Seven years in, and I’m realizing that New York and I have a full-on emotionally abusive relationship. As I was walking to the subway after work yesterday, gazing at the lit-up trees and listening to the Christmas carols floating out of the new Brooks Brothers down by my office (no but like, I know it’s Brooks Brothers so how nerdy?, but this place just makes you want to put on your finest tartan scarf and go caroling in your whale-printed pants. ANYWAY.), it hit me. I stick it out in New York year after year for one single thing: Christmas.
Yes, May in New York is beautiful. And September and early November are the times to visit this city if you’re a tourist (not October, weekends in October are always rainy). But Christmas in New York? There is literally nothing like it.
Why else would I PAY someone so that every morning, I can cram myself into a sweaty, smelly subway car? I literally give someone money so I can mash myself up against strangers. Why? Why would I pay an embarrassing amount of money just so I can live in an apartment with a bathroom that I can stand comfortably in without having walls touching three sides of my body? Why would I max out my credit card buying staples like milk and bread and wine? Why would I EVER allow myself to work events where I end up standing next to not one, but FOUR supermodels? Seriously, you want to feel short and dumpy? You stand next to Karlie Kloss.
But seriously. Why?
Well, mostly because New York tells me it’s cool. And I want to impress New York. All that “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” nonsense. And Christmas.
You know why?
Because the first Christmas hubs & I lived here, our adorable Hungarian super set this guy up in the lobby, knocked on our door, and asked us to come out and meet our new doorman.
Because no other mall in America offers up decorations like this, with regularly scheduled music and light shows while “snow” falls from the ceiling.
Because I dare you to see the Radio City Rockettes without getting a little misty. …Nevermind, I revoke that dare because I actually have a problem with crying over the dumbest things. But seriously, it’s cheesy and ridiculous and so very worth seeing at least once in your life.
And because just when you think you’re going to take a normal walk across the park on a regular Saturday morning, you suddenly realize it’s Santacon. Well, or you’ve been planning this for months and are racing to the park in your Rudolph costume. Either way, I’m counting Santacon in as a reason.And just like any other textbook abusive relationship: only I–and the people that know and love New York–can point out just how shitty this city can be 11 months out of the year.
- all photos are my own. even the rockettes one, which i think might be illegal.
After a few summers living in Manhattan, hubs and I have come to realize the importance of getting out of the city on the weekends, both to explore and for our own sanity. Unfortunately, budgets (and work schedules) don’t always allow for that, so I’d like to think that we’re also pretty good at city staycations.
My biggest advice: get up and get outside. Sleeping in is necessary sometimes, but for a proper staycation to feel effective, wake up and get out the door before 10 am. Go get brunch or grab coffee and a bagel and head to the park. Personally, we’re big fans of people watching in Central Park or Carl Shurz, and picking which park you want to go to should be the hardest decision you’re going to make on your staycation. Carl Shurz is right on the East River, so we feel like we’re on a beach getaway, while Central Park has castles and rowboats and is in our direct path to the Upper West Side for a new set of museums and cafes to explore.
Another tip: round up your friends! Because the city empties out on weekends in the summer, it’s sometimes hard to figure out what to do if we want to interact with anyone aside from each other. Luckily, a few friends were around yesterday, so hubs and I invited whoever was up for it over to relax. We kept it low key and people came and went as they pleased, but with enough good food and beer, we were easily distracted from the sweltering city outside our apartment.
Another big tip: dress like you’re on vacation. I feel a lot more motivated to explore and see new places if I’m both comfortable and excited about what I’m wearing. You never know what you’re going to stumble upon, and it’d be a shame to feel uncomfortable going into a new restaurant or store because you feel underdressed. Now, don’t get overdressed either (I almost tripped a girl I saw teetering around the UES in 3 inch high heels at 11 am today), but leave the sweats for your Sunday grocery shopping trip.
Which brings me to another recommendation: if you’re planning a staycation weekend, don’t let your mundane errands throw you off. Just do them somewhere new! A Fairway just opened in our neighborhood, and let me tell you–I have never wanted to go grocery shopping as much as I do. Now, you can’t hope they’ll put in a new grocery store every time you want to spice up your weekends at home, but you can drive to the next town over and explore their farmer’s market (something Wino will be more than happy to offer some tips about). And buy something new! The first time I went into Fairway, I pretty much died and went to heaven:
Anyway, I don’t want to speak for Wino, but I’m excited to have a place to share advice and travel ideas, and even just reminisce (one of my favorite things to do in between trips). But I also don’t want anyone to think that we lead this lavish life of constant travel, or to think that there’s not adventure to be had right outside your front door. When you have the urge to travel the world and see everything, it’s easy to forget the excitement that’s happening within walking (and driving) distance from your own home.
xo, the Romantic
- all photos are my own