Thank you for following my blog! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. While I will continue to post my historical blogs over the next few months, I have a new series starting on December 6th, so come back and check it out! Have a wonderful day and feel free to ask questions or request content!
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So, as I wrote in the last installment, I have to extend this into the Fall because I unexpectedly ended up working two jobs and taking a class this summer, which meant I could not take any trips and I only had Sundays to do activities. Even so, I have done several more activities and have a few other things in the works, so we will get to 40 eventually! So far, there have been 4 posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 in the city. I am over 20 things now: I went to Central Park, Battery Park, Times Square, the Puerto Rican parade, the Pride parade, Tuff City Tattoos, Little Italy, the 9/11 Memorial, the New York Botanical Gardens, Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, the Waldorf Astoria, Coney Island, Galanga Thai, Social, Lille’s, Uva, Junior’s Bakery, Emilia’s, saw some sailors during Fleet Week (even though I didn’t get to go to any events), saw Junior Brown at City Winery, Stone Street, Wave Hill gardens, Grand Central Station…
I have exhausted Arthur Avenue and Little Italy! I have been there several weekends because it is so convenient and there are so many reasonable places to eat. I’ve checked out: Emilia’s, Pasquale Rigaletto, Cafe Parisienne, Domenick’s, Artuso’s Pastry, Palombo Cafe, Bronx Beer Hall, and Blue Wave! Each of these places is worth taking a trip up to the Bronx. I still have a couple of restaurants that I need to visit (specifically, Zero Otto Nove), but I will update when I get to check them out. I am going to dedicate a whole post to the restaurants on Arthur Avenue because I don’t want to use too many restaurants as activities!
Since I last wrote, besides chillin’ on Arthur Ave, I went to my first Italian festival and visited Harlem for the first time, went to Wave Hill, went back to Coney Island, took a ride on Metro North, went to Little Ireland, and saw 3 movies!
The Italian festival and visit to Harlem was definitely the highlight. With just the cost of a metro ride to and from the Bronx and a few dollars on refreshments, I had an awesome day of fun and culture for $25!
The dancing of the giglio on Pleasant Avenue is definitely something to check out. It is hosted annually by the Giglio Society of East Harlem! According to Wikipedia the Giglio weighs three tons! It was so interesting. There was signing, eating, dancing, socializing, all in a suprisingly spiritual and prayerful environment. I thought the statue would be lifted and walked from its resting place to the Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel just once. Little did I know, it would be “danced” up and down the route many, many times, with each lift being dedicated to a certain person! It was such a fun thing to see and the mood was wonderful with people coming into the neighborhood that grew up there, but had since moved away. There are dozens of booths with games, coffee, drinks, Italian foods and desserts! Obviously, to keep it below $40 you’ll have to pay attention, but I got a small bag of pastries, a drink, and espresso, for around $15!
After the parade I went with a group to Patsy’s Pizzeria for a late lunch. It is a little costly if you go in and sit down and have a full meal, but there is a window out front where you can buy pizza by the slice for super cheap! Going to the parade and having a slice or two will give you an ENTIRE day of fun and a meal for around $25!
I work and live in the Bronx, so Wave Hill was kind of a cheat activity. I’ve been several times this summer. I have a friend that is a member, so I used their guest pass, but entry is only $8 on regular days!
It’s a gorgeous, historic location to watch the Hudson River, picnic, get some sun, look at some pretty flowers, and just relax in the Bronx! There is a cafe/restaurant, but I didn’t try it out. There is also a gift shop and the gardens also host numerous activities year around-which you can view on their site!
I took the train down, bought a drink and some chips at a bodega, got some sun on the beach and took the train back home. It is obviously INSANELY crowded during the summer, so this isn’t a great activity to do alone because you can’t swim if you have stuff to leave on the beach, but it was stilll nice to get outside and people watch!
Metro-North is also a bit of a cheat activity, but then again, if you like trains and scenic views (or if you have children that like trains), I highly suggest it. There is a station close to Wave Hill too! I believe rides are at most $10 each way (depending the time you get on the train and your ultimate destination), but it is definitely worth it. I am partial to the Hudson Line to Croton-Harmon. If you want to check this out, I suggest going during the early afternoon because there are peak hours and off peak hours (which fall between rush hours) and you are charged less during off peak times! Going along the Hudson River there are nice views of nature and architecture. I’ve gotten off at a few stations and think the Yonkers station is really neat! It is totally old school, with wooden benches, a waiting room-it’s like an old movie-and you are in Yonkers so you can walk to shops or restaurants and then hop back on the train into the city! The Harlem Line is also great-there is a station called Wingdale that lets you off at the abandoned State Hospital, which is a great piece of spooky architecture! So, for around $20 you can explore the suburbs of NYC or travel hours away and really get into nature!
I know one of my 40 activities was going to the movies and I’ve done it…times 3…but I don’t feel like any of the movies I saw were worth rave reviews. I saw San Andreas, Trainwreck, and Southpaw. I am NOT an action flick fan, but I thought I’d check out San Andreas because a friend wanted to see it. I laughed the ENTIRE movie-I’m lucky I live up here in NYC now, because people all freely make noise during the movie. Of course, The Rock was as hot as ever, but the supporting actresses were horrible and the story is SO unrealistic. I did like that Paul Giamatti was in the film. I have a soft spot for award winning actors that act in random movies for fun (and a pay check, haha)!
The part where the boat is able to go through sharp ass debris, speed over bodies and metal, go through a building, and then his daughter is unconcious for like half an hour after drowning and then magically comes back to life had me DYING! So 2/5 for effort and sexy Dwayne Johnson!
Trainwreck was meh too…sorry, not sorry…I was SO excited because I havevn’t seen a good comedy in forever, but I wasn’t impressed. I LOVED Bill Hader and his character-he was by far the best part-and I did like the other story lines with Lebron and the father, but I didn’t think the movie was very funny, at all…3/5 for casting/production budget!
Finally, I saw Southpaw. While this was the best of the three, it was still underwhelming and lackluster. Cinematography and casting were GREAT, but the writing and pacing were NO good. Rachel McAdams, 50 Cent, and Forrest Whitaker’s characters had like zero development even though they were major parts of the plot. It was also extremely predictable! If you’ve seen one boxing movie, you’ve seen this one.
McAdams and the character Hoppy each had two or three scenes before they were killed off! I am so confused why you would have two characters that are supposed to have such important impacts on the main characaters of the film and really move the story foward, yet writers give like 5 minutes to develop said characters. Makes zero sense. The production was good, not excellent, but good. I did notice that it was produced by Chinese companies, which I haven’t seen before. That was interesting and did have an influence on the film (especially the fight scenes), but I would love to know why this particular film was a Chinese-Hollywood coproduction. 3/5 for casting and production once again.
I was really hoping to see a movie like Foxcatcher that would inspire a great review, but I didn’t. I have high hopes for Black Mass, so check back in a few weeks!
Lastly, I’ve been to Little Ireland in Woodlawn several times. There are tons of pubs and restaurants to check out and it is definitely a cultural experience. I thought there were no more native Irish communities in NYC (I thought they all disappeared last century), but I guess with the economic downturn in Ireland a lot of young Irish people have immigrated to Woodlawn. Accents and beer! An old lady also gave me a bunch of free Catholic swag when I was up there! Definitely worth a train and Uber ride north to see an old/new side of New York history!
I’ve started back to school, but I am back down to working 4 days a week, so I have some more time to explore. I am going to a big concert in October and am currently looking for 10 or 15 more activities! I will write another installment after my concert! Talk to you guys then!
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Time for another installment of #40FOR40NYC! I haven’t written recently because since my iPad was damaged and my laptop is a hunk o’ poo, I had no way to write except with my phone. Thankfully, I have a new iPad and I bought a keyboard on Amazon, so I can type!
There is going to be a slight change to this series. I am working 6 days a week now, so I have had to restrict my exploring to Saturday afternoons and Sundays. On top of the 6 day work week, I am also taking a 6 week summer class which requires a copious amount of reading and writing in a very short time AND I have to take a Spanish fluency exam in a month. This means I do not know when I will be able to fit in any new activities. Since I picked up a Saturday and Monday shift, I won’t be going on any weekend trips either. After the class is over I can resume exploring on Sundays, but I obviously can’t fit in 25+ activities in 8 sundays. That being said, I don’t want to stop the series, but I am going to probably have to stretch it into the early Fall.
Anyway. Since my last entry I have done several things!
I went to two parades: cost=$5.50 and $5.50
I went to the Puerto Rican parade and the NYC Pride parade. I had only ever been to one parade-a Veterans Day parade in Greenville, Texas. Parades are an amazing, free, fun way to meet people, listen to music, and people watch! You should definitely bring a chair (which I didn’t do) and maybe a mini-cooler with drinks and such, but I highly recommend going to parades if you are looking for something cheap to do in NYC. There are SO many to choose from. I am already excited for the Labor Day and St. Patrick’s Day parades! I’d always wanted to go to the Puerto Rican Parade and it was really neat. There were representatives there from different states, many unions, companies, small business owners, clubs, dance studios, and people representing cities from all over the island of Puerto Rico! My best friend and her family are from Ponce, so it was cool to spot all the people representing that area. I missed the beginning of the parade so I didn’t see any famous people, but it was still a lot of fun. Last weekend I went to the NYC Pride parade. I had never been to a pride parade and going right on the heels of the marriage equality ruling by the SCOTUS was really memorable. Everyone was SO happy and in such a good mood. There was so much fun music, everyone was dancing, and there were a lot of well known people. I read that Caitlyn Jenner and the cast of OITNB were there, but I only saw Senator Chuck Schumer, Mayor DeBlasio, and Sir Ian McKlellan! This parade was really convienient for me because the route runs right by my school (yay, access to bathrooms).
I will know the best place to sit and time to get there next year! I was VERY weary to go to parades because big crowds aren’t really my scene, but at both parades I was able to find great places to stand that weren’t too packed so this will definitely be a regular activity for me.
I tried two new restaurants: cost= $24 and $29
Before the Puerto Rican parade I went to brunch with a friend from school. We tried this Italian place called UVA on the Upper East Side that was REALLY good. They serve Aperol Spritz, which is my favorite drink from Italy, and they have brunch specials. I got a drink, eggs, potatoes, and spinach for $24 including tip.
After the NYC Pride parade I went to Galanga Thai restaurant. It was really good and the service was QUICK, but the portions are small and there was lipstick on my Thai iced tea glass ;/ I got cashew stir fry with white rice, a Thai iced tea, and a Sapporo for $24 including tip!
If you need cheap entertainment, I HIGHLY recommend entering contests/raffles. In the past two weeks I’ve won two contests which meant I got entertainment for the cost of an Uber ride (I take the train downtown, but always Uber back if it’s after 9 since I would have to walk from the train station alone). Two weeks ago I won a contest at a bar called McFadden’s and got free alcohol for 3 hours and anyone that came with me got an open bar for $25 (at $10-$15 per drink in NYC, this is a great deal)! I entered their contest while eating dinner there a couple of weeks before (after trying to take pictures of Manhattanhenge). Anyone can enter and they select people for the free open bar the following week.
I also entered a contest through Jukely for some concert tickets and I won. I went to see Junior Brown. Most of you probably don’t know who he is, but I’ve been listening to him since I was a kid, so it was pretty fun. He sings country music, so it was it was neat to see a country artist in NYC. The concert took place at City Winery NYC. I will definitely go back to check this place out when I have more time.
I visited Green-Wood Cemetary: cost=$5.50
I decided I wanted to checkout Brooklyn and I’ve heard a lot about Green-Wood Cemetary. It’s a Nationial Historic Site and tons of famous people are buried there too. I will be honest and tell you I didn’t do any research before going, so this will probably be a repeat activity, once I find some specific graves I want to visit. I took lots of pictures, but it was raining and I came from work so I wasn’t up for walking around the entire place. There are some AMAZING views, great history to learn about, and unique graves to see. They also offer evening tours a couple of times a month, which I’d really like to check out sometime-probably in the Fall! A friend told me they hire actors and actresses to portray the famous dead people at their graves (spookyyy)!
I went back to Little Italy (in the Bronx): cost=$18 ($5.50)
This could cost as little at $5.50, but there are no trains directly to Little Italy only buses, so I just Uber (I take the bus to work everyday and I honestly really don’t like getting on it when I don’t have to). I made a friend on the train a few weeks ago and he is a graffiti artists from Harlem. He does a lot of work in Little Italy, so we met up and he showed me around. I went back to Bronx Beer Hall, checked out a place called Tuff City Tattoos, and have been to several delicious restaurants too! It was raining so I didn’t get many pictures, but I plan to visit several times throughout the summer, so I am sure I will get some more!
I went to the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Botanical Garden: cost=$0 ($20-25)
My boss is a member of the Botanical Garden so I didn’t have to pay to see this exhibit, but regular tickets are $20-25 (discounts for students, senior citizens, and kids). I was SO excited to see this exhibit. I have been fascinated by Mexican culture and art since I was in high school, so this was a major treat. The NYBG refashioned Frida Kahlo’s home in Mexico City and had several works on display. I can’t really put into words how great it was, so here are some pictures.
Last, but not least, I went to Highbridge: cost=$15.50
I rode the bus over to the Manhattan side of Highbridge. This bridge was built in 1867 and later left to crumble, but it was recently renovated and reopened. The park is gorgeous and I bought a beer and some Takis at the bodega and sat and watched people for over an hour. It’s a nice walk, it’s peaceful, and definitely a great historic site for both the borough of Manhattan and the Bronx!