The Last Days of 2012

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Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a wonderful 2013 from New York!

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This is my first week that will be back to normal aka reality after my guest have left. I had 5 different friends in town during the past 2 weeks, so you could say sometimes things were a little hectic.

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It’s definitely one of the benefits of living in a big city … visitors are always coming!  I felt very loved and fortunate to have so many friends in town, all the way from Boston, Tel Aviv, Sao Paulo, and Istanbul!

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The holiday decorations throughout the City were just amazing … as you can see I’ve become a little obsessed with Instagram these days …

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With all the hours we walked, I still don’t think we covered every neighborhood, but the food tasting were bountiful.

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I think I’ve had my fill of hamburgers, pizza, and hot dogs for the year! [Dana, don’t worry I’ll still take you to the Burger Joint when you come to visit :)]

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And on Christmas Day, while at Grand Central Station we came across this sign …

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We were either early or late for the proposal, because I didn’t notice anything romantic going on, just people scurrying to the train platforms.

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Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for 2013!

xo, me

It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas

Tis the season for the crisp cold air and holiday cheer throughout the City!

Soon Arzu, Helena, and Rafael will be arriving, and I figure I’ll be taking many photos around town and really getting into the holiday spirit while being a tour guide. But for now, here are a few photos that I happened to stumble upon through my New York adventures.

Hope you enjoy!

photo (3) copy 3Carolers at Rosemary’s in the West Village

photo (4) copyChristmas Tree & Menorah outside the New York Stock Exchange

photo (5) copyStreet Lights in the Financial District

photo (6)Santa Claus at ABC Home Holiday Event in Union Square

photo (7)Christmas Tree at Bryant Park

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season thus far!!! xo

Back in New York

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After three weeks of displacement, thanks to Superstorm Sandy, I arrived back in New York the day before Thanksgiving, and things are just finally starting to get back to normal (for me at least).  After my return, it took a couple of weeks before gas was restored and my building’s electricity has just been taken off the generators.  Woohoo! Hopefully no more power outages.

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I’m fortunate to have electricity and gas back as many of my neighboring buildings are still vacant and uninhabitable. So no complaints from me! Things in the Financial District are slowly getting back to normal.

Sulu Kofte

Last week, was probably my first week where everything was pretty much back to normal, as in back to the same old grind.  I got to celebrate with my monthly Turkish cooking class (plus, I took photos!). This month we learned, Sulu KofteTortilla Borek, and Irmik Helvasi.

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Tortilla Borek

This time I went alone, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to learn some new recipes and eat some yummy Turkish food … especially with Arzu’s upcoming arrival.  I may have to show off some of my new talents.

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Irmik Helvasi

The Sulu Kofte was the only dish that I had never tasted before, a vegetable and meatball soup that surpassed my expectations. For a little cultural education, we learned that the Irmik Helvasi is traditionally served at funerals 😦 and other religious feast.

The above links are not the exact recipes I learned, but are here for the cooks 🙂 in my life. I’d love to hear if anyone tries the recipes … or of course has some yummy recipes of their own to share.

Frankenstorm

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“The biggest threat to anyone in anyone lifetime.”  I heard this statement on the news before Hurricane Sandy’s arrival.  At the time, I was quite skeptical … As, I can think of a couple plausible bigger threats to someone in their lifetime, but the news has always been good for sensationalizing things with a flair of drama.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy did bring more devastation than expected and really was a monster of a storm.

I live in lower Manhattan not far from the Seaport, and technically in Zone A – Mandatory evacuation for Hurricane Sandy’s arrival.  Having spent about a decade each in California, Florida, and Massachusetts, I’ve had my fair share of natural disasters.  As I didn’t want to leave my beloved Ralegh all by himself, I opted against evacuating.  My apartment is on the 18th floor so I don’t have to worry about floods, what’s the worse that can happen…  Power outages and water shutoffs.

The emails started to arrive on Sunday that Con Ed may be turning off the electricity as a preventive measure to save their equipment but I coasted thru the daylight hours of Monday watching TV.  If it wasn’t for the news, I wouldn’t of known that a monster hurricane was outside.  Now, only if my windows did as good of a job blocking out the construction noises. With the evening’s arrival, I started to get more emails that Con Ed would be shutting off electricity from 14th Street and below.  That’s pretty much all of downtown Manhattan.

Within the hour, I was in pitch darkness.  Looking out the window, the City was the darkest I’ve ever seen it.  From the lights of a nearby fire-truck, I saw the water’s arrival … within minutes high tide turned Pearl Street into a river.

Living by candlelight may be romantic but not really functional.  With no electricity, water, or gas by Wednesday I was starting to go a little bonkers.  I decided to use what was left as a battery on my iPhone to venture down 18 flights to the real world.  Maybe meet up with some friends for lunch and then head to Williamsburg for a little Halloween celebration.  I was in for a surprise! Instead, I discovered that pretty much half of the City was without electricity (from 39th Street and below) and that I should probably evacuate, as things didn’t seem to be getting back to normal anytime soon.  Up 18 flights of stairs I went to pick up Ralegh.  And discovered that I really need to get back in shape 😉

My amazing doorman, Rocky, dropped me off in Westchester where I spent the following two days.  Then the electricity went out in Westchester.  With rumblings of power coming back to the Financial District, I decided to head back to City.  While in Hell’s Kitchen, I got an email that a mandatory evacuation for my building was necessary.  Great! Right when I thought things might be getting back to normal.  The following day, I headed up to the Upper East Side for my third home in four days.

On Saturday, almost a week later, the financial district still looked like a war zone.  Electricity was pretty sparse; very few business were up and running.  The streets were wet and slick with oil marks, and a stench of fish and a mixture of gas, oil, and electricity permeated the streets.  Frankenstorm really was the perfect name for Hurricane Sandy!

Salt water causes much more damage than rainwater.  My buildings basement and part of the lobby were flooded when high tide arrived.  The whole electrical system, conveniently located in the basement, has to be fixed (among a few other things).  Until further notice, the building is considered uninhabitable.  With this information, Ralegh and I decided to head down to Florida and change our refugee status to vacation.

A week later, Ralegh and I are still in Florida and hoping to return to NYC next week.  I’m lucky that I didn’t suffer any devastation and just inconveniences.  The gas tank of the building next door blew up during the storm and those tenants will be displaced for a few months, not to mention everyone outside of the City in NY, NJ, and CT.  I’m very fortunate and grateful for my friends and family who took us in during our homelessness.  THANK YOU!!!

Furnished!

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I’m finally furnished and somewhat organized!

And what a relief!  The littlest things became somewhat nightmarish experiences (well, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit 😉 but nonetheless a big hassle).

In the end, adjusting to a small space is not that difficult.  The key is to take advantage of high ceilings, add the necessary storage, and be organized.  For now, I opted against a sofa chair and figured a kitchen table and desk were more important.  After all, I do need to invite my friends for some home cooked meals 🙂

At first, I was a little concerned on downsizing to a studio apartment, but now I think my small studio isn’t so small.  Living on a smaller footprint isn’t so bad.

Now, that I’m pretty much settled, the fun can begin!  Stay tuned… .

Tesekkur Sila

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Wednesday night, I hopped on the metro and headed to Queens for my Turkish cooking class.  It dawned on me that besides the airport, my only adventure to Queens was for some Bolivian saltenas with Giovanna this summer.  I’m definitely going to have to do some more discovery …

Maria, Tashi, and I walked up the stairs to the Turkish Cultural Center not really sure what we were getting ourselves into, but there, out of gourmandise 🙂  We were greeted right away by Sila, the charming and charismatic cooking teacher … and my new favorite  Turk!  [Arzu, don’t worry nobody can replace you!]

The class was excellent!  It exceeded my expectations and I definitely recommend it to anyone in the New York City area who loves to cook or just loves Turkish food.  The recipes were classic yet simple, and most importantly YUMMY!  We learned how to make Yogurtlu Havuc, Ali Nazik, and Shekerpare (the links aren’t the exact recipes I learned, but figured if anyone was interested these would be a start).

I walked away from the class with a secret desire for a kozmatik (a special Turkish cooking grill), three new yummy recipes, and some hot pepper (Sila obviously knew the way to my heart).  I can’t wait to go back next month … soon I can add Turkish cooking to my repertoire.

Delivered & Installed

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I woke up bright and early this morning excited and anticipating my Ikea furniture delivery.  Only if I knew… An Ikea delivery, assembly, and installation are not as simple as I expected.

Once the delivery men showed up, they went over the list of items to be assembled and installed.  Somebody at Ikea thoroughly screwed up!!!  Only half of the items to be fixed to the wall were on the assembly list.  Umm … yeah, that’s totally not going to work!  I’m totally capable of assembling Ikea furniture, the point was the installation to the walls!  However, the $7.00 desk lamp was on the installation list – boggles my mind.  Last time I checked, I’m fully capable of screwing in a lightbulb.  Of course, a few other items that I expressly stated that I would do myself were on the list.  Ugh!

After three LONG phone calls to Ikea, and almost a mini-breakdown on my end … we were finally in business!

I was ready to swear off Ikea by the end of the day, but realistically, that’s not going to happen as my desk is still on back order.  Arrival anticipated this weekend, hopefully and unfortunately, I will probably be heading back to Ikea next week.  Although, next time, I will be in charge of assembly.

Six hours later, the semi-final end product …

Once the desk is in place, it’ll all be complete (at least for this section of the room).  I still need a kitchen table and maybe a sofa chair.  [Bernhard check out the chair 🙂 named after you, same spelling and all … I knew I had to have it … he he he]

Slowly Settling In

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Trying to settle into a new apartment and a new city can be time-consuming, a lot more than one would expect…  I spent the week trying to accomplish certain things and advance on my “to do list”, but as always the list just got longer and not shorter.

I ended up at Ikea two times and I fear that my Ikea adventures are not over just yet, but on the bright side, the ferry to Ikea gives me a beautiful view of the City and Lady Liberty, which actually gives me fond memories of my time in Paris.  I lived right around the corner of the Statue of Liberty in Paris.

My sentimental feelings for Paris this week weren’t just with the Lady Liberty … I dare say, that I actually found myself missing the Paris metro (of all things) and quite a few times since I’ve arrived in New York.  I’m pretty familiar with the New York metro but with train delays, construction, and weekend and mid-day schedules, my trips became experiences with heavy delays.

But if it wasn’t for my first trip to Ikea by metro & bus with a little detour somewhere in Brooklyn, I would have never of discovered the new trend for vehicles in the USA. Cars with lashes!

Missing my European adventures, I decided to attend a Turkish Cultural Event and Oktoberfest this weekend.  Figured, just because I was on another continent that didn’t need to stop me.  All I have to say, there’s nothing like the real thing… Neither event was anything like I expected!

Although, not all is lost …   Tashi, Maria and I, are signed up for a Turkish cooking class, and what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon with a group of friends celebrating Oktoberfest amongst the cold winds and downpours 🙂

Arrived & Connected

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As of Saturday evening, I’ve been connected to the real world!  I’m ashamed to say that life without the internet was not easy …  Especially, when I was stuck for a couple of days waiting for maintenance in my new apartment and had nothing more than some blank walls, my phone, and some legal books to keep me company.

Fortunately, I was able to end the week with a relaxing outdoor yoga class in the middle of the Meat Packing District.

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My New York apartment search was an experience like no other.  I started out with a broker who showed me apartments $1400 above my price range, and then refused to work with me, since on my tight schedule I wanted to work with more than one broker.  After an email on the quality time we spent together and how I was eliminating him from finding my new home by working with others … I was a little confused as to whether or not I unassumingly entered into a bad relationship after just a few hours.  Oh well, I had other brokers … I had another broker who only wanted me to live in the Upper West Side because she thought I could be her new best friend.  I was starting to question if anybody worked in this City!  Luckily, I had my broker Jessica, who showed me the Upper East Side, Downtown, and Brooklyn.  I ended up settling with a great new apartment Downtown 🙂

I’m slowly settling in and trying to figure out the best way to organize my small studio apartment.  If anyone has suggestions please let me know.

And just for fun, a photo of a random on the A train (I couldn’t resist). Adidas leopard print hi-tops with a tail!

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Hello World!

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Hello everyone!  I’m back 🙂

I know that things at Sacre Bleu: An American in Paris (sacrebleuanamericaninparis.blogspot.com) have been pretty nonexistent … I fell behind after traveling to Istanbul, with packing up my belongings and saying my goodbyes as I departed Paris.  But that’s all about to change with this new blog … Mon Petit New York.  As on Saturday, I’m moving to New York City!