suit in the midst of winter was one of the most awkward, hilarious experiences the city has thus far offered me. In close second is wearing a bathing suit under my snow jacket on the subway.
3. Poetry is best served with double orders of mojitos.
To start off our weekend, my roommate organized a group of us to attend a poetry slam in the West Village. But first, the night started with empanadas and mojitos at Ideya, a sweet looking restaurant with huge glass doors and an orange awning that makes you long for the summer.
You all know, I’m probably one of the worst people when it comes to going out. An hour until we’re about to leave, I can feel myself physically rooting into the ground of my apartment. The Heathcliff of my mind starts whispering, But we could just stay home and read! No crowds, no drunk people, no staying up super late and missing yoga and having a headache. Just you, cats, and ill-fitting pants some might call “maternity pants.” Then while everyone is getting beautiful with lipstick and killer outfits, I’m physically resisting by trying to wear flannel and glasses.
So Friday was a rare occasion because it made me realize going out isn’t so bad after all. The Nuyorican Poets Cafe was intimate and filled to the bring with talented, word bending slam poets, but my favorite part of the night was laughing, cuddling, and sharing stories with the woman who have quickly come to hold a special place in my heart.
^^ Traci Lee, you’re a hero among women for making us all the most delicious dinner in history. ^^
4. A homemade meal is one of the nicest things someone can give to you.
One of my first weekends here, my good friend Traci Lee invited a group of us over to her fabulous apartment for a homemade dinner. It felt like walking into adulthood — the place had a washing machine, Traci was making four courses without ceasing to be a part of the conversation, and wine was flowing here, there, and everywhere (thanks mostly to Maxine and I). It was such a bright spot among all the snow, and slush, and overwhelming moments of my first week of work.