New York City

photo dump: better late than never!

How has Christmas come and gone already? I hope everyone’s holiday was great. Filled with lots of love, food and presents. I just wanted to share two things. One is a really quick “aww” moment and the other is a collection of pictures I took before the holiday that I hadn’t gotten a chance to post until now. Better late than never, right?

So, the aww moment happened on Christmas morning. My mom’s aunt, who is either in her late 80’s or early 90’s called to wish my family a Merry Christmas. After my mom filled her in a bit on her siblings and asked for her cousin, Aunt Margie asked about me and my cousins. Being the cute, little old school Italian lady that she is, she wanted to know if I had a boyfriend. Normally I’d have to roll my eyes at this question. Except when it’s from an adorable aunt. She didn’t ask my mom outright if I had a boyfriend or if I was seeing somebody, the way she put it was “Is Martina keeping company with anybody?” Is she not the cutest? First of all, I love older phrases like that. Like pillbox hats and ballgowns with gloves; very vintage. Second, it’s so to the point. It’s not like the term “hooking up”, which means 100 different things depending on who you ask. Anyway, I just thought it was cute and thought I’d share.

Next are some pictures I took last week when I was in the city (yes, again). Basic stuff. Bryant Park, the tree, candles at Saint Patrick’s (i have to go back. i got kicked out because a mass was starting), a Christmas Village in the basement of an ornament store. Good stuff. sidenote: what better place for a Christmas village than an ornament store? this year was the first year and i really think they should keep it going. until it gets mobbed and noone could breathe or move down there.

The village was really cute. I got tickets on Groupon for $15. Totally worth it. They were originally $30. I probably wouldn’t go that high. Or if I paid full price I would have been a little disappointed. I mean, it was cute but it was literally in the basement of an ornament store. It wasn’t a show or anything, just a quick (or slow) walk-through.

How was your Christmas? Did Santa treat you well?

Let’s discuss!

signature

next stop, lord & taylor!

I had a different post in mind for today, so that I wouldn’t have two of the same types of post in a row. Then I figured, why start now?

giphy (22)

We last left off at Bergdorfs. We will now continue our trip down 5th Avenue. Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle and enjoy the ride.

What should come next is actually the tree but we’re going to come back to that. I believe it was the American philosopher, Vanessa Williams who said, “save the best for last.” #wisewords.

So, we’ve passed the tree and the library (wave to Patience and Fortitude!) and we’re coming up to Lord and Taylor. L&T have always done my favorite window displays (with the exception of Saks last year).  This year their theme is “…A Few Of Our Favorite Things”. I mean, who doesn’t love gingerbread men, cupcakes and canopies made from evergreens and covered in white lights? magical.

The lights from the canopy reflecting on the windows is perfect. DO YOU SEE THE PERFECTION?! I really hope they planned it that way because if they did, they need a raise. This is the first time that I could remember L&T having something in front of the windows, like the canopy. I love anything that feels like an enchanted forest and this definitely does it.

Are these a few of your favorite things? What would you include in your window display (hmm.. that sounds like a blog post idea.. except I think we all know my answers!)

Let’s discuss!

signature

window watching: Bergdorf Goodman

This year it’s been very hard for me to get into any kind of Christmas spirit. Actually, let me clarify that. I’m smack dab in the middle of not wanting anything to do with Christmas and Buddy the Elf. It’s a weird feeling. It probably doesn’t help that the weather has been absolutely not Winter in New York. As a matter of fact, Lisa and I made a trip to Central Park and for a minute, I forgot Thanksgiving had passed already. The trees still had leaves on them. Beautiful, fall colored leaves. It was warm. Too warm for my wool peacoat. It’s December and I could be outside for more than five minutes and still feel my face? Lunacy!

In an effort to take the plunge into Christmas, after Central Park we walked down 5th Ave to see whatever windows weren’t mobbed and, of course, the tree. Because I don’t want to innundate this post with pictures (no, i’m feeling fine.), I’m going to break up this post and the next two or so into each set of windows we saw. For example, from the direction we were coming from, we hit Bergdorf Goodman first so this post is of their windows. I’m going to post them in the order that we saw them as we walked. A 5th Ave walking tour without leaving your house!

Ever since I watched “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s”, I’ve been obsessed with this store. If you haven’t seen it, get on Netflix, now. It’s not a hard hitting documentary that exposes the lives of Manhattan socialites and their shopping habits so don’t get too excited. It just tells the history of the store, its famous patrons, and it even tells how the holiday windows are made. It was one of those documentaries that are so much fun that you never want them to end. It also gives a glimpse into a world that I will personally never know, personal shopping. *swoon* Bergdorf’s is the highest of high end. Why shop for yourself when someone else can do it for you? Sales Associates, by the way, can make upwards of $120,000. Or $500,000 but that’s up for debate. (except i totally believe it. call me gullible.)

I’m not sure what the over all theme of this year’s windows is except SPARKLES. EVERYWHERE.

Sorry for the quality of some of these. The crowds weren’t too bad but they were enough that you just wanted to keep it moving.

Which window segment was your favorite? I love the party scene.

Let’s discuss!

signature

 

 

 

featured image was found here.

#ALLlivesmatter

This is a hard post for me to write because I had no intentions to, quite frankly.

By now you might have seen the news about the trouble in Ferguson and, more recently, New York. Like I mentioned before, I had no intentions on saying anything about either. I’m not an avid news watcher and this is a blinding, white hot button issue that may cause a heated debate that I don’t feel I can hold my own in. So, instead of possibly causing a stir, I decided to stay quiet. Not only on here, but on Facebook and Instagram as well. But I don’t feel like I could stay quiet any longer.

I was raised in a family where I was taught to be nice to everyone, regardless of anything, really. Skin color, hair color, weight, age, intellect didn’t matter; everyone should be treated the same. I’ve carried that with me my whole life and have lived it every day. I’ve come across people, as I’m sure we all have, who don’t subscribe to my way of thinking. I can’t say I respect or agree with their opinions because I don’t understand why they feel this way. It’s easier to respect an opinion when you can see where it’s coming from.

The events of Ferguson and New York were tragic and should not have ended the way they did. I believe that in both cases the police were doing their jobs and things got out of hand. Do I believe that these incidents were race related? No. In both cases, there was a reason for the cops to approach the suspects. One had just robbed a convenience store and assaulted the owner. And the other was selling loose cigarettes on the street. I feel that no matter what your race is, if you’re doing something wrong and get caught, expect to be arrested. It’s a simple cause and effect equation.

As I said in the beginning, I don’t keep up with the news on a daily basis, so some of my knowledge of the Ferguson case is spotty. I have, however kept up a little bit more with the Eric Garner case and I feel like this needs to be said. Eric Garner was resisting arrest. He was upwards of 300 pounds. He had health problems. According to what I’ve heard, he had a heart attack and died at the hospital an hour after the incident occurred. I’m not saying that his heart wasn’t strained from the altercation, but really, the same thing could have happened while he climbed the stairs at home, or in his sleep. Or if a black cop was trying to get him on the ground to arrest him. If he was having an asthma attack, as it was alleged in the beginning, and the cop was able to administer his inhaler to him (or let him do it before they cuffed him), the cop would be a hero. Or more likely, no one would even know about it because it wouldn’t be an issue.

When you feel like you or someone you love has been wronged I’m sure you’d want to do anything in your power to make it right. It’s human nature. Here’s the thing: no amount of wrong can be made right by rioting and killing.

As a New Yorker, it hurts me to see what is going on in my city, the city that I love. Yesterday, two officers of the NYPD were shot, execution style, in their squad car. What were they doing? Eating lunch. They were shot by someone who believed what he was doing was right; justified, even. Then he took to Twitter and bragged all about “giving pigs wings”. It makes me sick. It makes me sick that there are people in this world, lots of people, who agree with and support him. One of the officers had a 13 year old son. Now that boy has to live the rest of his life without a dad. His wife, without a husband. His mom, without a son. The other officer was a newlywed of about 3 months. His wife has to live with the “what -ifs” and, more importantly, the “could have beens”.

Speaking of support, it makes me even sicker that our mayor has shown ZERO support to any of our men in blue. He is a disgrace to the city. I can’t figure out if he doesn’t realize that he’s acting like a complete asshole, or if he just doesn’t care.

The whole outcry of black lives matter is really starting to get on my nerves. OF COURSE BLACK LIVES MATTER.

ALL LIVES MATTER.

Black, White, Indian, Asian, doctors, lawyers, cops, firemen, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

In the spirit of the Christmas season, and to honor all of the brave men and women who swore the oath to protect and serve, give them a quick smile, wave or thank you whenever possible. Wish them a happy holiday or keep them in your prayers. I know I will.

signature

merry new york christmas!

Last week I ventured in to the big ol’ city to see the Rockettes at Radio City. I haven’t seen the show in quite some time and honestly, I couldn’t remember it at all. That’s the beauty of getting old – old things become new again.

We took the express bus in to the city and from the minute we disembarked from the bus and on the the sidewalks of 6th Avenue, my mother grabbed my arm as if her life depended on it. One thing about my mom is, she is not a particularly nervous person so I have no idea where this came from. We got to the corner right in front of Radio City and we got separated (read: I wriggled out from her grasp). There was a huge group of out of towners on the corner being very out of town like* and I had to maneuver around them to cross the street. When I finally got across, I found my mother and the look on her face was a mix of sheer panic and relief that we were reunited. Needless to say, this will be the last time for a long time that we make a trip to the city together.

*I have to make this announcement right here, right now. If you are not from any of the five boroughs and decide to make a trip to New York City with either your whole family or the entire congregation of your church, please heed my advice. The city is an extremely busy place, where people just GO. If you are lost, or if people are missing from your group, please move to the side and wait for them. DO NOT wait en masse on the corner of any intersection. DO NOT wait en masse in the middle of any sidewalk. You all have cellphones, move over or duck into a store and make a phone call. They will find you. Also, I’m all for taking pictures and I totally understand and appreciate the beauty that is New York City, however there is an art to doing it. Do it fast and, if you can, do it on the move. hustle, hustle, hustle! Practice taking pictures while walking before you get here. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy tourists. I really do think you guys are a big part of the appeal of the city. Especially when you point to the Chrysler building excitedly and exclaim how beautiful the Empire State Building is. Warms my heart.

Anyway, we make it to the entrance for ticket holders and we try to find somewhere to wait for my aunt that was coming from the other direction (read: Staten Island). It started to snow pretty hard by this point so we hugged the building and hoped she’d get there soon.

DSCN3906_WM

After my aunt arrived, we headed through security and into the warmth of Radio City. It’s beautiful. It’s old and ornate and just ugh. lovely.

The chandelier was all crystal snowflakes. Each one different from the next, as snowflakes are. It sparkled like you wouldn’t believe. Honestly, I would have stood there for the hour and a half and just watched it twirl. Which I hope was on purpose because if not, someone better look in to that.

The recording that was playing outside and all through the lobby was pretty emphatic about no flash photography or video during the performance. So like the good little girl I am, I tucked my phone and my camera in my bag and waited for the show to begin. The man in front of me, however, did not. He took pictures without flash AND VIDEO of the whole show. And he had a nice, big DSLR camera so his photos were quality. I was highly annoyed. (Had this been a Disney on Broadway show, his ass would have been on the street before Santa could say HO HO HO) Finally, towards the end I noticed cellphones popping up and no wardens ushers telling anyone to put them away. I took this as my cue to whip my phone out and take some shots. don’t mind if i do.

I know they’re blurry, but had I known I wouldn’t get thrown in Radio City jail for bringing my big DSLR camera, they would have been better.

After the show ended we had some time before our reservation so we went to see the tree. I’m noticing as I write this that I’m using terms that only people from the area would use. THE city, THE tree. It almost diminishes the magnitude of what they are. (I know I must be coming off as highly ego centric or hometown centric and I apologize.) What’s so great about a tree?

THIS. this is what is so great about a tree.

She’s a real beaut, Clarke. – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

While we were at the tree my mom did the whole vice grip on my arm thing again and kept asking me if I was OK.

Mom: Are you OK?

Me: Yep

two minutes later…

Mom: Are you OK?

Me: I just tripped over a small child because you’re insisting that we literally stick together, but yea I’m fine.

two minutes later…

Mom: Are you OK?

Me: Yes, Mom. Are YOU ok?

We all ducked into the NBC Experience store because back in the day, it used to be a really cool place. They used to give tours, let you do the weather, sit at Leno’s (?) desk. Not anymore, but we made the best of it.

On our way to dinner we passed one of my favorite light displays in the city (after the windows and the tree)

The BAWLS, the LIGHTS, and those majestic looking REINDEER!

After dinner we headed back to the bus to go home. I looked up at one of the buildings across from us and saw that the Empire State Building was reflected on to the building. All of a sudden my inner Annie Liebovitz came out and I needed a picture. More regret that I was without my nice DSLR.

20141210_211332_aWM

The bus came and we got on, therefore essentially ending our adventure. It was a great time and can’t wait to do the same in the spring because the Rockettes are doing a new show all about New York City. Minus the tree, the lights and the other holiday goodness, of course.

signature

It’s Christmas Time Again!

With mere minutes left until Christmas (21 to be exact!), and the fact that I have been totally deficient in posting on here, I figured I should kill two birds with one stone and write something festive.

SOMETHING FESTIVE.

Ha! You had to see that one coming.

Anyway, in the spirit of the season I thought I would write about some of my favorite things. Without further ado here are

Martina’s Favorite Things : Christmas Edition

1. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)- How perfect is this movie? First of all, it’s a John Hughes production. I know, I should stop right there- but there’s more! Second, it’s set in New York (where else?) AT CHRISTMAS TIME. Third, two words – DYLAN MCDERMOTT. And finally, well two things actually, there are old fashioned taxis all over the place. Where did they come from? And can we have them back? Also, can we talk about Mrs. Walker’s ring at the end? Way to go Mr. Bedford.  One last thing (I promise!), the head of makeup for this wonderful Christmas gem was Ben Nye Jr. Perfect.

2. Rockefeller Center- Ok I know, the crowds suck. They really, really do. But that’s all the more reason to practice your New York strut. Getting through the crowds like a New Yorker doesn’t mean to push or get crazy. You have to be agile and take every open opportunity. Basically, don’t be an animal. Also keep in mind that in this case the ends will certainly justify the means.

DSC_0043

BAM!

3. Chocolate Chip Cookies – I try to make them every year. Then I try not to eat them all.

4. My Christmas tree – A few years ago I challenged my mom to decorate our tree with only lights and bows and those sparkly stick things. To no surprise of my own, she totally skilled it. So now, we only decorate with lights and bows and sparkly stick things. Sometimes I miss our ornaments since they all had meaning but then I turn on my tree and see the whole living room light up and sparkle and it makes me happy. I could always visit the other ornaments in the basement.

20131209_181154

LOOK AT MY TREE!

4.5 Speaking of trees,

5. Like I could really limit myself to 5 things. The food, the friends and family.My aunt’s cookie tray, the meatballs, the manicotti, and antipasta. The sparkle, the magic. The gifts, the traditions. The movies, the songs. The Christmas specials of my favorite TV shows. The Hallmark Channel and Lifetime movies. The surprises, the wrapping paper. The good cheer and the warm fuzzies.  You get the idea.

It is now officially Christmas! I guess I should get to bed or else Santa won’t come. 😉

On an unrelated note before I go, does anyone know how to personalize these posts? I just learned how to download fonts and would love to use them on here but I don’t know how to do that. If nothing else, is there a way to change the color of the letters? Let me know!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Screenshot_2013-12-24-20-18-26-1

%d bloggers like this: