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.

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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

😊

I Hang Out with People Too on Occasion

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When I’m not taking myself on tours of the city based on books I’ve read set in NYC, “dates” with myself, as I call them…I do sometimes go out and hang out with people. Shocker, I know!

It’s been pretty cool discovering the city in a whole new way, through the eyes of the characters I read about in my NYC books. Check out my Breakfast at Tiffany’s tour or my Reconstructing Amelia tour if you haven’t already. I plan on taking myself on more tours!

As awesome as that is, social interaction is important in life so if you’re interested, I’ll do a little show and tell of what I’ve been up to since my last tour.

Ready?

I’ll spare you the picture of my couch, but don’t you worry, it’s gotten plenty of love and attention.

I got off my couch and met up with a good friend who was back in town. We went to Erv’s on Beekman.

Erv’s on Beekman

The cocktails were delicious!

On another night we went to Franchia’s.

Franchia Vegan Cafe

Franchia’s is a yummy vegan Asian fusion restaurant. Not too shabby!

With other friends, I went to Radio City to see the Garden of Dreams talent show. Awesome night!

Strolled through the lovely, serene Times Square.

Times Square
This guy is looking at me like, “Ugh…tourist.” Stop! I’m not the tourist! You are! Now get out of my way.

I’ve been on two dates! Two dates with two different guys and there won’t be any second dates. That’s my dating life in a nutshell!

Bachelor #1 took me here:

Mimi’s Hummus
Oh look! A cute dog!

This guy bragged about taking me out to dinner and insisting I take the leftovers home. He boasted, “Pretty good deal, right!?” He was trying to soften the blow of never asking me out again. It’s okay I still enjoyed the leftovers.

Bachelor #2:

Sycamore Flower Shop + Bar

Bachelor #2 didn’t like the low tables at this bar. Not to worry though because we found tables more to his liking at another section of the establishment. He was a nice guy but just not the right guy for me. It’s okay…I enjoyed the knock off Blue Moon beer.

Back to swiping!

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I’ll take these two little pug butts!

Streets of NYC
Strong woman in NYC
TV/Pizza Night
Every Friday night is TV/Pizza night with my brother and his gf (not my messy apartment)
Office view
Stunning view from my office that we’re moving out of. 😢

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My friends and I ate at Basil Brick Oven Pizza in Astoria, Queens. We got together to say goodbye to our friend who is moving away! So many of my good friends have moved out of this city. Can’t really blame them when it’s so expensive here.

Gnocchi
Gnocchi, yum!
Greek Church in Astoria, Queens
Cool looking Greek Church in Astoria
Neptune Diner
One day I’ll have to go to Neptune Diner
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We went to this little slice of heaven

It was jam packed! So packed that while we waited for a table, we had to keep shuffling around to get out of the way of people coming at us from all different angles.

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Do I have to pick just one?
Chocolate lava cake
I washed this down with a chocolate peanut butter shake. Don’t judge.

I always forget how eating a warm cake or brownie with ice cream stresses me out. It’s a race to eat it all before all the ice cream melts! It’s a lot of pressure.

Strand Bookstore
My friend bought this for me. Isn’t it the best!?

That’s all folks!

My next tour will be soon!

Currently reading Lindsey Kelk’s I Heart New York.

 

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.

EEA1EB9F-6DEB-49BA-BFAE-D578FB05D0AD
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.

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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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A Book Review: the Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

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Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Chick Lit anymore. How did this happen? How did I accidentally pick up a book that’s not about sweet, passionate, or cute & quirky love? I’m not sure. I think I must have read the summary. Maybe I just read that a husband and wife were part of the story and just assumed it was typical chick lit.

Oh well…the book ultimately grabbed me by the neck and didn’t let go until it had its way with me. I seriously almost died while reading this book. I think I did die. Am I here right now?

Put yourself in my shoes- imagine that you’re a single woman, alone, in a converted studio apartment in Brooklyn, looking for a little romance on a page and instead you get a dark, sinister, heartbreaking story filled with characters who must go to the deepest parts of themselves to know who they truly are? And then they realize they may not be totally happy with what they discover about themselves.

Okay, if you’re like me, you actually would be gripped by this tale and then you’d be body slammed in Prospect Park, peed on by a Shetland Sheepdog, hobble into a cab, and then get thrown out of the speeding cab by a hipster couple smoking marijuana and making out. That’s how I felt while reading this book. I just had to get through it and hope things would end semi-okay.

Seriously though I was invested in this story and characters. It will make you think how you’d navigate the gut-wrenching terrain the characters must face.

Sadly, I don’t think I’d want to date any of the male characters in real life. That’s okay though. It was a great read that I sighed in relief when I finished. Not necessarily because of anything in particular that happened, but because I made it through and survived!

Read it and we’ll start a support group.

Currently reading:

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Book Review: All The Breaking Waves by Kerry Lonsdale

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This is my second Kerry L. book. My first was Everything We Keep (her debut novel) and I’m dying for the sequel to that one! I figured I should read this one to hold me over until that one, and I’m glad I did.

Molly is a single mother to the sweet and caring soul of Cassie, 8 years old. Cassie has some special abilities much like her mother, but her mother was taught to suppress and ignore her’s. Cassie’s powers come to her unprovoked in the form of nightmares. An extra troubling one sends mom and Cassie back to Molly’s childhood home to where her Nana still lives. Nana is spunky and loving, also with special powers. In fact, all the women in Molly’s family seem to have these special abilities that are similar but unique. Molly and her own mother were forced, by Molly’s troubled father, to keep their powers hidden. Molly also tries to make Cassie keep her’s a secret too in order to protect her. All Cassie wants to do is help people.

Okay, so back in Molly’s picturesque hometown, Pacific Grove, is also her old flame, Owen. Of course there’s a beautiful, wonderful man in the story or else why would I be reading it? And of course Owen conveniently lives next door. And of course sweet, spunky Nana practically throws Molly and him together. Thank you Nana! I personally don’t quite understand why Molly ever left this perfect man in the first place. She tries to pretend she has a real reason for this but I don’t see it. This hot, sexy man who would do anything for her, who supported her since they were kids and she just left him? Silly woman! I’ll take him!! Give him to me! Where’s my perfect Owen?

Back to the book- I really liked it and read it pretty quickly. The interesting layer of the women having those special powers make it a compelling story, but ultimately it’s a lovely story about a mother’s love for her child, family, and love. There were some parts that I wanted to be sped up but that’s probably because I’m an impatient reader. It was a great read and it made me go to Etsy to look up jewelry with sea glass. Now I want to go to the beach and find my own sea glass!

 

Nerves!

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I finally went on a date! Halleluja! It’s about time. So even though I’ve been on plenty of 1st dates in my lifetime, I still get the nervous jitters.

These were some of my thoughts as I headed out to meet my date:

  • I’m wearing a dress for the first time this summer and my legs look: A. Pale B. Bruised C. Dry D. All of the above. Ding ding! The answer is D. All of the above. You win a pair of jeans! Why didn’t I wear jeans?
  • Why am I meeting him in his neighborhood? He could have offered to meet me near where I work. Sure, his neighborhood might be on my way home, but that’s not the point.
  • He probably just wants to get laid hence why we’re meeting at a spot easily accessible to his apartment.
  • I’m sweaty. It’s a good thing I’m not wearing long jeans. I wonder if I smell? I need a good perfume, but not too perfumey.
  • Why am I on my period!? Once upon a time, when I carried a reasonably sized purse I didn’t mind casually bringing my purse to the bathroom when I excused myself. However, each year that I’ve lived in nyc my purse has gotten more ginormous! I’m going on 12 years! So now when I have to excuse myself to the restroom, I’m practically wheeling a rolling suitcase to the bathroom. There’s nothing subtle about it.
  • The guy is probably mentally freaking out wondering what I’m going to be doing in the bathroom and I’m all- “No worries here! Nothing to see. I’m just gonna roll my suitcase to the loo, maybe wash and dry my hair under the hand dryer, shave down under if ya know what I mean cuz you’re kinda cute! Be back in a jiffy!”
  • Well, at least bringing my purse to the restroom is the universal sign to guys that, “you’re not getting laid tonight.”

We just had two drinks, spent 2 hours together, decent conversation, nice guy, but I don’t know…all I know is that with my good dates, drinks lead to food, which leads to more drinks, more conversation, and maybe a kiss goodnight. There’s also usually a “text me when you get home” closer. Oh well, it was a nice enough evening. It was good to get out there again and flex my dating muscles.

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Currently reading:

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Netflix and Chill (by myself)

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#Worstdatingblogever! I haven’t been on one date yet. I think I’m texting with a new guy, but I’m not so sure. I get more texts from Seamless.

Should I just forget it all and finally get a cat? I was walking in my neighborhood last night and a cute little kitten was almost mine! Right outside a bodega was this little kitty and just when I had thoughts of scooping him up, this guy who was next to him beat me to it. I guess it was his kitten? Bodega kitten?

Oh well…maybe it’s a sign that I don’t have to go down that path just yet. Not that there’s anything wrong with having a cat when you’re a single woman in your late thirties. One day I will confidently get one and it won’t mean a thing besides having a sweet, perfect kitty to love. Who needs a man!? Kidding. I prefer dogs anyways.

Let me just say that I am glad I’m not on a Netflix and chill 3rd date right now. I respect tv too much to use it as some ruse for some lurid ulterior motive. If a guy ever used Game of Thrones as a cover to get laid, I’d punch him in the face and get out of there. I can’t imagine anyone being that low though. GOT is a great show.

I still need to try out my idea of going out to places alone to see if I can meet someone the old fashioned way, in person. The idea is that if I’m on my own, I’ll be more approachable. I think I will go to a museum tomorrow. We shall see!

Just finished reading:

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Currently reading:

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Looking For?

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It’s possible I might quote Carrie Bradshaw a lot. Can I help it if Sex and the City aired during my formative dating years? Is that what my problem is? Did this show set me up for failure in my own quest for love? I think I learned a lot of valuable lessons from that show! Uh oh…Houston, we may have a problem.

Well, Carrie had her happy ending. Not to say I need a man to have a happy ending. Nooo I would never say that. I’m a strong, independent woman who can heat up her own frozen pizza! Sometimes I even make my own pasta too by seasoning up some Newman’s Own pasta sauce. I should have just stopped at frozen pizza.

Anyways, I do not need a man for a happy ending (really, I don’t ;), but I’m here to mostly write about my dating adventures and mishaps, so that’s what I’ll do. Lucky you! Should be mildly interesting and vaguely reminiscent of a good time. Or it will be just a bunch of awkward ramblings. Ah well! Here goes nothing!

the Fosbury Flop

Do you know what the Fosbury flop is? I didn’t either until I googled after a random Bumble guy compared matching with me to it. No really, he wrote: “Lol it’s slim pickings out there and you just fosbury flopped over a very low bar.” Seriously!? I don’t think I’ve ever been so insulted. Well, I probably have, but luckily I have a bad memory.

Was he trying to be funny? Was I supposed to swipe back at him with something equally insulting, but “funny?” No, I think he’s just probably a jerk so moving on is what I will do! Back to swiping! Fun, fun and not demeaning at all. Dating is so fun.

Dating is all about stats as I was told by a guy I went out on one date with. So I just have to keep at it. Ugh.