Tag Archives: New York

(ON TOPIC) Dear Carrie Bradshaw…

February Whatever, 2012

Dear Carrie,

Hey girl! I need your help.

After leaving your beloved New York for California (Please find a place in your Tiffany-studded heart to forgive me.), I learned that the stress of living in a city can make your mental health turn screwy. It’s scientifically proven! German researchers found that volunteers living in urban areas had more active amygdalas—the region that processes anxiety—when receiving negative comments while solving math problems.

Still with me?

Sparkles! Rainbows! Manolo Blahnik pink suede strappy sandals! Yay. Glad to have you back, sister.

But, like, I’m unconvinced that the stress of living in a city is really all that bad. This was my Bookface status after returning from California last summer: “10 days in cheery California has taught me that New Yorkers sorta function under this weird self-inflicted misery. LA, I like you.” And taking all the “Likes” and comments in consideration, many of my friends—New Yorkers included—agreed that happiness is a myth in the Big Apple. But how can this be when the city is filled with labels and love, the only label that never goes out of style? Right, Carrie, right?!

Sigh.

I remember you dealt with this whole bicoastal thang in Season 3’s episode “Sex and Another City,” the other city being…

[Brief intermission to allow you to locate the nearest trash receptacle]

LA.

[Another brief intermission to allow you to use said receptacle.]

Anywho, you met a publicity agent who exposed you to the perks of the rich and famous, while Miranda met an old friend from New York who lost his East-Coast edge. And how can we forget about Samantha? Laugh out loud! She met her idol, Hugh Hefner, right before you all rushed back to the safety of Manhattan—rejected and dejected. Great episode.

So basically, since your show is so so true to real life, I’ve turned to primetime HBO fictional programming—a.k.a your life—for a verdict on this city life debate: I have to move back to New York.

But here’s the thing, Carrie—and this is why I’m actually writing to you, I think—I don’t know if I want to!!! Ugh. Northern California is really, really cool. It’s February and you don’t have to wear a coat. And you can get in your car and see things like this:

"This looks like a dream." - Caroline Rafferty

I just don’t think I care anymore that, year after year, twenty-somethings flock to the Big Apple seeking love because it’s the best city in the world, or that Manhattan men are like “The New York Times Sunday” crossword puzzle because they’re tricky and complicated until you figure them out. Because…because Carrie…well because you’re like Santa Clause or a good episode of “Glee.” You…you don’t exist.

I’m sorry.

This was the main purpose for my letter. To tell you that I’m staying in California because I’ve officially loosened myself from your invisible albeit powerful, diamond-studded grip.

I can feel myself losing my edge already. K. Gotta go change into my bathing suit and lay out by the pool. <–Something I’ve never ever said before.

Eff you Carrie Bradshaw. I’m sorry, but I’m sincerely over you.

No longer yours,

Jonathan

P.S. I sent you some sand in a bottle a couple of days before I wrote this letter. Clearly my feelings toward you have changed since gifting you my favorite piece of West Coast beach, so just throw it away or whatever when you get it. I don’t care. 🙂

 

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(SHORT NOTES) A Little 9/11 Animation

Around this time of year, the Internet and TV shows and people turn up the volume on an ongoing 9/11 discussion that permeates our nation’s consciousness. I’ve been debating whether I was going to write about it, but I’ve ultimately decided to keep it short and to share something that’s inspired me over the past year.

It’s called StoryCorps.

As their website explains, they’re an “independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives.” My interest lies mainly in their animated shorts, which are directed by the brilliant Rauch brothers.

Through these shorts, they do what I hope to do in my future through the mediums of animation and writing. In just a few short minutes, each video teaches you about what it means to be human. And that’s some powerful stuff. I had the privilege of seeing them speak in New York, and I’ve been hooked on their work ever since.

So, whether you talk about 9/11 with your friends and family or keep thoughts, if any, to yourself, watch this video called “John and Joe.” It’s important that you do.

 

(SHORT NOTES) New York, I Love You?

On June 3 I wrote a post professing my love for New York City. Then, on August 12, I wrote a post breaking up with New York City. And today I’m writing a post to officially declare that the aforementioned New York City is mindf-ing the living kittens outta me. (Sorry for the strong language, Grandma.)

En route to the city last week I tweeted the following: NYC bound. Expecting to flip-flop once again while writing a blog post about how I’ve re-fallen in love with the city. I did so because I know myself well enough to know that the adage The grass is always greener plays on a continuous loop in my brain place. When I’m in Manhattan, I crave space and quiet. When I’m in a place like, say, Chicago, I crave New York City’s hustle and bustle. That said, this tweet makes sense within the mental frame I’ve built for myself over the last couple years.

But walking around felt different this time around. I think it’s because I was released from Manhattan’s self-inflicted misery when I learned to enjoy Chicago and California this summer. It’s also because I went to a Beyoncé concert (Beyoncé post coming soon.) and Molly’s Cupcakes (Cupcake post coming soon.).

And so, as I sadly leave the city once again, my last week here has got me thinking about the bigger picture: Happiness isn’t a place. Happiness is something from within that you have to carry with you wherever you go. So as I struggle to decide whether I’d like to live in New York City or Chicago or Los Angeles upon graduation this year, my fears are somewhat assuaged by this realization. I’ll be just fine (almost) wherever I go because I can always pick my shit up and move once again.

But for now, London here I come. Prepare yourselves, dear Brits, for my offensively obnoxious British accent.

Until next time…Cheerio!

(Homework: Type the word “cheerio” into the Google search bar and click the little speaker to hear Google Man recite it aloud. Why does he sound so utterly surprised? LOL.)

(LISTS) How You Know You’ve Grown Up, As Experienced Through the Five Stages of Grief

©garethjones.org

Denial: “There’s no way reading The New Yorker cover to cover will put me to sleep.”

Anger: “Reading The New Yorker cover to cover instantly put me to sleep.”

Bargaining: “OK. Fine. I’m just going to read Talk of the Town.”

Depression: “….”

Acceptance: (turning on TMZ) “I’ve just really always been more of a visual learner.”

(LISTS) You Know You’re a New Yorker When….

You know you’re a New Yorker when:

  1. Your career takes priority over…everything.
  2. You think New York is the center of…everything.
  3. You realize it’s totally uncool to say you live in “Manhattan” or the “Big Apple.”
  4. You hate Times Square.
  5. You get bumped and immediately check your pockets to see if you’ve been mugged.
  6. Central Park becomes your excuse when people say, “But Manhattan doesn’t have nature.”
  7. You accept that movies cost as much as (or more than) a meal.
  8. You carry exact change in your pocket to buy a quick snack or coffee from food carts.
  9. Pizza and falafel for lunch becomes standard.
  10. You write your thoughts and ideas down in a Moleskin. Like everyone else below 14th Street with a camera around their necks.
  11. The smell of trash and Chinese food unites into an unimaginable combination of sorts and then pops up randomly while walking. Anywhere. Anytime.
  12. You begin understanding the intercom elves on the subway.
  13. $20 taxi rides that deliver you late to your destination never fail to piss you off.
  14. You begin developing a mental list of why subways piss you off that includes, but isn’t limited to:
  • The annoying kids who flood the subways while on school breaks or field trips.
  • People who sit in between two seats.
  • People who appoint the seat next to them the royal sitting spot of their beloved shopping bag or purse or both.
  • People who block the turnstiles.
  • People who stand in the middle of the doorway so you can’t get on.
  • People who hold the doors for friends. Fact: Yelling “BETTY GET YOUR ASS DOWN THOSE STEPS!!!” at the top of your little lungs will not, in fact, get Betty’s ass down those steps before those doors promptly shut.

And last but certainly not least, you really know you’re a New Yorker when you make a list about how you know you’re a New Yorker and it looks just like the ones made by thousands of other New Yorkers. 🙂

An Ode To Woody Allen

White credits (Windsor font) dissolve in and out over a black screen.

FADE IN:

 

Abrupt medium close-up of Alvy Singer doing a comedy monologue. He’s wearing a crumbled sports jacket and tieless shirt, the background is stark.

ALVY:

There’s an old joke. Uh, two elderly women are at a Catskills mountain resort, and one of ‘em says: “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know, and such…small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life.

————————————————————

And that’s how I fell in love with Woody Allen. He had me at Windsor font.

This scene comes from the opening of “Annie Hall,” which I saw for the first time in high school. He turned 75 this week, so I thought I’d put together a list of the top five things he’s taught me since my first “Annie Hall” viewing:

1.    Therapy is cool.

2.    Self-deprecation is funny.

3.    Love letters to New York look best in the form of a movie.

4.    Sometimes life, and the people in it, suck.

5.    Leaving your longtime lover for her daughter is made OK with the simple line, “The heart wants what it wants.” (He actually said this when leaving his longtime lover for her daughter.)

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to meet Woody, and it’s this list I think I’d share with him. I’d probably also tell him I like his glasses, to which he’d reply, “I like yours, too. They look like mine.” I’d probably chuckle like a little schoolgirl and then be too nervous to say anything more. After all, what do you say to Woody Allen? What do you say to the man who’s written over sixty movies and left an indelible mark on the worlds of comedy, filmmaking, and writing? What do you say, more important, to the man who’s already been showered in admiration by fans and celebrities for decades? How could I ever make him remember me?

What follows is a journal entry I wrote on December 14, 2009, which is forever stored in my long-term memory as the night I almost met Woody Allen.

Tonight I saw my hero. I sat in a small restaurant at the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side and listened to him play clarinet for nearly two hours. He walked in, head down, and silently took his seat. He took out his clarinet, put it together gently, nodded at the band, and began to play. And I sat just a few rows from him, tapping my feet and bobbing my head the whole way through.

It’s funny because I know he was right in front of me, but it didn’t feel like he was actually with us. He seemed tired and timid but silently happy (or sad), and I expected this. He was in his own little world, and I wish I could’ve been there with him. He shut his eyes most of the time, and even when he blew and nothing came out while playing “When You Wish Upon A Star,” I know he still heard the music inside.

I feel like I have so much more to say, but sometimes, extraordinary events are hard to immortalize on paper. In any case, I hope I remember this day as one of the most memorable in my life. You always learn best through reflection, so maybe I’ll write more about this in the near future.

 

It’s almost one year later, and I still think about that night often. It always makes me smile. (Please watch the video. It’ll make you smile, too. I recorded it on my mediocre digital camera, but my battery died so I unfortunately didn’t get to film the whole song.) I left one part out in my journal, most likely because it didn’t make me happy to put down on paper at the time. After Woody left the stage, my friend and I rushed around back to meet him. Fans often do this after he plays at the lounge, so I knew we might have had a chance to actually talk to him. When we made it to the hallway, though, he was nowhere to be found.

“You just missed him by thirty seconds,” a hotel employee said.

The line started playing over and over in my head. “You just missed him by thirty seconds. You just missed him by thirty seconds.” Thirty seconds. Thirty seconds! I wrote him a letter a few years ago and have carried it around with me in the case I ever had an opportunity to meet him, and this was my chance. But I missed him by half a minute.

I think I was more upset than my friend was, so she tried to cheer me up by taking me to eat pizza and pretending we had met him. She said things like, “Oh my god I can’t believe we just met Woody Allen! Wasn’t it great? And remember how he was coming down the steps and he tripped but you were there to catch him?” But I really wasn’t in the mood to play along.

Nevertheless I’m no longer upset, as 1) there are more important things in the world to worry about and 2) I’ve had time to think about it and have decided that maybe it’s for the best. Now the image I’ve had of him in my head ever since I first saw “Annie Hall”—a talented, mysterious, troubled man—will stay intact. In truth, I think I prefer it this way.

But just in case, I’ll have my letter waiting.

The letter. I drew a little picture on it based on Stuart Hample's brilliant Woody Allen comics.