Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Daily life in NYC

We are now well settled into our fifth floor walk up apartment in NYC, Lower East Side, near Chinatown. Evidence of Hurricane Sandy's devastation is no longer visible in our immediate area. However those in other areas of New York City, such as the Rockaways and Redhook etc, were much more severely impacted and are still recovering.

We picked up some cat food for one charity and made financial donations to: NYC Foodbank, and Friends of Firefighers.
If you want to donate, these, and many other charities, are accepting donations online to help those impacted with the long term recovery needs.

We joined many other excited New Yorkers at a vegan election night party. It was exciting to watch this historic moment in real life. I hope Canadians can become more passionate about our politics and make informed choices and participate in the democratic process. We also voted, by mail, in the upcoming Calgary Byelection. If you live in this riding please check out the Calgary Centre, whose goal is to engage constituents in electing a progressive member of parliament.

We walk several kilometres a day exploring the streets of NYC and snapping photos. We also have monthly metro passes and use the subway for long jaunts. I prefer our area, Lower East side, and Brooklyn to midtown and uptown. We've enjoyed amazing vegan meals from a variety of restaurants. It seems nearly every local corner store has vegan offerings as well. So far our favorite meal has been from Blossom, but we also enjoy the nearby Teany Cafe, especially their extensive vegan desserts. We love the sushi from the all vegan Beyond Sushi. We are also nearby the vegan show shop, Moo Shoes, where J found a few new items.

We recently had our lovely friends, Lori and Ken, stay with us for a few days. We toured coffee shops, checked out the The Warhol Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, spent an afternoon at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), and attended the unique and interactive Sleep No More show.

There are lovely antique and vintage stores here. We attended NYC's largest antique event, the Pier 94 Antique Show, where we spent four hours viewing the 500 vendors. We picked up two sets of vintage flatware. We also saw Brooke Shields, shopping in the vintage clothing section, and even more exciting, Gary Sohmers, from the Antiques Roadshow. We also had a fun time at the Hell's Kitchen Antique Garage, a weekly flea market, where we picked up a unique 20 foot long vintage Amish rug, to hang in our living room. We've also checked out several other artist and flea markets in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The weather has been cool but pleasant in NYC and no snow! We've taken advantage of this and spent a day wandering the Highline Park, and surrounding area. The park is a unique narrow, elevated space, built on an old railway track, with spectacular city views. I'm also enjoying my new book; Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants. I do love all creatures and I enjoy watching the rats scampering around in the early evening in the subways and parks. The squirrels here are also not shy and are like little rodent monkeys. Other than these, the most unique wildlife spotting was a cat carry a giant cockroach in its' mouth.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

The lights go out in the city that never sleeps

As everyone is aware hurricane Sandy sent her wrath to NYC and exploded an electrical substation, on October 29, 2012, sending Manhattan, south of about 40th street into darkness. Our hotel, and the apartment we moved into today are both in this area. We are entering into the 4th day of no power, no Internet, no hot water, no heat, no subway, no cell service, no traffic lights, and no fresh food close by. Our well stocked emergency bag is at home but we did manage to pick up two headlamps, candles, snacks, etc. I wish we had our crank radio with us so we could stay in the loop! Everyone should keep a well stocked emergency bag, including three days of easy to prepare food. Check the Government of Canada's Get Prepared site, out for tips.

We are very very grateful we still have running water as some don't and we've seen people doing their laundry in fire hydrants! The day after the storm we took a 12 km walk and surveyed the damage. There were cars floating in an underground parking lot under the FDR over pass, uprooted trees, ripped off signs, destroyed fences and scaffolding, busted lawn furniture, garbage strewn about, and piles of debris including large hunks of wood from destroyed docks thrown up from the river.

We spend our days making the 3.5 km walk over the bridge to Williamsburg, and eat great vegan food at Food Swings, and Bad Burger. As well, there are lovely independent and vintage shops to browse. Today J lugged over our laundry to the closest working laundromat.

New Yorkers are a kind and resilient bunch! Folks are helping out neighbors, businesses are doing their best to be open with what they have, and every business we've been to, in other areas with power, have no problem with folks charging their phones etc. We've heard stories of people giving away free perishable food items. For us it is an uncomfortable inconvenience but for families, the elderly, and people trying to get to work it is much more serious. I fear with ongoing climate change extreme weather will become more common. A relevant article on the issue; It's Global Warming Stupid. Consider they ways we can individually make better choices to protect the environment and elect officials who will do the same.

To check out my photos see; http://www.flickr.com/photos/8751723@N02/

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