Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hoboken: my new home :)

Good news – no threat of me becoming the crazy bird lady…according to the sign in the park today: “Do not feed the birds! Violators will be fined up to $1000” And I’m sorry, no NY pigeon is worth that risk.

Hoboken trivia:

1) birthplace of Frank Sinatra (so marked by an awning visible from an apartment we
viewed with the words “From here to Eternity” scrolled across the top)

2) location of the first ever baseball game in US history in 1846 (so commemorated by an annual holiday celebrated in June and a replica of a baseball diamond located at a four way stop in the heart of the town

3) in the Guinness book of world records for the most bars per square mile (so demonstrated by at least 150 bars within the 1 sq mile that the town occupies)

4) home of Carlos’ Bake Shop from the TLC show “Cake Boss” (so recognized by the large crowd of drooling customers with faces pressed against the glass – yes, I will be one of them and no, there is no shame here.

5) Transportation situation: 5 minute train ride, 15 minute car ride, 10-20 bus ride, and perhaps a 30 minute swim in the Hudson if I’m ever feeling spunky and adventurous.

6) Parking is insane around these parts. Some parking garages (which there is only a few) could have waiting lists up to a year. The hunt for the parking signs can be a bit tricky, but is essential in order to evade the famous yellow boot which is adorning countless cars along the roadside

7) River Ave is the road that runs parallel to the city skyline – with skyscrapers, the Empire State building, the eternal buzz of taxi cab horns, and sailboats and cruiseliners trafficking across the Hudson River. City parks line the road with picturesque benches and green grass scattered along the way for picnics, reading, and dog walking (but remember, NO dogs allowed on the grass!) Oh yes, and this is about ½ down the road from our new apartment.

House Hunters: Hoboken, NJ (for all you HGTV fans out there – here’s a special shout out to Mama and Hannah!:) Today we shopped for apartments. I seriously felt like we were on house hunters, minus the camera crews of course. After a whole day of searching, Laura and I signed the first of our papers for our amazing and perfect apartment in Hoboken, NJ:) There is a story here, of course but it will have to come later because I’m out of time. A few thoughts for me to remember the story…Dino (not the dinosaur), a Greek restaurant owner, a Jersey real estate broker named Cosmo, hours of walking, Bruce Willis, and Felix the retired Hoboken fire marshall. That’ll do for now…more later:)!

Monday, July 26, 2010

From sunsets to sunrises...

As I said goodbye to the northwest corner of the United States, I turned my heart, my mind and Bobo (my GPS man) toward the northeastern corner. I said goodbye to the mountains, the Puget Sound, misty summer days, the Space Needle and the greenest people I've ever met and said hello to taxi cabs, the Hudson River, the Empire State Building and those people of our country affectionately known as those "Damn Yankees" :)

I traveled through 15 states for a total of 66 hours in the car. There were moments of absolutely breathtaking beauty in Montana, with rolling green hills, horses and wooden fences nestled against the panorama backdrop of snow-capped, rugged mountains all resting beneath that "Big Montana Sky". And there were moments in which I wondered if I were the last person alive on this earth as I wound through the crazy twists of Wyoming's deserted back mountain roads. (Don't worry, I found all of Wyoming's population: they are all huddled together in Laramie and Cheyenne)

A few travel tips:

1) always carry cash for annoying and unexpected tolls:)
2) try to read ahead in your GPS directions just a bit to see where you will turn after exiting the tunnel in which you will most definitely lose satellite reception 3) careful not to hit construction workers in the northeast, it is apparently a "$10,000 fine and 14 years in jail" (wow)

After an amazing vacation with my family and friends along the way, my cross country trek came to an end in Manhattan, NY on Friday (July 23rd). After less than 1 hour in the city, my mind was reeling and my heart was racing. I was literally on sensory overload and thankfully finding it pretty near hilarious.

Once upon a time I used to freak out a little bit in Amarillo, Texas traffic..I drove into downtown Manahattan traffic on a Friday you have an image of my face at that moment??

I found myself in my little Honda civic from rural New Mexico in a sea of yellow taxi cabs, surrounded by a world seemingly void of all common traffic laws. I was suddenly in EVERYONE'S way! I quickly learned to drown out the endless bursts of car horns to avoid nervous breakdown and somehow inched my way to our hotel down the street from Madison Square Garden. Quickly discovered there is no parking, anywhere. Asked the first person I found where to park, after advising me on where to go he smirked a bit and replied "Good luck" (the 1st of a large handful of people of the weekend to respond with that exact facial expression and skeptical encouragement:)

Parked in a parking lot where the cars are stacked on top of each other like Tonka toy trucks. Met Pierre, the parking man from Haiti, who speaks French, Creole, English and Spanish. Gained insight into how uneducated we are in America. Walked down the street several blocks to our hotel, just in time to avoid the urban thunderstorm that was just rolling in. Strange sight to see lightening flashing in a sky you can't even see. Struggled to teach my dogs how to survive and go out in a place empty of even a shard of grass. Almost stepped on a homeless man lying in the street because I wasn't watching where I was going. Stared up into the lights of Times Square like a true tourist (minus the fanny pack). Ate a NY hot dog from a NY hot dog stand, bought an I LOVE NY t-shirt, took pictures in that t-shirt, had a caricature drawn (purposefully working our way down the cheesiest tourist activity list possible).Decided that I will beat them to the smile, smile regardless and laugh when the smile is not returned. Ventured into Hoboken, NJ and fell in love with the city across the bay.

Learning more about this life every day.

For now...God bless and cheers to all that is to come in experience, knowledge and strength :)