Monday, December 12, 2005

Just Singing in the Subway!!

This morning, I had the honor of being in a subway car with a singer. By singer I mean a crazy man who was singing along to his CD player with the volume all the way up. This man was dressed in a trenchcoat, nice dress shoes and a black wool hat. He did not look homeless at all. As soon as I entered the already packed train car, he began his karaoke. At the top of his lungs he sang songs that I couldn't identify because he was not singing real words. He was mumbling the words and making up his own lyrics! The man was not only singing but also dancing and pretending to play the drums!

Every time the train stopped he would lean out the doors and sing and tell the commuters "Don't squeeze in her, ain't no room. I want to have a happy day. You will not get into this car, you'll have to get through me first." Then he proceeded to stand in the doorway, once he thought the train was too full. Unsuspecting people came into the car and as soon as they heard the singing they looked away from the crazy man in true NY style. Then there was some hushed giggling.

The man stayed on the train until my stop and then as he left the train he was still singing!

Surprisingly, this intrusion into my morning paper reading was not too bothersome. I left the train in a better mood than when I got on. So thank you crazy man!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I do my laundry about every 2 weeks. This works out well for me because I have almost run out of underwear by then but not completely. I am very lucky to have laundry machines in my building and very many of them.

The one problem with the machines was the price $1.80. I can barely afford to live there and now I have to pay that much to wash my clothes. I sucked it up for 6 months until last week...

They raised the price to $2.00! I am not a happy Bean about this. I was told that sending my laundry out might be cheaper than doing it at my place.

Now I have a dilemma. Should I:
a) suck it up and wash my damn laundry already!

b) carry it on a bus and then walk an Ave. with it to go to my grandparents where it cost .25 a load.

c) bring it all the way out to Long Island for free laundry.

d) send it out and save time having to do it myself.

Please vote for your favorite choice.

Moral of the Story: Doing laundry sucks enough without having to pay an arm and a leg for water and a spin cycle!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hobbling Around the Town

I had knee surgery two weeks ago. I am ok but living in the city has proven to be difficult when you can't walk too well.

For the first couple of days, my parents took care of me... I didn't have to worry until I got back to NYC.

I am a lover of public transportation. I love subways and buses and cabs. The doctors orders included no subways for 2 weeks because of the stairs. I thought I would just lay low and take some cabs and buses for a bit and then get back to my life.

I started by taking cabs everywhere. I live uptown and work downtown. There is a lot of city inbetween and traffic that likes to be slow at rush hour. Then there was the other problem, my wallet. If I were a rich girl.... lalalalalalalalalalaaaaa. I took cabs for 3 days and it ended up costing me $100!

I decided to brave the buses. I didn't think that it would be too bad. The stop is right outside my apartment. I was wrong and in the process was able to do a little social experiment.

First, I decided to just sit in the front of the bus. I simply couldn't walk far back without the bus lurching and me losing my balance and going flying. I sat down and opened my book. As the bus stopped at the next stop more people got on. One woman grunted loudly in my direction. I told her that I could not get up. She moved to the seat behind me and kept muttering. "That bitch is taking up my seat"

I didn't realize that there were assigned seats on the bus. As she got off the bus she stepped on my foot (the one with the bad knee attached) . I shot her a dirty look but didn't want to fight with her. I sucked it up and tried to move my leg closer to under the seat.

I had a few more issues with elderly ladies. I decided to invest in a cane. I got a really crappy drug store metal cane and took the bus the next day. All of a sudden people were giving up their seats for me! I was nice to not have to fight with strangers and having a cane really helped me to walk around better without falling over.

Moral of the story: Unless you have a visual disability people in NY are not too kind.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Bean in Central Park

I slept in Central Park!

No I did not lose my apartment, I decided to do something that true New Yorkers would do. Wait on a line for 7 and a half hours to get tickets to a free show.

The Public Theatre puts on productions of some Shakespeare plays over the summer. In order to see the shows and get tickets you have to get to the box office really early in the morning. I mean really early. I was in Central Park when the sun came up, 530am.

On the way to the theatre, I got lost. It was still dark out and I was a little but scared but mostly in awe of the beauty of the park when there was close to no one around. I ended up lost in a woody area and was just enjoying the silence of the park, away from the noise of the city.

I finally came to the theatre and there were my friends equipped with an aerobed, two chairs and remote controlled cars. For the next 7 hours, I slept in the park (!) ate some food, finished a book and talked. The boys played with the remote controlled cars.

The line began to form and grow longer and longer until it snaked around the corner and was not in view anymore. The was one man and his dog on line in front of us. The man behind us was slightly strange but kept to himself.

The time crept on and the delivery men from a local deli came with food. There were strict rules about leaving the line which were repeated at different times. People were very serious about the rules and waiting for their tickets. This was a very interesting experience and I learned about the hardcore NYers and what they will do for free tickets.

At ticket handing out time (12 noon) , I was told to get into my spot in the line (I had gotten there 20 minutes later than my friends and the two people in between wanted me to go back in the line). I received my two tickets and was free to go home and go to sleep.

The show was that night and really interesting. A 70's version of Two gentlemen of Verona. I'm not sure if it was worth waiting on line for 7 hours but it still was fun.

Another NYC experience for the books(or the blog!)

Monday, August 08, 2005

Jesus on the Train

I played with a Pit Bull on the subway. Ok that sounds scary and everything is probably thinking that my love for dogs should end at pitbulls and that I certainly should not play with them on the subway. If you are still thinking, you are asking "Why is there a pitbull on the subway?"

Well so you can stop thinking, the answer to all your questions is that it was a baby pitbull in a gym bag going to the vet for shots. It was sooo cute and I was lucky to be able to sit next to it. I understand that pit bulls grow up and can be very bad and dangerous but as a baby they are adorable.

The woman who owned the pitbull informed me that it's name was .. Jesus. Yep a pitbull named Jesus. I didn't want to laugh at the irony of the situation but I did manage a chuckle as the puppy was licking my hand. The puppy kept trying to escape the red bag and jump onto the unsuspecting passengers. The women kept saying, "No, Jesus. Bad Jesus!! No Scratching, Jesus!"

The screech of the train car kept making Jesus scared and caused him to whimper into his mom's chest. Poor Jesus. Jesus finally reached his destination, 86th street. I waved goodbye to Jesus the puppy and his mommy.

I love when people on the subway break the no speaking or looking at each other rules. Especially when it involves playing with adorable 8 month old pitbulls named Jesus!

Thursday, July 28, 2005


My apartment is big for NYC standards and I have a half bathroom all to myself.One wall is completely filled with a mirrors and the other has a towel rack. There is no real place to put a medicine cabinet or a standing cart. I chose to do something organizational. This is a huge step for me and I knew that I would be opening a new chapter on my life called "Organized Bean"!

My whole life I have lived in what I like to call an Organized Mess. This means that I know where everything is but no one else does and it appears to outsiders that it is a disaster.

There is a fabulous store in Manhattan called The Container Store. This place could organize a dump! There are gadgets and boxes and shelves for every kind of place you could want to organize.

So my first visit to the store was for something to organize my under the sink medicine cabinet. I quickly found what they call shoes boxes, which are clear boxes, that I decided would be perfect for stacking and filling with all my bottles of random lotions and soaps. I got them in a few sizes and hoped they would all fit. Happily, I carried my boxes home and sat on the floor in my bathroom and emptied out under the sink. This was not an organized mess. It was a plain mess.

After about a half hour, I had a beautifully organized cabinet. Yes, I understand that this is lame and very dumb but important to me in my new life.

My next project was to find an organizational tray for the keyboard draw on my desk. Another strange item. I ended up back at The Container Store where a girl named Myka gave me a choice of about 20 or so storage items that I could potentially use. I finally settled on a silverware tray that was perfect for what I needed and on clearance!

So now my room and bathroom are organized (slightly) thanks to the cool people that come up with great ideas at The Container Store.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Free Concerts

Last summer I was the queen of free outdoor concerts. I randomly found them or I planned to go to them. This summer I haven't gone to any until last night. And it was the best outdoor concert ever.

I love Central Park. When I walk into the park I feel like I am transported to a different state. I really don't feel like I am in the middle of the greatest city in the world. So enough of my rambling about how I love parks, just go out and enjoy them. Read a book under a tree or go to a free concert. (back to my main point:))

The NY philharmonic plays in a bunch of parks all around the five boroughs and Long Island. The biggest ones are in Central Park on the Great Lawn. I had the pleasure of meeting up with my roommates and enjoying wine and cheese on a picnic blanket under a big tree. The piece of land that we were sitting on was an almost unobstructed view of the stage. I could make out some of the instruments. They began to play and everyone around us became quiet for a little bit of time. My roommates thought it was going to rain at any second (which it never did) and they decided to leave. This left me alone to enjoy the sounds of the orchestra. I closed my eyes and was brought back to my days in band class and marching band. I looked up into the sky and had a beautiful view through the leafs of the buildings along the park. I could only see the tops of the buildings and it made me feel very lucky to live in NYC.

I enjoyed the music very much and at the end there was a big fireworks show. My other love is fireworks. They just make me smile no matter the mood I am in. So I watched and then packed up my blanket and walked home with a smile on my face.

Parks, Free Concerts and Fireworks all together in one night, I am one lucky girl.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Ever since NY put the ban on smoking in bars, I have enjoyed nights of coming home without the stench of smoke in my hair. But last night was a night where I didn't even go out to a bar and I came home reeking of not only cigarettes but a cigar as well!

After a relaxing night of cafe dwelling, I boarded a train uptown. As soon as I sat down a man who was clearly homeless, dug a lighter and a half smoked cigarette out of his pocket and lit the cancer stick . I looked around the train car as the smell began to waft. Everyone turned to look at the man who was mumbling to himself ( why do I find the mumblers!!!). The man had blood dripping down his elbow and had thrown his legs up on the seat (This is now not allowed and punishable by a fine thanks to the MTA). I am afraid to walk through the train cars so I waited until the train arrived at the next stop which was 42nd street. I changed over to the express train even though I knew I would have to wait a longer period of time at 86th street to change back to the local. So I boarded the new train and breathed deeply. Ahhh, the clean air. Well as clean as subway car air can be!

I was slightly upset that now my clothes and hair had absorbed the odor of the cigarettes. The rest of that specific train ride was uneventful. I went to change back to the local train and knew I would have to wait a while for the next train. I stood on the platform and watched the men clean all the subway gunk out of the tracks. This is an interesting procedure to watch. One man has a huge shovel and he lifts up the sludge found between the tracks. Another man holds open a white garbage bag while man number 1 pours the gunk into the bag. It is actually quite disgusting to see. If that was not unappealing enough, a rank odor filled the air. It was a cheap cigar. I looked around the station to see why another person felt the need to pollute the already obviously gross subway air and my lungs. My eyes wandered and finally fell down to the tracks since I could not locate the person who was making me feel like I was going to puke. I began to watch to subway tunnel cleaners, when I noticed that a man who was standing in the gunk observing the other workers was smoking the cigar! First of all, why someone would want to smoke a smelly cigar is beyond me. Secondly, the man was standing there as if he was staring at a beautiful flower in a park. I guess if you work in the subway tunnels cleaning out garbage, you breathe in things much worse than cigars. Just like the man I saw sipping his coffee while straddling the third rail, subway workers lives provide much entertainment for me while I wait in the stations. My train arrived and I sat down and fished my book out of my bag. I grabbed my hair and stuck it under my nose. It smelled awful. Despite the fact that I hate the smell, it was an interesting night of illegal subway smoking.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


I usually try to stay clear of strange characters on the subway but this morning I was taken by surprise as I sat down next to a man in jeans and a button down shirt. He seems totally normal until he took a quarter out his shirt pocket. He then began talking to the quarter. The problem was that it was not words! He was twirling it between his fingers and then mumbling at it. This went on for about 5 minutes. It seemed to be an intense conversation until it ended and the quarter was deposited back into the pocket where it originated.

The man really wasn't bothering me and I was slightly amused as I sat there and read my amNY. All of a sudden I felt a movement that was very close to my shoulder. The man had slid over and was reading the newspaper with me. I went to turn the page and he grunted. I guess he wasn't finished reading yet! The funny part is that the paper is free and handed to you as you enter the subway, there is no reason to share the paper! I must have been reading too quickly for his liking so he pulled another object out of his pants pocket and began a mumble conversation. He was not too loud and I don't think any other subway riders realized that the man was talking or attempting to talk to inanimate objects.

We got to 42nd street and he stood up, grunted to the woman standing in front of him and made his way off the train.

The woman and I exchanged a smile and a shake of the head which is a perfect example of classic subway stranger language.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Shower Love

I'm a night showerer and this always is a plus when living with roommates. I don't have to set a time to shower in the morning and I never have to cut my shower short for fear of intruding on someone else's shower time. I can take all the time I want to.

My new apartment has a window in the bathroom that looks out onto the Triboro Bridge. While in the shower, I always open the window a crack and look out at the lit up bridge. The greenish lights that outline the bridge make me think that I am living in a movie. I have to stand on my tippy toes to see out the window but just looking outside while in the shower makes me smile. I also love the smell of the shower and soap mixing with the smells of the city. Last night I smelled fresh laundry. These scents all mixed together was heavenly. I also got a whiff of pizza. I don't even think that there is a pizza place that close to the window. When the chilly air mixes with the humid warm air from the shower, I am overwhelmed with a sense of calm. I wish I could stay in the shower all night.

Friday, June 17, 2005

I hate I pods.

I enjoy listening to music. Yet I do not like to listen to other people's music, through their headphones.

Maybe it's because of the I-Pod craze that music listening has increased on public transportation or maybe I wasn't paying attention before. But I cannot understand why the non- headphone wearing people must endure salsa music at 7:30 am. Imagine this, you are sitting on the subway next to a man with little white circles in his ears. You can hear every word of the song that he is listening to plus the whisper-singing that is coming out of the man's mouth.

I cringe whenever I hear the slightly muffled music that could only be coming from headphones. I cannot do two things at once and get quite upset because I cannot read my amNY.

I thought the purpose of headphones was to make your music come out of whatever system it is hooked up to so you can hear it only. Are these people hurting their ear drums? Does the music have to be so loud that I can hear it on the other side of the train?

I love the freedom from cell phones that happens after I swipe my Metrocard through the turnstile. I know that for my entire ride I will not have to hear stupid ringtones that sound like n organ but should be the Backstreet Boys new song. I will also not have to hear half a conversation. There is no freedom from second hand songs from the person sitting next to you.

There is a little picture on the subway next to the no smoking sign of a boom box with a red line through it. I haven't seen anyone since 1988 with a boom box walking around so maybe its time to update the sign. It should be an I-Pod with headphones and little lines coming out of the headphones. I think everyone would get the hint that you should keep your music in your own ears only.

Maybe this is a big plan by Apple to get people to buy I-pods? If they make leaky headphones that the music escapes from they can profit... Think about it... people hear music and look over to scowl at their neighbor. They see the infamous white headphones and think to themselves "If I had those in my ears I would not have to hear this awful song." Another I-Pod Is sold.

Moral of the story: Turn down your I-Pod or be a walking advertisement for Apple. But please, just turn down your volume, I don't like Apple.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Summer in the city!

The time has come and the warm weather is finally here! It's the time for short skirts and tank tops and flip flops. Also the time for sweat and smelliness. Yumm. Currently the air conditioning in my office is broken. And it was broken yesterday. Let's recap...

The airconditioning unit broke in my office yesterday. They get it up and running by the afternoon when we all are leaving. This morning, the whole unit has flooded the kitchen and the floor below us for another day of heat.
So they go out and buy us some cute hi tech fans from PC Richard. These fans have remote controls. Does this strike anyone as odd? I mean you have to be close to a fan to be able to feel the breeze correct? So (here comes the logic) if you close to the fan and can reach it to change the speed why do you need a remote control? The only reasons that I can come up with are:

1. you are incredibly lazy.

2. You like hi tech gadgets and get a kick out of pushing the button a million times a day. ( ok I admit I do like the remote control and wish I could use it but alas I do not have any batteries).

3. You are unable to get up and move, ie. you have a broken leg.

4. You are across the room from the fan and someone else who cannot get up wants to change the temperature.

Ok you get the point...

I am very happy that I do have a fan so that I am not dripping sweat onto my keyboard as I type.

Moral of the story: Fix the airconditioning or give us cute fan toys to play with so we forget that we are hot.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Morning surprise

This morning as I stumbled onto the train I saw that there were a few seats open. I enjoy sitting down in the morning so I can read my amNY and relax before the train gets packed. So I walked toward the seats and I surveyed the seats condition. This is a technique that I use (and I'm sure other subway riders do as well) I called it the scan and sit. The seat looked alright, no mystery liquids or solids and no smelly people around it. I was about to sit down when I spotted the ground. There was a pile of chunky puke. Yuck. So much for sitting down.

At this point the other open seats had been taken and I was forced to stand and read my paper.

There is another rule to subway riding that is crucial to know. If the subway car is empty at a busy time such as rush hours, there is something terribly wrong in that car. It is better to stand in a crowded car than to endure whatever has happened in the empty car. It may be a smell, a sight, a sound, no airconditioning. You name it, but there is something you don't want to encounter there. I know it is tempting, the urge to sit but consider yourself warned!

Moral of the story: If there is a seat empty on a train at morning rush hour, there is a problem don't go and inspect.

Monday, May 23, 2005

I've been working on the railroad...

Although a ride on the subway is always interesting, at night it becomes a whole different experience. Now I'm not talking about the changes in service and trains that chose to run at night. This is more of an experience that I don't believe every subway rider sees.

It was about 12:30 at night and all I wanted was a train going uptown from Penn Station. This proves to be more difficult than imagined because of the men who were walking on the tracks. Clothed in their orange vests and hardhats.. the men assured me that a train would be along soon despite the fact that they were currently taking the tracks apart with jack hammers. I understand that they have to do track repairs at night when there are less trains but they were acting so calm about the whole process. One man was drinking his coffee on the platform and then one second later he was down on the tracks still sipping out of his styrofoam cup. He was standing with one foot on each side of the third rail!! This was a tad bit creepy for me and I was shocked that he just was hanging out there taking his time telling the other men what to do.

The other workers were taking apart the latches on tracks. One man was using a sledgehammer to bash the locks while a man behind him took a jackhammer and took out the bolts. This was almost an interesting process to watch but I began to get impatient and worried. What was going to happen when a train came? So I looked down into the tunnel and there was a person standing in there with a flashlight. There is a lot of trust between that one man the conductor and the workers. A couple minutes later I saw the glow of the train lights in the tunnel. They didn't look like they were slowing down. Suddenly they stopped. The men took the big tools away from the track and left all the small pieces. Then they stood in the middle of the two tracks on a beam and let the train pass through. They even waved to the conductor. I boarded the train and wondered about the strangeness of the subway at night.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Only in NY

So I hate those dogs... you know, the little ugly things that resemble extended rats. First of all, these are animals and not accessories and should not be "worn" to match an outfit. Paris Hilton and Britney Spears need to grow up and learn how to treat their pets as pets.

The most annoying thing is to be on the subway sitting next to a bag. A bag that yips. Inside one of these bags, which can cost more than my rent, is a little smelly dog. Let me inform you that I love dogs and that I even have one but I would not dress her up in an outfit and shove her in a bag to carry around with me.

So yesterday I saw a sight that can only be explained as insane... a women was pushing one of these dogs in a stroller!! Yep this little dog was strapped in like a baby and she was pushing it across the street. I dog was also wearing a rhinestone studded collar. I was speechless and then I saw that she had a dog carrying bag hanging off of the stroller. She was not only one of those offensive dog carrying people, but a dog pusher.

What can I say but only in NY (and prob LA). :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

a ticket for walking!?

As I got off the train today at my stop, I noticed that everyone was walking slower towards the exit. I felt like I was in rush hour traffic IN A CAR! When it was my turn to go up the stairs I realized why everyone had slowed down, there were two policemen standing there. Now I understand when people slow down cars to gape at an accident or stop speeding when they see a cop car, but slower walking?? Are they going to receive a ticket for walking to fast??
[Dream sequence]
Siren.. rahrahaharah

Police Officer(PO): Excuse me ma'am. Please step over to the right side of the platform and take out your ID.

Unspecting Walker (UW): "Crap". (Rummaging through her bag)

PO: Do you know why we made you stop here?

UW: I was walking over the speed limit?

PO: Yes, and you were also cutting people off unsafely. I would like to let you off easy but this rushing is not acceptable and unsafe.....

UW: I understand.

So I know this won't happen so why were people walking so slowly?? I guess the police were in the way. The topper was that as I walked by one of the police officers, he checked me out! He blatantly looked me up and down. We are a far cry from tickets for walking but come on, do your job and look for crime, not nice bodies!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

3 Apples = $3.00?!

So my first experience of grocery shopping in NYC has hit me over the head as to what I got myself into. I will not have any money left and wont even be able to afford Ramen!! (Gristede's Ramen is 25 cents! What happened to 10 cent ramen!! ) So I digress...

Gristede's is the closest supermarket to my new home. So I thought because I only needed a few choice items that I would venture into this labyrinth of a store. I was shocked at the layout of the aisles. Not only were they super skinny but the curves and twists made the place into a racetrack for my shopping cart. I had to cut super tight turns while maneuvering the cart as to not smack the eggs along the side of the metal grating.

This experience was somewhat alarming to a suburban girl! What shocked me the most were the prices. I mean I know that the food is coated in a nice layer of gold but come on! I paid 3 dollars for 3 apples. (yes I know now that I should get fruit and veggies at the stand on the corner).

I bought 10 items all of which were not extravagant and most which were white rose(generic) brand. My total was $25. At this rate, I will be spending as much on food as I do on rent.

I spoke to some of my learned neighbors and they informed me I went to the expensive mega store and that there are a few that are less money. I will have to go exploring the neighborhood and find a good store.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

I heart Ikea!

So I'm living in NYC now. This was my dream and now it's happening.

I really needed to get new furniture so before I moved I took a trip to Ikea. Now I had only heard about this place and never had seen it. I remember one day when I was little, a catalogue from Ikea came in the mail. I looked through it and saw that they had a children's play area with a ball pit!! This made me want to visit the store even though I had no idea what they sold. The thought of this giant (or so I thought) room filled with balls that I could play in while my parents shopped, really excited me. So fast forward to last week when I actually stepped foot into this place that I'm sure I had dreamed about.

I was shocked at the enormity of the "showroom". The furniture was amazingly cute and there was so much to choose from. The folks in Sweden got it right, cheap and adorable furniture! My head started to swivel as I looked around at the couches and desks and knicknacks. They had thought of everything. I was planning my dream house in my head when I was snapped back to reality. I had one 10 by 12 room to furnish. As a smart consumer, I had done my research online before actually heading to the store.

I found my furniture set and feel in love. The fake wood look was the winner and I went to go find the box to take it to the register when my eyebrows wrinkled up and I saw in front of me a little red tag that told me what bin and aisle to pick up my furniture. Little did I know how they were able to keep the prices crazy low. I went over to a handy Ikea employee and she helped me to find all the correct coding to use down in the warehouse. I was confused because I thought the showroom was the warehouse being that the ceilings were high.

I took my printed sheet with lots of numbers on it to the warehouse where as a spoiled girl, I thought someone would collect my boxes for me. Well, nope not the case. My dad and I took the flat cart and began filling it. The thing that Ikea decided was to put all the pieces in different boxes. So my bed, for example, was in 4 boxes! The weight of these boxes was backbreaking but Ikea was once again smart and somehow made everything flat. After we collected all the parts and checked out, (yay super cheap!) we had to puzzle piece fit the boxes into the car. In the pouring rain!

Putting the million pieces together is a whole other story. Just think of an instruction manual with pictures of the little Ikea man with a question mark over his head. 7 hours of hard labor! It was a long day with a dad and boyfriend who were not good with reading instructions. But now I have beautiful furniture!!
After all that I would still go back to Ikea to get more furniture. It's like having a baby (I wouldn't know but what from what I heard it hurts, a lot) and forgetting the pain and looking forward to a beautiful new room!