Annie Van Tour

East Village, The Bowery

I had a moment when I saw this message written on a building I passed during my Annie Van tour. I feel like I’ve been more of a dreamer since blogging and starting my book tours. It’s exciting because I haven’t felt this way since my teenage years when I had lofty dreams about being the next Natalie Portman. Towards my young adult years, I lost that aspiration, but I know that I felt something lacking. I still had creative juices in me but I didn’t know how to utilize them anymore. I focused more on my altruistic side for my career, which has been very rewarding, but I know I’ve wanted to do more to access my creativity. Now I am.

Book Tour Inspired by Katherine Howe’s The Appearance of Anne van Sinderen

I visited the East and West Village and The Bowery.

If you didn’t read my review of Katherine Howe’s The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen, you can read it here.

This book gave me great inspiration for a book tour of the city. Young love, youthful aspirations, mystery, and a ghost?

The first thing I had to do of course was eat because a girl has to eat! The character Wes goes to NYU for the summer and his dorm is on Waverly Place. He brought Annie to a diner “down the street” that he likes. I found a diner down the street from Waverly Place.

I walked in the wrong direction for longer than I’d care to admit. However, happy accidents happen when one gets lost.

I got to get in some quality squirrel stalking time.

NYC Squirrel

I got to hear this guy play Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano…

NYC Piano Player

I was starving so I said, “adíos” to this Piano Man.

Waverly Restaurant
385 6th Ave.

Waverly Restaurant

Wes didn’t steer me or Annie wrong because this food was pretty decent.

After satisfying my tummy, I head to the nearby Washington Square Park where Wes and Annie spent some time.

I walk down Wes’ street to get there.

Waverly Place
Waverly Place

Here’s a shot of NYU

NYU
I must admit, I don’t know which part of NYU this is. Let’s pretend it’s the library Wes and Annie go to.
Washington Square Park
Of course I follow the dogs.

More dogs!!!!!!!

Washington Square Park Dogs

The money shot!

Washington Square Park

The Hare Krishna Festival of India was taking place at the time of my visit. It was a cool atmosphere to be a part of.

The Hare Krishna Festival of India

The Hare Krishna Festival of India

This funhouse mirror represents our changing body. Our body changes throughout our lifetime, “but we also can see that the conscious self within the changing body remains the same.” I think the point is that our real self is within so that’s where our focus should be and what we should work on. Do you agree?

The Hare Krishna Festival of India

I enjoyed the vibe of Washington Square Park. I took some time to relax by the fountain that had kids and some adults splashing around in. I definitely recommend a visit here when you come to NYC.

Katherine Howe herself told me (on Twitter) that I had to start off my tour at The Merchant’s House. She was so nice to tell me that this is where she got the inspiration for Annie’s home.

The Merchant’s House MuseumI arrived on time to join a tour that had just begun. I learned this house has been around since 1832 and occupied by the wealthy Tredwell family. The tour guide talked about how the Tredwells had 8 kids including 6 daughters and four of them didn’t get married. He said he’s unsure of why that was and maybe there was some sort of dysfunction? Well, I can tell you that, without a doubt, dating in NYC is tough! I guess back in the 1830s or 40s was tough too. And maybe they were independent women who didn’t need a man to survive? Hmm?

The Merchant’s House

I included this picture of the Tredwell family because Wes refers to Annie’s hair as “hipster hair curled over her ears.” Do the Tredwell women look like Williamsburg hipsters?

I think this might be similar to Annie’s and her sister’s room since the Tredwell children’s rooms weren’t on display and a tub is in this room just like Annie’s. Can you see the small tub in between the bride mannequin and the small bed?

The Merchant’s House

What a lovely backyard!

So apparently people have some ghost stories from this house. The Tredwells lived here for 100 years and some believe they haven’t left. They even do ghost tours here. I might have to come back before Halloween!

Did I run into any ghosts, you ask? You be the judge…

The Merchant’s House Oh my god! Scary! I think it’s the ghost of Annie Van and she’s excited to see an iPhone for the first time.

On a more serious note, I have to mention that plans exist to build an eight-story hotel next to The Merchant’s House. The tour guide explained that this could severely damage or even destroy the house. Back in the 1830s there were many townhouses next to each other and they kind of held each other up. As the last standing home from back then, it is not so stable. I saw the evidence of this in the cracks in the walls. They have contraptions in the walls to reinforce them. Since I enjoyed visiting this historical landmark, I signed their petition against the construction of the hotel. You can learn more here and sign the petition yourself if you’d like.

After leaving, I head over to walk along the streets that Wes and Annie walked.

The Bowery

The Bowery Market
L’Arte del Gelato at The Bowery Market

I found gelato! You better believe I got some!

L’Arte del Gelato

I got the pistachio flavor. It was so delicious! I want more!

The Bowery Market

The Bowery

The Bowery

I imagine Annie walking these streets being confused by all the sights, tall buildings, and frenetic energy of the city.

Next on the agenda is a trip to a psychic. If you remember from my review, Wes and his friend Tyler film a séance at the beginning of the book. Since the woman who leads the séance in the book is often referred to as a palm reader, I figured getting a reading from a psychic is the next best thing to a séance. Besides, of course, I want to know about my love life!

My dating life has been going through a dry spell lately, okay, it’s a drought. Maybe the psychic can give me hope or help me accept my independent, single life? Maybe she’ll help me name my future dog?

The first psychic I called charges $180-$300 for a 1-2hr session! She said she was the #1 astrologer, not some bullsh$t place you can walk up to on the street. I promptly hung up the phone so I could find a bullsh$t psychic on the street.

Bingo!

NYC Psychic

I was buzzed in by Natasha who gave me her prices. A $25.00 palm reading sounded good to me! I sat down on her couch, eyes closed, palms up, her little daughter playing on the floor…and thought of two questions I needed answers to- love and career. I know, so predictable.

Natasha told me that I had two guys in my life. One is not the guy for me and one is my soulmate. I sort of lied before because I recently went on one date with a guy who I wasn’t too sure about. He’s currently finding himself whilst in Spain hiking the El Camino. There was also a guy I was potentially going to go out with but he was also out of town. Natasha was adamant that I’ve already met my soulmate so going out with that stranger would be pointless. She asked if there was someone from my past that I still think about? I admitted there was but that I probably shouldn’t go out with him again. I asked, “What should I do?” She tells me, “Nothing…he will come to you.” Well, that’s easy! I don’t have to waste my time with online dating or do anything at all! Takes the pressure off.

Next up she tells me, “You are an honest person, a good-hearted person, you help people, but when you need help, you don’t reach out, you stand on your own two feet. You’re all these things but you’re not fulfilled in what you’re doing. You’re not happy. You’re searching for something.”

Wow. Hard to hear, but I think there is some truth to it.

However, since I’ve started my blog, I think I’ve been feeling more fulfilled. Maybe she’s seeing how I felt pre-blog days? Although those thoughts are still present since I’m still growing here and not totally sure where blogging will lead me. It’s been a fun adventure so far though!

The psychic also told me that soon I will have financial success, a bigger position. All I need to do is wait for it all to come to me. I already did get a new job but I don’t know if that’s what she’s referring to or something else? We shall see!

Of course, I take it all with a hefty grain of salt.

I texted my brother-

NYC psychic

Next I head to the water because according to Annie, back in her days, no parks existed so they hung out by the water for leisure. A major focal point of the story is The Grand Aquatic Display, so I had to picture that scene by the water too.

On the way, I passed by a community garden that I relaxed in for a bit. I couldn’t resist its charming appeal.

NYC Community Garden

As I was leaving, I spotted something magnificent.

NYC Community Garden

NYC Community Garden

With his mom’s permission, I was able to snap a closer pic. He was a bit camera shy, but he’s a beauty!

Now to the water!

East River

I had some ulterior motives in coming here. I had been looking forward to spying some good looking runners, but now that the psychic told me I’ve met my soulmate, that purpose seems pretty fruitless now! I guess I can still enjoy the eye candy just a little bit? Maybe not my soulmate but no harm in looking, right?

The East River

Lots of couples passed in front of me, but this couple was my favorite. They seemed at ease and in tune with each other. Relationship goals!

The East River

The psychic was wrong! Now I’ve met my soulmate! Look at the way he’s looking at me! That face!

Don’t run away!

We’ll always have our moment. Time to go.

I head to another spot from the book. I believe the New York City Marble Cemetery was the inspiration for Annie’s final resting place. It was closed but I could snap some pictures through the gate.

The New York City Marble Cemetery

The New York City Marble Cemetery

The New York City Marble Cemetery

Cemeteries make me hungry so I head out to search for a favorite spot among the characters of the book- a pizza place!

As satisfying as this is, I think an evening in the East Village isn’t complete until you go to a dive bar. It ties in nicely with the book since the characters often hung out in dive bars too.

International Bar
International Bar, 102 1st Ave.

International Bar

I discovered this outdoor area on a trip the restroom so I wanted another beer to enjoy the atmosphere outside. Trouble is I didn’t open a tab and realized that I didn’t have enough cash. I only wanted one more, which didn’t meet the minimum for using a credit card. What does the bartender do? He gave me the second one for free! What a cool guy!

What is it that people say about New Yorkers? How awesome we are?

NYC tour, The Appearance Annie van Sinderen, nyc tour inspired by the book.

Thank you so much for coming along with me on my tour. Come back for my next one! I will reveal what I’m reading and where I’m going in my next post.

Special thanks to Katherine Howe for the awesome inspiration with her book and for supporting my tour along the way. I loved Annie Van!

 

Book Review & East Village Tour: The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen by Katherine Howe

The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen

I have got a great book to tell you all about! Do you like love stories? Do you like mysterious, love stories? Well, I do because I can relate. All my “love stories” are a mystery. It’s always a mystery to me what went wrong. Have you been ghosted before? Yeah!? Me too! One of the main characters in the book, Wes, gets ghosted BIG TIME. Poor guy! If you’re in the dating world, you know first hand how much it sucks to get ghosted. Can’t help but to feel for Wes.

About Wes…he’s doing a summer film program at his dream college, NYU University. During the program, being the good guy that he is, he helps out his friend Tyler with his film. Tyler is doing some artsy, experimental film and so together they film a real seance that takes place in a dark townhouse in the East Village. At this seance, Wes meets a mysterious and beautiful girl. After the seance, he wants to get a signed consent form from her so she can appear in the film, but he didn’t see her come out. He also got distracted by another intriguing girl from the seance and went out for pizza with her. Tyler was not happy. Tyler needed that consent form, so Wes has to figure out how to track her down.

Somehow he does find her but then he loses her again. He can’t catch a break! Disappointed and a bit rejected, Wes tries to forget about this beautiful girl who has captivated him. But maybe their paths will cross again??

Annie van Sinderen is the captivating girl and she’s got a lot of baggage. If Wes and Annie were on Facebook, their relationship status would definitely be, “It’s Complicated.”

The story is told through Wes’ perspective and Annie’s. While Wes is experiencing NYC for the first time, Annie grew up there, however, she grew up in NYC in 1825. Yeah, “It’s Complicated,” is an understatement. What is Annie doing? Can she accomplish what she needs to do? Can Wes help?

Katherine Howe told me herself on Twitter that this is a weird book. She wasn’t kidding. It’s weird, it’s hypnotic, chaotic, captivating…what else? Spellbounding! Mesmerizing! It’s just so cool and amazing…haunting and jaw-dropping. It made me wonder about the history of New York, and especially since I live here, it made me picture what the city was like back then. The book is very descriptive, which makes it easy to picture.

The images of Annie being forced into present-day NYC are emblazoned in my mind. Can you imagine how jarring NYC would be to someone from 1825? Katherine Howe really makes you understand what a confused and terrified state of mind Annie must have been in when she had no idea what was going on around her.

The book makes you care about all the characters. Their struggles whether in present-day or 1825 are real and relatable.

I highly recommend this book. It was awesome!

As always when I read a book set in NYC, I take myself out on a tour of the city inspired by the book I read. Annie Van brought me to the East Village in Manhattan.

Here is a sneak peek into that tour:

The Merchant’s House Museum

West Village

The West Village, NYC

NYC, Annie Van Tour

NYC Tour, Book Review, Annie Van tour

The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen tour

NYC community garden

East Village community garden

East Village Dog

Washington Square Park

The Appearance of Annie van SinderenStay tuned for the full Annie Van tour! Thank you Katherine Howe for the inspiration! It was a hauntingly, beautiful day. 😉

Full tour is live! Check it out here!

Modern Lovers Tour

Flatbush Food Coop

This time I’m bringing you to sleepy Ditmas Park, as it’s often referred to as. I read “Modern Lovers” by Emma Straub, which got me ready to go to this great neighborhood. If you didn’t already, read my book review and sneak peek into my tour here.

Before going on this tour, I must admit, I was aggravated. If you read my Breakfast at Tiffany’s tour, you already know that I sometimes have trouble shaking off my aggravation. I usually do my tour on Saturday’s but since my weather app told me there would be thunderstorms, I postponed it. Sunday would have showers, but it didn’t sound as bad. Part of me thought I should cancel it altogether to wait for better weather, but a bigger part of me thought that the point of my tours is to get out of my comfort zone and see what happens. I had pretty perfect weather for my other tours, but things can’t be perfect all the time. That’s not reality. I know how gorgeous Ditmas Park looks on a lovely Spring day, so it wasn’t an easy pill for me to swallow, but I choked it down.

I’ve been to Ditmas Park before. I was amazed the first time I came here. I’m used to massive skyscrapers, hordes of people rushing by, honking cars…even living in Brooklyn, Ditmas Park was this heavenly little oasis of chirping birds, scampering squirrels, and cute, fluffy scaredy cats. I loved it! And oh yeah, BEAUTIFUL Victorian homes with romantic trees and perfect lawns. It’s unbelievable that this place exists in NYC.

In the book, the character Andrew gets involved with a place called EVOLVEment. It has yoga, meditation, essential oils, and illegal Kombucha. It was a coop so everyone worked there. Andrew came from family money and didn’t have a job, so it seemed like he was in some midlife crisis when he stumbled upon this place. He was ripe for the plucking by the sketchy owner, Dave.

Since that place is fictional, I decided that instead of getting involved in something sketchy, I would use the book to inspire me to move my body around in some sort of exercise-type way. Yoga!

Family of Light Holistic Center

I went to the Family of Light Holistic Center. It’s been a million years since I’ve done any physical activity besides walking around the city. However, I thought since it’s an open level yoga I should have no problem.

The class started off strangely since there was a weird smell coming from the facilities. The instructor opened the door and gave us essential oils to put on our wrists to help mask the odor.

She starts the class, “Now inhale deeply…”

Um…I’m gonna pass on that.

In her defense, the smell didn’t last long. The essential oils smelled great & relaxing and soon I could inhale deeply without concern. It was nice because it was a small class so we got a lot of individualized attention. Although, I feel like I got the most attention because she had to keep correcting my form. Yoga isn’t easy! I was sore for a couple days afterward, but my neck which is usually sore felt good for a couple of days. I need to go back!

After that class, I was hopeful that my aggravation about the rain would easily float away. We’ll see.

Since I’m a Brooklyner, I don’t live too, too far from this spot, so I went home to freshen up.

Please enjoy this brief intermission with a snack and/or beverage of your choice.

Okay, we’re back!

Cortelyou Road

Cortelyou Road is the main drag of Ditmas Park. It’s often mentioned in the book and lots of restaurants, bars, & stores run along this road. I headed to a popular place along this street for a quick brunch.

Cafe Madeline
Cafe Madeline

This place is soooo busy! It’s crowded at the counter and a bit nerve-racking for an introvert like myself. I ordered at the counter, waited for my coffee at the end of the counter…and waited…and waited. Finally, I get my coffee that was filled to the top of my mug and make my precarious walk among the throngs of people to search for a table without spilling it. I had to wait some more until, hallelujah, praise baby Elvis! I hear my name and they bring me my meal.

Cafe Madeline
Avocado and egg cheddar biscuit

It was cold. Ugh. I ate it anyway because I don’t want to dare fight through the massive amount of people at the counter. It’s a bummer because I can tell how good the ingredients are and how well made it is. It was still decent despite the chill.

When I leave, it’s still raining and I’m not in the best mood. The hectic vibe of Cafe Madeline is not really my scene and it’s Mother’s Day, I forgot to mention. I didn’t really think about that when I had to delay my tour. It was a bit awkward sitting alone in a cafe on a rainy day on Mother’s Day. I did call my mom though who lives out of state and I bought her something nice. Enough about my mom…

Time to get moving!

Ditmas Park, Argyle Road

I’m walking up Argyle Road which is the street Elizabeth and Andrew live on and it’s also the street Ruby and Harry walk up to get to Prospect Park. I follow the directions straight out of the book.

Trying to shake off my aggravation about the rain when I see…

Ditmas Park, Argyle Road

Only the coolest teen girl ever! I’m over here annoyed at the rain from underneath my umbrella when this girl goes skating past me without a care in the world. The character Ruby is kind of a badass teen girl so it was so appropriate that this girl showed up as I’m literally walking Ruby’s path to the park.

I was never a badass kid. I was awkward, shy, and so self-conscious. I look at a girl like this skateboarder and think, “She’s gonna turn out alright.” Not that I didn’t, but I’m still searching for my inner badass.

Ditmas Park, Argyle Road

Ditmas Park, Arglye Road
You already know I’m a dog stalker, but I will stalk cats too.

Prospect Park

“They walked three blocks straight up Argyle, until they hit the soccer fields and the back of the tennis center…Ruby nudged Harry toward the bridle path, a soft dirt road…they were completely alone, staring out at the lake…There were ducks in the lake…”

Ducks!? I need to see these ducks!!!

Prospect Park bridle path

Prospect Park Lake

I found the lake! I was told there would be ducks here.

Prospect Park Lake
“People fish here, have you seen that?” Ruby asked.

That guy is fishing!

Prospect Park Lake

DUCKS!!! 😀😍

Prospect Park Lake

AND SWANS!!! How did I not know about this? I vaguely recall hearing something about this, but I guess I was too busy sitting on my comfy couch to learn how to find this in real life. Thank you, Emma Straub, for leading me to the ducks and swans of Brooklyn!

Prospect Park Lake

So cool! I enjoyed them for a little bit. I was alone in this spot minus some rowdy men I heard nearby. I think that the only park goers on a rainy day are the ones running the loop. Runners are a dedicated bunch, rain or shine. The loop was close but not close enough that I felt that protective feeling you have when you’re around others. So when one of the rowdy men started walking in my direction, call me paranoid or call me street smart, I said a quick goodbye to the ducks & swans and briskly walked toward the more populated loop. That guy kept walking in my direction but since I made that decision quickly, there was no way he could catch up to me. He was probably harmless but on this Mother’s Day, I had my mom’s voice in my ear, “Better safe than sorry.”

But MOM…maybe I ran away from my soulmate?

Mom: “Mmmn…I don’t think so. Did you hear about that girl who went to the park to look at the swans and…”

Did she get murdered?

Mom: “Yes…brutally. I think I might know your future soulmate. He lives in Georgia. You can talk to him on the computer!”

Thanks, mom.

Now that I escaped near death thanks to my mom…time to get back on track!

Cambodian Buddhist Temple
Cambodian Buddhist Temple

 

Ditmas Park homes

Ditmas Park

Ditmas Park Victorian Homes

Ditmas Park Victorian Homes

Did you enjoy these lovely homes? The next home I’m going to take you is the well-publicized mansion of actress Michelle Williams.

Ditmas Park
It’s under renovation.

Ditmas Park

Whoa! I was not expecting that. Trying to enjoy a peaceful walk here!

The next homes I learned about from reading an article on Bklyner.com called “Brooklyn Staycation: A Day In Ditmas Park.”

The Japanese House
The Japanese House
William & Lulu Norwood House
The William & Lulu Norwood House. Quite a hidden fortress!
184 Marlborough Road
According to the article, this was the home to Nellie Bly – “the pioneering feminist and investigative journalist who took the world by storm decades before women even had the right to vote.”

Street Art in Ditmas Park

Artist: Juan Carlos Pinto

Ditmas Park art

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn
This is from the Newkirk Plaza tunnel murals.

Newkirk Plaza tunnel mural

Newkirk Plaza mural

Tree art

Ditmas Park, tree art

 

Coffee Z
Grabbed a coffee and chilled for a bit.
Ditmas Park
So many tree-lined streets.
Ditmas Park home
Love this one!

This is the last house on my tour. Did you have a favorite?

For dinner, I picked a restaurant that I think could be the inspiration for Jane and Zoe’s fictional restaurant Hyacinth, which is located on Cortelyou Road.

The Farm on Adderley
The Farm on Adderley

I sat at the bar with a glass of wine & a good meal.

The Farm on Adderley
Farro Rissoto

Looks a little weird but it was quite tasty.

I was thinking about my last tour, how I was hoping I’d meet a nice guy. A guy was near me for a bit but when I got back from the bathroom, he was gone. Two guys took his place. Hmm? I’ll have my choice…actually I think they might be gay.

I’m not really feeling the drive to meet a guy like I was during my last tour. I wasn’t jealous of any of the characters this time. Instead, I look at those guys and think, “Good for them!” What’s wrong with me? I’m almost 39 & still single. I need to keep my eyes peeled. Change locations if there are no viable single guys around.

Bartender: “Would you like dessert?”

Yes!

The Farm on Adderley
Goats Milk Panna Cotta

No! What is this? The bartender recommended this. I feel conned. They were out of one dessert and I bet they were low on the chocolate one, so she steered me toward this one.

Um, bartender, I’m the single female here, I think you should have pointed me in the direction of chocolate instead of this swamp! I don’t even know what I’m eating. Are those onions? In her defense, she did say it was weird, but she used weird as a selling point and I fell for it! No, I don’t want croutons in my dessert, thank you though.

That left me wanting actual dessert so I stopped at the store on my way home and picked up chocolate peanut butter gelato. Yum!

Anyway,

I saved the best for last. 😊

Ditmas Park Dog

Meet Pogo!

You know I love dogs, but I have a special place in my heart for three-legged dogs. The owner lets me take a picture and told me that Pogo inspires him every day. I love that three-legged dogs go about their life the same as if they had all four. They run around & play and enjoy their life.

I’ll keep Pogo and the cool skateboarder girl on my mind whenever I need to remind myself to just let go and enjoy.

Thank you so much for coming along with me on my tour! I hope you enjoyed it.

Click here to find out what I’m reading next!

Follow me on Twitter- @Searching4humor, Instagram-@Searchingforhumor, and Pinterest- @Searchingforhumor.

Book Review and Ditmas Park Tour: Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Since the last book I read was set in Manhattan, I thought it would be nice to head back to Brooklyn. I am a Bk girl after all, which I admit, makes me a little biased. This book is set in Ditmas Park, a little oasis in Brooklyn that’s hard to believe exists until you step foot over there. Do you need a breather from the hectic, rushed vibes of Manhattan? Ditmas Park is your answer! It is a breath of fresh air!

Needless to say, I was excited to read Modern Lovers. In fact, I’ve been planning on reading it for a while but I needed to wait until the trees would be in full, spectacular bloom for you. In case, you’re wondering, yes, I have been to this part of Brooklyn before. I was amazed the first time I walked around this neighborhood, so I really wanted you all to see it too. Sadly, I had a bit of a weather delay and the day I went was not the perfect day I was hoping for either. It was a bit rainy, but not so terrible that I couldn’t enjoy the day.

Okay, down to business! Modern Lovers is about a close group of friends, Elizabeth, Andrew, Zoe, and Lydia who knew each other during their college days and were in a band together. Elizabeth and Andrew were college sweethearts and now are married living in Ditmas Park with their teenage son, Harry.

Zoe is married to Jane and they also live in Ditmas Park and coincidentally have a teenage daughter named Ruby. Do you see where this is going? Yup, Harry, and Zoe might become more than friends…

So that leaves Lydia…Lydia became quite the rockstar but as stars go- they rise and then they fall. Unfortunately, Lydia’s fell. A film surrounding her life is a major focal point of the story.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Prior to reading, I had glanced at some negative reviews. Well, I, for one was completely invested in each of the characters’ stories, especially Elizabeth’s.

The characters seemed real and honest. I enjoyed Ruby’s badass personality and Harry’s innocence. The relationship troubles the characters faced seemed very relatable. I rooted for them and hoped for the best when things seemed to get a little hairy. I definitely recommend this book.

In case this is the first time you’re reading my blog, I read books set in NYC and take a tour of the city using the book as inspiration. Check out the last tour I went on based on the book I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk. You can read it here.

I’ve lived in NYC for almost 13 years and if I’m being honest, I was in a bit of a rut doing the same things day in and day out. Wake up-Work-Home-TV-Bed. Rinse & repeat. Many times I thought, “What am I doing living in such an expensive city?” Am I taking advantage of living in one of the coolest cities on the planet? The answer was no. I needed to change that. When I got this idea, I felt excited. I love reading and who knows where these books and characters will take me? I wanted to see!

Part of me was nervous because if I don’t make plans with friends, I usually just stay home unless I have errands or something. Could I spend a whole day in the city doing solo activities? Brunch, dinner on a Saturday night, or a concert? Well, now I have done those things and it makes me eager to do more! Now I know that I don’t need to wait for anyone to get out and explore. I don’t need to wait for permission to go out and live an adventurous life.

But of course I know friendships and even dating (ugh) are important. So don’t worry, I will still keep up with my social life. I do have some pretty great people who I’m lucky to call friends.

On to the best part- a sneak peak into my tour!

Here you go!

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Cortelyou train tracks

Trees of Ditmas Park
Trees of Ditmas Park

Ditmas Park tree trunk

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Prospect Park

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Ditmas Park, Brooklyn

Thank you for reading! Full tour is here!

I Heart New York Tour

Hope sculpture in NYC

I love reading. I can get on a roll & tear through books. I’ll read on the subway, on my couch, my bed, and when I’m lucky enough, I’ll read on an antigravity chair by a lake.

I’ve lived in NYC for almost 13 years and reading & blogging has inspired me. I read books set in NYC and then head out to explore the worlds of the characters. I’m experiencing New York with a brand new appreciation.

I read Lindsey Kelk’s “I Heart New York” and wrote a book review with a sneak peek into my tour here.

I’m not gonna lie, I was jealous of the main character. Angela is a Brit who flew to NYC in a panicked-induced whim and in less than a week, she had two guys after her. Thirteen years and it’s still crickets for me in the guy department. Maybe it was her British accent that got her the hot male attention so fast? Or maybe it’s that she’s a fictional character? Either way I was annoyed inspired!

Angela met those guys when she was on her own while out & about in the city. I was about to go out & about in the city…so my plan was to meet someone. I planned to look more approachable. Ear buds out of my ears, eyes not glued to my phone, look warm and inviting…like a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

Maybe I’d meet my future husband!?

No, I’m a realist. Maybe I’d meet my future guy of the moment to have a witty texting relationship with and then go out with twice before he inevitably ghosts me. Yay! Can’t wait for that!

Here we go!

W New York- Union Square
W New York- Union Square

Angela stayed at a fictional hotel in Union Square called The Union.

Union Square Park
Union Square Park
Union Square
Union Square subway and shopping

Union Square

Union Square is every New Yorker’s meeting point because of its convenience. Tons of subway options are available and a dependable amount of restaurants, shopping options, and entertainment. When dating, I could be meeting a guy from any of the five bouroughs or *shudder* Jersey, or God-forbid, Long Island, but usually they also work in Manhattan so Union Square often becomes the first date spot.

Angela has a date at this restaurant. I had mixed feelings about going here. It’s a bit touristy but I do love chocolate. From the book: “The doors to Max Brenner’s opened to reveal a huge Charlie and the Chocolate Factory style chocolate lab.”

Max Brenner’s
The food!

To start, I had peanut butter hot chocolate. Yas! Delicious is an understatement. I could have swam laps in that hot chocolate. When my meal came, the waiter pointed to those small ramekins, and told me, “This is butter, this is chocolate. Dip your biscuit in the chocolate.” Yes sir!

While my omelet looks amazing, truth be told, I had to sprinkle a lot of salt to make it tastier. I think this place is probably where you go just for dessert.

After stepping out of the restaurant, I got to go to an outdoor market.

I wandered to this spot:

Union Square outdoor market
Healing crystals

Bought myself some rose quartz hoping it would help me attract some love into my life. Wish me luck!

Next stop!

The Museum of Modern Art

When I read that Angela goes here, I thought “How unoriginal. Everyone goes to The MOMA.” I take back my negativity! I quickly became immersed in my MOMA experience.

Before heading to the art, I felt the need for coffee so I visited the cafe and with my cup in hand, sat down…next to someone of the male variety.

Here I go…open, approachable. I’m gonna move my purse so it’s not a barrier, put on an “open” expression on my face, smile, no that’s weird. What would I be smiling at? Don’t smile. Look smart. Glasses on, kindle out. Let’s put a conversation starter in full view, that’ll work!

I thought putting out my “well-read” pouch was a solid move.

I have no idea if the guy is cute because did I even look at him? Nope!

I Heart New York Tour

He got up and left.

Strike one!

Ah well. It’s for the best. If he can’t appreciate a well-read woman, what good would he be for me?

Forget him. Let’s check out the pretty outdoor scenery here.

The MOMA

The MOMA rose
That’s a rose, but that woman is not me

To the art!

Jackson Pollock
Jackson Pollock’s One: Number 31, 1950
The Starry Night
Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night
Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night
I was just being a jerk. Here it is.
Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World
Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World

This is the painting that is featured in the book. In the description next to the painting, Wyeth explains that she’s “limited physically but by no means spiritually.”

I’ve always loved this painting too. Is she going back home or yearning for something new?

The featured exhibit at The MOMA is Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions. It was a moving and thought-provoking exhibition to say the least.

Adrian Piper, self-portrait

Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions
List the fears of what we might know about you.

Before entering the exhibition, there were private booths to enter like this one with a binder where you’re given instructions. Each page stated at the top, “List the fears of what we might know about you.” Each page was filled with people’s fears about being alone, losing loved ones, feeling ostracized, not amounting to much, insecurities, being judged, never finding love, sexual violence, being black and worrying about their children’s future, and it went on and on. It might seem sad to read each and everyone’s fears but what I felt while reading was more connected. We’re all human and we all have fears.

Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions

Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions
Everything will be taken away
The MOMA
This is me

My self-involved moment taking a selfie. I wonder if Adrian Piper expected that people would do this? “Everything will be taken away.” Let’s see what I have…glasses. I have a good job that provides me with health insurance, which means I could get a free eye exam and buy those glasses cheaply.

I have an iPhone. I’m on the family plan with my parents and Verizon now charges in monthly installments instead of paying up front for a new phone. I told my father I would pay him for this phone but he didn’t take my offer. Such a good, traditional man. I think he feels that he’s responsible for me until I get myself a husband. Poor guy!

I go to a hair salon to get a cut and color (got to hide the greys!). My clothes were all bought at reasonably priced stores. Although, the newly purchased jacket hanging on my arm was a bit more than I usually pay. I’m wearing a necklace my mom bought me and I have two rings on. What if all of this was taken away? Would it be miserable or a chance for a rebirth?

I’m not sure what the answer is. What do you think?

The MOMA
There’s humor in this exhibit too. No one hummed though. 😦

Adrian Piper exhibit

That’s all from The MOMA. I loved it so much. I want to go back and spend even more time there.

Next stop is Battery Park. Angela’s new friend brought her here when she was showing her around NYC.

Battery Park

Upon arrival, I immediately wonder, what is that over there?

Battery Park: Sea Glass

Let me get a peek through the window.

Battery Park: Sea Glass

O……….M……….G!!!! Are these rides!?

Battery Park: SEAGLASS
Hell yeah I’m gonna go for a ride! I mean heck. There are kids here. 😉

5 bucks gets me in! For NYC that’s quite a bargain!

And look at this!

Battery Park: SEAGLASS

Look how cool these are! I had no idea this existed. What a pretty sweet surprise. It was mostly kids and families enjoying, but I imagine once night hits, the crowd changes a bit. SeaGlass stays open until 10pm.

Time for my ride!

But first…let me take a selfie.

Battery Park: Seaglass
$5 street sunglasses

Battery Park: SEAGLASS

That was FUN!!! 10 more times! 😉

Check out the rest of my pics from Battery Park:

Statue of Liberty

Staten Island Ferry
Staten Island Ferry floating on the sidewalk.
Battery Park: Pier A
Can you spot the cute couple?
Battery Park
Cute couples are everywhere!

Battery Park

Battery Park is cool because you get the stunning views of the city along with the relaxing feeling that comes with being by the water. It’s a nice escape from the hectic vibe of the city without leaving the city. It’s a win-win!

Before I get to the end of my tour, a girl has to eat.

Soho Park
I forgot to take a pic on the way in, but got one on my way out
Soho Park Restaurant
Grilled cheese made with gruyere, parmesan, and some kind of basil magic. I could have eaten 5.
Soho Park Restaurant
Romantic mood lighting for my date with myself.

Two guys were sitting in the table right beside me. My peripheral vision told me that one of the guys might be cute. When his friend got up, the cute one took his friend’s seat, which made him right next to me. Why the seat change? Did he want to sit closer to me? I start feeling my nerves kick in but I try my best to look approachable. I gotta work on that because he said nothing to me.

Strike 2!

Maybe I was staring at my phone too much? His friend came back and started enthusiastically talking about some work thing. Sounded like a pyramid scheme to me. I started imagining myself on a date with him having to pretend to be interested. Thank my lucky stars!

For my last stop of my tour I head to the lower east side to the Bowery Ballroom. I’m feeling a bit ridiculous for going to a random concert all because a character in a book saw a show there. I already bought the ticket, so I can’t chicken out. I love going to concerts but I’ve never been to one on my own.

The day was so warm but all of a sudden at night the temperature dropped. And my google maps app failed me. I wandered in circles for a bit in the cold to find this damn venue.

And guess what? My phone is dying even though I bought a new portable charger from the Apple Store. Can’t believe this is happening again. This time I feel even more nervous about it. I don’t want to get lost in this neighborhood late at night. I don’t know my way around.

I stick with the plan and head in. Grab a beer at the bar. I’ve got about an hour to kill. I feel so awkward as people start to fill in. I’m the only one here alone it seems. I can’t escape inside my phone because I have to conserve the battery. I seriously consider leaving, but I stay.

Once the music finally started, I began to relax. Out in the audience it really doesn’t matter if you’re alone. I enjoyed both bands and even danced a little. I ended up loving the music and vibe.

The Bowery Ballroom
Start Making Sense: Talking Heads Tribute

The Bowery Ballroom

That’s my tour! Amazingly, I had enough juice in my phone to find my way to the subway. It died right before I got there.

Made it home after midnight after walking 20,400 steps! A new record! I didn’t meet the love of my life on this tour but that’s okay. I still had so much fun. I hope you enjoyed coming along with me. Let me know in the comments! Thank you for reading!

Wait…did you really think I’d forget?

Dogs of New York
Doggies!

These were a few of the dogs I stalked throughout the day.

There will always be dogs. Until next time!

Sea Glass

Let’s connect! Follow me on Twitter @Searching4humor

😊

Book Review and Manhattan Tour: I Heart New York by Lindsey Kelk

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After the serious tone of the last book I read, Reconstructing Amelia, I decided I needed to go back to the land of chick lit. I do heart New York and heart it even more since going on tours of the city based on the books I’ve read. Lindsey Kelk’s, I Heart New York, sounded like the perfect choice for me.

Angela, who lives in London, is at her best friend’s wedding when she stumbles upon her own fiancé cheating on her. To make matters worse, Angela finds out her best friend knew about it and didn’t tell her. Angela is rightfully furious with her fiancé and her best friend. She makes an unglamorous exit from the wedding, although, who could blame her? The next day, Angela high tails it out of London and sets her sights on New York City.

She has no plan. Even doesn’t know where she’ll stay until a cabbie brings her to a random hotel in the city.

We follow along the way as Angela navigates a foreign city, makes friends, meets guys, and tries to sort out her life.

I was invested in Angela’s story and entertained by it. I definitely wanted to get to the end to see how it all plays out.

However, I can’t lie and say I wasn’t frustrated by how easily things seemed to work out for Angela. Angela is a freelance writer who was not currently working when she went to NYC. She was able to book a ticket and stay at a very expensive NYC hotel. She had some savings, but still. Besides the flight and hotel, she went on major shopping sprees and spent a fortune on designer items. It made me nervous for her as I read it. My stomach hurt! No joke! I was thinking, “Angela, you have no job and you’re living in an expensive hotel, slow your roll! Geez!”

Even more frustrating for a single lady like myself is that in less than a week, she had two hot guys after her. How did she do it? Is it her British accent? Probably!

I had to continually remind myself to suspend my disbelief so that I could enjoy the book. Ultimately, I did enjoy it and was glad I read it.

The best part is that it inspired a cool tour of NYC! If this is the first time you’re reading, I go on tours of NYC based on books set in the city. I have a good excuse to take myself out and explore the city in a whole new way. After living in the city for almost 13 years, I feel like these tours have given me a new appreciation for this city. It’s stunningly beautiful and a surprise is waiting around every corner!

Here’s a sneak peak into my tour:

Union Square, NY
Union Square
Dog
Dog creeping continues…
City Streets
Love Elvis and Mickey Mouse
New York City
It’s a long way up!
New York City
Cool underpass I walked by
The Museum of Modern Art
The MOMA
MOMA
Seen at the MOMA
MOMA art
Love the vibrant colors and shapes. Looks like it’s moving!
MOMA
I’d like to put this in my apartment. Just help me lift it, will you? You don’t think it’ll fit in my apartment? My sofa fit!
MOMA
I change my mind. Let’s put this in my apartment instead. Thanks!
New York City
City streets…I should start riding a bike…no I shouldn’t.
Sea Glass
Kicking back in my kicks!

That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed and thank you so much for reading.

The full tour will be coming to your screen of choice soon! Signing off…

Full tour is here!

 

 

 

Park Slope “Reconstructing Amelia” Tour

 

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What a wonderful sunny day this was! We’ve had a rough winter in NYC with cold, slushy snow storms, up & down weather, and lots of coughing and sneezing all around. This day, however, was beautiful and the people were out to enjoy it. I’m so glad my tour happened to fall on such a lovely day. In case you don’t know, I take myself out on “dates” based on books I’ve read set in this crazy city called New York City. I hate to say it, but so far it has been a lot more fun than any dates with the male population I’ve been on lately. I’ve got some blog posts on those kind of dates too. Read at your own risk.

Like Scott Rogowsky, let’s get down to the nitty gritty! I read “Reconstructing Amelia,” by Kimberly McCreight, which took me to an awesome neighborhood in Brooklyn called Park Slope. If you didn’t read my book review and sneak peak into my tour, go here.

The first time I did a tour based on a book, I had trouble getting out the door because of no hot water in my apartment. What a pain that was. If you’d like, you can read about that fun here. What I learned on that day is that I have to do a better job at shaking off my aggravations. I kept that in mind on this day.

Before setting out I was feeling a little anxious. My last tour, I picked up food at spots and mostly could just enjoy the solitude. For this “date” with myself I planned to up the anti. In the book, the character Kate meets up with someone at Dizzy’s Diner, which means that on a Saturday in NYC, I would be having brunch with myself.

Dun dun duuuun! For those who don’t know, the brunch culture in NYC is serious and it most definitely is a social activity. I planned to go inside and eat brunch alone. Why? Why did I feel the need to do this to myself? How come I couldn’t just take a picture of the exterior and be done with it? God I’m a masochist, that’s why.

“Take deep breaths and steal a picture before anyone notices how weird you are,” I tell myself.

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It looks inviting, right? “Can I ride that horse? I probably shouldn’t.” Time to go in. Just move forward, that’s what Don Draper would do. You’ve never watched Mad Men? Never mind.

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I pulled. I hate myself already.

The gentleman at the door who helped me to my table put me at ease right away. I struggled to move the table a little so I wouldn’t crowd the person behind me and he swooped in right away to help. I appreciated this so much because in NYC, you never know what you’re going to get in restaurants. Many are filled with nice staff, but lots of places have a pretentious staff. This was not one of those places! Phew!

I mean, look at this pig I sat under:

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Cute guy, right? Don’t worry piggy, I won’t be partaking in any of your friends for my meal.

The nice waitress came and took my order. I noticed later that she told everyone around me the “specials” but never told me. I wasn’t too bothered by it though. She probably sensed my nerves and knew I was trying to morph inside myself and pretend I wasn’t alone in a restaurant. She was probably uncomfortable about it too and wanted to leave me in peace. I had thoughts on telling her about my plan for the day so she realized how very cool I was, but I suppressed that urge. Waiters are busy so if she only half-heartedly listened and gave me a polite smile, it would have crushed my spirit. Instead, I focused on my coffee. I heart coffee!

And look at this mouth-watering meal!

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Oh my! No lie, this was the best brunch I’ve had in a long time! It was seriously tasty. Who needs the specials?

Dizzy’s was such a cool place and had a nice vibe. I highly recommend it.

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Prospect Park West often gets a mention in the book. Amelia has to walk up this street to get to school among many other spots in Park Slope. Speaking of the fictitious private school she went to, Grace Hall…I think I might have found the inspiration for that school.

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Wait for it…

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Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s called Litchfield Villa, but I think Grace Hall was modeled after it. I wonder if the author, Kimberly McCreight would tell me if I’m right?

Speaking of the author, she responded to one of my tweets while I was tweeting about my tour.

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This absolutely made my day! Thank you Kimberly! We’re on a first name basis now, right?

After being well fed by the great people at Dizzy’s it was time to head to the park and get dizzy from all the runners, bikers, and rollerbladers. See what I did there?

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So many motivated people at the park! I could have used the book to inspire me to go for a jog in the park, but I went with another direction…sitting in the park.

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A sign! I found my way to the spot I want to go! What a relief because whenever venturing into a big park, I have fears of getting so lost that I have to send out distress signals. My distress signals would involve clapping loudly, banging rocks together, and then breaking my foot from dropping the rock on it. Luckily, that did not happen.

603B0C75-7211-4DF2-9D85-C103EFDC8CDB

I made it to the Picnic House! Thank you Mr. Truck for blocking my view. It’s okay though, I’m letting go of my aggravations. See? I can learn!

The Picnic House is where Amelia goes to a secret meeting. It sets the stage for the rest of the story.

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Perhaps she met up with the other attendees in one of those picnic tables? Or maybe not. According to the book, they were hanging out under the “crooked trees.” I head to a spot under one of the beautifully crooked trees.

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This looks like a comfy spot!
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Ahhh peace!
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And squirrels!
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And dogs!
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More doggies! Okay, I’ll stop now.
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Did you really believe me?

I alluded to a missed connection in my last post. For awhile, I relaxed on my tree stump enjoying the scenery and then actually answering the phone when a friend called. I’m not a big fan of using my phone app. See Gary Gulman’s stand-up, “Telephone 1.0,” and you’ll understand more of how I feel about it. I digressed but you should totally YouTube that.

So I’m on my stump and a young looking guy who’s also alone sits down. He was at an appropriate distance in my vicinity, although, not close enough to strike up a conversation. I couldn’t tell from my vantage point if he was cute, but I was curious. I thought I should stay a little longer in case he wanted to come closer. I thought I waited long enough to see if anything interesting with him would happen, but since he seemed engrossed in his phone and I had a tour to continue, I decided to go on my way. I get up and start walking.

I soon realize that he also got up and was walking in the same direction as me. I was nervous. Was that on purpose? No, probably not. I didn’t know what to do. Turn around and walk towards him? No, what would be my reason for turning around? I decided to walk slower. I did try to give him a couple of glances, but I’m so bad at this stuff. The last time I looked back, he was stretching. I have no game, so I kept walking away.

Let’s take one last look of the Picnic House and forget about that guy. It wasn’t meant to be!

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I made a couple of other stops in the park which are shown in pictures in my original post and also my half-tour post, here.

Next stop on my tour is the street, Montgomery Place because the book reads: “That little block is like the nicest in the whole hood.”

As I’m making my way there, I realize that my battery power on my phone is at 20%! Oh no! I don’t understand how it got drained so fast. I never talk on the phone. Is that what did it? See, talking on the phone is the worst. Never. Do. It. I apologize to my friend. We actually had a great conversation and it was a highlight of my Park visit.

Before I get too panicky about my phone, I take a picture of myself.

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Okay, enough self indulgence. My phone dying is actually a serious problem. For one, all my tour stops are typed out on my phone and I need google to find them. Secondly, I have the worst sense of direction. Without google maps, I could get lost forever in Park Slope or God forbid, South Park Slope. I’m sorry, I have nothing against South Park Slope. I’d be lucky if I could afford to live there. Actually, I almost got a tiny studio with very low ceilings in South South Park Slope. I wasn’t a fan of crouching in my living space, so last-minute, I backed out. It was a good decision.

With my phone dying, I don’t know what to do, but I head to Montgomery Place anyway.

I couldn’t fully appreciate it since I was still in a state of panic, but here are the couple of shots I took:

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I wish I could have taken my time on this block, however, with direction from some passerby, I headed to Seventh Avenue to look for a coffee shop that had an outlet. As soon as I got there, I sensed that a Verizon store would be on that street. It must be my super power being able to sniff out a Verizon store.

It would’ve been better to spend my time in a coffee shop, but there would be no guarantee of an outlet. Since I’m a Verizon customer, I felt this was more of a sure shot. My super power ability proved true, I only had to walk a few steps before I stumbled into Verizon. They let me use their portable charger. Nothing to do but sit and wait. I will not get aggravated. I will take this opportunity to reread parts of the book that would be interesting to reread since now I know how the story ends.

After only an hour (see that optimism?), I’m back to my tour! I’m hungry again! Yay, I love to eat! I have two places to choose from in the book- a bagel place or a pizza place? Tough decision! Yes, I can eat two breakfasts in one day! Darn it, I’m getting a bagel!

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But can’t I get a slice of pizza too? Is that allowed? YES!

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It’s cash only. I have no cash…I can’t get a pizza. I’m stuffed, so like that guy, it’s not meant to be. Not too worry. There will be other slices of pizza in my future!

Time to go to Amelia’s best friend Sylvia’s street! According to the book, “Sylvia lived on Berkeley between Seventh and Eighth, around the corner from Mr. Wonton…”

Mr. Wonton!

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I’m pretending this is Slyvia’s place
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Slyvia’s block
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I just like this stoop!
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This is the spot where Amelia and Sylvia meet up to walk to school together

The most delicious hot chocolate I’ve ever had was at Cocoa Bar, which is now called Chocolateria. It was beyond amazing. Besides heavenly, chocolatey stuff, do you know what else they had? Outlets. I don’t get aggravated. The hot chocolate is too good.

Time to get back on foot! Now I want to go to another character’s home. Dylan’s place is described in the book as white stone, “and there was a kind-of-cool, kind-of-creepy sculpture out in front of a small tree with hands at the end of the branches instead of leaves.”  Again, I of course don’t have an address to this fictitious home, but I’m hopeful I will find a spot I think is her place. Yes, Dylan is a she and lives on 2nd street near the park, so that’s where I head.

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White stone, I’m getting close.

After passing many white stone brownstones, I arrive here:

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What is this!? Is that a kind-of-cool, kind-of-creepy sculpture!?! I think it is! It’s near the park! Maybe that plant grows hands at the end of its branches when it’s in bloom? I don’t know how that would work, but this is totally Dylan’s place! Should I knock and ask? Nahhh.

The last stop on my tour is Green-Wood Cemetery, since that is where Amelia is buried. It’s 6:30pm at this point and as I head there, I have a thought, “Will it be open?”

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Nope
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Double nope

Oh well, Green-Wood Cemetery is a National Historic Landmark and is beautiful. I need at least a full day to explore its “478 spectacular acres.” I’ve seen it from various, gorgeous vantage points, but I’ve still never gone inside. I plan on remedying that soon. Check out their website to learn more about it!

This is where my tour ends! Thank you so much if you made it this far. Let me know what you thought about it in the comments.

Special thanks goes to author Kimberly McCreight. I loved your book so much, fell in love with your characters. My solo date based on your book was so much fun. You took me to so many great places. Thank you! Everyone, read her book. It truly was a wonderfully, suspenseful book and an eye-opening read.

According to my Fitbit, I walked 16,227 steps on this tour. That might be a lot of steps but what I learned within those steps is that I can relax in this city after a stressful work week. I had that vacation feel on this day. My focus was on where I would go next, what I would eat, about the book, and the characters. The stresses of my everyday life were nonexistent on this day. Instead of hurrying past people, I noticed their smiles and laughter. I saw families out enjoying the sun, kids posing by the park with their arms outstretched, and it all made me happy. I want to try to take this feeling into my everyday life.

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Park Slope Photography Tour

Hello again! This past Sunday I posted my book review of Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight, but I also told you about the tour of Park Slope I went on based on the book. It was a “date” with myself in the very setting the story takes place. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, then click here. My full tour with sites specific to that lovely book will be coming on Sunday, I promise. Can I make that promise? It’s my first blogging promise, I’m nervous. I can do it…I promise.

Until then, I want to share some more photos from that day I think you might like.

Here they are!

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Prospect Park. I guess I should have found out who the soldier is in the monument. Sorry. Anyone know? Next business- can anyone spot the dog(s)? I can’t tell if it’s one dog or two! 🤔
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I’m obsessed. Why can’t I have one? They’re sooo pretty.
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I tried to get a cute dog picture and this happened
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Well, hello gorgeous trees!
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Can I frolic with them?
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Looks regal
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Look at this! It’s the Old First Reformed Church. Beautiful!
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I love this. A beautiful church and a Key Food grocery store. That’s so Brooklyn!
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Her jacket and backpack go perfectly with this home. She can never leave this spot.
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Always some kind of fair or open market going on.
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I’d live in one of these.
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Or I’d totally live in one of these too!
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I would not live…oh who am I kidding? It’s waaaay bigger than my apartment, and it’s in a prime neighborhood right by the park! I’d move in yesterday.

That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed my half-tour! Come check back on Sunday to see if I treated myself the way I deserve on my date. Also, I think I had a missed connection. Story of my life. I’ll let you be the judge.

See ya again soon!

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Book Review & Brooklyn Tour: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

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I’ve done it again! A tour of the city inspired by a book I’ve read. If you haven’t read about the first time I did this, check out my Breakfast at Tiffany’s tour here.

Now let’s get to the most important reason I’m writing today and that is to tell you about this book, Reconstructing Amelia. What a beautiful book. Beautiful and heartbreaking. Don’t worry, I won’t write anymore than what you would already read in the book summary.

It starts off with Kate, who’s working a high pressure job as a lawyer for a Manhattan firm. Kate is a single mom to teenage daughter, Amelia. They live in the idyllic neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn. Kate is in an important meeting when she gets a call from Amelia’s school, Grace Hall, and is told she must come right away because her daughter has been caught cheating on a paper. Kate does not believe this can be true of her extremely gifted and trustworthy daughter. When she finally manages to escape her office and arrive at the school, her world comes crashing down: Amelia has fallen from the roof and is dead. Soon Kate learns from Grace Hall and the police, that Amelia jumped. At first Kate accepts this explanation, but later on, something makes Kate question everything. Did her intelligent and beautiful daughter really jump? Kate is determined to find out the truth.

This was a tough read. I enjoy suspense books, which this is but it’s so much more. I got invested in this story because I wanted to know what happened, but also because the reality of the situation tugged at my heart. This story fluctuates from Kate’s point of view and Amelia’s. It’s gut-wrenching from both perspectives. From Kate’s point of view, we have a mom grappling with the reality of her daughter’s death, and with Amelia we know that ultimately she will die. It’s a tough pill to swallow. We follow Amelia’s story as she goes about her everyday life. We fall in love with the bright, thoughtful girl she is and see her as someone who should have a bright future. We know she doesn’t. Kimberly McCreight captured real, honest characters. The Kates and Amelias of this world do exist and that truth is what made it hard for me to read. I am so glad I read it though. Not only is it a compelling story, I think it helped strengthen my compassion for people in similar situations as these characters.

As I read this book, I thought, “Is it okay for me to go on a tour of Park Slope based on this sad story?” I read a lot of fun, chick lit books, which seems more appropriate for a “date” with myself as I explore the city. However, I also thought about how much I completely fell in love with these characters. Wouldn’t it be cool to explore their world for a bit? It’s hard for me to let go of characters after I finish a book, so going on this tour would let me hang onto them for a little longer.

I plan on doing this more, for as long as it’s still fun. Reading books set in NYC and then exploring those worlds is a great opportunity for me. I’ve lived in NYC for almost 13 years now. I’ve had many thoughts about moving out of this expensive city and thought about where I would go. I have a couple places in mind, however, something holds me back from escaping this city of tiny apartments. I still think I haven’t made the most of living in this city. It is an amazing city but have I done enough? Yes, I have a great job I can feel proud of, I’ve been to lots of Broadway shows, eaten at great restaurants, have awesome friends, taken random acting and improv classes, but have I fully taken advantage of living in this great city? Most of what I do I could do anywhere and for a lot cheaper. I have good friends, but at 38 years old, many have moved away and I’m still single.

I need to get out of my comfort zone and off my couch. Oh do I love my relaxing weekend mornings, grabbing a coffee and bagel…coming home to my lovely couch. Did you know for 8 years I lived in an apartment that was too small for a couch? Now I’m in an apartment that can fit a couch. Sweet heaven!

As lovely as my couch is, it’s time for a change and time to get everything I can out of this city. It’s nice going on dates with guys (by nice, I mean hellish), but now I want to take myself out on “dates” in the city. And my “dates” will be inspired by amazing books! How cool is that?

My day trip into Park Slope was incredible! I’m a Brooklyn girl so a bit biased, but I had such a wonderful time and discovered some great places, thanks to Kimberly McCreight.

Here’s a sneak peak into my Park Slope tour:

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Beautiful brownstones of Brooklyn
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Prospect Park
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It’s no secret. I love dogs! I’m a dog creeper.

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This building says, “This is me, I’m beautiful and you know it. Can’t stop looking at me, can you?”
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More lovely brownstones
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Colorful Brooklyn!

Full tour with sites specific to Reconstructing Amelia is here!

Also, if you haven’t already, why don’t you read about my last tour? Go here. Thanks so much for stopping by!

My Breakfast at Tiffany’s Tour in the City

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While I was reading the book Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M., about Audrey Hepburn and the making of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I thought it would be fun to take myself out into the city to do my own Breakfast at Tiffany’s tour. If you didn’t read my book review, well then…go read it! Okay, I won’t force you, but I highly recommend it. It might just change your life.

So I’m not gonna lie, I was excited about this plan. Not just because it would get me out of my apartment before noon on a Saturday, but I thought it would give me a newfound appreciation of myself. I’m the type who doesn’t really make plans. I just go along with whatever someone else has planned, which for the most part is fine by me. However, this was going to be a whole day that I planned out just for me. And obviously nyc is one of the best places to explore. Day trips into the city are like mini vacays. I knew that somehow this day would end with me having some profound epiphany about myself. I was ready.

Nyc can also be a bitch.

Saturday rolls around and I actually got up at 8am. I was so proud. And instead of checking Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Google, I head straight to the shower. Can’t wait to get my day started! Turn the faucet on while taking care of business and then…wth? Freezing cold water! I don’t panic. I use my Google Home to set a timer for 30 minutes, I want to do some interweb searching anyway. How could I start a morning without doing that? Thirty minutes later, still cold. Another 30- cold. I’m the assertive type so I texted my Super to find out what’s going on. No response. I won’t take this lightly. I’m going to send another text that shows I mean business- “I’ve been up since 8am waiting for hot water and it’s still ice cold.” That will get some action!

No response. I’m seething in anger because I can’t get over the fact that for once in my life I’m up at an early hour on a Saturday and my plans have been sabotaged. Finally, though, at 10:30am, I’ve got hot water. Hallelujah.

After a long subway ride with people invading my personal space, I finally made it into the city. Well, first I had to get past the jerk in the elevator, so after yelling at him with my eyes, I escaped the subway. Finally! I can start my day of fun-filled positive me time!

First things first! Audrey Hepburn, as Holly Golightly, eats a danish for breakfast while outside of Tiffany’s.

By the time I make it to my spot for a danish, it’s 1:40pm and I’m starving.

Andre’s Hungarian Strudels & Pastries
Andre’s Hungarian Strudels and Pastries, 1049 1st Ave, b/t 57th & 58th

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I needed to see this sign. I was still trying to shake off my morning’s frustrations. See? The city beats you down, but then it picks you back up again. I didn’t get a hot shower for two and a half hours! Okay…so maybe the city didn’t exactly beat me down. Anyway…

I had to go to Tiffany’s first since that was where Holly ate her danish (even though Audrey detested danishes). Well, outside of Tiffany’s is a busy area, so not a good spot to have my danish. From my research, it looked like one of their filming locations on 52nd and Park would be a good spot to sit and eat my cheese danish. But first, here’s a pic on 5th Avenue:

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Now to 52nd and Park

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This is my spot to sit, relax, and devour my danish. It’s a bit cool out and slightly misty, but that’s okay, I finally made it. Now I can imagine Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in this very spot making film history. Was George being a diva on this day? Apparently, he wasn’t very well-liked on set.

I have trouble focusing on this image because there’s a weird looking guy smoking a cigarette not too far away from me. Is he looking at me? I’m female, all alone in scary nyc. Wouldn’t it be funny if after 12 years of living in this city, that this would be the day I get mugged? He starts walking towards me! I’m thinking, “Oh shit. Grab your danish!” But then he just kept walking past me towards that building. You see? He wasn’t a weird guy! I’m the weird one. I’m sitting all alone on 52nd and Park on a dreary day eating a cheese danish. That’s all kinds of certifiable behavior. So ladies, don’t fear nyc, it’s perfectly safe!

Now that I’m satiated and back to rational thinking, I start heading to Holly Golightly’s brownstone, which is at 169 East 71st street. It’ll be good exercise to walk and I got my Fitbit with me for motivation. I do start to wonder though, if a guy was taking me out on a date that involved all this walking, would I be carefree and happily go with it? Or would I knock off points because seriously, will a bathroom make an appearance during this date? I’d like to know!

On the way to Holly’s brownstone, I happened to pass two spots that made me smile.

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Did Truman Capote get his hair styled at this men’s salon?
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I do like money. Can I teach about how much I like it? Golightly!

Made it to Holly Golightly’s brownstone!

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This is it or it should be. I’m counting right, I think? 169 East 71st St.
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Holly’s block
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Across the street. Looks pretty!

If only I could buy Holly’s brownstone and restore it myself. I wonder who’s working on that?

I had plans on going to the New York Public Library, but because of my late start, I had to cut it from my tour. Another day!

Instead I head to Central Park. Have you heard of it?

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I love cute dogs!

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Another cute dog! This is the Balto Statue. In 1925, Balto was a heroic sled dog who led the pack through blizzard conditions to help deliver medicine during a diphtheria outbreak. CentralPark.com
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The Bandshell. One of the film locations. Shabby chic?
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It’s hard to tell in this picture, but there’s a bride and groom up there. Love is always in the air at Central Park! Never mind the ruffians below causing a ruckus.
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This is my favorite spot in the Park! Bethesda Fountain. I’ll have to do this tour again when the trees are in bloom and when there’s water in the fountain. Not the full effect, but it’s still my favorite.
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Pretty sweet, right?
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I had to go pay my respects to John Lennon

This was my last stop in Central Park, but not my last stop on the tour. Audrey Hepburn made the little black dress a must have for modern women. While I couldn’t get a Givenchy, I could ask one of my more fashionable friends where I might find an affordable option. My designer friend came to my rescue with the perfect spot.

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Not only would I find an affordable dress and accessories, but I was also supporting a good cause. Check out Angel Street Thrift Shop’s mission.

The goods:

The dress was $40.00, beaded necklace $5.00, and the orange triangle necklace was $10.00.

Very cute shop!

So that was the full tour! I was exhausted. I walked 19,324 steps.

Did I have any epiphanies about myself? Not really but I guess I learned that I have to do a better job at shaking off my aggravations. Or I need to move into a nicer apartment and hire a chauffeur?

To see pictures of Audrey Hepburn and other cast members on location while filming Breakfast at Tiffany’s, go to this website.

Currently reading Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight. This book is set in Park Slope, Brooklyn!