The cold weather has finally disappeared and I’m hoping it decides not to return for a very long time! The warm weather and sunshine have never felt so amazing. After a brutal winter, you really learn to love and appreciate the return of summer.
During one of our first warm weekends, Courtney and I decided to pick up some white wine and food at Zabar’s and head to Central Park for a picnic. We turned on some Frank Sinatra, pulled out the Scrabble board, and enjoyed the beautiful weather before it gets too hot to be outside. Brunch is also another springtime favorite. We found an amazing Colombian restaurant in Brooklyn with homemade passion fruit sangria. It’s a great way to start off a Saturday morning.
The beginning of summer also marks the start of visitor season. As soon as it hit 60 degrees, friends and family began booking their flights to the city. My first visitor of the season was one of my best friends from home, Jamie. It was her first time in NYC so I took her to all of the typical touristy places as well as some of my favorite local hotspots.
Our first day out in the city, we went to one of my favorite cafes in Little Italy for lunch. The chicken parmigiana is one of the most amazing dishes there. We spent our first night at Mamma Mia on Broadway then went out for margaritas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It ended up being beautiful the next day so we enjoyed relaxing in Central Park and of course, Pinkberry was necessary. We finished off the wonderful weekend at my favorite brunch spot in Chelsea. It’s always so fun having friends come to visit!
The first weekend of every month is “Free Museum Weekend” for Bank of America customers. I’ve been to several of the big museums in the city but this month I ventured down to the New York Aquarium at Coney Island. It was so nice to see the ocean and spend the afternoon perusing the aquarium and eating corn dogs on the boardwalk.
I enjoy doing my share of celebrity stalking. No, I’m not as crazy as I make it sound but it is pretty cool running into your favorite celebs around town. Hilary Duff was doing a promotional event in Madison Square Park and I made time in my day to stop by. I got the chance to meet Hilary again, which for me, was pretty surreal since I’ve adored her since my middle school days.
Lady Gaga’s new album Born This Way came out a few weeks ago. To celebrate the album release, NYC erupted in Gaga madness. She was doing press all over the city and making appearances on every talk show. I was selected by MTV as one of Gaga’s biggest fans. MTV premiered a brand new Gaga documentary called “Inside the Outside” and I was a part of the live online aftershow. I had the chance to be interviewed by the talented director of the documentary, Davi Russo. I always put 100% of myself into everything I do and this interview was no different. I was lucky enough wear an amazing costume that Creative Costume Company provided me with; it was also the same costume that the band 3oh!3 wore at the 2009 MTV Woodie Awards. What a great experience to be a part of this MTV show!
As soon as I left the MTV studios, I went over to Central Park where I stood in a line for 8 hours to see Lady Gaga perform for Good Morning America’s “Summer Concert Series.” It was a long, sleepless night but getting the chance to see Gaga perform some of her new songs off her album was truly an incredible experience. One of the highlights of seeing Gaga perform is waiting to see what crazy outfit she’s going to appear in!
Like I said, this has been the month of visitors! My brother Tyler and his girlfriend Mariah came to visit. They came to stay with me right after I moved here but this time was even more exciting because I finally knew how to get around the city without getting lost. If you know my brother, you know that he loves to cook and eat. We spent most of our time at Chelsea Market, exploring Chinatown, and eating at little hole in the wall restaurants he found on the Food Network.
It’s not a vacation without at least one touristy stop. We went to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum which ended up making for a fun afternoon. They had everything from political figures to athletes to bands. The next day we went down to Coney Island where we had Nathan’s hotdogs, funnel cakes, and fried oreos. Of course it’s not the healthiest of foods, but it was completely necessary. We had the chance to ride the historic Cyclone rollarcoaster that was built in 1927 as well as another coaster where you lay down head first. As rollercoaster enthusiasts, the rides passed our tests!
I had the chance to take Tyler and Mariah to see The Addams Family- their first Broadway show. The show was spooky and bizarre, just what you would have expected from the world’s darkest family. The next day we had dinner at Food Network chef Scott Conant’s restaurant, Scarpetta in the Meatpacking District. Everything about our meal was phenomenal; from the stuffed bread, homemade pasta, and salted caramel gelato for dessert.
I decided to squeeze in a quick trip to New Jersey to visit my friend Alyssa and spend a day on the Jersey Shore. We picked the most amazing day for the beach; there was not a cloud in the sky. After laying on the beach for a few hours and getting tacos for lunch, we went to get margaritas and spend the rest of our day on a bed at the beach. It was the most relaxing afternoon I’ve had in a long time. We ended our night with a BBQ back at Alyssa’s house and some late night drinks with friends.
As soon as I got back from Jersey, my cousins Tracie and Elizabeth came to visit for a few days. My 12 year old cousin Elizabeth and I are very close so it was great to spend some time together in the afternoons while her mom was at a conference. We shopped on Fifth Avenue, had lunch at Shake Shack, explored Central Park, had dinner at the coolest haunted house restaurant Jekyll & Hyde’s, and saw Wicked on Broadway. It was a whirlwind couple of days but it is always so great to see my family!
I went to a Pi Phi alumni club event called “Wine Down Wednesday.” It was on one of the member’s rooftops and it was an absolutely stunning view of the city at sunset. It’s always great to meet new people while drinking wine on a perfect summer evening.