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    Born to Run by Christopher McDougall - (K) Humorous and thorough history and science behind ultrarunners and long-distance running
    *****
    Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela - (K) An autobiography covering his childhood, years as a freedom fighter and incarceration. Inspiring and informative
    *****
    The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - (K&T) A mystery set in Barcelona involving an old book, a failed writer and murder
    *****
    Lush Life by Richard Price - A Lower East Side tale of cops, drugs and drinking
    ***
    The Chinese by Jesper Becker - (K&T) Modern history of my peeps, from the cultural revolution to the many failed economic and social attempts to move the country forward
    ***
    Setting the Table by Danny Meyer - A "how-to" on hospitality and business acumen by the restaurateur behind such NY institutions as the Shake Shack and Union Square Grill
    ***
    The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama - Obama lays out what is wrong with the current government and how, vaguely, to change it.
    **

Thanksgiving

We spent the Thanksgiving holidays in Nashville with my sister’s family (could you tell it was my side of the family?). Here are random shots of the family:

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Lauren sporting her butterfly hat

 

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McKenzie and Lauren with matching jammies

 

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The kids dressed up for the big Auburn vs. Alabama game (Auburn won!)

It’s a funny thing being around kids. It’s fun and you also realize how unprepared you are for them, when YOU have to take afternoon naps because of the brutal schedule of playing the whole day. Every morning at around 6am we woke up under the bright-eyed faces of little girls staring at us, waiting for us to wake up and eager to play.

Day Four : Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

And on the four day we rested…

I wish.

Instead I was up at 6 am, after maybe 4 hours of sleep because my stomach and head hurt from too much sangria and too much food the night before. I guess this means I’m old.

We only had two things to do today. See some of the parade and get to Nashville.

We watched the beginning of the parade from the hotel…

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Hello Kitty Super Cute!

But it seemed so far away so we went downstairs in to the MOB of people in Times Square. I would guess that we never got closer to the parade than 30 feet back. This is what it looks like from there:

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And this is what the crowd looks like:

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Look at that handsome devil!

And we did make it to the airport on time to make our Nashville flight even though our hotel was on the wrong side of the now-closed Broadway street after almost causing a taxi driver fight.

Day Three : Tia Pol

After a couple meetings in the city and a lot of working from the hotel room, Kelly and I met my Australian colleague Rachel at the W lounge in Times Square. Afterwards, we headed up to Central Park West (CPW) to see the parade peeps blow up all the balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. We *thought* this would be a quiet event but little did we know that a million people would show up as well.

Literally…a million people. It’s not an exaggeration in this town.

Macys Day Eve

I don’t like crowds..sorry…so after catching a few glimpses of the balloons, we hoped in a cab and headed downtown. I knew that if we entered the line, it would be hours before we could escape. Sorry, K. i know you love those things but I just can’t take being squashed in with a million people.

We’d been wanting to go to Tia Pol for awhile after our friend Megan recommended it several months ago. I had stopped by before when I was in town with my boss for work but we left after they told us the wait was 45 minutes and the look in Tricia’s eyes said she couldn’t wait that long.

This time again they said 45 minutes but called us 10 minutes later and said they had space at the bar. Still with Rachel, we initially ordered six or seven things from the menu which came out amazingly fast. So fast, that I was concerned that we were being served frozen food! One bite into the croquette, however, told us that I was mistaken (though the chef mentions making heavy use of the *gasp* microwave *gasp* in this NYT article). They were ethereal cheesy goodness. In addition to those fried potato balls stuffed with ham and valdeon cheese, we sampled white asparagus, salt cod, arroz con negros, two pitchers of not too sweet sangria and a few beers.

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Everything we tasted was delicious and Tia Pol feels like something directly out of Barcelona. Kinda like a casual version of the Harvest Vine (and maybe like their new txori?).

Afterwards, we slogged our way back to the hotel and passed out AGAIN with full stomachs.

We’re not getting any thinner.

Day Two : Spotted Pig

I ran today for the first time in over a month and it sucked. My heart rate was a good 20 bpm higher than usual for my 10min/mile pace and I just wanted to stop 1/2 way through. But I pushed on and after a super tiny breakfast (1/2 a cliff bar) and a small sandwich for lunch, I knew I deserved a bigger and better meal!

I met K back at our new room in the W (they moved us again after I complained about our other room) and we hoped on the 1 train to the West Village. After a short, 8 block walk to Greenwich and 11th, we made our way into The Spotted Pig.

The Spotted Pig is a gastropub partly owned by Mario Batali that received a Michelin star, which was just unheard of for a bar. But whatever you might think of Batali from his cooking show on the Food Network, his restaurants are generally very good, if not amazing. We had a delicious dinner of prosciutto fritters, Jerusalem artichoke salad with goat cheese and a split the Roquefort burger with shoestring fries (which everyone seems to get) with rosemary and garlic.

Yes, that’s right. Kelly now eats pork and red meat! yay! My life will be so much better! Seriously, I don’t know how serious meat eaters like myself can be married to vegetarians. There are so many things that are meant to be shared and the majority of them are meat dishes. I like veggie dishes as much as the next person but I needs me some meat sometimes.

Dessert was a lackluster prune tart. It wasn’t bad, but the old person fruit just isn’t my thing. Sorry. But don’t let that dim your expectations on the pig. It is a great place and you should visit it when you come to NY for a home-brewed ale and a anything on the menu. I’ve had other things and they were all great. It’s a cool little, dingy bar with great food and I hope I find many more like it.

After such a great dinner, we decided to bag our plans for a movie at the theater and just went back to the hotel to watch Superbad. Great movie, if a bit long for what it is.

Day One

When your employer isn’t paying moving expenses and you are as cheap as we are, you skip the moving companies and try to ship all your stuff via air…as your check-in luggage.

Honestly, it wasn’t that much of a pain. On Monday morning we packed our 4-16x18x18 boxes into the town car along with our backpacks and carry-on luggage and hauled it all to the airport. This was only the second time I’ve ever used the outdoor bag check and it was well worth an extra $12 to get rid of those boxes ASAP. Most of our boxes were around 40lbs and under the 50lb weight limit, but there was one that rung up at 52 lbs. The porter was nice enough to blink at the weight and not charge us the extra $85, thankfully.I fly almost every week and I rarely check baggage so I think they should let me take more, but apparently no carrier is offering rollover baggage…

On our first trip to NY, we brought 4 50lb boxes as well and every one of them was opened by TSA. This time, none were opened. Who knows how they decide to open what, but I’m guessing that had memories of trying to repack our previous baggage and decided it wasn’t worth the trouble to go through our shower curtains and extra clothing this time.

After a 45 minute wait for a mini-van taxi (surprisingly hard to find at Newark airport while they are everywhere in NY state) we made our way to our friend Seno’s to drop off our boxes and then check-in at the W Times Square, where I had actually found a good rate.
We hoped on the elevator to our 53rd floor room and ya know, I was a little excited to actually be taking K to a nice hotel for a change. Normally we stay in pretty low key/cheap places, but the W Times Sq is actually really nice. A little bit of excitement was lost when we walked into a room full of dehumidifiers. Apparently, somebody had flooded our room before us. 10 minutes later we were in a room on the 26th floor, but at least it was still nice, though like most hotel rooms, had many problems. The heater didn’t work and neither did the wireless phone. uh. A man came up to repair it all but it is still a little lame.

Too tired to go far for dinner, we went to the hotel restaurant Blue Fin Seafood, which is basically an overpriced sushi bar slash seafood restaurant. It wasn’t bad but the service was weird and the price was ridiculous (though fitting for Times Sq, sadly) and so ended our first night in NYC. 364 more to come!

Two Weeks to Day Zero

The two weeks leading up to our flight are a COMPLETE blur. We had to move out of our condo, transfer it to a new tenant, live out of a suitcase, see all of our friends and hit all of our favorite restaurants. We ate and drank so much that I’m pushing maximum density. Dinners and drinks at Le Pichet, Sitka and Spruce, Shiro’s, Marjorie, Casuelita’ s, Feierabend, and many dinners at home filled us to unhealthy levels.

On top of that, I felt that my seldom used liquor bar needed to be emptied, ya know, because it didn’t make sense to store all of that stuff. Oh yea, there was no reason to store my whites either so we needed to drink those as well…and the 3 bottles of champagne. In the end, we didn’t empty everything, but we did make a dent and I still feel it in my belly today. The whites are gone and so is the champagne and some of the liquor, but the cheap whiskey lives on….and my father in-laws’ for another day.

Why Go?

In October, with K’s contract running down at Microsoft and my work in NY and Europe expanding, we decided to try and negotiate an offer with my employer to move to NYC for a year. After a little back and forth both internally and externally, we were able to pull it off. We’re here in NY now, on day two, and I’ve been thinking we should keep a record of our year here. This blog is that record and I’m hoping that we can keep it a little more up to date than our personal blogs and hopefully a little more focused on NY. I know people move everyday and start new lives in new cities, but I think it is still interesting. What does a newcomer to a city like NY experience and how does/will this change or life moving forward? Or will it?

Why not move? That’s pretty easy: Friends and family (and snowboarding). K has a ton of friends in Seattle and her whole family. My family is spread out all over the country, so that didn’t matter to me, but leaving the friends that I’ve come to have living in Seattle was more concerning. Seattle is probably the first place I’ve lived where I’ve felt like I fit in. Making friends in Seattle is tough and I’ll definitely be staying in touch.

Why go? It was time for a change. As I said before, K’s job was ending and I was looking for something a little different. I really enjoy the people I work with (and will continue to work with as I’m not changing employers), but the idea of working from home, working on a different schedule and exploring a new city was too enticing to stay away. I remember when I first moved into Seattle, having never seen it before. It was totally exciting and while I’ve seen NY before, going through this experience with K should be equally scary and exciting. Also, I’m going to take some technique classes at the French Culinary Institute as well, something I could not do in Seattle. But, we’ll talk more about that later when classes begin.

So, I hope this blog is interesting to you. If not for you, than maybe it’ll be a good record for us. 🙂