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cruel (not)summer

Yes, this is how I feel on this very day, the first real day of quite possibly my favorite season in New York. No, I cannot be out and about in my plaid skirt and boots and tights and leather jacket, frolicking in the crisp breezes. Why? Because I have caught my first cold since the Debilitating Awful Weekend Trip To Russia Where Wow It Is Really Freezing Here Induced Cold Of October 2008.

So instead, it’s orange juice, soup, and Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke. Reality Bites is always the best cure.


heeeeeeeeeeere’s johnny!


Yes indeed, this is the “DOH!” face I make after realizing I haven’t blogged in what seems like eons (but is, in fact, something like three months).

I’ve been back in New York for a good three weeks now, busy with starting up school, already neglecting my reading, holding down a legit internship, and trying to enjoy the last shreds of sunshine that the summer hath bequeathed me. I still haven’t moved all of my boxes out of my storage unit, that’s how busy I’ve been. Also, we’re having a bit of an Internet crisis in my room, which means that we’ve become a tag team of Wireless Pirates who are very adept at stealing your internetz (thank you, linksys, for always being there when I need you), but that also means that there are many times when we’re without the joys of the World Wide Web.

I should be back in full blogging swing by next week, which is EXCITING as I’ve got a great slew of posts planned. So stay tuned, and I shall not let you down when you’re in need of a fawning ode to Ernest Hemingway’s drinks of choice, diatribes on Chuck Bass’ sartorial choices, and random YouTube links to peruse instead of actually being productive.

lipstick, strong perfume, and bonbons: an ode to femininity?

On the lovely holiday that celebrates all things green, tequila’d, and either frozen/on the rocks (dependent upon personal preference, I go for on the rocks), the unbearably elegant new Chanel No. 5 advertisement was released, starring an especially dewy, luminous looking Audrey Tautou and stunning (aren’t they always) male model Travis Davenport.

Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who directed Tautou in (surprise) Amelie, the roughly 2 minute, 22 second clip features Tautou riding an opulent Orient Express, only to wash up in Istanbul with a Billie Holiday soundtrack, a gorgeous black jumpsuit that I wish I had the body to pull off, and the same mysterious man.

Commercials like this make me want to dive into a pool of womanly delights (and invest in some serious couture).  However, the moment I’m about to spray myself with copious amounts of flowery, musky fragrance, I find myself cringing. I put down the perfume bottle and, instead, find a way to make myself more “like the guys.” Why am I so afraid to let my inner girl show?

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Pete Hamill

I recently read Pete Hamill’s “Downtown: My Manhattan,” his love letter to his Ozian land that extends from Battery Park City to Times Square, and attempted to exercise my criticism skills my writing out a brief review. I’ll spare you the entire piece and excerpt here the paragraph that hits exactly how I felt about the book right on the nose:

He often re-iterates that New York City is a city full of folks with a pre-eminent sense of “nostalgia.” Hamill, as the consummate New Yorker, especially suffers from this. While its easy for the reader to see and appreciate his deep knowledge of and love for the past through his painstaking use of detail, Hamill risks becoming one of those old curmudgeons who bemoans the current Disney-fication of New York and longs constantly for the “good old days.” This is especially apparent in his chapter on the already over-chronicled heyday of the cappuccino-sipping Greenwich Village “bohemians” (a term so overused that it’s now virtually meaningless). The historical passages in the book are fascinating in the first few chapters, but grow tiring and more confusing as the work goes on. Hamill, who clearly knows his stuff, simply tries to pack too much into 281 pages.

So I was a little tough on him. Mostly I was just annoyed with his pervading sense of “life was so much better back then” nostalgia. However, after the man himself visited my reporting class today, I’ve found that I relate to Hamill and his way of seeing the world much more than I initially thought.
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227 Bowery

Kiki Adebola has everything that comprises the classical American dream, except “a dog named Bingo and a cat named Fluffy.”

But that wasn’t always the case. Back in his native Nigeria, he would hustle American G.I.’s and show them “where to get the weed and get the girls.” “These G.I.’s, you know, they got style to them. And the ones from New York–they were slick,” he said. He made it his personal goal to get to the US. He did so in the mid-1980s, landing in New York to begin his own personal search for that elusively alluring “American Dream.”

He started taking college classes in Brooklyn, but things soon devolved as he became a recreational drug user. Drugs and the entire New York clubbing scene was engrossing, new, and exciting to him. As he became more and more a slave to the chemicals, he ended up homeless, spending between 7 and 8 years on the street. However, having overstayed his visa, he couldn’t get the services he needed to help him quit without risking deportation.

Kiki’s lowest moment occured while he was committing petty thievery up on Madison Avenue. He robbedg a group of French tourists, smacking one of his victims with the base of his gun in the process. The blood curdling scream was unforgettable.

Change came on January 23, 1993, when James Macklin of the Bowery Mission offered Kiki the help he needed despite his precarious situation via the Mission’s Discipleship Institute, a six-month residential recovery program.

Now, 16 years later, the student has become the teacher. Kiki now leads the Discipleship program in the facility that helped him get clean. His height, shining shaven head, and bulky build belie a generous sense of humor and an easygoing manner that brings to mind cliched images of a relaxed Bob Marley (hey, it’s cliched but true!).

He’s the only former junkie I’ve ever met who is able to toss a few jokes about how he used to be. But he also illustrates the loyalty I found among the graduates of the Bowery Mission programs. The Mission’s halls are filled with former residents working, cleaning, cooking food, teaching. Once you go through the Mission, you are forever tied to this one way of life and this one building–227 Bowery.

stay tuned…

Disclaimer: this is a work in progress.

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