Thanksgiving in NYC

Hands down, one of my favorite things about living in New York City is Thanksgiving. Long, long ago, when the husband and I were just dating and I was still in college, I started coming here to his family for Thanksgiving…and the parade! I have ALWAYS loved parades and the best one of all is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Every year, my house was filled with the sounds of parade coverage as we lounged in the living room waiting to go to my grandma’s to feast. When I had a chance to actually attend in person, I jumped at it…and kept going every year after.

I have so many parade memories that they sort of start to meld together into one awesome parade: there was the year we had brunch at Jean Georges and watched from the patio, the year my sister-in-law and I froze to death and laughed at a family near us that had a comment for EVERYTHING, the year my mom and sister came up and we took selfies with the balloons before it was cool (with a real camera no less), the year we watched from an apartment high above Central Park West, the year Declan was a tiny baby in the Bjorn.

But two years ago, we said no more. It got to be a hassle getting the kids there and then getting them ready to go to the in-laws. So instead we went to the balloon inflating the night before. NEVER go to the balloon inflating!!! It is a nightmare that knows no equal where people are herded like cattle past giant cartoon characters captured in nets. We escaped into the subway halfway through!

So last year we scrapped the whole parade. It was sad, but it was relaxing. This year, we were all prepared to watch on TV and hang out at home. But after 40 minutes of interviews with sitcom stars, commercials, and clips from Broadway shows, Brady and I couldn’t take anymore. So we went for a little walk and got us some parade action.

Project Optimism: The Terrace

Note: Photos to come.

Last July, yes I said LAST and JULY, our terrace, our little piece of the outside world in the city, was closed for construction. There was some notice about not being up to code and the work taking approximately 4-6 weeks to complete, depending on weather. We were going on vacation when the work was supposed to start so a week beforehand we shipped our plants and grill off to my in-laws’ house, thinking we would at least have it back for part of the fall.

This was not the case. Four weeks turned into ten turned into 16. Our bedroom windows were sealed shut with plastic for three and a half months. Summer turned into fall turned into winter turned into spring. From our windows we saw other lines of apartments lose their balconies and then get them finished and reopened again and again. The weather turned warm and sunny again and still we couldn’t use our outdoor space. Our patience wore thin. It wore very, very, very thin.

We complained to management, and the super, and tenant relations. We got the runaround. Finally, I LOST it. When they were nearly finished and then stopped work on our line for an entire week I went nuts! I went down to the super sweet girl in tenant relations. I begged her to do something…ANYTHING! And then a miracle occurred and last Thursday they took down the two-by-four that was nailed across our door and removed the caution tape and we had our porch back! Just under TEN MONTHS later we have it back!

On Saturday we went to Home Depot and bought planters and flowers and seeds. Yesterday we got our grill back from the husband’s parents’ place. Today we planted petunias and grilled sliders for dinner. It may not seem like a big deal, but to us it is. And we are very, very happy to have our terrace back!

In all my excitement I forgot to take any photos! I’ll take some tomorrow and put them up I promise.

It’s coming…

Living in the city has been taking it’s toll on me recently. In addition to the near-constant sound of jackhammers from the street right in front of our building, there’s the fact that I don’t have enough room in my apartment to have a small birthday party for my son with a few of our friends. It’s frustrating. Now add to that the fact that the never-ending, very controversial 2nd Avenue Subway construction is coming to our section of 2nd Avenue and I’m ready to go screaming for the hills!

The 2nd Ave subway will eventually  be a good thing – don’t get me wrong. Having only one subway line to accommodate the entire East Side is sort of ridiculous and I’ve been the victim when that line goes down and it sucks! However, I’m not so sure that the construction of another subway line is a good alternative. I’ve seen the devastation it’s caused in the areas already hit. The construction takes years for a span of a few blocks, during which time businesses are essentially killed. The sidewalks are so narrow that the stroller won’t fit and people (including me) are unwilling to contend with the hassle to get to their favorite places. Restaurants that once had sidewalk cafes, now have indoor spaces filled with the racket of drilling. It is a nightmare.

We saw the markings on the sidewalks a few weeks ago and we shuddered knowing it was coming and coming soon. The other day a friend came by to walk to the park with us and had me walk out to 2nd Ave first. All of the trees have been cut down. My walk out there this morning brought the sight of bulldozers, concrete barriers, and men in bright yellow vests.

There used to be a tree here

There used to be a tree here

Doesn't the neighborhood look lovely?

Doesn't the neighborhood look lovely?

If I felt that the MTA were in any way competent, that we would see a 2nd Ave line before say 2020, or that they were doing this construction in the most efficient and responsible matter, maybe it wouldn’t bother me so much. But I don’t feel that any of those things are true and so it does bother me – it bothers me a lot!

I guess we’ll just have to make an effort to combat the construction enough to keep our favorite places open and hope it won’t take too long and that it won’t be too loud. Either that, or move further west!

It definitely feels like the perfect time to run away to Europe! We’re leaving on Tuesday and spending 5 days in Vicenza, Italy for my sister-in-law’s wedding, where Brady will get to meet his great-aunt and uncles and all of his cousins! Then we’re flying to Paris for 5 days where I’m really not sure what I’m going to do with an almost 2-year-old boy.  At least I get to see the Eiffel Tower! Wish me luck!

Yay more concrete barriers!

Yay more concrete barriers!