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hi fives & hugs

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I couldn't get enough hugs from this little guy yesterday. I barely let him out of my grip for five seconds (but he let me know he didn't care for that so much) as we made our final Central Park playground jaunt together.

He hopped on a plane bright and early this morning and said goodbye to New York City as he'll be making his new home in the City of Angels. (You may have seen that his sister left on Saturday.)

It was almost as if Luke knew what was happening yesterday. He kept waving and saying goodbye the whole time, and then...right as I was about to step on the elevator, I got this awesome high five followed by a hug. What a special last memory.

My little buddy Luke, I'll see ya later! Very soon, I hope.

a friday goodbye

I love Fridays.

But this Friday I'm feeling extra nostalgic and a tiny bit sad as this little girl spends her last day in New York City. She's off to an exciting, new adventure tomorrow as she says goodbye to the Big Apple and moves to warmer temps and sunnier days with her mom, dad, and little brother.

New York is full of goodbyes. I'd like to say I've gotten used to them by now, but not really. You don't really ever get used to parting with people you love time and time again. And while this city has a lot of splendor and glory to offer, its transience isn't one of them.

a wintry, blustery day

I've heard conflicting reports. Today's massive snow drop was either the 15th or the 17th snowstorm of the season. I'm not sure that it matters anymore, I'm just hoping this winter with a vengeance calms itself soon, very soon...

OR else. Yea, or else I'm going to start having to wear three layers of pants instead of two.

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even more snow

We've gotten more snow in this one winter than I've seen combined in my whole life. And, so far, not a single snow day! (As Al Roker said, "Shame on you, Mayor!") I'm thankful that February is at least a short month, because I don't think I can take much more of this. But despite the constant snowfall and unusually low temps, last week's snowstorm was absolutely spectacular. I took these photos after I got home from work and walked around my neighborhood feeling like I was in a true winter wonderland (which doesn't happen often in the Big Apple snowstorms).

If this is the night version of the grandeur, can you imagine what it looked like during the day?!

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lives of new yorkers

Last night as I was walking home I overheard a conversation between a homeless man (or perhaps just a beggar) and a passerby leaving the grocery store. The beggar was asking for money for food as a man with the grocery bag passed by him. The man with the one bag stopped suddenly, turned around, and said something I found so fascinating and have never heard before.

"You know what, this loaf of bread was bought with food stamps. I have $ 0.78 to my name, so I'm not sure I can share anything with you tonight."

Everyone has a story. Big or small, it's always there. I like having the chance to see glimpses of those stories, especially when on first glance I erroneously perceive so many to be just like me.

three new yorks

Couldn't have said it better myself. If you've spent time here, you know this description to be true.

“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter—the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these trembling cities the greatest is the last—the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York’s high strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion. And whether it is a farmer arriving from a small town in Mississippi to escape the indignity of being observed by her neighbors, or a boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart, it makes no difference: each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh yes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company.”

-EB White, "Here Is New York"

an ode to new york

"Ode to New York" from the Huffington Post by Laura Steiner (This is a complete re-post of her article on HuffPo.)

I read this piece earlier in the week and immediately had tears filling my eyes. It's something I've never really been able to put my finger on until now and have definitely never been able to articulate the feeling in words like this. If you've ever lived in this concrete jungle, you will understand. -pp

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"To the city you're always yearning,

New York is tackiness on the gravel of the meatpacking district, it's cool kidz on Bedford, it's yuppie parents in Prospect Park, it's characters out of Woody Allen's imagination in the Upper West Side, it's Dominicans in Washington Heights, it's Hasidic Jews in Borough Park, it's Asian groceries and Polish bars, it's Italians -- the real ones and the Jersey Shore ones -- it's movie stars, fashion stars, homeless, junkies, it's tourists, it's commuters, it's generations of New Yorkers.

New York is neighborhood. It's having your deli, your coffee place, your laundromat and, if you're lucky, your late night eatery in one block. It's drinking coffee on your stoop.

New York is museums, it's street art, it's music, it's theater. It's being constantly nostalgic about past decades. E.B. White said it best in his book Here is New York when he wrote, "In New York you feel the vibrations of great times." New York is Patti Smith, Henry James, Allen Ginsberg, Lou Reed, Arthur Miller, Bob Dylan, Jackson Pollock, Frank O'Hara, Hector Lavoe, Washington Irving, Andy Warhol, Billie Holiday, Jack Kerouac, The Ramones and other greatest.

New York is having everything to chose from and never having enough time to do anything. It's being surrounded by people and feeling lonely. It's also finding out you don't need other people's company, you just need the city.

New York is where the eastern European deli owner will never say a word to you despite the fact that you buy coffee from him every morning. But it's where the eastern European deli owner will one day tell you "Hey, it's nice to see you again" after you've moved out of your neighborhood and haven't seen him in six months. After that, every coffee in the world will be tasteless to you.

New York is where you'll probably live at least once (if not more) in an apartment where you'll have occasional visits from mice. But New York is where you'll learn to overlook the rodent situation because it's never about the mice, it's about the fact that you managed to score an apartment in a first floor walk up with windows and exposed brick in a prime location.

New York is finding comfort in the small things, like knowing your neighbor never picks up his subscription to the Sunday New York Times.

One day, New York will be the place you're no longer in, but the place you won't seem to be able to shake off your head.

New York is the place you'll try to explain to everyone back home to no avail. You'll find there aren't enough words in your vocabulary. New York is not something you see, it's something you feel. It's a state of mind and hence hard to describe.

You'll go back home and reminisce about the city. People will tell you New York will always be there. But you know better. The city will withstand -- as it always has -- but the city you left behind, you left for good. The city won't miss you because you were merely a spec in its being and when you go back (and you will since the city is always calling) you'll go back to a different New York. The city never stops and already, only a few months later, you know it's changed: that's it's nature. New York is unapologetic and doesn't wait for anyone. It's a city that creates and a city that happens. New York doesn't need anything or anyone and perhaps that's exactly why you still crave it so much, because of it's idyllic unattainability."