South Street Seaport Smorgasburg

whoa, talk about alliteration. say that title three times fast!

because it’s just oh-so-hip, Brooklyn has been hosting this fun outdoor food flea market extravaganza called  Smorgasburg since May 2011. it’s essentially a weekend food fair by the water, where hundreds of food vendors put up stands & trucks and people flock in droves to chill outside and enjoy drinks & yummy bites. i went a couple of summers ago, and it was pretty darn sweet (and had a lot of hipsters, especially working the stands).

well, Manhattan decided it needed to get in on this summer trend, so the South Street Seaport (which is already a rad place to hang) obviously boasts the perfect location to house a Smorgasburg spin-off. this one is open 7-days a week from May through October (tourists & locals alike love the Seaport!), and my friend and i jaunted down to check it out on a whim last Saturday afternoon.

seaport smorgasburgit’s much smaller than the one in Williamsburg, with only 8 vendors and 2 bars, but it’s really cool and definitely worth checking out! the Seaport has such a classic charm, with its cobbled walkways and old buildings, and the food booths are pretty sweet…not to mention the outdoor bar is ideally placed right where you walk in, and the open-aired space and picnic tables create a communal atmosphere that screams loving-my-life-outdoors-right-now.

we sure thought so, at least.

me

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we didn’t try any of the food, but their signature wheat beer was really light and tasty (and you know i’m not a big beer gal). it really was the perfect spot to relax and soak up some sun on a lazy Saturday afternoon. the whole scene screamed “chill” — and i am allll about the chill.

definitely recommend checking this place out if you’re in NYC, and i plan to return…and taste some of the snacks this time!

Any cool outdoor markets by you?
Been to the Seaport? Wanna come with me?

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Friday Five {places}

instead of five random things i am loving this Friday, i’m going to make this week the Friday Five in places — five spots i’ve been to around NYC in the past week.

1. Om Factory. in case you missed my first NYC yoga experience, you can read more about it here. i started off the week on a high note by attending a Foundations yoga class with one of my besties at Om Factory’s midtown location. even after just one experience there, i would recommend this studio: the staff was friendly, the space was really cool and clean and inviting, and they offer a wide variety of classes. i plan to go again this coming Monday…and once i start getting a little more comfortable with this whole yoga business, i def would like to try acro and aerial yoga classes.

Om-Factorylooks pretty darn awesome.

2. Biergarten at the Standard. located at the bottom of the see-and-be-seen Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking district, this trendy biergarten is a fun, loud, laid-back after-work spot that attracts a super diverse crowd: you’ll share a picnic table with suits guys and groups of girls in flip flops and tanks and people coming right from the gym or yoga all at the same time. it’s always a fun spot (especially if you get there early enough to grab a table), almost always crowded, and makes for some great people watching. they practice segregation, too: there are two bars, one solely serving beer and another for the non-beer drinkers,  serving just wine and hard alcohol.

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it’s a fun place to go with groups, which is what we did last night for one of my close friend’s “leaving our workplace” drinks (so sad!). you can play ping pong, or try to name all the flags of the world, or try to convince the bouncer you’re not Zooey Deschanel. the possibilities are endless.

brgtrnhave i mentioned how wonderful and lovely my girlfriends are? yeah, i think i have.

3. Ambrose Hall and Beer Garden at the South Street Seaport. one of my fave things about NYC is that you can walk down a street you’ve been down countless times before, and suddenly you discover something entirely new. (and a line from a Beauty and the Beast song just immediately popped into my head: “there may be something there that wasn’t there before”…brrrppp Disney fan). walking around the South Street Seaport downtown yesterday, which is such a charming, quaint part of Manhattan, we stumbled upon a brand-new outdoor bar over looking an open square of picnic tables where they were setting up for a concert.

not much of a beer girl at all, but every now and then in the middle of sunshine, it seems right

not much of a beer girl at all, but every now and then in the middle of sunshine, it seems right

directly across the street is Ambrose Hall, the affiliated restaurant. it’s a fun addition to the Seaport, and i see many after-works potentially happening her. this is one perk of working downtown — i love being near the Seaport and definitely need to take advantage of it more often.

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4. Amélie
a girlfriend and i got all European last Friday after work and hit both a French and an Italian wine bar on the same evening. this was my first time at Amélie, a modern French wine bar & bistro in Greenwich Village. it proved to be a bright, lively little spot with a nice wine assortment, good happy hour prices, and a staff who all speak French. can’t hate any of that.

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it strikes me as more of a hang-out-with-the-girls-after-work place than a good date spot, as it’s not the coziest or quaintest of places, but it’s got a fun little charm of its own and the bartenders were really friendly. i think my favorite part was that little wooden sliding ladder behind the bar and all the wines displayed.

photo from yelp.com

photo from yelp.com

5. Virgola. i definitely have saved the best for last, purposefully. this little gem of a “blink-and-y0u’ll-definitely-miss it” wine and oyster bar was one of the best surprises i’ve stumbled upon in my city as of late — or possibly, as of ever. after leaving Amelie and putting our names in for dinner at Rosemary’s next door, we decided to walk down the street — and my friend saw a cast iron gate that reminded us of Paris, so we had to stop and see what that was all about.

phototurned out to be suchhhhh the right decision. this place was unlike any restaurant i’ve ever experienced, and we quickly knew we would be foregoing Rosemary’s that night.

first of all, it wasn’t an actual “restaurant space” — it was a former 6-foot wide alleyway, which owner Joseph Marazzo bought and creatively turned into an intimate little restaurant with only a few tables and a wonderfully dark, cozy appeal. the painted black walls, the assortment of locks, the attentiveness of the waiters, and the quality of the wine and seafood all combine to make Virgola a truly darling and unique experience.we couldn’t stop proclaiming how happy we were to have found this spot! it was the perfect little place for a girls’ date on a Friday night.

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meaning “comma,” or a “pause,” Virgola certainly offers a welcome place of rest in the middle of a hectic city. i definitely need resting spots like this more often in my life.

and now, after a very fun but extremely busy week of traipsing around the city every night, i’m more than ready for a relaxing weekend upstate at the lake. hope you’ve all had a great week!

Questions:
Preference: beer garden/noisy fun hall or a little wine bar? wine bar for me, unless with a big rowdy group!
Favorite type of wine? i love me a good dry rosé champage.

 

WILW {6.4.14}

it’s been a minute since i’ve done a “what i love Wednesday” post, and i can’t lie — i’ve had better Wednesdays in my life, and got some upsetting news this morning that makes work a little bit of a meh place to be today. nevertheless, there are always things to brighten life up a bit regardless of the storms, so i’m trying to focus on those, and i’ve had some smile-worthy things happening in my week already.

*a gorgeous morning sky on yesterday’s run along the West side/Hudson River

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*one of the best Bloody Marys i’ve ever had, at Cowgirl Seahorse at the South Street Seaport

Photoeverything is better in Mason jars.

*time in my life to read for fun again now that the semester is over. i’ve read two books in the past two weeks: The Book Thief and The Fault in Our Stars. i really enjoyed both…

and i have a feeling this line from The Fault in Our Stars will be staying with me for, like, ever:

bottled_wishes_by_cute_and_bright-d4dxtag
i love when a line you read once in a book or hear once in a song just lodges itself underneath your skin and imprints into your mind like stark black type on a white page, and you feel like you’ve discovered fire for the very first time. and i’m thankful the world isn’t my personal wish-granting factory — it makes dreams, and prayer, and working hard toward something you really want all the more precious.

*trying a new church. i alluded to this briefly in a previous post, but on Sunday night i visited Liberty Church in Union Square for the first time. i always enjoy trying a new church, as there are so many different worship styles and preacher personalities. i’d been attending Hillsong for a while on and off, and i still really enjoy it — it’s just huuuuge, and a completely different experience from the smaller, more intimate services like Liberty’s.

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i thought Liberty exuded a great vibe: casual, comfortable, friendly, personable, and small enough where it seemed like everyone was just hanging out with their friends at a worship service. the worship team was awesome, and i really liked the young pastor’s message as well. i’d totally return to this church and left with a very positive impression and a happy heart. it’s been a while since i’ve felt truly connected to a church community, unfortunately, and i’m hoping to change that here in NYC very soon.

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*simplicity. i’ve been thinking about this lately, and what it would look like to really just focus on the most important things in life and try to push the proverbial “fluff” to the periphery. on nights when i’ve chosen to stay in bed reading rather than go out on the town, i’ve found myself reflecting on what is really important, and what it looks like to lead a simpler life and be more content with less.

to do what i most want to do with my time. to love the people i love as best as i can, no matter where they live or how often i see them. to say even a few words that contain entire worlds within them. to step out in faith, in courage, when my little heart beats wildly inside me from the sheer uncertainty of what might happen.

to make do with less, and free my heart up for more of what i can only dream might be possible.

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xoxo

What are you loving about your life lately?

 

NYC Half Marathon 2014

what.a.spectacular.race.

last year, i got chosen through the lottery to run the NYC Half 2013, and i chose to go to Colorado to visit my brother and snowboard with one of my best friends instead. this year, i was fortunate enough to again get in through the lottery — so this morning, i ran the NYC Half 2014. and i loved every single second of this race.

pre-race excited face!

pre-race excited face!

this race included quite a few “firsts” for me:

*first Manhattan race. yes, after living here for 3.5 years, i’ve run halves in Brooklyn, Queens, and even New Jersey, but never in Manhattan. March 16, 2014: checked that off with flying colors.

*first cold-weather race. yesterday, it was 55 degrees. today, it was 30. i’ve never run a half marathon in under 50 degree weather before, and the first mile was definitely spent jogging out those tingly sensations from spending a cold 45 minutes filtering into Central Park and hanging out in the corrals with the thousands of other runners. i had three top layers, a headband and gloves on, and i didn’t even consider taking any of it off. it wasn’t freezing, but when the wind whipped, it was certainly on the brisk side. i think i’ve determined that 60s-70s are my ideal running weather.

*first race run entirely solo. although i’ve run most of my races alone, technically, i’ve always known other people at the race or showed up with friends. i attended this one entirely on my own and actually didn’t speak a single word to anyone until i ran into my brother and friends who were cheering me on at mile 7. almost 30,000 people, and this was a completely solo endeavor for me. and you know what? i rather loved it. it’s nice to have something that i am passionate about entirely for me, simply because i love it so much and will continue to do it if i never see a familiar face again. i really, really love this.

*first pain-free race. (woot!) hallelujah! something to be said for not over-training! no IT problems, no calf problems, no problems. i felt great throughout this entire race and actually ended it with lots of energy left over, sprinting through the finish line. there was only one teensy injury, which i didn’t realize happened until after:

raspberry.

raspberry.

pretty gross, right? you’re welcome for that visual. hey, nobody ever said runners had cute toes, especially riiiiight after a long race. and that’s a pretttty impressive purple blister, if i do say so myself. pedicures, anyone?

this was a truly awesome race, and made me feel so blessed and thrilled to be a New Yorker. the course included some epic, iconic elements: it started in Central Park (holy hills) and then shot us out onto 7th Ave, which was shut down for us runners. that was the most amazing moment for me: running out of the Park and seeing Times Square entirely car-free, only runners littering the streets, packed with people cheering us on from the sidewalks.  we turned onto 42nd St and shot over to the West Side Highway, which was also closed down for us, and ran that all the way down to Battery Park, through the tunnel, and up and around to the South Street Seaport. and i had a perma-grin the entire time we ran through Times Square, elated to be a part of such a monumental day in NYC, running down through the heart of the city as though it was something out of a movie. such an indescribable, once-in-a-lifetime moment.

photo: Wikipedia

photo: Wikipedia

one of the best parts of the race for me, besides the fact that i felt strong and elated and healthy and amazing throughout the entire thing, was that my brother and some great friends were here to support me and cheer me on. i first saw them around mile 7, on 42nd St. and 8th Ave, holding homemade signs and screaming. i felt so, so grateful and blessed to have such encouraging and wonderful people there for me. it was totally worth taking 30 seconds off my time to stop, hug, and photo opp:

meryanpretty sure this is the most we have everrrr looked alike in a picture!

the race seriously flew by for me, and felt like the quickest half i’ve ever run. before i knew it, i was rounding the end of Manhattan, passing the South Street Seaport, and sprinting across the finish line toward my medal. and my brother, and another amazing friend who woke up mega early to support me, and a Starbucks.

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mefrankie
this was the 7th half i’ve done in the past 2.5 years, and definitely the best i’ve ever felt in a race. in terms of time, it was my second best, which totally thrills me considering i really didn’t do many long runs to train for it, i’ve been sick for the past 3 weeks so had to take all running easy, and i haven’t been running outside in the cold much at all. maybe i should just start training less from now on. 🙂

final time: 1:54:44. i’ll certainly take that.

so this was a truly epic day for me, and makes me so thankful to be healthy and to be able to live out my passion for running. first NYC race: huge, huge success.

hope you had great weekends, loves! xo

WILW (10/9): Outdoors in NYC Style

There’s an awful lot of running and workout talk going on in this blog, which is to be expected and will obviously continue to be a major topic. However, I was thinking this morning that I want to start writing more fun stuff about the city and my life outside of running, so what better way to use my What I Love Wednesday posts than to talk more about the fabulousness that is NYC?

nySince most of us NYers lead pretty busy lives, cramming our outside-of-work time with hobbies, leisure activities, social lives, classes and running (duh), combined with the fact that most of us live in small-ish spaces, we spend a lot of time out of the apartments. For me, this means spending as much time as possible outdoors, especially in the non-freezing weather — and since that will be quickly approaching, I figured this post needs to sneak on in before we all start to hibernate.

These are some of my fave places to be outdoors in NYC:

1. Riverside Park. I speckle this blog with pix of this lovely stretch along the Hudson River on the West side of Manhattan frequently, as I always run this route and so enjoy everything about it (minus the whole crazy-person-with-scissors thing that went down 2 weeks ago…yikes). Here’s a shot of this morning’s gorgeous sky from my river run around 6:45am, chilly and quite lovely for an early run (but would have been mega better if my legs weren’t sooooo darn sore).

At least if the run has to be painful, it might as well include something pretty. Thanks, God.

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2. The Highline. An elevated park built on a historic train rail (how cool, right?) stretching from Gansevoort St. in the Meatpacking District to the 30th St. in Chelsea, The Highline is pretty fantastic. It’s a phenomenal work of natural architecture that showcases eclectic art exhibits (often multi-media), has a cool running water section by which people love to lounge on the sliding wooden chaise-like structures, and boasts some beautifully well-kept landscaping and plant life.

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I love to take visitors here or just stroll with friends. It offers you a sensation of being elevated up and out of the city, becoming a sort of passive spectator-participant to this vibrant, throbbing place from your perch above. It offers a sense of necessary detachment from the concrete and a limited return to nature, all the while blending the two worlds and suspending you between them. Oh, and you get a sweet view of one of my fave pieces of NYC graffiti:

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Yeah, so…I totally dig this spot. If you visit NYC, be sure to check it out.

3.  Rooftops decks. These are totally clutch here. While rooftop bars are definitely all the rage in the nice weather (and charge you more money for a drink than seems legal), it’s even nicer to have friends with roof decks on their buildings. Especially ones with grills. When you can be there at sunset. With a wine glass in your hand. No lines, no dress codes, no $20 drinks. Some people choose their friends based on similar interests, or how much fun they have together, or things like loyalty and kindness and all that jazz…we go right for the outdoor spaces here — cuz ya never know when the claustrophobia might set in. Good to be prepared. 🙂

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4.  The South Street Seaport. What used to be NYC’s wholesale fish market “back in the day” is now a charming spot all the way downtown that attracts locals and tourists alike (and I’ve heard is one of the top touristy spots on the East Coast? Let’s go with that.). Whether you want to shop, dine, drink, or take in some magnificent views of the Brooklyn Bridge and skyline (note: go at sunset or dusk), this spot has a lovely throw-back sort of vibe. I’m a bit boat/water person, and I love the big ships with the massive sails. Although it was all but destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, the revitalization efforts have been astounding, and this place is definitely worth visiting.

frametastic
5. Central Park. Seriously — it’s a must see/must spend time in, whether you’re visiting for a day or have lived here all your life. You really can’t overestimate this place, and I’ve never regretted a single moment I’ve spent here: whether it be running the loops or the reservoir, picnicking on a lazy afternoon with friends, going to concerts or Shakespeare in the Park, or just strolling around and exploring all of the nooks and attractions. It really is a spectacular place…I mean, where else can you visit castles and take gondola rides and go for a run and see a wedding and throw a frisbee and take a carriage ride and swing by the John Lennon Imagine memorial all in the same afternoon?

Exactly. It’s famous for a reason: because it’s one-of-a-kind wonderful.

centralpark