Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ShanAlly Chronicles 2.0

First the bad news: I have contracted something between ManCold 2011 and Sinusitis Greenus Snottus. This means less productivity, more Grey's Anatomy.

The good news: It also means a little couch time for me to post Part 2 of the ShanAlly Chronicles. It's a little long because I'm wrapping up the rest of the trip today, complete with insights and photos...but it will probably be my last post until Friday. So...there's that...

What I learned...And check out Shana's post for her perspective on part 2!

1. As stated by Shana, not all art is meant to be understood. Or even liked. Plus, teddy bears are cute...until they are 4 stories tall with button eyes the size of a car. Then they are just creepy.

2. You can find God in a place like St. Patrick's Cathedral. You can also get yelled at for trying to take photos in a restricted area. Make your sign bigger, St. Patrick's. That's all I'm sayin'.

3. You should let Johnny and Jenny play with Legos for as long as they want. They may grow up and create a giant Legos sign made entirely of little Lego men, which will be displayed for the world to see in Rockefeller Center. Or they could choke on one and die. But you have a 50/50 shot. I like those odds. 

4. A little gold goes a looooonnnng way. But you can never have too many American flags. 

5. Wearing a headband comprised of dualing light-up penises either speaks to your age or your maturity level. Even if you are a bachelorette. Even if you are in the middle of a drag show. 
6. Some men hide their candy better than others.  

7. Some men just need the excuse of a drag show to let their freak flag fly (this is just a nod to the car commercial they play ad nauseum on Hulu and not a judgment in any way).

 Lucky Cheng's...where audience participation is not just encouraged, it's mandatory. It's also how you find out that a group of friends are there to have one last night out before their friend is deported back to Norway. 

8. Coffee always tastes better when served with a verb-embroidered napkin and a serving of custard-like french toast. 

 E.A.T. - one of Eli Zabar's cafes in Manhattan. Bread that will make you buy bigger pants and blame it on the birth control.

9. Alexander McQueen was a misunderstood genius who took his leave way too soon. 
 Savage Beauty, the Alexander McQueen exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is WORTH the trip. It was well designed and offers a glimpse into a dark and brilliant mind.

His philosophies mean a lot to me as a jewelry designer of custom and unique pieces. Quotes like:

  • "I believe in that one-on-one sell. I don't really believe in flooding the market with loads of goods that don't mean much, and (you) lose your identity." 
  • "Clothes and jewelry should be startling, individual. When you see a woman in my clothes, you want to know more about them. To me, that is what distinguishes good designers from bad designers." 
  • "You've got to know the rules to break them. That's what I'm here for, to demolish the rules but keep the tradition." 
I relate specifically to this last one because it is true for everything, but especially in design. If you don't know the rules, you can still break them, but it just becomes a trainwreck instead of art. 
 Titanic Ballerina by Alexander McQueen via Google Images

10. Speaking of ballerinas...they wink for spare change in Central Park.

11. And ducks will catch a ride on the first thing floating by...

12. And flowers do grow in the city park...

13. I hear night-boating is becoming prevalent in New York...
 Double-decker brownie points if you can name that movie...which, apparently even Mama Virgo has seen. I must stop watching so much History Channel.

14. For me, Central Park is an exotic and famous greenspace and the back drop of so many fantastic movie scenes. For New Yorkers, it's a place to snap a couple of wedding pictures...

pop a squat after graduation...

or shoot a commercial (where you can walk right through the set...as long as you keep moving). 

15. NY cabbies have wised up. The only mode of transportation that is nearly as cost effective as a rickshaw? A Prius. 
We did meet our fair share of not-so-smart cabbies. We had to get out of one cab because the driver didn't know how to get to City Hall. Not some random club in the basement of a dentist's office....CITY HALL. Seriously?? And even though they have credit card machines in the cabs now, they do not have GPS for the drivers. I bet Garmin would be willing to strike a deal. Just sayin'.

16. Oprah is right. Being fitted for the right bra and then investing a little money in your bras will build your confidence, from the cleavage, out. Also, after approximately 20 years, I finally know the correct way to wear a bra. And to think, I've been unknowingly hanging out of them for all these years. 
 Many thanks to Linda and her ladies at Linda's on Lex. And they are hiring. But not men, as we found out when one tried to apply as we were finishing the fitting. Because, really men, unless you moonlight at Lucky Cheng's, what do you know about over the shoulder boulder holders?

17. When in New York, you must eat 3 things: cannoli (because if your first one is bad, you'll never eat another. If your first one is amazing, you'll know a bad one before it ever hits your lips), pizza (something about New York's water and the dough), and dim sum (which is a must if you have ever seen Sleepless in Seattle. I apologize if you now have Bill Pullman Walter's dim sum jingle stuck in your head). We managed to hit all 3. 

18. New Yorkers do not say y'all, they are not mild-mannered, and they are not soft-spoken. They do sprinkle curse words through nearly every sentence, they speak with passion and enthusiasm, and they are boisterous. It is difficult to leave the city without using your hands to speak, talking 20 mph, and cursing. Especially when you have lunched on Staten Island...where J attempted to prove that it is possible to fit a round man through a square hole. 

19. Champagne Friday is forever ruined now that I have celebrated it at The Plaza....where we were upstaged by the table next to us - 3 generations of women donning their fascinators and gloves. But we had pink champagne, so we win. 

20. I learned several other tidbits along the way, as well....

  • There is no need to arrive at the Long Island airport 2 hours early. You'll just be sitting for 1 1/2 hours. 
  • Just because a movie wins an Oscar, does not make it worthy of your time *ahem, looking at YOU, Black Swan*. 
  • If you have the opportunity to visit either the Harry Potter exhibit or the Pompeii exhibit, take it! Just make sure you've seen the Harry Potter movies first (or run the risk of annoying the crap out of your hostess with an endless array of questions). Also, know that the Pompeii exhibit features the shells of decayed residents of Pompeii...preserved by the layers of ash that fell when the volcano blew. It's haunting but worth it. 
  • New Yorkers are mad for their diners. In Kentucky, we eat at diners when nothing else is open. In New York, it is sometimes their first choice. And they do serve a helluva cobb salad.
  • If a cab driver's credit card machine is not working, you do not have to pay the fare. Wait, is there more to this? Shana?? 
  • All of the stuff Shana puts up about J? It is all true. He really is like that. And I have never met 2 people who are more perfectly matched. Because anyone else would be tempted, at times, to serve him a knuckle sandwich.
  • When Neal and I went to NYC, he asked me at the end of the trip, "so how did you like the city?" I said, "meh. It's OK. I like Chicago better." But that's because I had been to Chicago a bajillion times and had moved past the touristy stuff and into the heart of what makes it Chicago. Shana took me to New York's heart and I will never be able to look back. There are too many people in too small of a space but when you feel the rhythm of a city that is constantly moving under your feet, you can't help but want to be one of those people. 



  1. I need that pizza.
    And the ballerina freaks me out. :)

  2. New Yorkers also walk like they talk...20 mph. It's amazing how easily it was to go back to weaving in and out of people on the sidewalks never losing where I was after a 3 year absence. I also had to re-learn that California drivers don't respect the crosswalks when you're not actually supposed to be standing in them. I was so used to waiting off the curb for the walk signal!

    I'm so glad you got to see the city from an insiders perspective, it really is an amazing place. Boston's still #1 for me though and if I could knock out the midwest without displacing my friends and a crap ton of strangers I would live there in a heartbeat.

  3. Awesome recap of an undoubtedly awesome trip.
    Though Wilzie is pretty sad that you dashed his dreams of being a bra fitter...

  4. NOW, I'm officially choked up and miss the city ten times more than in your last post. Sounds like a fabulous trip, though, and you definitely deserved it!

  5. An excellent recap. It made me feel like I was living it all over again.

  6. Oh...and about the taxis...they have to allow you to use your credit card to pay. If they refuse, you call 311 and report them. If they say the credit card machine is broken and ask for cash instead, you can also call 311 to see if it's legitimate. Apparently, drivers can go for 48 hours with a broken machine.

    If you are like me and have $1 in cash and only your credit card as means of payment, you should call 311 and they will tell you what to do.

    And always make sure that you check your credit card statements if you use a credit card in a cab. Sometimes they charge double. If you find that, call 311 and report it right away and dispute the charge with your credit card company!!!

  7. What a great trip! I have been to NYC a couple of times but I was just a kid/pre-teen. (moms side of the fam is from NY and my uncle worked for Cantor Fitzgerald which was taken out on Sept 11, thankfully he had retired less than 1 yr before that)I cant wait to go back as an adult to really experience all it has to offer!!

  8. 1. I am so jealous you went to the McQueen exhibit! My boss took a day trip just to see it and she said it was pretty much the most amazing thing ever.

    2. OMYGOODNESS how have we never talked bras before? I used to work in a lingerie store and I love bra fitting info like nobody's business. Yay properly fitting bras! They are a miracle of clothing. I always loved people's faces when they realized DD is so completely an average size and not big at all. =)

  9. That looks like an awesome New York experience. I read Shana's blog and am glad to hear that J is really like that and that she's not making it all up.

  10. Great Post

    Pics are awesome!

    I am so happy to be able to post comments again.

    I really want to go to NY now

    that is all

  11. This was great. I felt like I had been there with you! That's a testiment to a great story teller. Good job and I agree, the pictures are amazing!

  12. I have just one question, when is your book coming out? You are such a descriptive writer...I love it!

  13. Ally, what a great recap! Awwww, I love this :) It's funny... being here for so long, I feel as though I begin to take some things for granted, but reading this reminds me of how truly wonderful this city really is.

    Glad you found some delicious eats and had some great fun here. Shana is a good tour guide :)

    Also, re: throwing curse words?! I never realized that I had the mouth of a truck driver until my date on Monday when I let an F bomb fly within the first hour. Whoops. ;) But he still wants to hang out, so clearly he's a New Yorker, too. HA!

  14. I've enjoyed your pictures! I'll be in that area next week, and I can't wait!
    Oh, and..."greenus snottis"? Love it. Or, not.
    Hope you're feeling better!


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