Newport for Newbies…

Your first week in Newport – especially when you’ve never lived outside of NY state – can be an eye-opening experience to say the least. My boyfriend doesn’t blog, but if he did, he’d probably have a laundry list of “differences” to point out between lil’ rhody and the big apple.  Since I’m his roomie now, I’ll graciously share what we’ve both learned over the past week – him being a complete Newport Newbie and me being a born-again, after nearly 6 years away in NY.

  • Things move a little…slower up here.  There’s just not the same “sense of urgency” that NY’ers have.  People live up here for the laid back lifestyle, which I’ll be the first to admit I adore, but every once in a while I feel the urge to say “move it along folks! (expletive deleted!)”
  • If you’re not from RI, you’ve probably never had an Awful Awful.  It might not even sound appealing but trust me, IT IS.
  • You’re just going to have to learn to view pizza in a new way.  It won’t be a staple food anymore and you’re not going to “grab a slice” like you used to.  Even if you do find a (rare) place that actually sells it by the slice, it’s sadly not the same.  Possible replacement meals include chowder, stuffies and lobster rolls so really, whose complaining?
  • The bars close at what time??  In NY, bars don’t close – or at least anytime that concerns you when you’re in your 30’s.  You’ll be long gone and fast asleep before “closing time” hits the juke box in NY, but in RI, you’re always staying ’til closing because if you can’t stay out until 1am, well that’s just sad…
  • Cabs around here are of the pedi variety. As in, they’re actually bikes.  Sure we had these in NYC but we also had about 10 million actual motor vehicle cabs racing through the streets at ANY given hour.  Here in Newport, if you’re not driving, you’re either walking, biking it or having someone else pedal you around.  Except for those few and far between orange mini-van things (newsflash RI, cabs are YEL-LOW not orange…) cabs are pretty much non-existent.  The upside?  I’m getting great exercise walking to and from work everyday and the view can’t be beat!

As a Newport to NYC to Newport transplant, I was prepared for the differences and am about 90% adjusted to being back in the good old Port of New.  I know it’s a lifestyle that I can get onboard with and it’ll feel like home again a lot quicker than NYC did. The little things like the friendly lady at the coffee shop, that bartender who remembers my name (and if I’m very lucky, my drink order!) and the nautical style I love so much remind me of why I chose to move back and comfort me as I get re-acquainted.  Although the adjustment may be slightly slower for my Newport Newbie BF, I feel confident that he’ll learn to love it just like I did so many years ago.  Now if only we could get a NY bagel shop and ban those damn “Yankees Suck” chants we’d be all set!

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My Triumphant Return…

When I last left off, I was leaving NYC unsure of where I was headed but sure nevertheless that I was headed somewhere.  Well folks, I’ve returned to my twenty-something stomping grounds as an older, wiser, non-single, non-tray-carrying (or dropping) version of my former self.

The rumors are true – I am officially a Newport, RI resident once again! So how did I end up back where I started (ironically about a half mile from the scene of this blog’s masthead photo)?  The short answer is: I had a feeling.  I read the signs. I did what felt right in the moment.  I went with my gut.  I made a decision.  I made a choice. And here I am.  In the matter of two months I got a new job (SM/Digital Marketing for a social impact agency where my clients actually change lives, change minds and (attempt to) change the world), got a new apartment (a two-story, charming little place with a 200-year-old elm tree in the backyard) and somehow convinced my boyfriend to come along for the ride (I think).

People keep asking me if I miss NYC because really, it all happened pretty damn fast!  To be honest, this past week was the first time since leaving that I had a NYC nostalgia episode.  It came in the form of reading Emily Giffin’s latest beach read, set on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. And even though every NY’er without a trust fund knows that it’s never as glamorous as the book makes it sound – I still had an “ohmygod I don’t live there anymore” moment of panic…but then I looked up from my kindle and out at the Atlantic Ocean and rolling hills of Newport’s Cliff Walk…and got over it pretty quickly.

So as I attempt to resurrect the Allie Zog Blog, I do so with a new angle.  I’ll be blogging about returning to a place where I spent my post-college “glory years”, going from an independent NYC girl to a co-habitating Newport couple, and most importantly I’ll be commenting on all the unique, crazy, overrated, underrated, and downright awesomeness that Newport has to offer.  I’m one part local, one part tourist and one part NYC snob, so I guarantee to provide some pretty interesting commentary!  Join me, won’t you?

File Under: “I’ll Miss”…

As I try to get in every last NYC must-do before I end one chapter and begin a new one, I am constantly reminded of not just the specific people and places that I’ll miss but also of the NYC commodities in general that I likely won’t get anywhere else.  A few on my mind today…

Bagels – yummy, crusty, carb-y, so bad for you bagels.  My waistline will probably shrink, but I’ll surely be sad not being able to step outside my door and grab a good old-fashioned NY bagel WITH cream cheese.

Actual egg sandwiches – No I don’t want a “fegg” (fake-egg, duh).  No microwaved, cookie-cutter egg substitute patties please.  I want a NYC deli-made, bacon, EGG and cheese on a bagel! (also file under, “this is why your fat…”)

Riverside Park – My apartment on the UWS was quite possibly the perfect proximity to both Central Park and Riverside Park.  Most people prefer CP because it’s the obvious choice.  Its got Sheeps Meadow, the trees, the people, the hot dog vendors etc.  But my favorite outdoor spot near my apartment was definitely Riverside Park/the Westside Highway along the Hudson.  Walking along the Hudson offered a perfect view west across to Jersey (with some cruise ships in the harbor depending on how far I walked), north to the bridges and east to the fancy Trump buildings I’ll never live in.  My favorite spot was around 72nd street where a pier juts out into the Hudson lined with benches and a great view for watching the sunset.

Cheap mani/pedis, cabs, coffee and drycleaning  – AKA the ONLY things that are cheaper in NYC than anywhere else!

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll share the places on my “hit list’ before I leave this crazy city in a few weeks!

Location, location, location?

I recently spent 5 days in Buffalo, NY and while there, I got some “inquiries” as to why I live in NYC and also whether I would I ever consider moving to Buffalo (it’s cheap! the foods great! I could have a huge house! The people are nice!). This got me thinking.  It’s true, I do consider location a key factor in happiness.  Afterall, location determines a lot.  Whether you have friends and family nearby, the climate, the food, the cost of living and really the overall quality of life.  But do I need to be in a specific location to be happy? Maybe, or maybe not…

On my flight home I got to thinking about why I moved to NYC in the first place.  There were a lot of reasons.  But probably the key reason was the image I had in my mind of what it meant to live and work in NYC.  The clichéd notion that living and working here would make me important, successful, rich and by association – happy.  Truth be told, I love telling people when I’m traveling that I’m from NYC, there’s a certain air of credibility and coolness that those three little words generally give off. Or at least in my own head they do…

So now I’m stumped. As I’m about to embark on another chapter of my life – I must know –  Is it the actual PLACE you live that’s important or is it everything else – such as the right job, loved ones, a nice house/apartment that make a place great?  One wise Buffalonian said to me “I’ve lived all over (he hasn’t really, but I digress) and I can be happy anywhere as long as I have a job and a nice place to live.”  It seemed so simple yet so true. Doesn’t it??

So I ask you, wise readers, do you think your location factors into your happiness or do you think if you have a job, a partner and a nice place to live, you can “be happy anywhere?” Let the debate begin!

Editors Note:  In no way does the above post mean that I am moving or planning on moving to Buffalo, NY.  Just pondering location in general my friends 🙂  As noted in previous posts, I am thinking of heading back to New England to reunite with my beloved Atlantic Ocean, Wicked accents and lobster rolls 🙂  But as you all know, anything is possible so we’ll see…

Rooftop Ramblings…

Where’ve I been? Well most recently, I was in Boston exploring the possibility of moving there.  Crazy right?  Will I really leave NYC?  I think it just might be that time…

A little background: Although I have loved living in NYC these past few years, loved being close to where I grew up and my parents, loved working in midtown Manhattan and feeling like I made it (ok midtown isn’t that great but still…), loved being in the epicenter of it all, loved exploring the city and especially my beloved Upper West Side, I’ve also been missing a few things BIG TIME. Those things include: my boyfriend (currently in Buffalo, NY); the beach (close, but not close enough to NYC); grilling and outdoor space (I am technically writing this blog from my rooftop, but A) I share it with about 50 other residents B) it’s 2 flights up instead of out my back door and C) grills are prohibited by NYC fire code); and New England in general.  Because of all these reasons, I am considering – or dare I say planning – a relocation to Beantown this summer.

Before I leave: One of my roommates suggested I write up a “before I leave NYC” bucket list and I think that’s just what I’ll do.  There are A LOT of things I’ll miss about NYC and I plan to share them here daily (or maybe weekly because we know I’m not the best at keeping up with this thing!) as well as things I’m excited about for my next adventure.  In addition, I want to do and see as much as possible in these next few weeks that I’ve always said, “I live here, I can do that anytime” about.  Even though I’ve been spending time in NYC since I was born, there are definitely far too many places (mainly restaurants and bars let’s be honest) that I need to get to before I go!

The first thing in the “what I’ll miss” series is the soothing sound of the jazz saxophonist that seems to be constantly playing as soon as the weather turns nice on the UWS and my rooftop deck, however shabby it is. 

Please leave your recommendations for me on places I must get to before I go!

5 Signs of Spring in NYC…

You know the feeling.  It’s the first spring-like day after a long winter (if you can call it that this past year) and your mind immediately fast-forwards to summer.  You’re in a great mood, you’ve broken out your sunnies and you’re feelin’ good.  Besides the actual weather, my favorite thing about that first hint o’ spring day is the predictable and often comical actions of the great people of this city.  Here are a few of the classics!

1) Sundresses, flip-flops and other assorted resort wear make their ridiculously early appearance.  Yes it was warm out today but let’s get real, it was NOT sundress weather.  Plus, no one from NYC looks good in a sundress in March.  You’re pasty and out of shape from a winter of eating, drinking and laying on the couch for hours at a time watching House-Hunter marathons.  You owe to yourself and the rest of the city to AT LEAST wait until mid-April before baring shoulders and thighs.  Agreed?

2) The line at Starbucks is extra long because everyone needs an iced coffee or frappucino to celebrate the sunny weather and also, you’ll take any excuse to go outside mid-afternoon and bask in the pre-spring sun.  (editors note, I was indeed one of the “I need a frozen beverage” people today.  See?  Us NYC’ers are sooo predictable!)

3) Sun-worshippers take to social media to express their excitement about the weather.  Facebook statuses about summer and tweets about rooftop bars ensue.  And don’t forget to instagram a picture of yourself outside “enjoying the fab weather!”

4) Every women in the city needs a pedicure immediately.  Nail salons become THE after-work destination for every respectable NYC lady (unless of course you’ve found one of the coveted early-opening outdoor cafes which brings me to number 5…)

5) Random folding chairs and laughably small tables suddenly appear on the sidewalk outside of every establishment that can clear a few feet of “outdoor space.” Even the local deli or coffee shop joins in on the action throwing a few haphazard chairs on the sidewalk. Some places even go so far as to advertise, “yes our outdoor terrace is open! Umm newsflash NYC, 7 chairs on the sidewalk amidst a sea of afternoon foot traffic is NOT an outdoor terrace.  Visit any New England beach town for more insight into the term “outdoor terrace” and then come talk to me! 🙂

Spring is in the air folks and that means the days of tanning at Central Park can’t be too far away.  And we all know how I feel about that….  Happy Spring friends!

Back from Vacay…

I’m back! Back from a week of relaxation in the mountains of Arizona, where my biggest concern was how I wanted my eggs prepared each morning and whether I would prefer to ride bikes, go sightseeing, do something “sporty” or just lounge on the patio reading my new Kindle all day. It was a lot a different from life in the big city so for that reason, it was truly a vacation.

That being said, I realized the beauty of vacations – they are an escape from your normal everyday life and are meant to be temporary. When I lived in Newport, RI people used to tell me my life was like a permanent vacation (which was kinda true) but that got me thinking…what’s so wrong with that??

I think you can determine where your truly meant to live by where you’d vacation if money were no object. My vacation destination preference always, always, always would be a beach. It could be argued that if I lived by a beach I might choose to explore big metropolis’ or jungles or deserts on my vacations – not true. When I lived ON a beach, I still vacationed to other beaches. To me, beaches are like snowflakes in that no two are exactly alike. I dream about experiencing new beaches and beach towns and comparing them all one-day in some giant interactive info-graphic… (the nerd in me speaks)

Sure I want to see other cities (London, Paris, Sydney and Rio De Janiero top my international list), sure I love escaping to some fresh country or mountain air and there are definitely a few non-beach places on my list of must-go’s (Alaska and Central America’s rain forest region to name a few) but my ultimate win vacation destination is beach.

I understand why living at the beach may not be the most practical. I get why people flock to big cities. I obviously appreciate how “lucky” I am to live and work here. I just think that people who do live here aren’t always outwardly honest about how it really is (unless their rich, then yeah, their life probably rocks). If you’re like me and don’t have a trust fund, a rent-controlled apartment or a driver, then you probably do that thing NY’ers do where you convince yourself that your life is really awesome and it’s totally normal to spend $2000 plus a month to live in a glorified closet because yeah, you can tell all your friends that you live in “the city” (because to NY’ers there is only one!). <– *Editor’s note – I sometimes do this too…

I know how after a glorious NYC filled weekend of brunching and central parking and frolicking or even an excitement-filled weeknight adventure (complete with bar-hopping and bomb scares on a Tuesday night) you start to feel that “I love it here and could never live anywhere else” feeling. Despite all my whining on this blog, I’ve felt it often – I promise! My one difference is when I leave the city I am not filled with that “omg I miss it and need to go back” feeling that I hear others are (or claim to be). I am more often than not thinking how I could be happy in X-place and how if I lived in X-place I’d probably be able to have all the things I dream about but can’t afford in NY (little things like…say…a closet, or outdoor space, or somewhere to store my beach chair…)

So what do you think folks, is life meant to be a beach or should I stick it out in NYC just a little bit longer? Comments please!