Spring Break in the City Continued…

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The rain has let up and the the universe has promised New York City two days sans precipitation. I like to imagine that the local meteorologist struck some kind of deal with the weather gods. The only compromise made was that the days would be overcast and cloudy. I’ll take it. 

In celebration I took to Riverside Park this afternoon. The park overlooks the Hudson River and a strip of blurred buildings that I have been told represent New Jersey (I hear strange stories of people who actually commute from this far off land).*

The park is also more famously known for its appearance in Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks’ long awaited kiss. Side note – there should be a statue erected in their honor considering the fact their characters singlehandedly proved that online dating in the city does not always end in a strange bar in Hell’s Kitchen. I digress.

The point is that as I walked through the park I noted a number of welcomed similarities to my Southern home:

  1. The waterside – Walking through Riverside is much like walking along the beaches of South Carolina. The dark, slow moving currents draw you into a trance and make you forget how far you have walked. Before you know it you’re a mile away from where you started.
  2. The canopy of trees – Riverside is one of the few places you can go (other than Central Park) if you want to see trees. They arc together framing the gravel sidewalk. This reminds me a little of the willow lined streets of Charleston.
  3. The slow moving families – Stepping into the park is like stepping back into the South. The pace is slow and the atmosphere full of diverse families. Children gather to watch the dogs run freely off their leash.

Feeling homesick yet? I encourage you to take a walk in Riverside. Also, tell me your favorite places to stroll and reflect. Comment below, lovelies!

*Disclaimer – Any signs of sarcasm found in this post can be attributed to the embarrassing number of Gilmore Girls episodes I have watched thus far on my break. 

Long Live the Local Bookshop

One of my favorite things to do since moving to the city is checking out various independent bookstores (I studied English Literature and Creative Writing so give me a pass for my sudden nerdiness). While some people eat local, choosing to support restaurants that source all of their food and ingredients locally, I choose to read local, bypassing the major bookstore chains.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Barnes & Noble and will forever be a discount card holder, but I also see the importance in supporting local stores with the same valiant goal of sharing great literature and encouraging reading in various communities. To say I’m slightly obsessed with Meg Ryan and “You’ve Got Mail,” would be an understatement.  

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Some of my favorite local NYC bookstores are listed below along with their accompanying bookshop vibes.

Westsider Rare & Used Books Inc. (Upper West Side) – The store is a true gem for serious book lovers. Although tiny, one could spend hours searching through the sky high shelves. This is the type of store where you make friends with the fellow book lover standing to your left. He gives you 10 book suggestions and you leave smiling with a copy of Middlemarch, a novel you never intended to buy.

Book Culture (Upper West Side) – Book Culture has three locations on the UWS. My favorite is the 112th Street location on the outskirts of Columbia. With two floors, readers can find anything ranging from their favorite literary magazine to a trendy backpack. The location offers academic books as well, a convenience for students.

BookCourt (Cobble Hill, Brooklyn) – Go to BookCourt for the diverse array of offerings and the great number of readings. I discovered my favorite memoir while at a reading two years ago (My Salinger Year, Joanna Rakoff)

Greenlight Bookstore (Fort Green, Brooklyn) – Greenlight is everything you imagined in your quaint neighborhood bookstore. Go for the friendly atmosphere and diverse selection. The store also hosts a number of readings and events with popular authors. Most recently, Helen Oyeyemi, the author of What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours.

 

Do you have a favorite bookstore in the city or reading suggestions? Comment below and send them my way!

Spring Break in the City

There is nothing quite like spring in New York. No, I’m serious, there is nothing like it. The weather fluctuates from 70 degrees and sunny, to 45 and rainy in a matter of 24 hours. It is currently March and I don’t know what confuses me more – the lack of ability to pick out an appropriate outfit or the stubborn claims by New York natives that the season has changed. I watched in shock and awe as a girl walked past me in flip flops and a tank top last week.

I don’t know about you, but the Southerner in me refuses to put away her woollen coat until the temperature remains at a balmy 70 degrees for at least a week.

As I mentioned before, I am a graduate student. And with graduate school comes perks such as spring break. I get to pretend like I’m still in college and yell obnoxious things like, “Spring Break 2K16! while the rest of my friends sit at work behind immobile desks and subdued cubicles.

Earlier in the year I decided that I would stay put in the city because what could possibly be better than traipsing around the city without responsibility in the spring? I was wrong. Not about the benefits of staying in the city for the break, but about the idea that I would be frolicing down the streets of New York… dare I say in a sundress (please refer to the weather report below).

Weather

It is currently pouring outside and I just finished a shift at my part-time job. Getting pretty wild! 😉

Check out my alternative spring break playlist and stay tuned for more of my “Spring Break in the City” updates this week!

 

Southern Slang And Other Misleading Pleasantries

Buzzfeed published a wonderful post titled “17 Phrases Only Southerners Truly Understand.” Loved it. It made me realize how often we Southerners say one thing and mean another. Watch out New York friends! 😉

In the spirit of my upcoming podcast all about Southern slang, check out some of my favorites from the Buzzfeed article below. Stay tuned for the next episode.

1. “Bless Your Heart.”

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via Buzzfeed 

2. “That’s An Interesting Point.”

via Buzzfeed
via Buzzfeed

3. “Well Isn’t That Special!”

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via Buzzfeed

Nene said it best…

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via Buzzfeed

 

 

She’s Not From Around Here

Oops! Your Southern is showing.

I recently had a job interview that began with an unlikely question – “Is that a drawl I hear?” I chuckled in response. Not because it was a funny question, but because like a child playing hide and seek I had been found. Discovered in all my Southern glory. At home in North Carolina it is rare that anyone mentions that I have an accent. – In fact, most Southerners comment upon my lack there of. I tend to over annunciate my words, preferring “ele-men-tary,” to the usual “ella-men-tree” as often said in my native region of the United States.

This encounter led me to think about all the other times since moving to the city that my Southerness has been caught showing – whether that be yelping “y’all” or donning my pearls.

I met up with a contact last week in effort to spread my social roots through the city and was surprised how quickly my lunch acquaintance was able to read me. A fellow North Carolinian herself, she has been living in the city long enough to conceal her soft Southern interior until the most appropriate of moments.

As we sat over Sourdough bread and decorative salads I chatted anxiously about my background and arrival in New York.

“You have a certain Southern politeness,” she said. “There is a very ladylike quality about you.”

I smiled sheepishly. Oops, my Southern was showing! It is not that this was an insult or a compliment. It was merely an observation. But any Southern transplant in the city knows that Carolina graces can at times be a disadvantage in the city. The humble pleasantries can sometimes be interpreted as a reason to be ignored, walked over, or even to be passed over for a job.

In a place where people are often competitive and sing their praises at the top of their lungs, those who are meek do not get heard. I personally have been working on ways to speak up for myself while also remaining true to my learned behaviors.

This is not in the least bit my way of labeling Southern charms as bad, but rather myself noting that New York calls for a certain air of boldness in its residents. Whether that boldness be balancing on the subway without holding onto the rail or calling out your cab driver when he tries something funny with your fare, there is a daily opportunity to learn how to be a little more self-assured.

I still yell “Oh my goodness!” and use the word “lovely” in ironic situations – this is something I will never give up – but I am proud to be learning a few New York mannerisms as well.