Holly Jolly, what’s for dinner?

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I don’t agree that people should be forced to work on a holiday they’d rather be celebrating, but if you aren’t celebrating, and don’t mind the overtime pay, help those that are!  It happens some years that we will be far from a home-cooked meal, prefer enjoying the holiday with friends (the family we choose),  or simply indulging in a sans-yellow-gloves, Palmolive-free Christmas. Whatever your situation, check out these delicious not-to-be-missed options for Xmas dinner. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

http://sosh.com/pages/christmas-day-eating/?ref=push_content_kA28

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In Praise Of Decay (and against plastic)

Malcolm Guite’s piece on the indestructible destruction of plastic and the beauty of decay was the perfect mindfulness piece this morning. I share it with you all in the spirit of keeping our beautiful world a place safe for us to call home. Sometimes I look at city living, with its train systems and shared utility lines as an almost greener way to live. An improvement to the nuclear homesteads seen everywhere else in the country. But our addiction to convenience and necessity for cleanliness produces the “individually wrapped” culture, where nesting packaging within packaging, brings us more disease and health issues down the road. An excellent piece. Enjoy!

Malcolm Guite

In pale gold leaf-fall losing shape and edge In pale gold leaf-fall losing shape and edge

I walk each morning in some woodland near my home and especially savour in this late autumn, early winter season, the damp carpet of fallen leaves, now decaying and forming  rich mulch that will feed the soil for future growth. Even in their decay, losing edge and shape, melding and blending together there is in this carpet of leaves, a kind of grace and beauty. The other morning though, these meditations were interrupted by a sudden intrusion. There amongst the gold and mottled leaf mould, like some harsh alien excrescence, was a discarded plastic bag. It was totally out of place and told its own tale of indifference and carelessness; not just the carelessness of the person that dropped it, but the carelessness of the culture that produced it. The trees shed their leaves, and in that fall and letting go  achieve…

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Brooklyn’s Little Secrets

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2013-10-28 01.48.06New York City is a large labrynth of history and culture and constant evolution. It changes before our very eyes, yet can still provoke nostalgia. And with those changes comes new folklore, legends and mysteries unearthed. With a microcosmos so varied and variable, we will never have heard it all.

Check out this article from Big Appled and read about some well-kept secrets of the ever expanding, and super hot, BROOKLYN. Click below!

BROOKLYNS LITTLE SECRETS

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WHERE TO PARK IT

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When the sun coincides with a weekend, it is an urban-dweller  indulgence to revel in well-deserved, slothful laziness, soft-serve ice cream, and a barefoot day in the park.

Inwood Hill Park, near the Columbia University boathouse and fields at the tippy-top of Manhattan, is one of my favorite spots in the summer. It has waterfront, grassy hilly lawns, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, swans, and sports-friendly fields. The shady and sunny spots are plentiful and the last-remaining native forest of Manhattan replete with hiking trails, and wildlife is just to the west.  The subway, food and drink are all nearby. It’s a perfect location for whatever kind of afternoon you might be craving.

Inwood Farmer's Market, Manhattan NYThe Saturday farmer’s market on Isham Ave (#26 on the map) is a block from the A train at 207th street. This market is a happy installation for up-towners like me who love their produce and local fare but don’t always crave schlepping through Union Square crowds.  You can drop off compost, pick up flowers, recycle old fabric, bag some fruit or veggies, get eggs, wine, cheese and bread, and even get things repaired *yes really!*. Some people just like to come and mingle and you can sense the feeling of neighborliness. Even the kids shout hellos to their classmates.

Today I felt snacky, so I bought a pint of Divine Brine sour pickles for home, snagged some french pastry from Bread Alone, and browsed the focaccia, and local wine and honey options before heading to the park with my little one, Luca.

I almost unfolded the blue picnic tapestry, when I remembered to stop for coffee at the Indian Road Cafe. At the corner of West 218th and Indian Road, this bustling cafe occupies the bottom Northwest corner of an apartment building and has single-handedly satisfied the neighborhood need for tasty food, coffee, tea and pastry. The space is a converted antique store, and the cafe owners kept true to a rustic ambiance, adding salvaged wood, and a friendly coffee house vibe that maintains this loyal fan base. It also serves conscientious beverages and boasts a diverse menu for brunch, lunch and dinner for all palates.

Indian Road Cafe-0008Being right across the park, it’s also perfect for the to-go individuals that would rather be outside.  So I grabbed an iced coffee, mingled with some dog-friendly folks out front, and bee-lined it to my happy place on the lawn.

Kicking back, shades on, shoes immediately kicked off, I took in the landscape of trees, people playing with their kids, serious tanning enthusiasts (and exhibitionists?), dogs playing fetch, and the sound of metal bats hitting flyballs in the distance.

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I sipped the environmentally-conscious-fair-market-free-trade (justified the price!) coffee, and savored the pastry.  A soft breeze cooled the air. And as Luca obsessively chewed the grass, I felt myself exhale.

So came my moment of Zen.  It was pretty perfect.

The clouds were happy, and light, and I started to feel it too. I hope your Saturdays were great! Till the next time.

Dwelling Hound, signing off.

In Appreciation of Nifty New Ideas

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In the old days, breaking a lease in New York City came with some consequences. You could be left to go your merry way, if lucky, free as a bird. Or you may lose your deposit, be mandated to pay the remainder of your lease, or be forced to pay rent until the landlord finds another tenant, be taken to housing court, ruin your credit, and be in financial ruin, depending on the team of lawyers your landlord employs. Yikes!

But let’s say a big life-change ensues and you simply HAVE to move. You signed with a traveling circus for example.  Or perhaps you got engaged, found a new job out of state, lost your job, want a dog and live in a no-pet building, etc.  Emergencies happen fast and change everything.

Enter the new generation of leasing. LEASEBREAK.COM is a VERY nifty new idea, where lease breakers or their real estate agents can post their apartments online and solicit for new tenants OUT IN THE OPEN..SHAMELESSLY.

Gone are the days of the furtive Craigslist sublease ad. “Must be discreet” or “agree to be my cousin” coverups need no longer weigh on your conscience.

It’s a life saver for the non-committal lease signer, as well as for the landlords, because the new tenants get landlord approval!

I know, I know. “Since when do we care about landlords” you say? While it’s true that many deserve their poor reputation, and don’t get much sympathy these days, the ones that do get stuck with these empty apartments still need to balance the budget. If they can’t collect the money, they subsequently have to raise everyone else’s rents to cover building costs.  Poo poo all around!

So give it a whirl, I’m happy to share the good news.

Happy hunting everyone!

Greetings from Survival City

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Never am I more proud of New York City than when we survive the insurmountable. The sheer levels of humanity, in the face of destruction and devastation, sparkle through rubble like the diamond-studded city that we are. Those without power are being sheltered by friends and strangers. Those without food are being fed by those near and strange to them. The world can watch and critique us in our human moments, but they should look as carefully in our humane ones. Bravo, my fine city!

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

Every February, I cling to my comforter and whisper into the chilly air “Why, oh why do I live in such a cold place???” Despite all the fun and activities a winter New York City can hold, many of us find ourselves in the same monologue – ready to leave this fantastic city in search of warmer climes. We start doing what I call “cheating” on the city. Searching other cities’ Craigslists, job postings, housing, etc. Then the air starts to feel sweeter, daylight savings pops us back to a 7:39 sunset, and the trees come back to life. We all breathe a sigh of relief, because, there’s truly no better place to live, and we knew that all along. 🙂