10 years ago

Well, we all know what is on everyone’s mind this week. It’s unavoidable in so many ways and not just because of the media.  The way I’m dealing with it is I can’t look.  I can’t look at the articles or the pictures, it’s too upsetting.   I’m not forgetting, I just can’t look back.  I don’t know if that is a bad thing or just a coping mechanism.  The one thing I do know is that the three men I knew that died in the towers that day were the type that didn’t look back.  They forged ahead.  They were trailblazers.

The first,  was my 2nd cousin, George Cain.  George was 35 years old and a New York City Fire Fighter of Ladder 7 on East 29th Street.  Minutes before he finished his shift is when they got the call to go to the towers and of course, he went.  Because he was a 2nd cousin, the memories I have of him are limited to when we had big family reunions which usually happens about every 5 years.  I have 9 siblings and then I have just as large an extended family so when you get together you don’t get to speak to everyone, but you definitely see everyone and observe who they are.  I observed that George was happy and full of life.   His passion for life was evident in how he lived it.  He would spend extended periods of time in Colorado each year doing what he loved, skiing. He was also training for the NYC Marathon just before he died.  He did run that marathon in spirit. My brother signed up for the NYC Marathon and ran it for him wearing a T-shirt that day bearing George’s picture on it.

The second person I knew that died that day was Mr. Peter West.  Mr. West was the father of my good friend from high school.  Of course, all of our dad’s worked hard so you had limited times that you would see your friends’ fathers, but I remember Mr. West very clearly.  Most vividly, I remember his excitement for life and positive voice.  He was very active, loved to have fun, and was extremely generous and kind.  He absolutely adored his wife and children.  I had lost touch with my friend from high school, so the last time I saw Mr. West was my third year of college.  It was Christmas time and over the holiday I was working at Nordstrom when I ran into Mr. and Mrs. West.  Sure enough, he had that same wide smile he always had when I visited their house in high school.  He worked at Cantor Fitzgerald that final day.

Finally, the third person I knew was a guy from where I went to College, Loyola College.  His name was Sean.  I didn’t even remember Sean’s last name.  Like so many, I will never forget that morning in the city.  I remember walking home, uptown and then crosstown in silence just dazed, trying to process the devastation that had just occurred.  I got home, turned on the TV and watched until I couldn’t look anymore.  While watching TV I was looking at all the pictures they were showing of the missing individuals and I saw his face.  It was Sean’s face from College.  I remembered it so clearly, always with a big smile. Sean was the reason I chose to go to Loyola College.  I went to visit a friend from my high school who went to Loyola to decide if it was the college for me.  It was the night that I visited that I met Sean.  He actually took me out.  My friend couldn’t take me out, so she promised me her good friend Sean would take care of me and he did.  He was so friendly, warm, kind and inclusive that night that I decided with no doubt Loyola was the place for me.  His full name is Sean Lugano.  The Sean Lugano Memorial Field is dedicated to him at Loyola.  So appropriate in my mind.

Although I only knew each man that died that day briefly, they all had a common thread.  They all had infectious smiles and were absolutely full of life, but most of all they were kind souls.

I think about how to celebrate them at this ten year marker.  I believe they would all say the same thing: “Go have a good time on us.”  Maybe we can all do that in their loving memory?  All create the intention that one night this week we are going to meet up with friends and family and celebrate and laugh exactly as they loved to do.  So, nothing sad, just all joy and kindness, like they gave to everyone’s path they crossed, whether brief or not.

Love to all those remembering those they lost.
Now go have some fun.

Alternative to running around NYC for unique home finds: One Kings Lane

Let’s face it, we all have limited time to shop.  So, any great online shopping is usually the answer.  If I can’t find something running around the streets of Manhattan Onekingslane.com is my default.   I love interior design, even a little obsessive over it.  This site has great vendor items and has what they call “tastemaker sales” which are sales on items from different interior designers so you can really find unique, great quality stuff.  Happy shopping and here’s the link:


Reupholstering cool vintage furniture: “Just Do It.” – Nike


For those of you that need to reupholster a couch or a chair, hopefully this post will give you some ideas or inspiration.  Last winter I finally got around to reupholstering the couch I inherited from my Grandmother.  It’s a very cool red velvet vintage couch, but I was over the red.  I’m lucky because I have access to fabrics to the Trade and therefore, the fabric options are unlimited.  I went through a few different options as to what I should reupholster it in and ended up going the conservative, neutral route.  It’s a neutral linen so I don’t have to worry about reupholstering it for a while and it’s super easy to change the entire look of it just by purchasing a new throw blanket and different color pillows depending on the seasons.  I had to tell the upholsterer to make a new cushion and to wrap the cushion heavily in down feathers.  The new cushion itself is literally 100 lbs. from all the feathers.  No joke.  It’s super comfy though.  Here it is.


Sex & the City bus tour. I had no idea. Seriously.

On Sunday, it was gorgeous here in the city so I met up with a friend for brunch in Greenwich Village.  As we sat outside at our table and were devouring arugula with super fresh mozzarella and figs I was paying no attention to anyone or anything else.  Priorities, please.  My friend James interrupted my fixation and said, “It’s the funniest thing to watch the girls get out of the bus and check out the Carrie Bradshaw apartment and take the tour around the neighborhood.”  I looked up at him blankly and said, “What do you mean, there’s a bus that actually takes you on a tour of Sex and the City spots where it was filmed?”  He looked at me like I was from another planet.  “Umm, yes.”

We could see across 7th Avenue to where the bus was parked and  were almost directly across from the “PleasureChest” store where they filmed an episode.  I know I don’t need to remind anyone what that episode was about.  So, when I got home I had to look this bus stuff up and sure enough for the bargain price of $42.00 you too can go on a bus tour of Sex and the City “hot spots”.   Just in case you are as shocked as I am, here’s the link with the info.:

Sex & the City bus tours

NYC Bike-Share system: Will it be here by Christmas?

According to articles, we are supposed to be seeing in the city (about right now) a glimpse of a bike-share system they are trying to implement in Manhattan similar to those run throughout Paris and Barcelona.  I will keep my eyes peeled, but I haven’t noticed any new bike system thus far.  A full fledged system is supposed to be running as of April 2012.  Hopefully we’ll see it before Christmas and snowfall so we can actually use it.  As for my opinion on the topic:  I love to walk and the subway system rules this city, but I’m always up for an alternative. I like options.  After all, I am a New Yorker.

Here’s an article from the Time discussing the system.

1920’s vintage subway car running in NYC

My friend posted the link below on Facebook and I thought it was the coolest thing.
I have 6 nephews all of whom are obsessed with trains.
They would love to ride in a vintage subway car running in the city starting Sept.  Well, why don’t I stop saying my nephews would love to do it because I will have to check it out myself and will probably enjoy it just as much.
Here are more specifics that I found online via the gothamist:

“Starting on Saturday, September 3rd an authentic vintage 1920’s train will run on the express 2/3 track in Manhattan throughout September (specifically, from 12 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays). Originally operated by the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT) system, the train began service back in 1917 and will once again be operational. Customers who have the opportunity to ride the vintage train will be transported back in time to the Prohibition era with authentic details such as rattan seats, ceiling fans and drop sash windows, as well as a custom branded interior featuring Boardwalk Empire-inspired period artwork.

This will be around for four weekends, running through the 25th of September, and will be making stops at 96th, 72nd, and Times Square-42nd street stations only. Bonus: the final weekend some HBO folks will be on the streets to distribute complimentary MetroCards in the vicinity of the Times Square-42nd and 72nd street stations. No word on if there will be air conditioning on the trains, so you might want to leave your wool Oxford Bags at home.”

Check out the link to the article below for even more info.:

Retro Subway Car

Angels and back to the usual in NYC….

Like many people, I didn’t sleep much Saturday night because I was checking in with family members on how the storm was going in the various locations they live on the East Coast.  The reality of having 9 siblings is when things like this happen there are a lot of people to worry about and therefore, keep you up at night.  It helped that 5 of my 9 siblings ended up at my Parents home in Morris Plains, NJ.
The four that headed to our parents from the following different areas: Hoboken, Jersey City, Asbury Park, Upper East Side of Manhattan.  The 5th is in College so he still lives there when not at school.
I’m a spiritual person.  Not religious, but spiritual.   So, because of my spiritual ways, on a regular basis I ask for help from angels (to protect), guides (to watch over) and runners (to run ahead and make things happen).  Since we needed protecting from the storm, I called the angels this time.  So, I visualized angels at every corner protecting my parents’s home, my apt, my brothers home in DC, his beach house etc. and I asked another favor of the angels to keep my parents electricity on because they have sump pumps and without the electricity that would pose a problem with the pumps.   I have to say, the angels did not let me down.
My parents home kept their electricity and no water got into anything, my brothers home in DC was fine, his beach house fine, my apt. was completely fine (and never lost power).  Now, I forgot to ask the angels to protect the apt. for my sister on the UES and my brother in Asbury Park simply because they physically were somewhere else.  Well, my brother’s place in Asbury Park still doesn’t have power and my sisters roof leaked into her bedroom.  I thanked the angels profusely, but next time I have to do a more thorough job about what I ask for. 
Production crew at work this am.

In the meantime, I got up this morning to the usual in NYC and as soon as I walked out my door I could feel the good energy in the city.  I happily found my street was filled with the all so common production crews shooting a scene for a movie.  I walked my little pup without a needed rain parka and instead in one of his cute polos.  I then headed to my favorite tea place (Argo) in the flatiron building which was no longer boarded up and happily sat down to my computer with my latte and fresh croissant.  All good vibes.

Argo Tea no longer boarded up.

I’m now speaking to my runners and asking them to get my brothers power issue in Asbury Park taken care of as quickly as possible and to my sister’s to help her remedy the situation she is dealing with as easily as possible.  I do recommend trying the angels, guides or runners out for whatever your situation requires and see how it fares for you.

My usual latte and croissant as I work.

2 quotes I came across and love.

            “One who is in alignment with who they are is more powerful than millions who are not.”

“Alignment brings a return that is astronomical.”
                                                                                                          Esther Hicks

NYC in preparation for Irene

Everything is pretty shut down in the city which doesn’t even happen on Christmas Day.
For instance, I couldn’t get my usual latte and croissant this morning because everything is closed.
Oh the travesty, I know.

My little pup outfitted in his rain parka. 

As for preparation, I have never been this stocked up for any storm.  Meaning, when we are told we are getting three feet of snow, I don’t really do much.  Everything seems to some how open up and function.  As expected, Whole Foods in Union Square yesterday afternoon was jammed. There was no noise or chatter, just bustling New Yorkers who were very focused on getting what they needed and on line for 30-40 minute wait to pay.  There were a few people who were all flustered and not polite, but you will always have a handful who aren’t your typical New Yorker and can’t handle the pressure.  Essentially, it was organized chaos.  In any event, this Irene character is a different breed than any 2 foot snowstorm.  Flooding is what we are all worried about.  Let’s hope she heads out to sea and misses all of us.  I took a few shots walking around today and here they are:

West Village: Greenwich Ave. – Jonathan Adler

This is why I love New Yorkers – the sarcasm with a tinge of drama.  Makes me laugh every time.
If you can’t read it, it says, “Due to the wrath of Irene, we’ll be at home Saturday and Sunday.  Be Safe.”

About 3pm in the afternoon today this is what approaching Union Square looked like. On Saturday it is usually filled with booths for the farmers market.  There were some booths open this morning around 10am, but they obviously cleared out.  
Con Ed: Taking the place of the Farmer’s Market on Union Square in what looks like a brigade of Con Ed trucks.  

Subway in Union Square closed.  What?  Never say never.

San Gimignano, Italy

San Gimignano is a great little town to visit.  It’s very quaint.  We drove in, but you can take a bus there too (25 min. from Florence).  There are wonderful little shops that line the streets/walkways and as you look to the horizon you will see the remaining 14 medieval towers that it is known for (there were 72 towers at one point).  Apparently, back then everyone wanted to beat the Jones’ so they were always trying to build a bigger, better tower as a sign of their wealth, superiority, etc.  The competitive little town eventually got hit by a major plague and after that Florence took control of it.  We sat and had coffee when we arrived.  Later in the afternoon we had a really nice lunch and just enjoyed the atmosphere.

You can see the archways to all the little shops and if you look straight back, those are some of the towers.

I ate pizza as much as possible on this trip. So light and satisfying.  And of course, some Rose’ for lunch:)

There was a viewing tower so we climbed up.  I am not one for heights, but I survived.  I have to look straight ahead whenever on a ski lift.  Check out the view behind me.

Another fabulous view from the viewing tower.